The trains took us to 33rd st, where there was a shopping mall and food court directly connected to the subway station (similar to those in Toronto, I guess) and we walked from the Path to the Subway where we took another train to 49th street and Broadway.
Emerging onto the street, our senses were immediately assaulted by the glittering lights, billboards, traffic noises, smells (hot dog vendors, tar/smoke, etc.) of the big city. We quickly found where the theatre was but we also did a little window shopping along the way to kill some time. (Predominantly in the Colony Record store at 1619 Broadway....be forewarned...they have a great selection of karaoke discs, sheet music and showtunes, but they are quite pricey, in my opinion).
While walking, I spotted Joseph Gannascoli stepping into a limo. Mr. Gannascoli is most famous for playing "Vito Spatafore" on the "Sopranos" (most notably this past week, wherein Vito's proclivities were revealed to the audience).
Soon, we found the Gershwin Theatre, picked up our tickets (purchased online at Broadway.com) and waited for the theatre to admit patrons...
What can I say? "Wicked" was wonderful. I'd already been prepared for the fact that "Glinda/Galinda" would not be played by Kristen Chenoweth that day (The little old lady seated next to us said that Kristin was gone more than she was there). However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was replaced that day by Laura Bell Bundy, who starred in the original cast of the musical "Hairspray" as Amber Von Tussle. She was a perfect fit for the part.
The entire rest of the principal cast was in attendance this day for the matinee performance and they were all on the money. The stage/set is a feast for the eyes with a giant clockwork motif prominently featuring a giant clockwork dragon at the top (the clockwork dragon was a major prop in the novel). Even the entrance of the theatre is decorated appropriately with a giant mural of the maps to Oz on the walls leading to the upper levels.
The special effects in this show are great, but nothing that takes away from the rest of the show (or becomes the entirety of the show). From the moment Glinda the Good makes her first entrance (in her magic bubble), 'til Elphaba (as the "Wicked" Witch is named) finally melts...I was entranced. There were some subtle (and not so subtle) nods to both the original novels (for instance, when entering Emerald City, both Galinda and Elphaba are handed pairs of green-lensed glasses and the slippers of Nessarose, the Wicked Witch of the East, are silver) and to the MGM Musical that most people associate the strongest with the Oz-mythos (costuming of the Tin Man and Elphaba especially).
I don't want to post much about the show ITSELF (plot-wise) except to say: read the novel which this musical is based on for more info on the story (I don't want to spoil any plot points), even though it ends up a little differently...and of course the book fills in a LOT more of the blanks...and GO to SEE this show (Ms. Chenoweth is leaving the show as of July 18th, but as I stated she's not really necessary. Ms. Menzel, who plays Elphaba, and Mr. Joel Grey, who plays the Wizard, just extended their contracts until early January).
After the show, Paul called his friend, Ronnie Motta. Ronnie works in the city (as a fact checker at Playboy Magazine) and had asked us to call to meet him for dinner after the show. It was five o'clock and we were meeting him at 6:30.
First stop was a store we'd spotted earlier while walking through the city...Hershey's Times Square. Oh my GOD! The smell was OUT of the FUCKING world! First, I picked up a case of Pina Colada Almond Joy bars! Second, we got something we've been looking for about two years for: the Hershey's Raspberry Chocolate Chips (we'd been told they were discontinued!) Ronnie is going to have to go to the store and send us care packages of these every few months or so.
Paul makes the most incredible cookies with these...Cookies of Racial Harmony! They include white chocolate, milk chocolate, raspberry chocolate, peanut butter and butterscotch chips. He's figured out just the right ratio of each chip so none of them overpowers the others. Yes, derylykt, you and Stephanie and expect to get a batch as soon as we have a stove at our disposal again. The two of you (and Jonathan) are at the top of the list!
We killed some more time at the Virgin Mega-store, Tower Records inside Trump Tower and the Sharper Image, before meeting Jill, Ronnie's wife, in front of the Playboy Magazine offices (across the street from Trump Tower) and soon Ronnie came down to meet us all and lead the way to a Chinese restaurant nearby.
After a lovely dinner, we headed back to the subway station together, since we'd all be catching basically the same trains (though in two different directions)...we said our goodbyes and got on the subway train back to the Path station. As we exited the Path station, it was raining in Jersey...
...it proceeded to POUR pretty much until we neared 55 South and home...
As soon as I got out of work, I headed home, hopped in the shower, quickly caught up on reading some e-mail, and then headed over to Kris and Becky's house (arriving about fifteen minutes before the show started). A few minutes later, Jarvis got there. We chilled out on the back porch for a little bit and Becky arrived just a little after eight (she was coming home from college where she was having her "crits" in her art classes yesterday (and today)). We'd been taping the clip show, so none of us really worried about missing any of it. However, we all settled in for the actual final episode.
Becky and I sat together on the couch, holding hands through some of the tough stuff. I'm sure that most of you (even those of you in other countries) could hear me shout "What the FUCK?! You've GOT to be kidding me!" when Rachel left Ross at the airport. I felt physically ill at that moment. I couldn't believe they were ending the show without them being together...and then, there was that great answering machine message on Ross' machine and there she was standing next to him and they were kissing! FINALLY!
Just as the show was ending, Paul and R.J. arrived. They were both planning on watching the tape/TiVo later...we all went back out on the back screen porch and sat and talked. Becky and I reminisced about some of our favorite "Friends" moments (but also some of the weird inconsistencies: my biggest pet peeve is the inconsistancy created by some of the "Flashback" episodes...just ask me, I'll be happy to pontificate on what exactly the problem is!).
This morning, Paul and I watched the clip show portion of the show and now I'm about to get ready to head to work, get my check, go to the bank and finally pick up season six of the show up at "BJ's" (since it's slightly cheaper there than my employee discount)...I'm a little numb...I feel as if I've lost some of my real-life friends...
On top of losing "Friends", I just read on Leo Laporte's blog that Comcast has fired the ENTIRE staff of TechTV! What the FUCK? How am I going to get my daily fix of Patrick and Leo? What's going to become of Sarah Lane and Kevin Rose? What is Yoshi going to do now? Where are Adam and Morgan going to go? That's messed up!!!!