I couldn’t wait for Friday to come. It had been a long week and a trip into the city to hang out with my mom sounded like exactly what I needed. We’re from California, so any chance I get to see my mom is pretty rare and exciting. My mom’s best friend from college lives in Manhattan, so she spends a good amount of time visiting her there and, lucky for me, New York City is just a bus ride from Bethlehem. The idea that New York City is an hour from me is still is so crazy to me. I grew up taking a few vacations there every now and again and it always seemed so mesmerizing and vast.
My mom had informed me that this weekend was going to be a very special weekend because we would be seeing The Book of Mormon on Broadway. I had only seen a couple of plays before, and was very excited, so at the end of my classes on Friday I packed my weekend bag as fast as I could, eager to get there. By complete coincidence my roommate was also going home that weekend so she offered me a ride to her hometown in New Jersey and from there I could take a shorter bus into the city. This sounded like a more pleasant journey than sitting on a bus with strangers so I gladly accepted. After about an hour and half of recalling our weekend and listening to music, we came to her tiny little town of Oradell. After a ten-minute tour of her whole town (did I say it was tiny) she dropped me off at the bus stop near her house and I hopped on the next bus.
Fast forward about an hour, I step off the bus at Port Authority, my phone is on 4% battery and I’m alone in this gigantic city. Panicked, I texted my mom that I needed the address NOW before my phone died and by some miracle I hailed a cab and made it to the apartment in one piece, all before letting it completely die. Realizing my reliance on my phone for every aspect of my safety and existence, I vowed to never travel charger-less again. After my mom and I’s little reunion that night, we ordered in Chinese food and prepared for our day ahead.
The play started at 2:00pm, so after our slow morning and lovely breakfast of real New York bagels, we headed over to Broadway at around 1:00pm. The last time I had been on Broadway was for our 8th grade New York/DC field trip and we saw Billy Elliot. I can’t say I remember much about the content of the play, but I do remember thinking the theatre was incredible. The particular theatre that was showing The Book of Mormon was the Eugene O’Neill theatre and it was just as incredible as I had remembered. After waiting for about 10 minutes in line outside, we finally were ushered in, handed a playbill and directed to our seats which were literally the last row you could possibly sit in, but I wasn’t complaining. I was really surprised at how packed in we all were. Every time
someone realized they were also in our row the whole line of people would have to file out to allow for the people to get to their seats. This didn’t seem particularly practical to me but I suppose that’s the demand for Broadway shows. We waited about twenty more minutes for the show to start and finally the lights turned off, and the curtains were drawn back. The next 2 hours and 20 mins were fabulous. The whole crowd laughed out loud as Mormon missionary boys in suits and African villagers danced around and sung about AIDs, Jesus Christ and Yoda. It was vulgar, it was absurd, it was offensive to anyone who is in the slightest religious, and it was absolutely hysterical. During some parts I actually questioned how everyone in the room was ok with what they were seeing but then I remembered it won nine Tony awards and people must not be too offended by it. There was one actress in it, her character’s was named Nabulungi, and I swear she had the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. Every time she had a singing part I got the chills and whole crowd roared in applause at the end when it was her turn to bow. Of course I bought the soundtrack right after. It’s funny because I’ve never been super into plays or musicals and this experience was completely eye opening. I definitely appreciate good music and entertainment but I have never truly appreciated Broadway and the talent that performs there. I will forever be in awe of those performers who dedicate their time to making others laugh, or cry, or feel anything, and it really hit me in that moment watching and listening to her sing.
After the play, my mom and both walked out nodding in agreement that it was amazing and funny and vulgar and everything we had hoped it would be. We strolled in to Grand Central station to eat dinner at the Oyster House and discussed the play all the way until we got home that night. The next morning, I had to wake up and get back on the bus to go back to Bethlehem. I said my goodbyes to my mom and thanked her for being so cool and taking me to plays and hanging out with me. I can truly say it was an experience of a lifetime and I encourage everyone, interested in plays or not, to go to Broadway, watch a play, and experience the magic. And if you like comedy, and you’re not easily offended, please go see this one. I’m still laughing.