|Central Park in February|
Growing up in NYC, I vacationed in the country, but now that I live in Maine, I crave urban vacations. I actually sleep better in my old bedroom, lulled by the hum of traffic. My homecomings are jamb-packed with old friends, family, dining out, shopping and culture fixes. This trip I also had a fun lunch in Soho with Elizabeth who blogs at About New York and The World Examining Works. My husband and I like to plan our visits around theater, and this time we saw two gems.
Last year in England, we’d heard fabulous things about Kevin Spacey in Shakespeare’s Richard III. The production hopped over the pond to BAM and is well worth a trip to Brooklyn just to see it (playing through March 3rd). Nearly unedited, this historical tragedy ran 3 ¼ hours, which felt a bit long but never dull. Kevin Spacey has a wonderful stage presence, and he mines evil Richard, oddly enough, for comedy. Spacey’s Richard came second only to Sir Ian McKellen’s Richard back in 1992, another British export. There is a movie adaptation of Richard III with Sir Ian too.
We also saw Alan Rickman, playing a curmudgeonly writing teacher/author, in The Seminar on Broadway. Rickman (ie Snape from Harry Potter and a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company) commanded the stage with beautiful diction and charisma to spare. The four actors playing his students were pitch perfect. We’d seen Lily Rabe as Portia in The Merchant of Venice, and she showed her versatility in this contemporary role. Theresa Rebeck's hilarious new comedy examines/parodies the challenges of breaking into the literary profession. The Seminar is a must see for writers and readers of all ages (playing through April 1st.)
My parents and teenaged kids loved both performances. My daughter was especially thrilled to spot actress Emma Stone in the audience. She was brave enough to get her autograph. Emma was beautiful, humble and really nice. What a fun trip for a 14-year-old girl who wants to be an actress herself one day!
A trip to NYC with my kids makes me reflect on my childhood. Often the media highlights the problems facing teens these days, so I was pleased to read some reassuring stats in the NYT Magazine: The Kids Are More than All Right. What do you think: are teens better off now or back in your day?
Bookstore Watch: Happy Birthday to Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick! The owners will be celebrating their 33rd year of business this weekend (Feb 24-25) with 30% discounts on all books. This independent bookstore outlasted Borders and is still going strong.