After a full day of food, walking, and entertainment on Friday, we began yet another day of the same on Saturday (March 7). We woke up, got dressed, and headed down the street to grab some bagels to bring back to the apartment for breakfast. Devoured those, then we took turns getting ready to take on NYC once more. Since we’re quite food-focused while in the city, our first stop was — what else? — brunch. We chose Riposo 46, which had been on our list for the trip in June but we ended up choosing another brunch spot that time instead. It’s a small place with only bar seating and about four small tables, but we were fortunate and got there just as another table was about to leave, so we only had to wait about five or 10 minutes to be seated (and no one was in front of us waiting for a table). I had the citrus brioche French toast, and it was so good! I typically don’t prefer something that heavily sweet for breakfast, but that was exactly what I was hoping it would be.
We left brunch and went a couple blocks out of our way to take some pictures in front of the Belasco Theatre, where our show that night would be, since it would be dark and more crowded when we returned later for our 10 p.m. show. Having accomplished that, we gradually made our way uptown toward the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we would spend the afternoon. (Confession: We stopped at Magnolia Bakery on the way to grab some treats for later.)
The museum is huge, of course, so it’s impossible to cover every bit of ground there in a single afternoon, but we put a pretty good dent in it during the several hours we spent there. At one point, basically on our feet all day and having walked many miles all over town in my not-made-for-city-walking snow boots since the sidewalk ramps were still pretty slushy, we took a break in the museum cafe to rest our legs and enjoy our Magnolia goodies (we split a brownie and a lemon bar). (In all, I estimated that walked about 15 miles during the weekend, and I think that’s a pretty conservative estimate.)
We were planning to meet a couple of my parenting board friends (whom we had met up with during our last NYC visit) at Thai Select down around 39th and 9th Ave, so we took a cab down there for that since traffic wasn’t horrible, which was a good call since it gave us more time at the museum. Generally we try to avoid cabs — our view is that the best way to see the city is to walk the city. (In fact, we generally try to avoid the subway as well, and never did use it at all this trip.) Dinner with the four of us was just fabulous. The conversation was engaging and nonstop, and there were never any awkward moments among our group. We spent three hours at the restaurant before Serenity and I needed to walk to the theater, but if we hadn’t had our show to go to, I swear we could have talked all night. Definitely a highlight of this trip, and I look forward to getting together the next time we’re there.
And, speaking of trip highlights…
Our Hedwig show was scheduled for a 10 p.m. curtain, and we arrived a little after 9:30. Having already seen the show once from the balcony and wishing we had sprung for orchestra seats, we ponied up the extra money this trip, and it was beyond worth it. We were in the center section toward the left, in row R or S, I think, which was actually closer to the stage in this theater compared to many other shows since there’s no orchestra pit for Hedwig (the music is played by a few band members on stage).
What can I say about the show itself? It’s been a couple of weeks now, and I’ll still searching for the best way to accurately capture the experience. I can’t quite declare it my all-time favorite theater experience quite yet — I feel like it’s too recent to make that bold statement at this point — but I think it might be headed that direction. John Cameron Mitchell simply IS Hedwig, and no one else can tell her tragic story quite in the way that he can. He carries himself so naturally in the role, and he keeps you both laughing and on the edge of your seat, gripped by the harsh circumstances this character faces. Neil Patrick Harris’s Hedwig was more polished and energetic, but Mitchell’s is more raw and exposed and vulnerable. As Serenity (who also saw Michael C. Hall in the role in November) said, “It’s like a completely different show.” And it really was.
I suggested that we go to the stage door to greet the actors as they were leaving, which we didn’t do for the NPH show since I figured it would be a madhouse due to his celebrity status. After the show, I leaned over to Serenity and said, “I really, really have to pee, but if we don’t book it out there immediately, we’re not going to stake out a good spot.” With a chuckle, I said, “Do what you wish, but I’m holding it and gunning for the door.”
And that’s just what we both did, eventually securing an excellent (if crowded) spot in the second row of people behind the barricade they had set up between the stage door and the car. It was cold outside, and I had to pee, and we had to wait about half an hour before anyone came out (since they had to take off their makeup, change clothes, etc.), but it was so worth it. The first person to come out was Matt Duncan (who I later learned is from my hometown), then soon after, Tony Award winner Lena Hall was the next to arrive. (Side note: Lena’s character was so much more robust this time than the first time. The first time I was wondering why she earned the Tony. The second time, I could see why.) Lena (we’re on a first-name basis, you know) was so incredibly nice to all of the fans there to get her autograph and take her picture. (I could either manage to get autographs, or take pictures, and I opted for pictures. I wasn’t close enough to wrangle pictures WITH the actors, but that’s okay.)
Finally John Cameron Mitchell came out, bearing a box of autographed Sugar Daddy candies to give away to the crowd. (One of the songs in the show is called “Sugar Daddy,” so very appropriate.) I was still trying to take pictures, so I said to Serenity, “You had BETTER get your hand over there and get one for me!” and she was successful in nabbing one for each of us. YES!
By the time we were done at the theater, it was 1 a.m., and my feet were toast, so we took a cab back to the apartment and crashed. Oh, and did I mention that the time changed that night and we lost an hour? Yes indeed. But yet another fun adventure awaited us on Sunday (we know how to maximize our NYC weekends!), so we proceeded forward as is our norm.