As some of you, especially those who follow me on twitter or instagram, might know I’m on vacation right now. For the first time I flew across the Atlantic Ocean to America to spend 10 days in New York City, a city I honestly have been obsessing about for almost 8 years of my life. For this fall I kind of could justify this trip to myself because, come on!, I was finishing off my BA studies and even it’s not that kind of an important degree for me personally it’s my first academix degree of any kind and I wanted to do something special. So: My mother and I flew over here.
Who read other blog entries or my twitter feed knows that I’m big into theatre and even bigger into musical theatre. I love almost everything opera-musical-whatsoever-like. And since I’m blogging here mostly about cultural/theatre stuff I thought it would be a nice thing to share some thoughts about one of the most amazing nights in my life so far with you.
This is a post about obsession as you might have noticed, so let’s use that word as often as possible.
I’m literally obsessed with the voice of Stephanie J Block. I loved her on the 9to5 recording, but I fell deeply in love with her Drood (and the musical itself, but that’s a different story…) as soon as I got the recording. And I was kind of bummed when she didn’t win the Tony for best actress in a musical (but then Patina Miller won, and it was like….okay. 😉 ). So at first I was really sad that Little Miss Sunshine at Second Stages won’t be starting previews for another two weeks so I’d miss that, but three weeks ago she was announced as a performer for a composer-lyricist-duo’s 30th anniversary at 54below on Sept. 26th. Actually I was so excited the night I read it I almost couldn’t sleep. (yes, that’s kind of teenage-fan-girl-like, but…well)
So, yesterday was the day. After a packed day in the city we dressed up a little and headed 9 blocks north to 54th Street to have dinner and then enjoy the concert. When we entered I remembered how many Youtube-Videos I’ve watched over the past years that were recorded in there. I was definetly familiar with the redish classy backwall of the stage. We both had a fabulous dinner and I really helpful waiter, who was even kind enough to come back to our table after we’d placed our order to tell me that the risotto I went for was made with chicken broth and so not suitable for vegetarians. (a HUGE plus here!) And I went for a fabulous glas of Grüner Veltliner (European wine for a European girl). After we’d finished our meal the missing party at our table came and we soon started a fabulous conversation. (it was, believe me.) They were a not that young gay couple, totally New York theatre-goers and -insiders and we started rambling about shows and singers and everything while they had their dinner. (best compliments I heard “You hardly have an accent.” and “Wow, she’s a seasoned pro!” referring to my extensive knowledge about the NY theatres)
Suddenly the performers entered and the concert started.
I’ve never really listened to any of the musicals by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (except for Rocky which – in the German version at least – I’m not terribly fond of.) so I was really excited to listen to their songs. It started with a short introduction by the two of them. And they really seem to be some of the sweetest and loveliest theatre persons I’ve ever met. Afterwards Liz Callaway (by the way: HUGE obsession as well! Go, youtube her “The story goes on” from Baby if you haven’t already!) started to sing the first song, “Journey to the past” from the animated movie “Anastasia”. And I have to be honest here: I fought tears. Really. Not only had the wine done its damage, but also was it and incredible performance and my first night out in NYC with such lovely people and everything. Sadly I’m not familiar with Ahrens and Flaherty’s shows so I have trouble to name most of the songs which were presented, but I remeber LaChanze singing off the roof and Brian Stokes Mitchell totally making me fall in love with his incredible voice (LaChanze and he did a duett from Ragtime and it was breathtaking. I literally can’t remember breathing when it comes to that number!) What I remember clearly is Stephanie J Block taking the stage after the that duett and being simply adorable. She sang “Something beautiful” which I already knew from her album and it was really beautiful. Sometimes her voice becomes so unreal it’s not even funny anymore and it’s much closer to perfection (at least to me) than many voices I’ve heard in my life. And I’ve heard a lot for the 22 year old I am. 🙂 But not only her but EVERY SINGLE ONE in this concert was incredible. The band was – WOW. Five people making a sound comparable to an orchestra!
I’m still mostly speechless. And we’re still kind of bewitched.
And now we’re gonna leave to see ‘Once’. (the trailer alone made me cry once. Only because of the guy dancing with his cello. Yeah, right!)