Forty-First & Avenue of the Americas

new york, personal

I’ve been very fortunate to spend the past few years working off the beaten path from the midtown madness — in theaters like New World Stages, 59E59, and the Neil Simon on 52nd Street. It was bliss — close enough to everything we love about midtown but far enough away from the overcrowded center of the city. Admittedly, I’ve grown into one of those New Yorkers who’s silently screaming as they sift through the saturated streets flooded with tourists standing idle and taking pictures of the place I call home. So you can imagine the reality check I got moving to the Nederlander Theatre, which lives on 41st and 7th — right smack dab in the middle of Times Square.

You wouldn’t think nine blocks could make such a difference, but it does. Everything around me is accessible but crowded, boundless yet limited, and amazingly frustrating. Brighter, louder, busier.

Especially when you work in the theatrical industry, you find that where you are is so crucial because, more often than not, you’ll spend just as much, if not more, time in your theatre’s neighborhood than you will in your own. But, as with any move to a new neighborhood, you find the eye of the storm. You find the peace within the chaos. You find your happy place. I am so lucky to have that on Forty First and Avenue of the Americas.

Bryant Park has been one of my happy places since long before my chapter in New York was penned. I fell for it when I was sixteen years old, sitting in a dark green folding chair, drinking an iced tea from Pax watching Broadway in Bryant Park with my mom. Because of its familiarity, I found myself a frequent visitor when I first moved here in 2014, but it’s since been so out of reach — until now.

I have spent many an afternoon over the past few years writing, reading, brainstorming, laughing, and dreaming in this park. To have it within arms reach again as I settle into new surroundings is such a blessing. I am grateful for the peace it has brought me, and will inevitably continue to bring.

june twenty-ninth

new york, personal

Since moving to New York almost five years ago, I try to revel in the moments that make me feel like a true New Yorker; moments that allow me to breathe deeply into the reasons why I love this extraordinary city, and the life I’ve built here, so much.  Those moments can be few and far between, though, when you’re bogged down by the reality of living in New York — it’s tough, expensive, messy, and, most of all, exhausting.  So when we do encounter those instances when we remember why we’re here, it’s important to wrap ourselves up in them, if only for a millisecond, as a reminder of just how alive we are in this intricate collection of skyscrapers and sidewalks.

Tonight was one of those reminders — a night you could only believe was written in books or for movies.  As I sit in a cab on the Westside Highway, on the highest of highs, looking out at the city lights as I climb the streets toward my sweet little studio apartment, I realize I want to cling to this feeling forever.  My home awaits me only to fall asleep and dream up more nights like this one.

My entire day was dedicated to celebrating my sweet, warm, fun-loving best friend; a man who finds joy in every moment and whose birthday could not be disrupted by the sweltering city heat, nor the poor souls who texted him to say they would miss sharing the night with him.

If you’re reading this, you missed out.

In conjuring up ideas for his special day, I encouraged him to spend his night at Haswell Green’s, a new bar on 52nd Street in Midtown next to the Neil Simon Theatre (my former home) and off the beaten path of most Times Square tourists.  They have incredible cocktails, a very uniquely crafted menu (helloooo bacon wrapped meatballs) and live music, where the house band, Imperial Cities, plays most nights, including tonight.

It was so unbelievably special.  Everyone was drawn to the dance floor by this group of musicians; whose arsenal of song selections is outrageously impressive, to put it mildly.  I was euphoric as I ran though the crowd singing screaming Hanson’s “Mmbop” at the top of my lungs with my closest friends and favorite dance partners, holding the birthday boy’s hands as we grooved to ‘Valarie” by Amy Winehouse, and cackling when Imperial Cities played “Baby Got Back” when someone requested a love song.

Tonight was a night you remember when you’re 90; where you metaphorically pat your twenty-six-year-old self on the back for living out your dreams and dancing like a fool until all hours of the night while you could.  I am so lucky to live in a city that brings me friends to build memories with and nights to be preemptively nostalgic for.

New York, you have my heart.

have a nice day

new york, personal

I had a relatively frustrating morning — I haven’t slept properly in almost a week, I woke up about thirty minutes before I wanted to be at work, and when I managed to make it on time, I realized I left my wallet in my apartment.  All I wanted was a cup of coffee.  Simple, right?  I just wanted to walk down the street to my coffeeshop, get a cup of coffee, and go back to my apartment.  But walking down the street as a woman in New York, at any time of day, is never simple.  Inevitably, we will get spoken to in a derogatory manner by one or more men we do not know trying to bless us as we walk down the street at two in the afternoon with our coffee.  And we say nothing.

What’s most frustrating about the catcalling in New York isn’t always what is said.  Nine times out of ten all we get is, “God Bless You” or a good old-fashioned, “Have A Nice Day.”  It’s the fact that these phrases are dripping with sexual undertones.  They are remarks about our bodies disguised as harmless, flippant comments and that is what makes us so uncomfortable.  What do we say?  Do we berate men in the middle of the street for telling us to have a nice day?  We can’t, even though we know they’re not genuinely hoping that we have a nice day.  We’ll never say, “Thank you,” because we won’t condone their behavior.  We don’t want to give them the satisfaction of getting a rise out of us, so we ignore it; because what else can we do?

I will never not feel nervous walking home at any time of day and seeing a scattering of men between me and my apartment door.  Not because I’m scared, but because I know what’s coming.  I know the chances of my body being objectified are high.  I know that someone will watch me with their entire body as I walk by and wait until they’ve seen the back of me before they tell me to “have a nice day.” Why should we have to anticipate that?  Why should we have to brace ourselves for words that make us uncomfortable?

What I don’t think these men understand is that they aren’t paying us a compliment.  They aren’t making us feel good about ourselves, they’re degrading us to nothing more than our exterior.  I am not so shockingly beautiful (especially today) that you need to stop me on the street to tell me so.  You’re not going out of your way to tell me to “have a nice day” for my benefit; you’re doing it for your own.  If you are standing on the street at two in the afternoon catcalling women you don’t know, it’s because you’re alone.  And you’re inevitably alone because you don’t respect women.  If you did, you wouldn’t be standing on the street catcalling women you don’t know — you would be at home with one.

Have a nice day.

twenty five carrie bradshaw quotes to get you through your week

lifestyle, new york

If you only get one great love, New York might just be mine.

-Carrie Bradshaw

It’s no surprise that as a twenty-something dreamer meandering the streets of Manhattan, one of my spirit animals is Carrie Bradshaw.  Her seemingly fictitious world accurately mirrors the reality we face as New Yorkers and confronts questions we didn’t know we had until we graduated from our adolescence and moved to the Big Apple.

The women she spends her life commiserating with represent many of our own friends we get to navigate through love, loss, and the pressure to fulfill societal standards with.  Yet despite the fact that they didn’t survive their dating days during the digital age of Tinder, Instagram and the social media garbage we begrudgingly swipe though today; these women still managed to experience many of the timeless struggles we inevitably face today.

As I recently re-binged the series (it’s available to stream on Amazon Prime — you’re welcome), I found Carrie’s words, lessons, and struggles hitting me differently than they have before.  Maybe because I’m getting older?  Wiser?  More cynical?  Regardless, I began writing down her questions, conclusions, and witty quips to share with the rest of my world; because I feel like the seemingly benign and “melodramatic” internal questioning we’re all afraid to own deserves to be met with a little reassurance that we’re not always alone in our thoughts.  Here are some of my favorite take-away moments, questions, and lessons penned by Carrie Bradshaw to get you through your week, your year, or your life when you’re in need of a little guidance, commiseration, or perspective.

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Carrie repeatedly revisits self-love throughout the series, specifically within relationships; on a constant quest for a healthy life balanced with love for herself, her friends, her partner…and her addiction to shoes. But how do we ever truly know if and when we’re balanced? As we bravely tiptoe along the tightrope of life, carrying our relationships in one arm, and our self-love in the other, will putting too much weight on one end throw us off balance and eventually be our downfall? To that effect, if leaning too much into our self-love starts to evolve into something unhealthy, is that just as detrimental to our balance as leaning on others to serve as the needle in our barometer for happiness?

I got to thinking about Narcissus – a man so consumed with his own image, he drowned in it.  Did he have no best friends to mirror back a healthy review of himself?  And why is it that we can see our friends perfectly, but when it comes to ourselves, no matter how hard we look, do we ever see ourselves clearly?

I often wonder what Carrie would have to say about the modern-day selfie; healthy or harmful? Brave or vain?

Is it possible to draw a clear line between confidence and narcissism on our own?  Or will we ever be able to impartially evaluate ourselves without the guidance and insight from those around us? And what about those who can’t seem to muster up any bit of self-confidence at all?  Can they only see themselves in the reviews that others give them?  At the end of the day, is the ability to accumulate compliments for ourselves and owning the best parts of us a blessing or a curse?

To that end, Carrie also weighs-in heavily on our inevitable self-reflection through the eyes of those around us.  We can feel so great about ourselves one moment, then defeated the next when someone else doesn’t see exactly what we do; which can quickly generate a laundry list of reasons to doubt our self-love.

Why is it that we only seem to believe the negative things people say about us?  No matter how much evidence there is to the contrary — a neighbor, a face, an ex-boyfriend can cancel out everything we thought was once true.  Odd, but when it comes to life and love, why do we believe our worst reviews?
Is it that innate fear of becoming narcissistic? Are we trying so desperately to keep ourselves in check that we would rather focus on the qualities we must improve than the ones we should savor? And who’s to say we should change at all when someone else’s perspective on us doesn’t quite mesh well with our own?
I realized that the critic I was most afraid of was me.  The truth is, at any given moment, someone, somewhere could be making a face about you.  But it’s the reviews you give yourself that matter.
While conquering the separation between our own opinions and others’ is easier said than done, the phrase “you are your own worst critic” holds more truth than we may want to admit.    At some point, even if our reflection gets blurred, the best we can do for our own clarity is to carry ourselves through each day with a little bit of grace and, in turn, remind those around us to love themselves and eliminate the idea that self-love must always translate to being self-absorbed.  For how we love ourselves will inevitably set the tone for how we love those around us.
I got to thinking about relationships.  There are those that open you up to something new and exotic.  Those that are old and familiar.  Those that bring up lots of questions.  The that bring you somewhere unexpected.  Those that bring you far from where you started.  And those that bring you back.  But the most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. 

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Because our self-love informs so much of the love we give to others, it inevitably becomes the precursor to a healthy relationship with, not only romantic partners (more on that later), but our friends.

Friendships don’t magically last 40 years. You have to invest in them. It’s like your savings: You don’t expect to wake up one day when you’re old and find a big bucket of money waiting there.

I recently had a long conversation with my mother about this generation of millennials and their tendencies towards friendships.  We’re all walking around in the modern world of social media, where everything is at our fingertips.  Subsequently, we’re always looking for the next best thing because it’s at our fingertips.  When the world is immediately at our disposal, we start to become flaky — waiting until the day-of to make plans in case something better comes along, pulling out our phone in the middle of a face-to-face conversation, or simply not responding to a message and pretending we didn’t get it in the first place.
Is it possible to minimize the investments we make on our social media pages and start devoting more of the same into our friendships?  Though investing in ourselves is equally as important, if we put half the energy we throw at our smartphones into our relationships, at the end of the day, isn’ that a better bang for your buck?  Give a call instead of a text.  Better yet, use the twenty-first century to your advantage and FaceTime your long-distance friends.  Write a card instead of sending a text.  A little more intimate communication can go a much longer way.

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In a town where everyone’s dying to couple up, sometimes there’s nothing better than being out of a relationship.  You have time to do your laundry, freedom to play your favorite bad music really loudly.  But the best part about being out of a relationship; plenty of time to catch up with your friends.  
So let’s talk about being single, because it’s just as important as the open discussion about our relationships with others and obviously goes hand-in-hand with self-love.
Is single life in New York such a constant flurry of fun and friends that settling down immediately fills us with the urge to shake things up again?  And why does becoming part of a couple imply settling down?  
To be in a couple, do you have to put your single self on a shelf?
I think we can all admit to adapting to certain tendencies when we’re in a relationship that we wouldn’t have otherwise; I know I certainly have.  So let’s say you’ve finally taken your self-love off the shelf and you’ve ended a relationship with someone because it wasn’t right for you anymore.  The relief that accompanies coming back into your single self can feel so massively exhilarating that you wonder how you lasted so long without that feeling.  But when the relief starts to fade, how do you separate your self-worth from a relationship where your self-love started to become non-existent?
Relationships, no matter how good, are inevitably a series of compromises.  But how much of ourselves should we be willing to sacrifice for the other person before we stop being ourselves?  In a relationship, when does the art of compromise becoming compromising?
Do we chalk it up to experience?  Is it better to view the loss of a relationship as a blessing rather than a curse? Or have we put such a premium on companionship that the pain of a break up clouds our ability to prioritize self-love, leaving us feeling like less of who we are as we walk away?
People say everything happens for a reason.  These people are usually women.  And these women are usually sorting through a break up.  It seems that men can get out a relationships without even a goodbye.  But apparently women either have to get married or learn something.  Why are we in such a rush to move from confused to Confucius?  Do we search for lessons to lessen the pain?
Abso-fuckin-lutely.  If you’re anything like me, you’re always putting your trust into the universe through the good, the bad, the uncomfortable, and the joyous.  Every move we make is a stone in the road towards our future.  So at some point, we have to trust that when the moment and person are right, we won’t be adjusting who we are at our core to accommodate the relationship .  And so much of knowing what is right comes from being secure enough with ourselves to say “hell yes” or “hello no” to certain people and what they have to offer us.  That all starts and ends with the love we have for ourselves.

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I realized I had just entered an interesting chapter of my life.  I had outgrown the boys of my past and not quite grown into the men of my future.
Can you get to a future if your past is present?
I spent most of this past year reflecting on this concept a lot.  Especially when you move to a city as wild and wondrous as New York, you find yourself caught between letting go of certain parts of your life and hanging onto what you think should remain.  It’s a balancing act, much like that of our self-love and relationships — we find ourselves constantly torn between what we know and what we don’t.  Moving to New York will not only change your life, it will change everything you thought you knew about yourself before you arrived.
Every day you’re met with new faces.  Those you pass on the street, the cashier who rings you out at the grocery store, or even a new co-worker.  The connections you make in New York will be boundless and serendipitous. Subsequently, they’ll sometimes lead you to outgrow the relationships of your past or present.  Isn’t that a major part of growing up?  Looking back on what you thought was right for you at the time and, in retrospect, realizing why it wasn’t?
Some love stories aren’t epic novels – some are short stories.  
But that doesn’t make them any less filled with love.
Again, New York will change everything you thought you knew about yourself before you arrived and, without even realizing it, you will outgrow your past as you patiently grow into those who belong in your future.  It’s not a bad thing, it’s just one of the most exhilaratingly terrifying and uncomfortable concepts of, not only living in New York, but growing out of our adolescence.
One of the great things about living in New York City is that you don’t have to sugar-coat your feelings.  But, have New York women settled for a sugar-free existence as well?  We accept Tasty-D-Lite instead of real ice cream, emails instead of love songs, jokes instead of poetry.  It’s no wonder that when faced with the real thing, we can’t stomach it.  Is it something we can learn to digest, or have we become romance-intolerant?
Ever since Woody Allen described waving to Mia Farrow across the park, single men in Manhattan yearn for that kind of separate togetherness.  I felt like the last dinosaur.  Was I the one that needed to adapt?  Was my view of a relationship extinct?  I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  This is a city where gay men are so out, they’re in.  Where women are so chronically single, ovaries may be the next vestigial organ.  We can have anything delivered at any hour, we can have our dogs walked, our clothes cleaned, our food cooked.  Who needs a husband when you have a doorman?  
Are New Yorkers evolving past relationships?
Ironically, despite the hundreds of people you come into contact with every day, it can be really difficult to cultivate special connections with people in New York.  When the pool is bigger, finding your “people” becomes harder.  Furthermore, when it comes to romantic relationships, especially in the digital age of dating apps, settling down in this city is starting to become obscure.  Our generation wants the best of both worlds — we want our freedom, but we still want someone waiting for us when we come home each night.  But what happens when our accessibility to anything, at any hour, any day of the week starts interfering with our ability to spy the rarities?
Since birth, modern women have been told we can be anything we want; be an astronaut, the head of an internet company, a stay-at-home mom.  There aren’t any rules anymore the choices are endless, and apparently they can all be delivered right to your door.  But is it possible that we’ve gotten so spoiled by choices that we’ve become unable to make one?  That a part of us knows that once you choose something – one man, one great apartment, one amazing job – another option goes away.   Are we a generation of women who can’t choose just one from column A?  Can we have it all?
The millennial generation especially has morphed into a sea of individuals hesitant to commit.  Is Carrie right?  Can we really have it all, and, if we seemingly do, will we ever be satisfied?  Or are we really so commitment-phobic that we’re passing up and passing by opportunities, jobs, or people who would otherwise bring us joy if we weren’t so scared that we would be missing out on something or someone else?
In a city of great expectations, is it time to settle for what you can get?
So, along with sifting through what is meant for us or not, comes the tricky reality of settling — all the way from mediocre love to unfulfilling jobs to crappy cups of coffee.  They say “when you know, you know,” right?  Trust me, when it’s a crappy cup of coffee, you know.  But what about matters of the heart?  How do we know when something is right for the moment or right for a lifetime?  Sometimes, even when every neon sign is pointing to why something is wrong, we look for reasons to make it right; inadvertently settling under the fear that we won’t find anything else.  We get so caught up in waiting for another person to put a smile on our face that we grasp at any attention, lust, or affection we can get if it makes us feel good…enough.
In matters of love, how do you know when it’s right?  Sometimes the question is, how do you know when it’s not right?
I couldn’t help but wonder, has fear of being alone suddenly raised the bar on faking?  Are we faking more than orgasms?  Are we faking entire relationships?  
Is it better to fake it, than be alone?
The answer to her rhetorical question is an obvious and resounding “no,” but what’s worse is that not everyone shares the same sentiment.  Too often are we witness to relationships that only exist to ease the fear of being alone.  But why is being single deemed worse than being in a dead-end relationship?  Sure, we all love companionship, but what kind of damage is that doing to our individuality by being with someone who’s totally wrong for us?
In New York, they say you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment.  So let’s say you have two out of three, and they’re fabulous.  Why do we let the one thing we don’t have affect all the other things we do have?  Why does one minus a plus one feel like it adds up to zero?
 
I wondered if “should” was another disease plaguing women.  Did we want babies and perfect honeymoons?  Or did we think we should have babies and perfect honeymoons.  How do we separate what we could do, from what we should do?  And here’s an alarming thought – it’s not just peer pressure.  It seems to be coming from within.  Why are we should-ing all over ourselves?
Societal standards have undoubtedly shaped the reality of what we think we want out of life. I can wholeheartedly admit to getting caught up in the minimization of what I do have in comparison to what I think I should have.  Especially as we cross into our mid-to-late twenties and beyond, does the check-list of what we “should” have at a certain age begin to stifle not only our self-love but our accomplishments?
Our own joy truly becomes stricken by the comparison we face with social media serving as an all-access pass to what others in our age bracket have.  But we must remember that those pictures of their lives are only painted with the colors they want us to see.  We have complete control over what we put out on the internet; most of it being the “sunshine and rainbows” parts of our lives.
There is going to be rain — all the way from sun showers to thunderstorms to hail falling from our skies.  So it’s pointless to compare ourselves to the masses; for we may never see their sadness or their turmoil even if it inevitably exists behind the selfies.  But if we stop dampening our successes to accommodate what we think we should have, we’ll be too distracted by our own joy to seize it by “should-ing” all over ourselves.

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Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate.  Without them, what would shape our lives?  Perhaps if we never veered off course, we would never fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are.  
Eventually all the pieces fall into place…until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know that everything happens for a reason.
There is no rule book for navigating through life and love in New York.  I just wrote an entire blog post about lessons I think I’ve learned and still feel lost in this city most days.  I’ve lived in Manhattan for just over four years and I still expect to be piecing together life lessons and watching re-runs of Sex and the City when I’ve lived here for ten or twelve or forty years.
Even the wisest of the wise can’t tell us what to do or what’s right for us, but they can sure as hell share their knowledge, their stories, and their hearts with us so we can only hope to turn out half as cultured and kind as they are.

Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens.

So just love, make mistakes, and have wonderful times.  But never second-guess who you are, where you have been, and, most importantly, where it is you are going.

the wood bros

new york

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Last night I had the pleasure of standing amongst the crowd gathered at Irving Plaza to see The Wood Brothers; a kick-ass folk band whose music unexpectedly rocked my evening.

As I stood there I became rapidly aware that I don’t go to as many concerts as I would like to.  There are so many groups, solo artists, musicians I live for who I’ve never seen live, some I have.  Amongst the favorites I’ve been to, however, are Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, moe., Britney Spears Oops I Did It Again tour when I was in the fourth grade…to name a few.  Summer of 2010, I went to Gathering of the Vibes in Connecticut — my boyfriend at the time really wanted to go and I really wanted to impress him by going too (I wore a hemp necklace and a backpack I would never be caught dead in today.  See photo below.)

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That was the first time I had seen groups live before listening to their music (aside from the usual unknown opening acts beforehand).  Usually, it’s the other way around, right? You go to the live show because you’ve stumbled upon their music at some point in your lifetime and you’ve grown to admire their sound.  I knew of one band that day at Gathering of the Vibes, but it kind of turned into a music buffet; you pay for the festival knowing there’s someone there you want to see, but you get to try all these other bands out in the meantime.  I was eighteen (and clearly out of touch with who I was), but I had a blast.  Last night was the first time since then I had decided to go see a group I had never heard before, and it was awesome.

We got so caught up in drinks and food and arrived too late to catch the opening act, The Stray Birds, but they joined The Wood Brothers halfway through the show for a rendition of “Midnight Special,” a song that was featured in a folk musical I worked on three years ago called Lonesome Traveler.  It was so nice to be taken back to that sweet little snippet of my life through that song.  We also arrived too late to get towards the front, so I couldn’t see much.  Taylor stands at a solid 6′ 6″, so he kept trying to meet my eye level to find sight lines.  I didn’t really care about watching them, their music was just so much fun to experience, I was happy to be behind the bobbing heads.

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I can’t wait to check out the rest of their stuff and follow their journey.  I highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys Folk/R&B, or just some real good music.

one thousand, four hundred & sixty

new york, personal

Four years ago today, I packed up (most of) my Connecticut room and shipped myself to Manhattan to begin the most wild, exhilarating, maddening, and rewarding chapter of my life.  I have spent (most of) those one thousand, four hundred and sixty days soaking up the city lights, taking late night cabs, swearing at the MTA, meeting hundreds of new faces, and waking up to the morning skyline.

Over one hundred auditions, shows seen, and lattes later, this city never ceases to reveal more and more moments to fall deeper in love.  Some days, I still feel like a newbie, yet all the same, I feel like I’ve lived here my entire life.  To think I arrived a completely different woman than I am today — to imagine a world where I did not yet know some of the most important people in my life, apartments I’ve lived in, or streets I’ve wandered — is a marvel.

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As I sit here gazing out the bay windows of my studio apartment overlooking the sea of rooftops pouring through Manhattan, filled to the brim with gratitude and reflection, there are so many moments that fly through my mind when I think about my time in New York.   Today, I’ve recounted the most memorable to share with you.

T H E    S H O W S

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I have had the immense pleasure of working wardrobe for fifteen different shows since I moved here four years ago.  Some were open-ended, some were limited engagements, some were straight plays, some were musicals — but every single production was crucial to my journey here and touched my soul in some way.  These are simply the four that shaped my world the most.

Shortly after moving here, I tired quickly of the server life (three weeks…I lasted three whole weeks), and reached out to a well-connected friend of mine from college about a scenic artist job.  She didn’t have anything for me, but passed my information along to a friend of hers looking to fill a dresser position on a new Off-Broadway musical called Heathers.  I fudged my resume, smiled through the interview, and got the job; and little did I know asking that one question slowly lit up the footlights on the path of my career.

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Heathers was, and always will be, one of the greatest experiences of my costuming career.  I worked alongside incredibly talented people, both on and off stage.  I attended my first Opening Night party (there was a champagne fountain.  A champagne fountain).  I got to listen to a phenomenal, new, contemporary musical every single day.  It was a dream come true and the first stepping stone on a path towards success.

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Almost a year to the day after closing Heathers, I was cast in a new musical called #LoveStory.  The story centers around the character of Zoe Tiller, a socially-awkward, twenty-something, wannabe actress-turned-blogger living in Manhattan.  Despite her big heart, she’s never been in a serious relationship, and vows to find love by any means necessary by Valentine’s Day of the following year.  While I have certainly endured my fair share of love and relationships, I especially identified with Zoe during this time in my life — navigating through love and heartbreak in the twisted digital age of social media.  This was one of the first times I created a character from scratch to share on a stage each night, and better yet, I got to do it alongside crazy talented people who became lifelong friends.  In fact, the two ladies cast as my best friends in the show ended up becoming my two best friends in real life; and two of the greatest gifts New York has given to me.  #LoveStory will forever be at the top of the index in my Manhattan memoir.

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A year and a half after closing Heathers, I had wardrobe-supervised seven shows, most of which were housed at 59E59 Theaters — a building that quickly became my second home.  Autumn of 2015 brought me the gift of a new 59E59 production called Songbird, a musical adaptation of Anton Chekov’s The Seagull.  The actors accompanied themselves on their own instruments each night and brought to life the beautiful music of Lauren Pritchard, an artist I’ve admired for years.

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This short and sweet run brought me connections to some of the most gifted individuals I’ve worked with to date; including the brilliant, Tony-nominated Erin Dilly, who quickly became a mentor, teacher, and guiding light in my world and has remained so since this wonderful show came to a close.

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Spring of 2016 brought me phenomenal opportunities — namely being asked to join the dressing team for CATS.  But before we get into that, I was simultaneously asked to join a new musical called Himself and Nora at the Minetta Lane Theatre prior to CATS opening.  It began as a filler job, but rapidly became a show I was artistically tethered to and didn’t want to leave once it came time.

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It was, again, dripping with talented people, an extraordinary score, and unforgettable friendships.  This show brought me lifelines I would not be the same without — namely with Whitney Bashor — my inspiration, vocal coach, and (currently very pregnant) friend.

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And here we are — the Grand Poobah of my wardrobe gigs — the Broadway Revival of CATS.  This chapter of my life was undeniably transformative as it spanned eighteen months; the longest I’ve ever spent on a production.  We’ve been closed for a little over two weeks and I still don’t think I’ve processed that I won’t ever walk into that Junkyard again.  I got to perform on two different Broadway stages with this company, record on two different holiday albums with these brilliant performers, and watch them make magic from the wings every single day.

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I will never forget the feeling in my bones at the sound of the thunderous applause on both Opening and Closing night, nor the people I met along the way.  CATS is now and forever imprinted on my soul.

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Once the madness of CATS settled down, I finally brought to fruition an idea that had been brewing in my mind for almost two years — a one-woman show recounting my time in Manhattan called Seams and Songs: Chronicles of a Wardrobe-Supervising Actress.  I compiled songs from shows I had worked on both on and off the stage (including the ones listed above) and turned it into a chronological song-cycle of my career.  It was both thrilling and terrifying, but single-handedly one of the best nights of my life.

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Ironically closing a day before my four year anniversary in New York was my first EMC contract with White Plains Performing Arts Center’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  I vividly remember reading the breakdown for this show online and deeming it impossible to swing as it coincided with the closing weeks of CATS.  I almost didn’t submit for it — and I could not be more grateful to have changed my mind.  It was so refreshing to simultaneously work at CATS while performing in this gorgeous, dark, stunning production as it propelled me one step closer towards my goals as an artist.

T H E   P L A C E S

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You simply cannot know me without knowing my addiction to The Chipped Cup (see chipped).  Despite kicking my coffee addiction in 2012, it was reignited when I stepped into this underground mom-and-pop coffeeshop, tried a latte on a whim, and never looked back.  The Chipped Cup holds the echo of my laugh, elaborate ideas, and endless secrets.  It is my happy place.

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Nothing will ever quite hold a candle to your first apartment in New York — and I’m not talking about your very first.  I’m talking about the first apartment that feels like home.  The first apartment you can call your safe space.  The first apartment that is yours.

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I will never forget the day I was handed the keys to my first studio apartment — I was weeks away from beginning my contract with CATS, on the verge of leaving Himself and Nora, and bidding farewell to my roommates who were moving across the country to Los Angeles.  My world was about to completely shift; and I sat in the middle of Washington Square Park beaming from ear-to-ear, holding the keys to a stride in one of the newest and biggest directions of my New York life.

Even when it’s messy — overflowing with clothes I refuse to hang up, papers I have yet to sort through, and crap I’ve accumulated, I still love every inch of this place.  It’s tiny, but it’s mine, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  There are very few places I love more than I love this apartment.  There are still visions dancing around my mind of how I want to transform certain parts of it — to this day it still remains a work-in-progress.  But maybe that’s why I love it so much; it’s constantly evolving and there’s always room for improvement.  This apartment is an ever-changing metaphor of my world in New York.

T H E   P E O P L E

I was lucky enough to move here with an arsenal of friends from college at my fingertips and down the street.  But this section isn’t about them — they know who they are and how much my heart beats for them.

This is about the people I’ve met here who have shaped my New York world.  People I simply cannot imagine existing on this earth without knowing.  People who have grown to be some of the most important people in my life.  I could go on and on about every single one of them, but pictures do more justice than anything else, so, enjoy.

 

I don’t think it’s possible to put to words or photos what joy the people, places, and opportunities in my life have brought me over the past four years.  Every single one of moment, hardship, laugh, tear, and day has shaped who I am and who I have yet to become here in Manhattan.  Five audition seasons, Four apartments, Three years of relapsed coffee addiction, Two pairs of shoes that have lasted since I moved here, and One Broadway contract later, it’s hard to believe that I am still just getting started here; but I cannot wait for to love, cry, laugh and embrace every inevitable adventure that lies ahead.

Happy Anniversary, Manhattan.  You are a force to be reckoned with.

xo,

T