Thankfully Stephanie appreciated my need to not make one more decision that weekend and chose a great place for brunch - The Smith, near Lincoln Center - and it couldn't have been more perfect! We met at 11 and spent the next couple hours catching up (we had only seen each other once since graduation from UNLV in 2000 and that was in 2009 when she and our friend, Marcie, came to KC while I was going through my divorce). M asked her all about life in NY because after two days in the city she had a lot she wanted to know. We enjoyed our visit and after a fantastic meal, M and I headed up Columbus Ave. through the Upper West Side to the American Museum of Natural History where we had hoped to see the dinosaurs, but the line was too long so we walked back down along Central Park, stopping at Strawberry Fields before taking the paths through the park back towards our hotel. We had one last major stop before getting ready for Wicked - Top of the Rock - and we were there at the perfect time...no real wait and the sun was just low enough to make the view all warm and shimmery. We stopped at each level, enchanted by every detail of the city below us, feeling as if for a few moments nothing else mattered except taking in as much as we possibly could: trying to memorize not only the view, but the way I felt standing next to my mini and thanking God I got to share this with her. (And, yes, the view was better up there than at the ESB because the ESB was PART OF THE VIEW from up there and that made it even more magical.)
Let me just say...I saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway the last time I was in NYC, but was so incredibly excited to see Wicked - more so than I had to see Phantom - likely because I couldn't wait to see it with M, but also because I knew the level of talent we were about to see and we were not disappointed. We were six rows back on the right side of the stage and our seats were PERFECT. We were mesmerized from the moment the first actor stepped on stage until the very last second. For two and a half hours we felt like a part of the musical, so close we could see their expressions, near enough to see them looking right at us...we could literally feel the power of the music as Elphaba closed out the first act with "Defying Gravity" and left M saying she HAD to get the music! We were speechless as the curtain closed, almost exhausted by what we had just seen. We left wanting to see it again, and feeling a little sad that it was over. If you haven't seen Wicked...do it! Pay for the good seats (our's were $160 a piece and worth every single penny), take your daughter and go. The storyline is so much more than you might imagine and hits on topics our kiddos are facing every day - inclusion, sticking up for those who can't take care of themselves, loyalty, the power of diversity, the fact that family comes in all shapes/sizes/colors - and it was just INCREDIBLE. We left the theatre feeling magical and thankful to have been in the presence of such talent.