Thursday, June 16, 2011

Drift Away

June 12, 2011

"The Island smiled on us all week and then turned cold and started raining as if to say GET OUT." Words from Neal as we waited to board our ferry back to the mainland and the reality of our lives.

The rain started the night before and continued throughout the night and into the morning of our departure. I slept like a baby, unaware of anything until I heard the rain on the roof and skylights as I began to drift toward consciousness from my dreams.

Instead of getting out of my comfortable bed immediately, I chose to lie there, covered to the chin, drifting in and out of shallow sleep, listening to the rain.

Rainy days can be sad and melancholy. End of vacation can be sad and melancholy. I must admit that as the house became decluttered of our belongings and the bags, previously stowed away in a closet or under a bed for the week, began to fill up again, I was a little sad. It's natural. I was also happy to be returning to my life with memories that I would keep forever.

The beautiful blue and green water from Monday's arrival had been replaced by murky gray water for our departure. Out the fogged window by which we sat I could see the choppy waves of an angry ocean. Okay, that's dramatic; let's call it agitated. We watched as Martha's Vineyard slowly became smaller, fading away from our distance. I couldn't help but smile. No one could take the experience away from me. Everything has to end, we just have to live in it fully while it's happening and know that we were present in every moment. Side note: we saw Beth’s parent’s house from the water as we passed. We could actually pick it out even at our distance from land. That was cool.

The ride was smoother than I had anticipated it being. From the Oak Bluffs ferry dock we watched our ferry bobbing in the water. When we boarded, we could feel the sway of the boat. Out in the Atlantic it didn't feel much different than our initial passage.

There we were, comrades in cars, all of us waiting to debark the ferry. Smiles and nods one to another. Some of us had been on the Vineyard for a week, some of us for just the weekend.

We had started listening to Grey Gardens The Musical the previous evening on the way to Vineyard Haven to see Super 8. We continued where we had left off as we drove to the ferry. It seemed only natural to finish the show now that we were off the ferry. It was the day of the 65th annual Tony Awards. Why not indulge in a good musical score?

We stopped at Duncan Donuts to pick me up a coffee now that we were back on the mainland. I’m a little unclear whether we were still in Woods Hole or had made it Falmouth. Really does it matter that much? I mean a Duncan is a Duncan. It’s been my experience every time I go to one that the coffee is too light and too sweet. This time didn’t disappoint. Well, it disappointed in that I don’t like it that light or sweet, but I did need/want the coffee so I’m going to shut up about it.

The drive to Boston was roughly an hour and half. Without giving Neal a choice, I pushed play on the cast album for the 1992 Tony winning Best Musical Crazy For You. Neal and I have a history with that show. We were doing summer stock together the year that it won the Tony and were completely obsessed with the Tony telecast performance that entire summer. We both saw the show in New York at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway, albeit separately. We’ve both performed in productions of the show (again separately) and had the time of our lives. It seemed like a no-brainer. We talked about our experiences with our respective productions and how brilliant we thought Susan Stroman’s choreography was for the original Broadway production. It was the second show I had ever seen on Broadway. It was the show that allowed me entrance to the Shubert Theatre where A Chorus Line had played for 15 years. I have a lot of great memories wrapped up in that show.

It song-and-danced us all the way to Boston

Back at Neal’s we unloaded the car and then went to Burger King for a little lunch. I remarked to Neal that fatty (talking about myself) was going to have to start walking to work across the Queensboro Bridge in order to rid my body of the crap that I allowed myself to consume during the week. Vacation is not an excuse to eat whatever you want. I just let myself believe that for about 7 days. Oh where was the person who chose the apple over the M&M’s at the beginning?

When all that day’s errands were completed (groceries, car rental return) Neal started doing laundry. He threw mine in with his. He was watching So You Think You Can Dance when not emptying the washer, starting the dryer or folding the clean clothes. I was hard at work writing about the amazing experience I had just lived for a week.

Then it was Tony Awards time. That time of the year when those of us who love theatre watch as the Broadway season’s best are honored for excellence. Well, sometimes it’s the best that are honored. Sometimes it’s the politically correct choice or the easy choice. Anyway, it was Tony time. I was excited, as I always am on this very special of nights. Living in NYC has made many of these telecasts all the more special as I’ve had the opportunity to see the shows, hear the gossip, etc.

This season I was particularly interested as the company I work for, Stage Entertainment USA, was represented with a Best Musical nomination for the “divine musical comedy” that is Sister Act The Musical. Most of us didn’t think it had a chance in hell against the blockbuster, runaway hit that is The Book of Mormon, but one could always hope.

When all was said and done, it was really a no-brainer, no major surprise kind of evening. The Book of Mormon took home 9 wins out their 14 nominations and Sutton Foster took home her second Tony Award for her performance in Anything Goes. All the predications came true. Anything Goes took Best Revival of a Musical and Kathleen Marshall took home the Tony Award for her choreography for Anything Goes. When things are too predictable it can be boring. Two other predicted wins also happened but were anything but boring. The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer’s play about the AIDS crisis at its beginning in the 80’s took home Best Play Revival and Ellen Barkin, making her Broadway debut in said play, took home the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Those two moments were predicted, but amazing. Then there was the surprise factor. Nikki M. James was so surprised to win the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for The Book of Mormon that her speech made me cry. Tears fell down my cheeks and dripped off my face. It was such a beautiful moment to watch a truly thankful, humbled actor accept an award for something she loves to do. The shocker of the evening for me came when Norbert Leo Butz won Best Actor in a Musical for his role in Catch Me If You Can. I didn’t see that one coming. One shocker in a night full of The Book of Mormon, The Book of Mormon, The Book of Mormon, Anything Goes, The Book of Mormon.

Ah well. I bet Sister Act still had one kickin’ party.