Saturday, February 21, 2015

Birthday on Broadway

My theater-loving teen is thrilled with our relative proximity to New York City and, more specifically, the Theater District on Broadway. In his fifteen years, he has seen four Broadway shows already ... "Wicked" for his thirteenth birthday, "Cinderella" and "Aladdin" as part of a Fairfax County school field trip to Broadway for his 8th grade theater class (including an acting class with one of the actors in Cinderella!), and now "Phantom of the Opera" for his fifteenth birthday. For his fourteenth birthday, we saw "Peter and the Star Catchers" at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Quite a resume of experiences for someone who can't yet even drive.

I am grateful that we live close enough to make the drive and back in one day. We want to take advantage of our location while we're here and our kids have definitely reaped the benefits of that.

This trip was a lot of fun, starting with a delicious Italian dinner at Orso, then enjoying the cultural phenomenon that is Phantom of the Opera. If you've never seen it live, do what you can to make that happen. It is just an amazing feeling ... the music, the story, the sets, the special effects ... it is just a fabulous production. Our ongoing family debate is whether to feel sorry for the Phantom or not ... I'll let you pick a side, but I definitely feel some compassion for him, my teen feels a little compassion for him, and my husband and preteen got nothing but contempt for the poor guy.

After the show, we stopped by "Cake Boss" Buddy's Manhattan bakery for a snack. It was a special treat to see one of Buddy's sisters working the counter -- Grace, I think? -- although my boys were horrified at the thought of asking her to take an actual picture with them. I relented and only got one fuzzy snapshot of her, but we enjoyed the snack and were happy to see one of the cast members of the show we love so much.

The final chapter of this extraordinary outing was the major winter storm that besieged us on our way home to Pennsylvania. I've never experienced a total "whiteout" before and would be happy to never do that again. Snow fell hard and fast, covering the roads and making lanes impossible to identify. At times, the snow was being blown in a horizontal line, directly at our windshield, which had the effect of a total onslaught attack on our car. We stopped several times and drove slowly when we did move and never made it above about 35 miles per hour. All. the. way. home. It was a long drive but we were safe and made it home in about six hours (close to double the time it took to get there). It was definitely a trip we'll never forget and one I am so thankful we were able to take.

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