Groundhog Day, in Previews

And Rewind.

Last weekend I won the digital lottery for the new Broadway musical, Groundhog Day, and J and I went. He liked most of what he’d seen of the movie and I wanted him to see Andy Karl onstage since we’d watched him on Law & Order semi-recently. This is a transfer from London and they know how to make a pretty good musical, so my expectations were decent.

The music is catchy and the lyrics are feisty in a way that only Tim Minchin can be and I enjoyed the first 15 minutes. Then the day restarted and I suddenly, “Oh my god, is this the entire musical? How does it ever proceed forward from this one day? What have I gotten myself in to?!”

To be clear: I’ve never seen the movie before and I only knew vaguely what the premise was. This was my fault completely.

BUT. They do a fantastic job of rewinding the day each time and it doesn’t feel monotonous at all. The set worked perfectly (no first preview difficulties luckily) and it really keeps the show moving along. Without those turntables, the show would be 4 hours long. A couple of the songs get dark a darkly comedic way, and a couple of the songs could be completely cut (the first song of the second act, for starters).

Andy Karl plays this role perfectly. We feel his angst at his situation which eventually turns to morbid joy, which turns out to be hilarious. Barrett Doss, his costar, is lovely, too. I think Raymond Lee, as one of the town yokles at the bar, was the only other cast member to really stand out. He’s hilarious.

It was about 2 hours and 45 minutes long, which is long, but it never dragged. Like I said, they do a really good job at keeping the pace pretty consistent. We both walked out of the theatre having really enjoyed ourselves.

It was definitely not a wasted night at the theatre and I wouldn’t have been too sad to have been forced to relive it at least one more time.

Significant Other

Despite my better judgment, I went to see Significant Other, the new play by Joshua Harmon that recently transferred to Broadway from Roundabout, this past Sunday with my significant other, my best guy friend, and his significant other. I saw this shortly after I met J in 2015 while it was off-Broadway and it hit me hard in the emotions. I walked out of the Laura Pels thinking Gideon’s character surely killed himself after the lights went down. And to be honest, I kind of wanted to kill myself after the lights went down on Sunday afternoon, regardless of my relationship status. My friends concurred.

I want to start by saying that Gideon Glick is brilliant as the protagonist Jordan, a late twenty-somethings city-dweller. He gives a flawless performance of an extremely flawed character. He has genius comedic timing and I was exhausted watching him exert himself onstage for two and a half hours(ish). I would watch this guy read the phone book because he could make it entertaining. He has monologues that are pages long but he makes it look effortless.

Sas Goldman, who plays the first bride of the night Kiki, reminded me in a weird way of Tracee Chimo in Bachelorette. But in a totally good, weird way. Lindsay Mendez plays a wonderful best friend to Jordan, Laura, who gets caught up in wedding madness when she finally gets engaged. She was able to be strong even when hurt by Jordan’s page and a half tirade on the evening of her bachelorette party. And, last but not least, Rebecca Naomi Jones is the hilariously dark Vanessa who gives no fucks about anything until the day of her wedding.

The men in this show are not at all the focus. Hence why two actors play all six male characters (in addition to Jordan). John Behlman and Luke Smith both do a lovely job playing the various boyfriends and husbands and coworkers of the four main characters.

Because of its incredibly depressing tone, and it’s suicide-inducing ending, I’m not sure it’ll find it’s audience on Broadway, but I know that a lot (most) people could probably relate to Jordan’s feeling of being alone and feeling hopeless. There are lots of parts to make you laugh, and many to also make you feel all the feels. Like any good play should.

Week 1: Done

I can’t believe week 1 of teacher training is over. I was so nervous the night before it started that I barely got any sleep on Sunday and apparently my teacher, Chrissy, didn’t either. I’m sure it was the same for a lot of people. We all sat in a circle and nervously surveyed who else was in the class. By day 4, when we sat in a circle in the studio at the end of the day, Chrissy said something like, “Can you believe how well we’ve all gotten to know each other in just four days?” And it’s true. We really had.

There were pose myths debunked. Super long asanas flowed through. And we learned the secret formula for YogaWorks sequencing. Personally, my mind was blown to find out that our hips are not squared in Trikonasa or Ardha Chandrasana. I was also blown away to find out that there’s a specific method to the madness of YogaWorks’ sequences. From here on out, I’m pretty much going to be keeping an eye on my teacher’s sequences to see if they break any of the rules. I’m annoying like that. We’ve had a ton of anatomy lessons, too. I’m going to really have to work hard to became even the tiniest bit memorized with some of the names.

We’re reading the yoga sutras by Patanjali and they’re so interesting and relevant even in modern times. 

The group of men and women (okay, there are only two men, but that’s okay!) are so incredibly diverse, from all parts of the world, and I’m so happy to be getting to know all of them. 

By Day 4, I was incredibly sore. And after the long asana yesterday, I was even more sore, in addition to exhausted. Today I woke up at the incredibly late hour of 9am and took a bath while doing some anatomy reading and then I stretched and flowed a little. 

And now it’s snowing, so I’m watching the snow out my window while J reads and Playbill sleeps. Happy Saturday!

This Week’s Adoptable Cuties 

 In addition to volunteering at the Petco on 100th, I’ve also been volunteering with another organization at the Petco on 92nd and Broadway. They’ll usually have 3-4 cats, max, but this week they only have two. 

Hillary (tabby in the first photo) was feisty. She had no desire to be pet or played with but she loved to stick her paw through the holes in the plexiglass to try to swipe at my hand. 

 Tiramisu, the beautiful black cat on the right, was the sweetest and most affectionate cat I’ve ever met. She was adopted and then returned once her elderly owner became ill and couldn’t manage to take care of her properly anymore. Super sad. But she’s gorgeous, so I know she’ll get scooped up soon. (Luckily, for me, she hates other cats, so I can’t be tempted to adopt her!)  

Go to their Saturday event and meet these awesome felines! They’ll be at the Petco on 92nd and Broadway.

Guster is officially old enough to rent a car.

When I’d purchased my solo ticket to Guster’s annual Thanksgiving tour stop at the Beacon Theatre, I’d completely forgotten that it was their 25th anniversary until I showed up to the theatre. When I arrived and saw the displays of all their old tour tshirts, drum sticks, backstage passes, etc. It was super neat. I sat down in my seat and waited for the show to begin, after the opener, The Pisapia Love-In, who was pretty fun, but let’s be honest, we were there to see Guster. The lead singer did come back out during Guster’s set to sing a few songs with them which was fun (1st photo)I sat down just to promptly stand back up the moment they came out. Everyone in the Beacon was excited to be there and so were they. Guster has three main groups of fans: families who have been fans for forever, bros, and nerds. I had a family of four sitting in front of me and their youngest daughter slept through the entire thing. Amazing. 

Ryan announced at the beginning that they were going to play all night and play the longest concert they ever played, and we all cheered, but we knew there were rules. In the end, they ended up playing for about 2.5 hours. A generous concert, indeed! They even brought up one of their oldest fans (in the fourth photo) who has seen them hundreds of times and always makes a point to be super honest and critical about how their performance was. 

They also brought out a choir from Long Island to sing a few songs with them. “We thought it might be fun to have a choir and then my manager goes, ‘I know this choir on Long Island but their audience is mainly the 60-70 year olds,’ and I go ‘Look no further! That is exactly what we’re going for!’” But the choir added a fun element to Empire State and Jesus on the Radio

The entire setlist (here) was a good time and I had a great time rockin’ out for two and a half hours. I hope they stick together long enough to celebrate their 50th. I will definitely be there. 

Baby’s Second Vet Trip

A week or so ago, Playbill was due for her routine rabies vaccine and a general check up. She’s a middle-aged cat (9!) so it’s important to make sure she’s healthy as a horse. And I’m a paranoid cat mom, so it’s better to have a doctor tell me she’s all healthy rather than someone else. J had bought her the BMW of cat carriers, a soft one, so it was a bit easier to get her in this time and it had a zippered part on one side so he could pet her while we were in the cab on the way to the vet.

She meowed the entire way there but not nearly as painfully as last time. She wanted nothing to do with the catnip and treats they gave her, as usual, but she was a pretty good patient. They said she looks fantastic for a 9 year old cat and is very healthy. They added that she’s pretty well behaved for a cat that was adopted into a new home only 8 months prior. That makes me think that she still has personality traits that I have yet to see, which is kind of fun to consider. 

Playbill was a bit tired for the next couple of days, which is normal after shots, but she’s back to herself now, racing around the apartment like she has to still hunt down dinner. 

I really just wanted an excuse to post these photos, though. Because she is the cutest. She hopped up onto the windowsill in between different doctors and nurses examining her. Always looking for the highest place to perch. Typical cat.  

Westerplatte (Gdansk, Poland)

On one of my last days in Poland, while I was in Gdansk, I got on public transport and after traveling for 45 minutes in the wrong direction, I hopped off, got a kebab, and caught the first cab I saw back in the other direction to Westerplatte, a peninsula where the German’s fired the first shots of World War II and invaded Poland. 

People often make fun of Poland because of how easily they surrendered to Germany at the beginning of WWII. But there are reasons why they fell so quickly. They were a young country, having just received a place back on the map after WWI. They lost about 6 months of militarization because they joined the alliance with France and England and when they asked if they should start to mobilize, England said, “Don’t worry about this Hitler person. We’re going to sit down and have a civilized talk with him.” And third: when Germany did attack, the Allies did nothing. So, yes, they lost their freedom rather easily.

Anyways. All that’s left at Westerplatte are destroyed bunkers and a monument dedicated to everyone who died fighting there. The monument is pretty cool looking, and it’s surrounded by flags from many different countries. The white words at the end of the flags (photo 3) say “Never Again War,” in Polish (so I was told). 

It was a cold day when I went and there was barely anyone else there when I arrived. It was quiet and eerie. I took in the beautiful and freezing views of the Baltic Sea (photo 2) before making my way back to the bus stop to head back to the Old Town. 

Despite getting lost and it taking forever to get there, I’m glad I went to visit such a historical and haunting piece of the world. 

The Badass Polish Street Cats of Gdansk

Before I arrived in Gdansk, Poland, I still hadn’t seen a single cat on the street. There were lots of dogs, but not cats, but little did I know what a street cat population Gdansk had. The first one I saw during my first morning in Gdansk while exploring the Old Town and it looked wet and scared and a bit muddied. I hoped that it had a home to return to because it ran way when I tried to approach it.

Over the course of the next couple of days, I saw at least 8 other cats in the Old Town. And on my walk back from the Solidarity Center in the northern part of the city, I found a longer-haired version of Playbill. Needless to say, I was excited. I purchased cat treats at one of their local drug stores and gave them treats when they’d come near.

The little tabby cat (first photo) was the most adorable and very friendly. He was wearing a collar though so he was just hanging out on the Long Street (actual name!) before heading home. I gave him treats anyways. And on my last morning, I gave the rest of the treats to two cats who were hiding from the rain underneath a car (fourth photo). 

Apparently it’s not illegal to feed stray cats so you’d often see little empty cat food trays on the top of the stairs (like the stairs in the final photo). 

While exploring, I met a woman who was feeding a few of the street cats near her apartment and she gave me a flyer for an organization named KOTangens (’kot’ means cat in Polish) in Gdansk that’s trying to control the feral cat population (basically their version of our TNR programs). You can find them on Facebook here (if there happens to be any Polish people from Gdansk reading!).

Needless to say, I loved interacting with some of the streetcats in Gdansk. Definitely an unexpected surprise of my trip to Poland.