Birthdays, Bullets, and Books

Birthdays

balloonHappy one year anniversary to my blog! I started this blog last year because I a) had been meaning to start a blog and b) my BFF Nina had created a (fantastic) food blog and it was a show of solidarity.

Over the past year, I’ve uploaded 135 posts and I’m interested to see how much I can increase that number in the coming years.

To celebrate, I’ll be writing a post every day this week. Ambitious? Yes. But I already have ideas so it shouldn’t be too hard (or so I tell myself).

Bullets

To kick off the celebrations, here is my (inaugural) Theatre Tuesday post for Bullets Over Broadway. It’s a Woody Allen-penned show (adapted from his 1994 movie of the same name) that is currently playing at the St. James Theatre in NYC (until the end of the month).

I’m not actually a Woody Allen fan (in fact, I don’t think I’ve seen any of his movies…), but I had a reason for seeing this particular play: Zach Braff.

I’m a huge Scrubs fan. I constantly re-watch episodes (a few summers ago, when I was unemployed from May to mid-August, I re-watched almost the entire series), I have all the DVDs, and I quote it at any possible opportunity. I also consider Zach Braff to be my favourite actor (I mean, sure, I loooove Daniel Radcliffe, but do I love his acting or do I just love his face/the fact that he was Harry Flippin’ Potter?).

“In 1929, playwright David Shayne [Zach Braff] is finally getting his first play God of Our Fathers produced on Broadway. The producer, Julian Marx, has enlisted the wealthy gangster Nick Valenti to pay for the show. Valenti wants to have his dim-witted and untalented girlfriend, Olive Neal, star as one of the leads. Valenti has assigned his strong-armed gangster, Cheech, to watch over Olive. Surprisingly, Cheech comes up with great ideas for improving the play. However, aging diva Helen Sinclair, the real star of the show, romances the younger David, who already has a girlfriend, Ellen. Meanwhile, the leading man, Warner Purcell, has his eye on Olive.”

The play was funnier than I expected. From the minute Olive opens her mouth and lets out the most screeching, nasally New York accent you can imagine, you know you’re in for a hilarious two hours. Cheech was also fantastic and his tap-dancing mob buddies owned every scene they were in.

Of course, the highlight of the show for me was the minute Zach showed up on stage and I aggressively punched Ro, hissing “IT’S HIM!!” (because the day before he had tweeted that he was in France and I was terrified that he wouldn’t be back in time for Saturday’s show).

Now, it should be pretty obvious by now that I was biased going into the show, but I thought he did a wonderful job. His voice probably wasn’t the strongest, in comparison with some of the other actors, but it was still great and really fit the character.

We had seats on the balcony so it was a good vantage point; it was also interesting because we could sometimes see the set up for a new prop i.e. the person sitting in the house set, rolling up the telephone wire so that no one would trip, or the trapdoor in the floor opening before the scene was done. Despite that, there were still moments that can only be put down to “theatre magic”, my favourites being Cheech’s car (which he drove twice in order to shoot people off a pier), and the Pomeranian who we couldn’t figure out if it was a real dog or not (it seemed to move on its own like it was real, but there were a couple of scenes where it was unnaturally still).

When the show ended, one of my fondest wishes came true: I met Zach Braff. He comes out after every performance to mingle with fans – there are barriers in place so that he’s not crushed to death, but he signs Playbills and if you hand him a camera/phone, he will pause to take a selfie with you.

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After screaming (internally) “OMG, ZACH BRAFF JUST TOOK A SELFIE WITH ME”, I walked away like this:

dance

Books

It’s fitting that I went to New York for a writers’ conference and the only things I bought were books. I went to a session given by Barry Lyga, a YA author who I’ve been meaning to look up, so I ended up with two of his books (regrettably I missed his signing – who schedules a signing during the closing keynote speech?!). And then we went to Barnes and Nobel and I bought a bunch of Neil Gaiman books because they have beautiful covers (I think I can actually get the same editions here, but they were all conveniently in one place so I don’t have to comb every Chapters/Indigo stores in the city for a full set).

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