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“Dear Evan Hansen” – wow

New York saga catchup: Thursday July 27. 
Went to the Met Breuer, a newish museum
I’ve never visited before – an exhibition of the work of Ettore Sottsass, an
Italian designer famous for his Memphis collective, his lipstick red Olivetti
typewriter and quirky shelving units. The exhibition reminded me of my
dear friend Robert Handforth, the first person who taught me to think about
style and who undoubtedly knew of Memphis and Sottsass. Bob died of AIDS in New
York in the late 80’s, another beloved New York ghost.

Lunch at a lovely Italian place on
Lexington with my father’s cousin Lola, who’s exactly the age he would have been
had he lived – nearly 95 – and her daughter Patti. Patti is an art restorer at
Yale, and Lola is an artist herself, as was her mother Belle, my grandfather’s
sister. A great lunch with much juicy family gossip. Lola, like my Aunt Do, still
lives alone in her apartment.
 
Home to change and prepare for the rest of
the day. Wanted to go to the actual Met but Ted said we’d meet at six for
dinner in Times Square, so rather than hustle, I decided to make my way slowly
downtown. Somehow – how did that happen? – I landed at Bloomingdale’s. Last
time I was here, two years ago, I got a great pair of black pants so wanted to
try again – bingo, same make, Gerard Darel, same fantastic sale. Making my way
through this crazy store, I ended up sitting in a chair having my face cleaned
and moisturized by a nice lady from South America. She thought I needed to fill
in the gaps in my eyebrows. Did not buy her products and wiped off her eyebrow
enhancement asap.
Walked down hot, sticky, packed, frantic
Fifth Avenue, ducked into Sak’s for fun. I looked at a nice
backpack and enquired the price: $1285.00. I laughed out loud. So – fun. It was nearly
six when Ted called – he couldn’t get away. I was on Fifth Ave. with two hours to kill till the theatre, no idea where to go or what to do, when I had a brilliant idea
and went to the Algonquin, a hotel with a famous bar where Dorothy Parker and
other New Yorker writers used to meet
at their Round Table. I met with a New York editor there once, intimidated and
thrilled; what a pleasure to walk again into this elegant, old-fashioned place,
suffused with history. I had a glass of white wine and a delicious crab cake,
tended by kind, attentive waiters, and felt like a true New Yorker.

Met Ted and Henry to see “Dear Evan Hansen.”
It won the Tony for Best Musical, the young star, Ben Platt, won Best Actor in
a Musical and it’s sold out for months, so I treated my cousin and his spouse to
house seats rustled up for us by my ex. After only a few minutes, I thought,
this is why I’m here, this is why people come to New York. It was simply
superb, incredibly moving and well done. Ben Platt gave one of the best, most overwhelmingly
honest performances I’ve ever seen. Even hardened New Yorkers Ted and Henry
were thrilled and moved, and that’s saying something. 
It’s the story of a quasi-autistic high
school student who gets embroiled in an internet deception involving a fellow
student’s suicide. But mostly it’s about family – his mother is struggling, his
father remarried and far away, the boy lonely and lost. The music is gorgeous,
and Ben Platt and all the others are not only fabulous actors but great singers
too. Spectacular. All teenagers should see this play. “You are not alone” is one of the beautiful songs.
After we’d finished rhapsodizing and
dabbing our eyes, Ted and Henry left to go to Northport, and I took the Q train to 72nd and 2nd. It’s a new subway line up 2nd
Avenue. What a blessing to get out of Times Square so easily.

At home, however, not so easy – as I walked
in the door, there was a loud beep. If there’s one thing I dread, it’s the loud
beep, indicating some battery somewhere, at my house a smoke alarm, is failing.
Here it was the Verizon box, requiring me to get dressed twice to go down and
get the doorman, both of us struggling to disconnect the @##@ thing. It took an
hour, with several tries. No internet. If it weren’t for my phone, I’d go mad.

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2 Responses to ““Dear Evan Hansen” – wow”

  1. theresa says:

    I love your New York posts, Beth. We once met friends (from Whitehorse!) at the Algonquin and drank glasses of Prosecco while watching the sophisticates around us.

  2. beth says:

    There are these marvellous pockets of Old New York – like my cousin's Century Club and the Algonquin – where you open the door and step into another era. And a very welcome escape from our era they are too. A thrill to sit with the ghost of Dorothy Parker and her friends. Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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