Sunday, January 9, 2011

Phantom of the Opera

A man comes through the theatre doors and adds to the already excited, anticipatory crowd just waiting to be let into the Magical Majestic Theatre. He explains the procedure of what needs to be done as we walk into the theatre, he pokes some fun and riles us up for a Night at the Opera. It was our family Christmas present this year to see a Broadway Musical and our choice was naturally Phantom of the Opera.

The obsession for my Dad wanting us the see this musical began when my brother Derek and I were just of kinder age. Our family vacations took place in Atlantic Beach, NC, where part of the vacation consisted of us going to a child's amusement park called Jungle Land. It was here that may Dad heard the Overture music, from Phantom, playing from a speaker behind a fake gorilla that gave him the desire to have us see the play.

Finally we are let into the theatre. A quick check of our bags, to be sure we're not going to pirate the musical, and we were brought to our seats. "Chips, Water, Wine," an usher speaks eloquently as the audience is seated. As we wait, I look around at the Majestic. The stage props are protected by flowing fabrics to keep the surprise of the play, but the theatre was maintained visible and stunning; I somehow forgot I was in NYC and could not wait to become part of this musical as I interacted in my imagination from my seat.

Women's jewels were the only thing left glittering as the lights dimmed, indicating the time had come; the show MUST begin. After the introductory scene at the auction, the stage curtains began to move away in harmony with the haunting overture music and began to enchant our souls, latching onto something deep inside and intwining me in the story line. I was hooked instantaneously. Words cannot describe the symphonic masterpiece of Andrew Lloyd Webber in the Phantom of the Opera.

Throughout the entire musical I felt more drawn into the performance with each breath of the operatic voices. It was hard not to feel as if you were part of the performance. But as the show much begin, the show also comes to an end. I would recommend this musical to all who appreciate beauty in song and dramatic performances. It was fabulous.

Our night ended with dinner together as a family and was an evening touched by magic.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Traditional Changes

Tradition. Most of us have these in our lives and often they are found around family, friends, birthdays and especially the Christmas Holidays. Folks, I appreciate Tradition because it offers comfort and sanity in our craziness of life. Having similarities to look forward to each year brings satisfaction for some, and breaking away from these things can be difficult.

A normal Christmas Eve spent with the Dobutovich's consists of dinner together, taking part in the candlelight Christmas Eve service and coming home to open stockings, something we've done as children to bascially curb our curiosity till the morning ribbon-ripping session, when our family opened gifts together, and eagerly anticipated my mom's side of the family coming over. A big lunch always ensued followed by more presents and dessert that left us lethargically stuffed and sleepy on our sofas. This year, though, rocked tradition.

Elderly people are carriers of tradition. With them come comfort and stories. They carry a deep love and bind together families as if they were the roots of a brilliant tree. The roots of my mother's side carry many pores of tradition, travel, experience and hardship in their lives. They now also carry a physical longing to be pain free and with their maker.

This year, my grandparents were too elderly to leave the house and were not able to come over on Christmas Day as they once always did. We didn't think they'd be here this year, so having them was a blessing counted. It's like reading an incredible book; when you near the end of the story you are filled with some saddness, but yet you know it's not over. That is how I feel with my grandparents. They are here with us, but some tradition must be changed. The back cover is slowly approaching. But along with a back cover comes the front cover of a new book.

(My Mom's Side of the family came over to sing Christmas Carols with my grandparents on Christmas Eve)

There is much to be read in our storybooks, new traditions to come and seasons filled with fresh air await. I'm not going to deny the saddness the closing of particular traditions leaves me with, but I have discovered the comfort in a crisp new page of life longing to be read aloud.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Not-So-Far-Away Backyard, NYC

A "Not So Far Away Backyard" is what I think of NYC. It's not just any city, it's The City. A city of lights, one that never sleeps and is layed out like a beautifully orchestrated maze of wonder and surprise. There is more to NYC than Times Square and your kichy coffee shop or Hardrock cafe. If you're one who lives to eat, as I am, you'll appreciate the city for it's fine cuisine at an array of prices. Eating for triple digits a plate is quite available, but so are the single and double digit prices, just as delectable.

In the Month of November, several of my dear friends from College and I went to NYC for an evening. The train is readily accessable from my house to get to NYC Penn Station, and for me, the moment I set foot on that train, it's as if a small adventure is always beginning. Because of the perks of working at a hotel, we got a discounted rate at Marriott in Times Square for the night. Floor 2030 provided nothing short of an incredible view of the city that never sleeps (we were thankful for blackout drapes). People bustling about, coming from all over the world just to enjoy The City.

Our plan was to enjoy each other's company to the fullest. Larinda is from Michigan, Alyssa from Penn and Kena and I from NJ. Not easy distances to live from dear friends, but I will say being apart makes these friendships deeper. Larinda and Kena spent the earlier part of the day waiting in line for Broadway Musical Tickets at the TKTS booth. Jersey boys was our #1 choice, but being too expensive we chose the Musical Rock of Ages. We ate a light dinner (mostly pita bread and salsa, bananas and apples -- a lot of it) then got dressed and ready to see our show. We sang, we cheered, we laughed till we teared all in our discounted orchestra seats. They served us drinks and snacks, amenities that just added to the night being special, or should I say strange. It was a fun, yet strange musical.

After the show Dan the Man met up with us at the Sugar Diner (or some kind of similar name). Originally we planned to go out for dinner, but once we sat down at the diner for coffee, we decided to browse the menu and avoid more traveling just for tasty bite. Nothing beats a Jersey Diner, but this just might have. You win this one NYC -- NYC 1:NJ 478,895,214,364,45.... ;). After a hearty sandwich and soup, we all went for a little dancing. This filled us with laughter and gave us some silly stories.

Come Saturday, after a night on the town, we slept in till 11 and met Dan for brunch at 1:00pm. Hardly brunch, but our stomachs and sleepy bodies thought nothing else would suffice. Brunch was enjoyed around the Upper West Side at a little cafe; we all ordered the same plate, poached eggs, because they just looked so great. Not one of us was dissapointed with this predicament. To end our escapade we toured the Upper West Side and filled each others hearts with time. I must say I am blessed with these friends.