It has always been a part of my bucket list to see a Broadway and a West End show. I had always dreamed of being part of an ecstatic audience where you witness the amazing talents of theater actors like Lea Salonga singing and dancing live. Last year, I saw her perform at the Dubai Opera, and it was the best early-bird ticket I have ever bought. I also saw Mary Poppins when they came to city for a month, and I realized that it takes only one good experience to get bitten by the musical bug.
This year, I only stayed 10 days in New York City, but thanks to my family, I got to see three (3) shows; the third being highly important and a bit emotional for me. Here are some photos, and don't forget to check out the vlog!
The Carole King Musical
Stephen Sondheim Theatre on 43rd Street
The five-year old Tony and Grammy Award-winning Carole King musical was the one I didn't expect to see. My niece, Cherish, and I went to Manhattan to spend time with our neighbor from when we were growing up in Davao, Atty. Nicholas Caraquel, who's now an established and highly-successful US Immigration Lawyer in New York.
Kuya Nick surprised us with this Broadway show and I truly enjoyed it. Carole King was constantly on my mother's radio growing up and I could swear we had her "Tapestry" album on cassette. And I surprised myself because I could still recall the lyrics to many of the songs featured in the musical. Thank you, Kuya!
I fell in love with the concept of Anastasia on Broadway right away having watched the original movie of Meg Ryan and John Cusack in 1997. The original song writers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty who wrote the movie songs “Journey to the Past” and “Once Upon a December” (performed by Liz Callaway) also wrote the new music for the show.
I had been listening to the soundtrack, and I followed their official YouTube channel and Instagram page since they opened in March 2017. I had memorized a couple of new songs way before I knew I could go to NYC and actually watch the show. It was such a dream and it happened no earlier than my first full day in the city.
I couldn't care so much about the mixed reviews. Lea Salonga was right, Christy Altomare who played the title character was divine and she seemed so genuine playing Anya; and although I would've preferred to see Derek Klena and Ramin Karimloo, the original Dmitry and Gleb, Zach Adkins and Max Von Essen, on the other hand, were delightful. But my favorites were certainly John Bolton (Vlad) and Vicki Lewis (Countess Lily) -- they provided the comic relief and they personified the fun and glam of Paris in the roaring 20's.
The Lion King
Minskoff Theatre on 45th Street
Lion King is the Disney movie of my generation. It also came out just a little over two (2) years after my father passed away so if there were kids then who could relate to Simba, I was definitely one of them. I felt like crying even in the opening scene, the Circle of Life. I sort of expected it, but tears came during Rafiki's He Lives in You (her version of Mufasa's They Live in You).
There are still so many shows to watch with so little time. My list currently includes Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Aladdin, Frozen, Chicago, Beauty & the Beast, and of course the classics: Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, and Cats. I'm already looking forward to my next NYC trip, and hopefully soon, London for West End, too.
In the mean time, here's the vlog!
What's the no. 1 musical you'd like to see or have seen?