We flew through Nashville for our NYC trip so my sister picked us up at the airport. Over dinner she asked what my favorite thing was and I began with my typical “Oh, I don’t know! How do you choose between so many amazing things?” And prepared to start listing off the first things that came to my mind. But before I started, Christopher smirked and told Abby, “I can tell you her favorite. Hands down it was Les Miserables. Her reaction to it tells you all you need to know.” At first I protested. I mean, yes, I adored Les Mis. But can I really say 100% that I loved seeing it even more than walking into Macy’s on 34th Street? Or seeing the Museum of Natural History? Or Keste Pizza? (See! So many favorites!). But Christopher has a point. I did have a pretty serious reaction to seeing it. But first I need to back up a little.
In 1996 I was part of the cast of Oliver Twist at the Cumberland County Playhouse. And in 1997 I was part of the cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat at the same playhouse. I blogged a little about it here. 🙂 During this time, I fell in love with plays and musicals. I dreamed of going to Broadway someday. Not that I really knew what “Broadway” was as a 9 year old, but everyone talked about how amazing it was in relation to musicals. So I knew I needed to go someday.
In 1998 the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert (the dream cast!) was released on DVD. And our family got a copy. You guys, I fell in love. As an 11-year-old who didn’t understand any of the “adult content” of the musical, I fell in love with the music. We moved overseas in 2000 and that DVD came with us. And I just continued to love it. By the time I was a senior in high school, I understood the more “adult” parts of it, but loved it all the more for the depth the lyrics conveyed. I ended up listening to it every day while I did my homework. It was the background music to my last year of high school education. I even chose one of the songs (“On My Own”) to translate for an assignment for my Mandarin class.
Then fast forward a lot of years to 2011 when Les Miserables came to the Orpheum here in Memphis. It was my first time to see it live and I loved it. It was absolutely amazing!
So when we decided to go to NYC, I knew I wanted to see something on Broadway. Our top picks were Les Mis, Wicked, and Phantom. We nearly chose not to see Les Mis just simply because we’d seen it live before and we hadn’t seen the other two live yet. But I just couldn’t get past the feeling of how much I wanted to see it live again. And on Broadway! Christopher told me to go with my gut so we decided on Les Mis. Right after I bought the tickets I wondered if I’d regret it once we arrived in NYC. I shouldn’t have worried.
My friends, we walked into that auditorium and I was giddy to be at a playhouse in NYC. To watch my first ever show on Broadway! My smile was enormous! Then the lights dimmed. And the first strains of music began. And I immediately started to cry. And not a cute cry. I wasn’t sobbing, but there were actual tears flowing and snot and everything. And I couldn’t stop. No joke, I cried for at least the first 10 minutes of the play. I was just that happy. I’ve had the whole “happy cry” thing happen here or there, but it’s more like “tearing up” not so much actual tears. It was just too much for me in such a good way. A literal dream come true.
Christopher thought something was wrong at first so he kept whispering to me to ask if I was okay. I just kept telling him, “Yeah… I’m just…SNIFF…so…haaaappy. SNIFF.” Thankfully no one else seemed to hear me (I mean, the music was pretty loud and I was thankfully quietly crying my eyes out, ha!). But we were both pretty surprised by my reaction. Typically when I’m really, really happy I get super giddy. Squealing. Clapping of hands. Floating on cloud 9. That sort of thing. Occasionally, I have moments where I am just awe struck and totally silent (like seeing the Colosseum for the first time – another dream come true). But crying out of happiness was a first for me.
Eventually I got the tears under control, but they picked right back up throughout the musical as my favorite songs were performed. It was true magic, my friends. I’m not sure why it hit me so differently to be watching Les Mis on Broadway in NYC versus when we saw it here in Memphis. But it did. I think it was just that feeling of doing something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid. Seeing Les Miserables on Broadway! The whole dreams come true thing. 🙂
So, after some time to reflect on our whole trip. I think Christopher was right. If I had to pick only one favorite thing. This would be it. It was amazing. I get a little teary eyed just thinking about that moment of magic when I realized that I was literally sitting in the audience at Les Mis on Broadway. Magic. 🙂