Sunday, August 5, 2012

"Hey! Are You Guys Fighting Over There? Do You Want To Talk About It?"

Did I not say I would have an EPIC 168 hours or so? It's gone by faster than Michael Phelps can swim the 400m individual medley. And he may have 22 Olympic medals...but I have countless memories, and I'd rather have these good times over gold medals....I think. I had so much going on that I had ZERO opportunity to write about it, which I think is a good thing! Although I was going non-stop and there were times of exhaustion, I didn't let anything stop me! Not even a trip to Urgent Care! Don't panic. I'm fine. And it actually made for an interesting week!

 Saturday: Even though I was out later last night than I would like to admit, I force myself out of bed so that I can go with James to wait in line for Bring It On: The Musical. I'm not going to see it, but it's always better to have someone to wait with in line rather than sitting there alone while you are waiting for the box office to open. We meet in Union Square and laugh about how ridiculous it is that we are up this early and how little sleep we got last night, but I'm going to continue with the mentality that I can sleep on August 5th. The amazing things that are going to happen this week, most of which I don't even know about yet, are going to make that exhaustion worth it. We get to the theatre for BIO about an hour and a half before the box office opens, and we take turns running to Starbucks for a Saturday morning pick-me-up-or-i'm-going-to-fall-over quick breakfast. We get him tickets to Bring It On and we venture over a couple of city blocks to 48th street so that I can grab a student rush ticket for Clybourne Park, this year's winner of the Tony award for Best Straight Play. I get a GREAT seat and James and I realize that we are awake enough to go and do some fun things and look around the streets today! James' girlfriend Pia asked him to get a couple of things at Abercrombie and Fitch, so we walk about 12 blocks to get there to wake us up a bit and enjoy the nice day out. I had no idea that it was possible to have a line to get into a clothing store. I also had no idea that this A&F was the homebase of the company! 5 floors of very attractive employees and air that had to be nearly 80% A&F cologne. That smell must be blasted through the air vents or something. It's insanity. We grab Pia's stuff and we head back to Time's Square, but on the way we wander through a booming street market. The authentic gyro I had for lunch was delicious and an adventure to eat. They give you a fork, but you're not sure if you're supposed to eat it like you are eating a taco or eat it like you are eating a salad. It's confusing, but nevertheless DELICIOUS. After our appetites are satisfied, we drop into Fossil for some new watches, which we have been talking about getting for a couple of weeks now. I find an incredible one! It has a whitish/creme face, roman numerals, a chronograph, and styled brown leather band. It just has a classy, mature feel to it and I'm already in love with it. But I can't drool over it too long because I have a rehearsal back at CAP with Megan for our scene in Musical Scene Study. Yes, to play hard, you must work hard and EARN that leisure time so Megan and I are having a Saturday rehearsal. It's nearly 2 hours, but the breakthroughs we have with this intense and beautiful piece of theatre is something I'm really proud of. Megan is so talented and I'm really happy I'm able to work with her. We've made "All the Wasted Time" really special! It's coming along! I have a good chunk of afternoon left to do whatever I want because the show tonight has an 8 o'clock curtain and I think it's best to go take some quiet time to relax back at my place in the George Washington Residence so that I don't fall asleep in the show! Trust me, that's almost happened to me before and as a performer myself, i know that is NOT good theatre etiquette. I also paid to see this show which must be pretty dang good if it won the Tony, so I want to really enjoy it. On my way up to the 17th floor, my left contact starts getting fussy. Whether it's because of my lack of sleep I'm not sure, but I'm glad that I'm back at my place so that I can fix it. I go to dinner with James at a diner off of 6th avenue, and then we split to each go to different shows. Clybourne Park is PHENOMENAL. I'm not sure I fully understand some of the ending of Act 2, but golly was there some TALENT up on that stage. Phenomenal acting. Incredible piece of theatre. I'm so glad that I got a ticket for this! I'd recommend it to anyone! On a different note, James and I have plans to wake up around 4:30AM tomorrow morning to go to wait for Into the Woods tickets at Shakespeare in the Park hosted by the Public Theatre. This may sound ridiculous, but tickets are free (first come, first serve) and it's one of the most popular shows in NYC right now. It's opening week and it has an ALL STAR cast including Amy Adams, Donna Murphy, and many more! We have a whole group that's prepared to get up at the crack of dawn so it's going to be fun playing games and sleeping on each other in Central Park. As I ride the subway home, however, my left eye is really starting to give me some trouble. It's swelling a little bit and getting pretty red. I hope it's just my contact, because I don't need this right now! I call Mom and Dad just to be safe because you only get ONE pair of eyes, and of course, Mom is freaking out more than I am. Gotta love her for that because she cares so much! It's looking like no Into the Woods for me as of right now. That's a really hard decision to make, but if I get enough sleep maybe this will clear up. I need to have good health so that I can go full-steam without anything holding me back, so I decide to sleep in and figure out what happens with this pesky eye in the morning! GoodnEYEght.

Sunday: My eye looks like it's in the same state is was last night, but there's no more weird excretions so there is an improvement! I know, that sounds gross. But I'M the one who has to live with it! And you know, the internet is a wonderful thing because not only can you look up your symptoms and see what you have, but you can also freak yourself out by thinking it's possible that you have some crazy flesh-eating, protein-deteriorating, permanent eye disease. But there's no reason to jump to conclusions...yet. I call Dad to get the OK to go to an Urgent Care or to the ER just so I can get this sorted out and so I can get on with my day. But you know, finding the right place to go made me really laugh. Do you know how many medical facilities there are in NYC that claim to be "The Best One For You!"? Almost as many hot dog stands and Starbucks locations. I finally decide on the one that is a block away from me, CityMD Urgent Care. What's really nice is when I get there, it's EMPTY and the people are really friendly. As I had suspected and self-diagnosed myself, the doc tells me I have a really mild case of pink eye. Not a problem! There are much worse things that it could have been! Trust me, I researched them. I need a meal that'll make me feel good, so I go to Schnippers and get a Tuna Melt, which was a GREAT decision. On top of an incredible lunch, one of my friends waiting in line shoots me a text message. "Hey Kevin! I hope you're eye is feeling better. You're sitting in Section III."...........WHAT?! Someone was able to get me a TICKET for Into the Woods tonight! AHHHHHHHHHH. My friends are the best! I already felt bad because I was one of the people who had kinda set things up with people waiting in line and then I ended up not being able to go, even though I badly wanted to, but my friends were able to snag me a seat! That's AWESOME. While I sit on Cloud 9 in room 1728, I finish some homework that I have to have done because I know the show will go late tonight. Soon enough though, Kelan, James, Steven, and I meet up at Union Square so that we can go to dinner as a group at Ellen's Stardust Diner in Times Square. Yes, this is the restaurant known for its singing waiters and waitresses. It's cheesy, but I'm glad we went! We enjoyed ourselves. Off to Central Park we go and we wander around the place with actual trees in the urban jungle that is New York City. I keeping falling in love with the character of this place, especially the nooks and crannies like the pond that the 4 of us found. This nice little place is a time for us to just sit and enjoy the warm evening in the shade of some giant trees close to the edge of the water. There's a slight breeze in the air, there are only a couple of people around this little hideaway of a pond, and the sun is just going down. Perfectly calm. A nice way to get ready for Into the Woods! Which was PHENOMENAL. Amy Adams was good, Donna Murphy was PERFECT, and the Public's take on this show was nothing short of brilliant. From the choreographed blocking to the interesting costumes and setting, I feel SO LUCKY that I was able to see this show because it has a short run and it's nearly impossible to get tickets. As we discuss the show, we must go out of the woods and back to reality, because we have class early tomorrow morning!

Monday: It's the beginning of the end. As dramatic as that sounds, it's true! I cannot believe Week 6 has arrived. I'm going to take in every moment this week because this summer has been an unforgettable one! Ballet and Jazz are hard today without my glasses, especially because I cannot spot when I'm doing my pirouettes. I'm a little off my center, but I still go for it with everything I have and I feel really rested! At lunch I organize my audition book and look over anything that Randy, my audition teacher, could ask me to do. We have some anonymous special guest coming today, which makes all of us nervous! It could be anyone because he knows a ton of people in the industry. Unfortunately, once we get to class Randy tells us that this special guest had a family emergency and has to delay their visit until Friday! Well, that's alright, our nerves get a little break that way. We do this class like a mock audition and get feedback afterwards. TODAY IS SO AWESOME. Randy said I was the most improved in my auditions! I felt really proud of what I did today, and it was really nice to get that confirmation from Randy. I had confidence, personality, and a great audition. #SCORE Talk about a lightbulb moment! This is enough to make the last music theory class bearable. Then I realize what I just said. The LAST music theory! WOOOO. We made it, and I've actually learned some things I didn't expect! Anyway, it's my friend Mackenzie's birthday today, so a bunch of people from Group 4 are headed to a Thai restaurant called Sticky Rice! We have a GREAT time and it's nice to celebrate with my group. I really like these people! Then we get home, but James and I pass a place called Flavaboom where there's frozen yogurt. He wants some and I'm not hungry, but I go in anyway. The moral of the story is: People shouldn't assume you are in a relationship with someone else JUST because one of them isn't getting froyo and JUST because you don't want to walk home alone so you walk in and wait for the other person to get their tasty treat. It gave us something to laugh about though. Another interesting thing tonight, I get back and the day has come. My Facebook was force-transferred to Timeline. It's alright, I held on for as long as I could, but I guess we all have to conform to the myspace-like layout. Setting it up makes me pretty nostalgic, but that's alright! Nights like this are kind of nice every once in a blue moon! Homework and some chilled out music make for a nice, relaxing...and of course LATE night.

Tuesday: This morning kicks off with a nice acting rehearsal with the wonderful Kelan at 9AM! This is the day of performances this week! With short, individual Tap evaluations, Acting, and Vocal Perf performances. Tap is great as usual, but the real surprise is in my next class, Vocal Technique! We are standing doing the warm up, and our teacher decides to challenge us by seeing if we have our rock scream in us. It's a ton easier than most people think it is, but if you don't do it with correct technique you can ruin your vocal chords. This sound is the basis of what the equivalent of belting is for guys. We go one by one, doing octave jumps and it gets to me. He's not telling me how high I am, but somehow I keep going up. I stop and he asks me if I know what I just sang. It was a High C. I just sang i C?! WHAT?! Who knew that was possible? It's going to take alot of work to develop this, but it really took me by surprise! After lunch, I perform Larger than Life in Vocal Performance and LOVE it! My acting performance goes well too! It was a pleasure to work with Kelan. I go home, clean my room, and start to pack when I get a text message from Victoria! She invites me out with her for adventures tonight because Tyranny is in town! Tyranny is in my class at Baylor in the Theatre Department, and we are going to have a little Baylor Theatre reunion tonight! What a spontaneous and wonderful adventure this will be! I head out and walk to The Strand, the really cool bookstore where they have a really rich theatrical section. We walk toward 2nd Avenue and go to a restaurant called Pommes Frites, which if you know any french, is a gourmet french fry restaurant. It may be an unhealthy dinner, but I don't care! Why not?! They have special sauces and really interesting fries. Simply delicious and no regrets. We go to eat them in Washington Square Park, the place with the AMAZING arch! We sit and listen to the outdoor concert and then we decide spontaneously to go to THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE! I've been waiting for this my whole trip! And I wanted it to happen just like this too! We take the subway to City Hall and there it is! As glorious as I had built it up in my mind. It was night time and still kind of crowded, but I didn't care. No matter how much I describe it, everyone needs to visit this bridge at dusk/night. It's beautiful and the views of Manhattan from Brooklyn are unreal! The lights of the city have this magical quality among the different colors and levels of the buildings. You can also distinctively separate the sections/neighborhoods of NYC, just based on their characterized and decorated night life that is reflected on the black sky. Victoria, Tyranny, and I walk across and go under the bridge, across a couple of cobblestone streets, and discover a really cool river-walk with some benches that we decide to sit and talk on. We take pictures on the rocks, relax on the benches, and listen to the water pass us by as we smell that slightly salty tinge on the warm air. A visit just as I pictured it, and many photos to remember it by. Victoria and Tyranny, if you are reading this, all I can say is: "Hey! Are you guys fighting over there? Let's talk about it." Getting home and getting to sleep, I realize that I fulfilled what I came here to do, both with the bridge and with CAP21. I did it.

Wednesday: I'm going to need a restraining order on the month of August because never has something creeped up on my so quickly! It's amazing that this summer is almost over! To celebrate this new month, I allowed myself to sleep an extra half an hour before jetting off to CAP. Ballet and Jazz kick off the morning as usual, but I am really in the mindset of my musical scene that I'm performing later. Lunch is a whirlwind of hot weather, scarfing down salad from Sunac, and rehearsal with Megan. All of the studios are taken, so we have no shame in rehearsing in the hallway! Then the moment comes and we perform our scene for the class. We finish it and it was a good second pass, but then the real magic begins. If you don't know the story of Parade, do a little research and if you're interested listen to "All the Wasted Time." This is what I performed and it's a really emotionally HEAVY piece. The exercise that our teacher Aimee had us do was sing in the center of the circle of our friends while they are all screaming slanderous accusations at both of us. It was really tough to get through, but she had us do this and then go straight into the scene. I'm not sure being yelled at by my friends has benefited me more than it has today. An extra element of magic was added to this scene because of my amazing partner and because of my classmates. Megan and I created something I'm really proud of and will fondly look back on! This class held a TON of emotions though, because the scene that followed ours was "Some Things Are Meant to Be" from Little Women. Look that one up too. I'll wait for you. Welcome back. Today concludes with my final Business of Theatre class which was very informative. I love this class and learn so much about the actual business side of the performance industry! It's really intriguing. Tonight is a really relaxing night where I reorganize and get ready for the rest of the week. I rest a bit, call Mom, grab dinner, and also indulge myself in the desserts of the Gramercy Cafe. It's a cool little cafe that's attached to my building and they have the BEST oreo-marshmellow dessert bars. I only let myself have them every once in a while, but I'm going to enjoy one tonight! Tonight is laundry night. The only thing I don't understand is why my clothes came out of the dryer still damp. It's supposed to DRY your clothes. That's its PURPOSE. That's it's NAME. It's okay, tomorrow is sure to be a better day.

Thursday: Drips of water from personal AC units. The reverberation of a distant siren a couple avenues over. The first blue sky in days. The sun that just warms your skin enough to enjoy a summer day that you know will be hot in mid-afternoon. NYC is begging me to stay. I'm not sad that I'm going to leave at the end of this week, but just motivated to get myself back to this city of wonder. And today, because I was in such a good mood, I spoke up when they got my coffee order incorrect and got my order free! I also went to a place called The City Bakery. James has been telling me to get a chocolate croissant from here for weeks now, and it was worth every bite. I go into my last Tap class, and it's almost as if overnight I have suddenly developed a whole new set of Tap skills. I can do pullbacks with ease. I have my alternating pullbacks. I nail the combination. Today is looking like it's going to be MY day. I love that feel, like you can accomplish ANYTHING. Vocal Tech comes and I get a really interesting note. "Kevin, you need to stop trying to be perfect. You're not going to be perfect. Accept that and celebrate the things that you excel in and the things that you have grown in. Celebrate your progress, but stop criticizing yourself for the things that you are not yet doing as well as you want to."......Wow. I'd say he hit that one right on the head! I'm a definite perfectionist and that's something I really need to take to heart. I have grown a ton. I do many things very well. I have a ton of room to grow and lots to learn, but I need to celebrate what skills I already have. He also told us to value our parents. They are figures who have the potential to always be there for you and be your biggest fan. Don't let them forget how much that means to you. So Mom and Dad, THANK YOU. There's not much else to say besides it means the world to me that you support me so much and that you are always proud of me. I love you both so much! Alright, back to NYC before this becomes a Hallmark card. James, Jonathan, and I try a new place for lunch called Food Depot, which is DELICIOUS. Then I have my last acting class and last vocal performance class. We are all excited because tonight we are having our Goodbye Group 4 dinner. We all get dressed up, and meet at a restaurant called Cafeteria on 6th Avenue. Little did we know that if you have a group of 7 or more, you have to spend a minimum of $45 a person...which is weird because 13 of us came here on the 4th of July and I spent 10 bucks. Oh well, they lost our business! All 10 of us are dressed up and not going to waste that, so we go to a place called BLT Burger which was even better than snooty old Cafeteria would have been. We all go to Washington Square Park to hang out for a bit, and then the numbers slowly dwindle until it is just Mackenzie, Kelan, Steven, James, and I. We go to a place called Pop Bar where they have gourmet popsicles and we all end up going to Kelan's place to hang out because this is Mackenzie's last night here and she will be leaving for the airport directly after CAP ends tomorrow, so we want to make this night special. We sit for a couple of hours sharing stories, laughing, and reminiscing on the wonderful times we have had these 6 special weeks. A cab to Union Square and a walk to 23rd street make me realize that I am about to enter my final day of a 6 week program. How did the time go so quickly?

Friday: I wake up to that aching pain in your legs when you forgot how much you actually walked last night. I mean really, I must have covered AT LEAST 30 blocks with my friends last night. It was worth it though. We had a blast. Today is really HOT. Ballet begins with some pictures of the class, but then we continue with normal class, which makes me realize how much I've grown as a dancer this summer! Hoooray! And in Jazz we do a mock audition to a song from Thoroughly Modern Millie, which is ironic because I did that show this past school year! Completely different choreography is interesting though because I keep remembering what we did in our Baylor show and am trying to forget that so I can remember the combination I am learning at the moment. Meg is a great teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed her in this class. She genuinely cares about our success and wanted us to really grow as dancers and performers. I'm glad we had her! Just because it's the last day, I have Sunac for lunch because I will always think of that as my lunch for CAP21. Then we have a little picture time right before Musical Scene Study starts. MSS starts with our last magical warm-up, in which another crying fest happens. We can't help it with the combination of exhaustion, joy, and sadness that the program is over. Audition tech is my last class I have at CAP21 and I have a really successful class today. Our special guest is still out because of the family emergency, but having Randy critique us is plenty fine! Then the goodbyes happen for a ton of friends I have met this summer. But it's not really goodbye, it's: "I'll see you sometime!" Hopefully that time is when we are all in Broadway shows. James and I are off to the 9/11 memorial tonight, so I drop my stuff at his place because I don't have enough time to get to mine, and we are off! It's incredibly moving, and just a little surreal. This is a huge event in modern history and I've only ever experienced it through TV. I still remember where I was when it happened, and being here makes it finally that much more real. The fountains and the new WTC are beautiful. James and I then walk over to the Brooklyn Bridge and catch it JUST at sunset! It's PERFECT. An awesome time to chill and experience this last night in NYC. These were some of the best pictures of the city that I have taken! We walk the bridge and then head back to Union Square. We grab a quick bite at Chipotle and then split before we have our last hoorah tonight at Megan's apartment. We have our normal fun, and I say my goodbyes tonight. Megan, Jenn, Jonathan, Chelsea, Malik, Steven, Kelan, and James. It was a wonderful night and I said my goodbyes. Let's just say I walked into my apartment around 4:30 in the morning!

Saturday: I'm up by 9 and start packing my bags. I clean my room until every last corner of this place sparkles thanks to the remaining Clorox wipes that I have. The smell is strong, but it's helping to keep me awake. Four and a half hours of sleep isn't exactly an ideal night, but I wouldn't take it back for the world! I check out and get a compliment from the RA on duty because of how clean my room is. Thanks for teaching me your ways, Mom! With two suitcases in hand, I discover that it's really hot outside but luckily Cara and I quickly grab a taxi to LaGuardia. We don't hit traffic and get to the airport about 2 hours early. This is it. This is goodbye to New York City. This is the epitome of bittersweet. I don't want to leave NYC or my new friends, but I'm excited to see my family and get back to Baylor. This may be the end of my adventure this summer, but this is the beginning of a dream. I've taken my first steps toward the professional world of performing and experienced them in THE city of theatre. This isn't goodbye to New York City. I'll be back. I've taken my bite out of the Big Apple, and I want more. Most people know how much I like apples, but this one is my favorite. What an adventure though! 6 weeks, so much growth as a performer and adult, many new friends, 18 shows, and so much to be thankful for. I've been blessed with an opportunity of a lifetime and I'll never forget what happened to me this summer. From all I've learned, I am confident that this is what I was made to be doing. I'm a good performer and I'm passionate about it. Opportunities like CAP21 don't come around all the time, so I'm glad I pursued that dream and made it come true for myself with the help of others. I encourage everyone to be active about making life an adventure and pursuing your dreams. There's nothing more exhilarating than going after a dream. Achieving the dream is great, but the adventure lives in the pursuit of that dream. That's where you'll go through experiences that make you who you are. That's where you meet people you'll never forget. That's where life happens.

Thank you to everyone who made it possible and to everyone who supported me. On another note, thank you to all who read this blog. I'm glad that I was able to share my experiences with all of you. Maybe next time I blog about being in NYC, maybe I'll be accepting a job at a theatre where I saw a show this summer. Or I'll be accepting the Tony that we all dream of. Hey, I can dream...can't I? Until then, Baylor awaits where I will be fulfilling my dreams in the meantime. Starting with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in 2 weeks! Let the next adventure begin! God bless!

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