Thursday, April 28, 2011
Traveling Thursdays: HIGH in NYC
When my friend Christy called and said her hubby was bidding on a package to see Kathleen Turner in a preview of the play "High" on Broadway AND meet her afterwards...well, I was powerless to say "no." The bidding ended 30 minutes after we hung up, and before I knew it, we had won. Reality set in when I realized we had to get flights AND a hotel...for approximately only two weeks away. The juggling began and after some expert maneuvering, we were on our way to NYC!
I love New York City; it has an energy that is sadly missing from Southern California. The city is alive with all of my favorite things: food, art, and architecture. The first photo here is from a 1986 trip to NYC; obviously, the skyline has sadly changed since that particular visit—and so has the color of my hair! Time marches on...
Turner has always been a fave of mine; I particularly admire her choices in roles. Rarely does she play it safe; oftentimes her movies (and especially her characters) are quirky. As she herself admits though, they are rarely victims. Basically, Kathleen Turner likes to portray women with cajones! The role of Sister Jamison Connelly (a recovering alcoholic addictions counselor) in “High” was no exception.
I’d never been to The Booth Theater, but what a fantastic venue!
Ah...to see your name in lights!
As for the play itself, both of us were extremely moved by it. The scenery was simple yet highly effective, and worked perfectly with the barebones cast. Besides Sister Jamison, there was Cody Randall (Evan Jonigkeit), a young gay hustler addicted to drugs who never got a break in life. Jonigkeit did an excellent job of capturing the essence of a twitchy addict who takes drugs to make life bearable and block out the pain of a tortured childhood.
Stephen Kunken portrayed Father Michael Delpapp, the priest who forces Sister Jamison to take Cody on as a case against her will.
As the play slowly unfolds, the secrets of each cast member become revealed. Thanks to the acting chops of all three, the play never becomes maudlin or melodramatic. Turner’s presence and commanding voice keep everything grounded; her timing is impeccable, allowing the audience to savor the dry sarcasm of her lines before doling out the next one.
Meeting her in person was fantastic; I was surprised that both of us were ushered upstairs as soon as the play was over. For such an intense role, she had very little time for decompression before welcoming us warmly into her dressing room. Her excitement about the play was genuine; previously to taking on this role, she had no idea what a national epidemic the addiction to crystal meth was. In previous dry runs in the midwest, audience reaction and feedback educated her and gave her hope that this play might help increase the awareness of the issue.
Sadly, the play received some mixed and negative reviews (although Turner herself was highly praised for her work), which shocked the crap out of me. The night I went, the house was packed and received a standing ovation. The Philadelphia Inquirer printed a very positive review of the show which mirrored my own feelings:
“‘High’ suggests no easy or comforting answers, which makes it a bold offering for Broadway. Its characters may suffer, but the searing play suffers from nothing—and includes a cast whose work is as indelible as ‘High’ itself.”
Please note that all shots of the play were not taken by me, but rather downloaded from a variety of websites. Believe it or not, I actually refrained from taking any shots during the play.
Here’s an interior shot of the theater itself:
And a view of the backstage workings of the show:
Afterwards (which was around 11:30pm), Christy and I went to dinner. Good luck finding a decent restaurant in Southern California after 9:30pm, let alone 11:30pm! We chose Carmine’s, a very cool Italian restaurant close to the theater.
The pasta with bolognese sauce hit the spot, and went perfectly with our after-play glow.
In Times Square, they were filming “New Year's Eve,” an upcoming Gary Marshall movie about..."New Year's Eve." None of the leads (DeNiro, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher) were there, but it was still fun to see the ball drop over and over and over again for 2012!
And we even got to see ourselves up on the big screen in Times Square. It shouldn't be surprising that I'm the one with the camera in front of my face!
More NYC stories to come in the future.
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