Seeing my Dream Show and Meeting My Idol!! – A long blog post about my short trip to NYC

Over Labor Day weekend a lot of college students go home or stay on campus to get some work done in advance. My Labor Day weekend was a little bit more active than that as I got to travel to New York City to see a show I had been dreaming of seeing for a long time!

On March 1st the new, fully immersive production of Sweeney Todd opened at The Barrow Street Theatre, which was fully converted into a pie shop, after a successful run in London. Soon after it was announced that the actors playing the roles of Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett would be leaving the show in April and would be replaced by Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello (my idol and all time favorite actress).

When I found out that this was happening I was so upset because classes didn’t end until May and right after that I was entering into a 3-month contract with a professional theatre that I was really excited about therefore there was no way to make it to the show before they were set to leave in August. But then, in June, it was announced that Ms. Carmello would be remaining in the show until, at least, the end of September and I decided that I was going to look into ways to get there as a crazy dream. I had some good money from my theatre job and was looking into trains, airfare, anything I could to maybe make this happen. I then said to a friend of mine “tell me this is crazy, there is no way I can do this right?” Instead of giving me the answer I was looking for she said “Why not? Let’s make this happen.

The next three days we planned our “spontaneous” trip and approached another friend about coming with us. We bought the tickets and the waiting game began. Every so often someone would comment on the fact that we were really doing this and we would all get really excited. As the three of us were theatre majors and all want to live in NYC anyway we were so excited to visit our future home and see a show that was so creative.

Then the day finally came. We loaded up into the car on a Thursday and started on the 20ish hour drive to New Jersey. We stopped on Thursday night in Illinois and slept over in New Jersey on Friday. We ended up crossing 7 states to get there a couple that we had never been in before. On Saturday we took a train into the city and the fun began!

As theatre nerd tourists we went to Times Square and saw all the marquees of shows we love, take pictures, and spend way to much money. We then walked the 40ish blocks down to the theatre that was in Greenwich Village right near Stonewall which was really cool to see.

When we entered the space we knew that this show was going to be special. We were sat at a table and a crew member came by to tell us to keep our stuff off the table because the actors would be using them as playing spaces and to put our phones away because the actors were so close they would be distracted by us on the phones. As soon as the show began I was mesmerized. It was a once in a lifetime experience being so close to great actors doing what I want to be doing. My idol was about a five feet away from me at her furthest distance away. My friend had also tweeted out to Ms. Carmello that we had driven so far, she replied, and then located us in the theater at a point where she could give us a wave. Throughout the show she played to us making eye contact and even, at one point when she was on our table looking down directly at us, giving us a little wink.

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 8.12.22 PM

A grand tradition in the theatre is waiting at the stage door to try to get some signatures from cast members as they leave. Because we saw a matinee we didn’t know how well this would work but we waited in the lobby to see who we could talk to. We ended up seeing all but two cast members. With the first two actors we talked about our trip and sometimes even their character motivations. After we finished with the second actor I felt the urge to turn away from where the other actors were coming from to look back at the door we took into the actual theatre space from the lobby. Exactly as I did that, my IDOL, the fantastic Carolee Carmello, stuck her head out of the door. I almost died. She started talking to one person outside of that door and when she finished with them came up to my group and said “20 hours right! I saw your tweet!” and I lost it.

I have dreamed of meeting Carolee Carmello since I was 12 years old and heard the OBC cast album for The Addams Family musical the first time and found out who she was and there I was standing with her in front of me, talking to me, caring about the fact that I came all this way just to see her. She was just as nice as I had hoped she would be. She signed our playbills with personalized messages and let us take pictures with her. I asked her first if I could get a picture and she said “well do we want to do a group selfie” and I said “I would like an individual as well if I could because…well…you’re kind of my idol” to which she laughed a little and said how sweet I was. She asked about our trip and said “You aren’t driving all they way back tonight are you!?! Where are you staying, I hope you are being safe.” She put up with all our shaking and fan-girling. When I went to take my picture with her I was trembling pretty bad and she patted my back and told me I was ok. When she was ready to move on she said “Ok I am going to hug you all now is that all right?” I, of course, said “OK!!!” As she gave us all hugs she said how grateful she was that we made the trip for her and how good that made her feel.

me and CAROLEE!!!

Before she left she asked us to keep tweeting her because she loved interacting with people and to tweet her for sure when we got home so she wouldn’t be worried about us. On the way home I made a Facebook post about getting the trip going and my friend Amy said to include that in my “we are home safe” tweet because it was worded so well that Ms. Carmello needed to read it. So when we were safe back in the dorms I made a tweet to send out and tag Carolee Carmello in and included our individual pic, our group pic, a pic of my playbill, and a screenshot of the Facebook post. I assumed that would be the end of it but then on Monday morning I awoke to a reply. Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 8.27.52 PM

I have always been told that I never want to meet my idols because they could never live up to the image you created of them. That was not at all the case with this interaction. Carolee Carmello was the most amazing person I have ever met and did not let down my image of her at all. When I got back to my dorm I looked back at the pictures of meeting her and the autographed playbill in my hand and I just began to cry. Happy tears, of course. Just 6 months ago seeing this show at all was never going to happen. 5 months ago, seeing my idol in my dream role was an even crazier dream. Meeting Carolee Carmello has been an outrageous dream since age 12.  But just two days ago all these dreams came true. It was the best day of my life.

 

News Comment 2

This week Hurricane Harvey is dominating the headlines. As devastating as the storm is that is understandable. Among all of the reporting on the effects of the storm we got one story that probably wouldn’t mean much on a normal day but in this circumstance it was very important. Melania Trump’s shoes. When boarding Air Force One to head to Texas to be briefed on devastation caused by the storm, the First Lady wore some very uncomfortable looking black stiletto heels. Manolo Blahniks to be exact. As Venessa Friedman of the New York Times reports when Mrs. Trump disembarked the plane in Texas she had changed into a less showy outfit wearing white sneakers. It’s reported that her communications director told her of the backlash her shoes had caused and suggested she change. This story is a prime example of how the role of a President and a First Lady has changed in this world where news stories can be accessed immediately. Also it shows, as Friedman says, that every detail is important and will be analyzed in this media savvy society. Twitter BLEW UP with the news of Melania Trump’s shoes on both sides of the issue. The left was, understandably, critical of the choice while the right went off on “fake news” even caring about the shoes in the first place. Personally I think the First Lady was incredibly stupid to wear such crazy heels to the sight of a natural disaster. As Friedman points out, the Trumps are in a position that is subject to extreme scrutiny on every little detail; therefore you should think of anything the public could make an issue. I can see the side of the issue that says “this isn’t newsworthy” and agree to an extent however I believe this is perfectly suited for the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times. They targeted the story to those who care about fashion, while still being aware that due to the subject of the piece anyone else could read this. The writer didn’t use too much fashion specific language so anyone could understand it. There is a hint of a bias against the First Family (which doesn’t bother me at all) but would make this considered a more opinion piece than a straight news story. That is not at all uncommon on a style based section of news because their main job is to critique clothing and tell people what their clothing says about them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/fashion/melania-trump-hurricane-harvey-heels-texas.html

Who is Dylan Ferguson?

Morningside is full of faces you have seen but may know nothing about. Among those faces may be Dylan Ferguson. Dylan is a sophomore mass communications major with a music minor from Anita, IA who loves that small town feel. “I love that I can walk to my classes and see many familiar faces on the way.” When deciding to come to Morningside he knew he wanted to take his passion for discovering new music and sharing that with others. This drove him to come in to college intending to major in music education. As Dylan began working toward that goal though, he realized that his passion may lose steam. “I knew that some teachers, after a while, get burnt out and the students suffer…. I didn’t want to do that to students since it happened to me.” This made him decide to take his passion for music to the mass communications department where he could share his findings over the radio station where he intends to start his own show soon. Aside from working in his department, Dylan is also involved in the choir, the Morningside Activities Council, and Sinfonia. He says that one of his favorite parts of Morningside is that he has these opportunities that he may not have found at a bigger school. Outside of school Dylan collects records and some thing you may not know about him is that he has a twin sister named Morgan.

News Comment 1

A story I have been following for some time is that of the missing talent agent from Manhattan, Mark Schlegel. He went missing on August 13th and had not been seen since. The news story I will be commenting on is one from Variety that reports that his body has been found. I think this is a very interesting story because no one has any idea what happened. All they know was he left his house reportedly without his keys, phone, or wallet and then he disappeared. This is newsworthy because this was an agent of some note in at least the Broadway community. That is how I first heard about the story was though the Broadway news sources I follow regularly and I found this story after seeing multiple tweets about his passing. The story is more aimed to those who are very invested in the world of entertainment past more than just celebrities. You really have to know about the business to have ever heard of this man. There is really no bias in this story. It is just reporting the facts. What I find interesting is that this story kind of flew under the radar with most news sources. I have mostly found it in New York and New Jersey specific newspapers. This seems like the kind of story that would have been picked up by a more national news outlet if only because it is so confusing but I assume the President is keeping the national news outlets more than busy. Overall this is still a developing story so there are obviously some key facts that people will want to know that are missing but those will come with time.

 

http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/mark-schlegel-dead-talent-agent-1202538676/

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