Heading into the holidays I finally researched a New York City weekend getaway to see Lea Michelle as Fanny Brice in the Broadway revival of Funny Girl. I’ve been a big fan of hers since she and Jonathan Groff starred in the original cast of Spring Awakening, followed by her lead role in the TV series Glee. She’s an incredible singer/actor (and a huge Barbara Streisand fan!) so I was really excited to see her perform this role.
I was surprised to learn that Funny Girl hasn’t been on Broadway since the 1960s when Barbara originated the role. I felt like I was part of a moment in history attending this very first revival!
As I was booking my ticket, I also discovered that Almost Famous – my all-time favorite movie – had been recast as a musical and was running at the same time. The film holds a special place in our relationship so I talked Brian into joining me on the trip and going to that production with me.
As luck would have it, Almost Famous ended its run the weekend before we arrived so our tickets were refunded. I briefly looked into whether we could move up the trip to see it in its final days but it wasn’t possible. Bummer! We made the best of our very brief visit anyway, flying into NYC late Friday night and returning home early Sunday morning.
Aside from the show, which was amazing, here are a few other weekend highlights.
Breakfast at Black Seed Bagel
Over the past dozen years or so I’ve developed a mild obsession with bagels and schmear. I genuinely don’t know why or how this happened, but I was saved from myself for the first few years after we moved to Seattle where there was no such thing as a bagel shop. (Toward the end of our time there, Rubenstein Bagels opened – highly recommend!).
Of course there were a number of bagel shops around our hotel in the NYC theater district, but we landed on Black Seed Bagel in Rockefeller plaza.
My go-to is a salt bagel with veggie shmear, but I was surprised to learn that in NYC (and I’m sure elsewhere) scallion schmear is a big thing. So much for feeling like a bagel aficionado! I had to try it, and it was great. I’d definitely pop in this shop again.
Brisk walk around Central Park
Coffee in hand, we set out for a morning stroll around Central Park. It was cold and slightly windy, which did appear to ward off those not fully committed to their morning workout. In such a populated city, it was amazing how quiet and relatively alone we were for the majority of our walk.
It’s hard to tell in the image below, but one of our favorite moments was spotting two NYPD officers on their horses – one being twice as large as the other one!
Epic experience seeing Funny Girl on Broadway
The pinnacle of the weekend was seeing Funny Girl at the August West Theatre. I was in an incredible seat – fourth row of the mezzanine – where I could actually see the cast’s faces.
Did I cry during Don’t Rain on My Parade and People? Yes, I did. Also again at the end – I didn’t want it to end.
I am always impressed by the casts of the professional shows we see and this one was no exception. Lea was incredible, and I was also blown away by Tovah Feldshuh as Mrs. Brice, Ramin Karimloo as Nick Arnstein, and Jared Grimes as Eddie (Jared’s tap dancing was incredible). So grateful to see this cast in their element on Broadway.
Ice skating under the Rockefeller Center tree
As luck would have it, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was coming down the weekend we were there! I was able to see it in December 2018 when I met my parents in NYC for my mom’s birthday, but this was Brian’s first time. (He wasn’t as excited about it as me, but still, he got to see it!)
He was also not thrilled with my suggestion that we make a reservation to skate on the Rockefeller Center ice rink under said tree – but once again, he was an incredible sport! After a slice of pizza we walked over to the center and watched people with earlier time slots down on the rink until it was our turn.
I don’t think I’ve been ice skating in more than 10 years but it all came back to me once I hit the ice! They had people entering and exiting based on their time slot and it was always nice during the change over because there would be fewer people on the rink. Maybe not Brian’s favorite moment of the trip, but it was fun and magical for me and extended the holiday spirit a bit longer!