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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Two TV Shows and a Play

Today was an exciting day for us. We woke up early so we can make it to the Today show in the morning. We got there early so we walked around Rockefeller and took pictures. We looked over at the Today set and there were people falling in line already, so we started falling in line. We met a fella from Ohio who was back-packing with his family, and another guy who just moved to NY but goes to the Today show a lot. It was cold and the line was getting longer, but we didn't get bored waiting because we were all chatting the morning away.

When we got through the barricade, Al and I took more pics. When the Today show started, you can see Meredith Viera, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, and Anne Curry through the studio window. Their guest also included Newt Gingrich and the guy who wrote Tom Cruise controversial biography. At other moments, Al Roker, Matt Lauer, and Meredith Viera were waving hi to me :) Also, an NBC photographer took our pictures (to sell to us of course).

We left early from the Today show to try to get stand-by tickets for Conan O' Brien at 9 am but left the line too because it seems too long. Then an audience coordinator of a Fox morning show called Mike and Juliet were trying to get us to be part of their audience and offered free breakfast but we had to decline because the timing was bad - we had an NBC studio tour booked. We walked around since it was still early for our tour and took more pics of Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, 5th Ave (where we saw Harry Winston, Mikimoto stores, and others), Madison Ave, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the Trump Tower. We walked back to the NBC studios, and saw the same audience coordinator again still recruiting his audience, still trying to recruit us.
But our tour was starting, too bad.

The NBC studio tour was kewl. We saw the sets to Conan O'Brien, MSNBC, a short movie about the history of NBC, their control room, and my fave, the Saturday Night Live set. We had two young, cute, and funny tour guides, and there were only three of us in the tour so we got the VIP treatment, hehe. Funny how the other lady in the tour was also from the south bay area and we had the same employer (well I'm not there anymore though). After the tour, our excellent tour guide gave us standby tixs to Conan but we didn't make it because we had tix to the David Letterman show too around the same time. Sux.

We walked around Times Square again and got hungry. Since we were in a budget, we decided to eat a steak lunch at Tad's. After lunch, we walked towards the Ed Sullivan Theater to get out tix at 2 pm (we weren't stand-by, Al actually secured us tix online days before our trip and this guy called us to put on his list, but I had to answer a trivia question first which I did, yey). The we walked to Hello Deli to take pics with Rupert Jee (fella who is always on the show as one of David Letterman's people involved in his jokes because his store is right below the theater). It was funny how Rupert was capitalizing on his fame by selling t-shirts and mugs of himself and the store. Smart. Also, a lot of people were taking pictures with him too. We also bought hot chocolate from him too. Nice guy. To top it all off, it was snowing. This is the first time I've seen falling snow, ever.

Afterwards, Al hailed a cab so we can visit the Empire State Building. I've always dreamed to step foot in the building, and of course, there were a lot of tourists there. The walked a few blocks towards Herald Square and Avenue of the Americans to reach Greeley Square and Macy's. We also saw an Old Navy store and shopped for some clothes since there was a 70% sale (I got two cheap tops btw). We walked a few more blocks and reached Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks. My feet were getting tired, so Al hailed a cab again so we can make it to the taping of the Letterman show at 3:30 pm.

As soon as we entered Ed Sullivan theater, the staff was prepping us for the show, telling us what to do and what not to do. Some were funny so it kinda gave us a good mood. We got the 4th row, with a nice view of Letterman and the guests. The audience even got some camera time, and Al was waving at the cam. It was exciting to see familiar faces such as his band and Paul Schaffer, the stage manage Biff Henderson, and announcer Alan Kalter. But what was more exciting was to see the man himself. We talked to the audience for a couple of minutes and was really, really funny. I have a different perception of him now, I think he is very cool, smart and nice. It was an excellent show because Denzel Washington an Don Rickles was his guests (no band played though). Unfortunately, I couldn't take pics inside the set. But after the fun, fun show, Denzel was signing autographs and Al took a good pic of him (Denzel was actually talking to the paparazzi next to Al). Then we passed by the gift shop to check out David Letterman items, but we didn't buy any.

We walked down the street so we can make it to the Spring Awakening musical. We bought tix online, so we got it at the Eugene O'Neil Theater will call window. Broadway plays are quite pricey, but with this show, there is the option of sitting on the side which wasn't too bad (it'll seem like you're part of the play). We're glad to have the opportunity to watch it, since it is still the original cast (with a few that left already). We also got a copy of our Playbill to keep. The theater was nice. We got last row seats since it was cheaper, but since the theater wasn't full, they moved us forward the second row of the back mezzanine area. But the front mezzanine area wasn't full either, so Al asked if we can move there and they said it's okay! Wow, Al really hooked it up. We bought $67 seats, but we sat on $112 seats!

We decided to watch this because it won 8 2007 Tony Awards including Best Musical. I can see why, although I thought the story was common and predictable (then again it is a musical interpretation of an old German play written 100 years ago), and the set not too elaborate like other Broadway plays I've seen in the past. The music was awesome though, like indie/rock music on Broadway, thanks to Duncan Sheik who was in charge of the music and orchestration. But just as the original play was controversial, so are the scenes and the lyrics which I thought dared to be different from other Broadway plays. I like the choreography too. The play had much shock value, a first I've seen in a play ever in my life (just watch it and you'll know what I mean). Other memorable moments - the choreography was energetic, the music was really good, Jonathan Groff was a delight to watch, and this girl, Lauren Pritchard, has the most amazing voice! Good thing we saw her before she leave in Feb to work on her album. To sum it up, I thought the play rocked! Here's a video with Lauren Pritchard in it -

After the show, Al got two cast member's autograph, and a picture with Lilli Cooper, one of the original cast members. We then got out car from the garage right across the theater, drove around New York some more (site of the World Trade Center, Wall Street, and the Bull statue close by). We even made a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts since we were craving for a snack, went home and called it a day. In the hotel, we saw only half of the Letterman show on TV (we missed the first half). Here's another video of a Spring Awakening medley at the Tony Awards (the censored version) -


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