Well, we can’t all come and go by bubble. Whose invention was that, the Wizard’s?
From the moment our feet first stepped onto the street labeled Broadway, Twelve’s eyes were enormous. When she’s excited she makes a noise at that register that causes dogs to bark, which might be recorded as “Squeeee,” except the squ- is silent. Her pace quickened and her grip on my arm tightened. “I’m on Broadway. I’m actually on Broadway and going to see a real Broadway show.”
Our seats in the Gershwin Theater were three escalators up. There isn’t much of a lobby in most Broadway Theaters I’ve been to, and while this one isn’t an exception, it is the largest house in all of Broadway, with 1933 seats. When we arrived at ours in the first balcony, just high enough that we could see the splendor of everything, nearly every other seat was full. A mechanical dragon with glowing red eyes spread its wings across the top of the curtain, hanging over the audience, and the curtain, with the Emerald City shimmering green at the center of the map wavered ever so slightly. When that same curtain rose revealing Munchkinland, Twelve’s jaw dropped.
Wicked is a perfect musical for a girls’ weekend in New York. With its strong messages about friendship and sisterhood and animal sanctity and what it means to be different and that the real story isn’t always what it seems, it kept us on the edges of our seats from beginning to end. We loved the monkeys that really flew, the dragon that came to life at dramatic moments, the smoke, the voices, the orchestra, the lights, and the tidy allusions to the original Wizard of Oz story that Twelve will dance in here in Des Moines in just two weeks’ time. But perhaps my favorite line (aside from the spiteful, It seems the artichoke is steamed) came when Glinda questions the very green Elphaba about her broomstick. Elphaba hurls back, “Well we can’t all come and go by bubble.”
And while it’s true that we travel neither by enormous shimmery soap bubbles as sets down the movie Glinda to the awe of the munchkins nor by mechanical clockwork pendulum spewing bubbles as brought our matinee Glinda to the stage, when Elphaba spat those words at her friend I thought to myself, yes, we sort of can.
Because my trip to New York with Twelve was such a charmed experience that we might as well have been traveling by bubble. Cozy together we visited friends on Long Island and then tucked into the Brooklyn apartment of a friend of thirty-five years. Gretchen and I were put together by our fathers, colleagues in the English Department at the University of Arizona. And while we both resisted the notion that we could be set up as friends, from the moment we met we were the best of buddies. All these years later we have both those early ties and an evolution of our friendship that we cherish. To my unending delight, my peeps love Gretchen as much as I do and vice versa, so she made her own version of Squeee when I floated the idea of a spring break trip to see her.
Whether on the subway or in the snow that fell in earnest on New York City on the first day of spring, at tea at Alice’s Tea Cup or having a mini-hand spa at Soapology, connecting with still more friends in an Irish pub or stepping out to purchase green bagels and finding ourselves cheering for a St. Patrick’s Day parade, it felt to me exactly like we were coming and going by bubble. Some moments we pursued specific plans, others we floated along, from one mystical land to another. But it wasn’t the Wizard’s invention that moved us from place to place and it wasn’t limited to spring break magic … the bubble I traverse the world in is a bubble of love.
Pictures from the trip follow below. The new moon rose when we were enjoying New York on the spring equinox complete with several inches of wet, slushy snow. Nonetheless, spring IS springing, even though it may not always be in the most obvious manner. Happy Spring wherever you are & whatever your weather. As ever, thank you for reading, Rxoxo