Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"This is NOT a safe place to fail..."

Alright guys. It's been a little while! Time to catch you all up on the adventures I've been having the past couple days since my last blog.

Saturday: Cara, Nicole, and I wandered around the city and the village just looking at the incredible architecture and enjoying the neighborhood. We got asked for directions THREE times. I guess we look pretty legit! After, we wound up in a bookstore called The Strand, which sells a bunch of plays and books really cheap, so I bought a couple hoping to find a directing scene for the fall. We ate at a really cool place called Spice for lunch, which was a GREAT Thai place. But that doesn't trump dinner. WE MET UP WITH VICTORIA TEAGUE! Woooooo. It was really nice to finally see a face a recognized and just hug her. Yeah. I see what that philosopher was saying about the need for human touch! Anyway, I met Bethany whom Victoria has been telling me about for a little while, and I'm hoping to get to know her better soon. We all met up at this place called Empanada Mamma's, which was HOPPING. I'm pretty sure I was sitting on the purse of the girl at the table directly next to us. Oh well. It was probably from Canal St. anyway. #notreallybrand After dinner, I SAW MY FIRST BROADWAY SHOW, Nice Work If You Can Get It with Matthew Broderick, Kelli O'Hara, and Judy Kaye in great seats at a student rush price. Blew my mind. And then we went to stage door and got their autographs. Yes, I met Ferris Bueller in person. My Saturday night beats yours. What's better, the actress who won the Tony for best featured actress in a musical, Judy Kaye, was kind enough to talk to us for a good couple of minutes and said she had heard of CAP21. People are so cool here. Other highlights include Times Square at both day and night....so many lights....and my first NYC Subway Ride. To end the night, the three of us sat in Times Square eating frozen yogurt and vowed that in 6 weeks we would do the same thing and see how much better we are because of CAP. I can't wait.

Sunday: I'm starting to understand the streets and directions of this city, even if the ALICO Building or the mountains aren't there to help me. I've even gotten pretty confident with the Subway! Just don't trust the 6., and take the N, Q, or R. I get it. I had my first Book of Mormon lottery experience, and the guy was HILARIOUS. Most entertaining wait for tickets that I didn't get in my life. However, I did get aisle orchestra seats for Chicago at a student rush price. Score. Ensemble was phenomenal, but the female stars were only alright. This show though....let's just say I'm going to be working out more often. And I'm already working out as much as possible...but I'll find a way. So, Cara and I stopped by Crumbs cupcakes...to grieve. And the Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake that I had was worth every bite....at the moment. Further in the NY news, Grace made it safely! Finally, another friendly face I can call and ask to grab dinner of sit in a coffee shop or something! WOOO. The last part of the night was kind of scary, because I decided that for the placement auditions the following day, I would use a monologue that I found from one of the plays I bought at The Strand. I'll have to memorize it and figure out how i want to act it, but it's SO GOOD. I'll have to risk it.

Monday: PLACEMENT DAY. Up early and with a healthy breakfast, it's pouring outside. Well that should be a good sign. We get to CAP about an hour early and start to meet people. There's a short orientation, where the founder of CAP21 spoke to us. He said something really interesting, talking about how fast the program goes. Most people have "lightbulb moments" around the 4th or 5th week, and that is the week of tears and joy. Then he said, "This is NOT a safe place to fail. This is a safe place to succeed. You are going to be put through all kinds of impossible challenges in this program, and you are going to fail, but the point is that here, you get back up. You go harder. You succeed." He was hilarious, but really made me hungry to be the best performer I can be. I'm fired up, let's go. Then we get right into dance placement. Without exaggeration, we danced around 4 hours. Are you kidding? Yeah, this program better keep me in shape. I learned two things with the dance audition. I can kick my legs higher than I thought and I'm not alone when I say that ballet is not my strongest suit, THANKFULLY. 30 minutes later I auditioned my monologue and two songs for a couple of faculty members, which went REALLY well. Taking the risk of that monologue was worth it. Also, there are so many names. THE AUSTRALIANS ARE SO COOL. I want to be them a little bit. If anything, I really want to be friends with them. But not only them, EVERYONE seems to be pretty incredible. So many talented people I'm trying to remember and learn from. They're strangers right now, but once class starts this is going to get interesting! I went, though, to the Drama Book Store to meet someone who is not a stranger to me. Grace Riehl! We grabbed a bite to eat, I showed her my place, and we hung out and caught up. It sure is nice knowing people in a city full of strangers. CAP people won't be strangers for long, but there are alot of names to remember. But you know me, I'm determined to have everyone's name down ASAP. Challenge accepted.

Tuesday: First day of class! I woke up early to print of some necessary things for CAP, but got there and got my class assignments. Is this a mistake? Dance levels are 1-4, and they put me in Ballet and Jazz 2 and Tap 3. This should be interesting. Meredith would be so proud. The rest of my classes are with the same group of about 15 people, which I really like. I'll get to know them well. Now for the name game, and the embarrassment of when you say "...you're Pauline right?" when in reality her name is Phoebe. Rough. It's okay. I'll get it, and there's 50 people in this program...so it'll come. I had Tap, Vocal Technique, Vocal Performance, and Acting today. PHEW. 10-6 was incredible. I loved every minute of it. For the first time, I wasn't nervous to sing in an intimate setting in front of complete strangers. Maybe I'm already improving! Let me just say though, I am in the presence of some REALLY talented people. Holy waffles Batman. Everyone is bringing it, and I'm going to learn so much, even by watching other people. Many different voice types, many different dance levels, many different people. One goal though, to be the best performers we can be. And I'm hungry for it. I already have assignments to learn two songs i've never heard of and keep a journal. Does this count? I think I'm taking in enough to NOT forget a single thing. As for now, I'm off for my first NYC run! I've seen too many people doing it on the streets to resist.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"My name is Shelita. Welcome to New York."

This morning I woke up in my own bed on the second floor of my house, and now I am lying on an extra long twin on the 17th floor of a hotel that was functioning in the 1920's listening to the sporadic honks of passers-by. This morning I checking two suitcases onto a 4 hour flight, and now I just finished unpacking them. This morning I was in Colorado, NOW I am in New York City, and I'm here to stay! (For 6 weeks that is).

What an incredibly unexpected day it has been! Now I understand the TRUE definition of a day that is a roller coaster ride. Up at 5:45AM to double....lets be honest....quadruple check that I have packed everything and add a couple of things I didn't think of the night before around 1AM. Then it's off to the airport, driven there by my wonderful little sister Kelly. I miss her so much! I realized that spending time with her these past couple weeks has been wonderful because I don't get that at Baylor. If you're reading this, I LOVE YOU LIL SIS! Be safe back home! Anyway, I get on the plane and I had a ROW TO MYSELF. So I'm sitting there anxiously waiting as person after person comes close to my row and sits around me, but not in my row. WIN! Then....some of the last people to board the plane are a couple, both with some sort of illness that causes them to cough unexpectedly and uncontrollably in my direction, which as you might have guess was exactly what I wanted sitting next to me. *Pass the hand sanitizer please* I cannot afford to get sick this summer. Not even close. After the 4 hour flight, we are flying over NYC while a HUGE rainstorm was giving the Big Apple some moisturizing appreciation. Clouds and precipitation kept clogging my view of the urban jungle, but it's alright, it was like the Big Man Upstairs wanted to slowly reveal this giant machine of a city bit-by-bit to me, and I was okay with that. More suspense that way. A quick taxi ride (the second in my life) got Cara and I to our living arrangements for the summer! We dropped our things in our rooms and explored a little bit while we realized that the humidity and heat were a combination we weren't exactly used to in Colorado...to put it lightly anyway. Let me just say right now, I HAVE THE MOST STEREOTYPICALLY WONDERFUL VIEW OUT OF ONE OF MY WINDOWS. Pictures to come, but I'm looking a car-filled street lined with lights and huge buildings and small sidewalk cafes and all sorts of amazing things. Cara and I decide that we need to go to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, so we set out on our first Yankee adventure. After 8 and a half wrong turns, asking for directions twice, and a 45 minute walk in the rain...the coolest thing happened. It was like a scene out of a movie. I see BB&B in the distance with it's cool building, the rain stops, and as we cross the next avenue to go into the long-awaited store, I look down the avenue and the sun is setting perfectly on the horizon of the street lined with tons of architecturally beautiful and old buildings. I cannot even begin to describe the piercing colors that filled the sky of that boulevard. I was too busy taking all of that in to take a picture, but i think the memory of that moment will suffice. We got all we needed at BB&B and hoofed it back to our place. Once my bed was made, the feelings of being overwhelmed and nervous melted like butter and all that was left was the relief and excitement that his is my new home for 6 weeks. Here we go. Cara and I are starving by now (around 8:50PM) because the last thing I ate was in a coffee shop Denver International Airport around 8:30 this morning. NOMNOMNOM. We set out, with no direction or preference of food, and explored. We found this awesome, small cafe called Schnippers where I got a mouthwatering tuna melt. And the lemonade was so fresh. We earned that celebratory dinner with this incredible day!

FINALLY, we needed to get some essential items for the night, like toothpaste and such, so we went looking for a grocery/drug store type deal. We found a Walgreens with the most interesting hand-baskets ever. If you can picture the handle on a rolley backpack...this Walgreens had hand baskets with those on them, but on a more epic scale. It was highly entertaining. More distracting than productive, really, because we realized that they had nothing we really needed. So we went out and started asking people where we could go, and the baristas at Starbucks seemed to be them msot helpful and friendly, directing us to a CVS around the corner. Cara and I get everything we need and go to check out. Here, my friends, on this 22nd of June, is where I make my first friend-who-is-a-stranger in New York City. This shorter, sassy woman who seems organized and kind of all business but still friendly begins her duty as a cashier. We all get talking and learn she is not only a CVS worker (I'm sure she was manager), but she is also a cop and a minister. WHAT?! We tell her it's our first day in the city and we just moved here for the summer. She FREAKS out, I'm pretty sure she thought we were married or close to it, and asks us about everything. At the end, we don't have a CVS card, but she says, "You know, I like you guys and I'll do you a favor because it's your first day here." and gave us the discount anyway, which ended up saving me a decent amount of money. PEOPLE HERE ARE AWESOME! The last thing she says to us in the most memorable, cool tone as she hands us our bags was, "My name is Shelita. Welcome to New York." It doesn't sound like much, but it was the coolest thing.

Y'all. I'm here. LET'S DO THIS.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Start Spreadin' the News..."

Tomorrow is the big day. For the first time, I'll be stepping foot in New York and and moving into an 8 ft. x 10 ft. room on the 17th floor of a residence hall in the village. Luckily, I have my own room and bathroom because I'll be meeting enough "interesting" people anywhere I turn in New York. New York City...the sound of it still makes me think of some foreign country. I have all of the stereotyped images in my head: steam rising from the streets, yellow cabs crammed in every lane and honking because they can, too many tourists (like me i guess) going to see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, and so on. I know I may see some or all of those things, but I'm expecting the unexpected. Anything could happen, and that's probably the biggest reason why this HUGE 7 week adventure is one of the most thrilling I've had in a while.

For those of you who don't know, I'm going to be participating in a 6 week musical theatre conservatory summer progam called CAP21. I have class from 10AM-6PM every day, with 2-3 hours of dance a day #sicem! (Can you even use hashtags in a blog? If not, I'll just break that rule when I feel appropriate.) The only thing is that the dance wear brings a whole new meaning to the word personal space...if you know what I mean. If you don't...consider yourself lucky. There are about 40 people in the program from what I can tell, and apparently this year I am on the younger side of the spectrum. I'll be blogging about anything I think is noteworthy from my days at CAP, whether it's something I learn in class, something I see in a show, or some crazy experience I have. Expect some cheesy lines to fall into my posts, because if you know me...you know I'm pretty good at the cheese factor. I mean...just look at the title of this post. ORIGINAL...i know. Get excited.

Back to tomorrow, I'll take a 4 hour flight tomorrow morning to LaGuardia with a girl named Cara Lippitt, another person from Colorado (she goes to DU) who will be doing CAP with me! Phew! We met last week for lunch and we hit it off really well. If this is any indicator of things to come, I'm even more excited. Then it's just a cab ride to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and to my new room and I'll be set! But I can't get ahead of myself. I'm packed and checked into my flight. The annoying thing? Now I have very little to wear until tomorrow. You know that awkward moment before a long trip, right? Anyway, I think I'll survive. Here's to a last night in Colorado until August!