I feel incredibly lucky to live in a place that is so rich in opportunities to engage with and celebrate the arts. This year, I am committed to getting out and taking advantage of more of these opportunities.
Specifically, I want to see more performances, go to exhibits, watch more DVDs, read more books, and talk to people in the arena of my first true love, the performing arts.
So I started 2015 by going to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts to see "Somebody Come and Play:" 45 Years of Sesame Street Helping Kids Grow Smarter, Stronger, and Kinder.
The exhibit, conceived by Sesame Workshop archivist Susan Tofte, features Sesame Muppets, archival footage, scripts, storyboards, lead sheets, designs, and scores from the archives of the show. There is also behind the scenes footage, animation cels, photographs, blueprints, and an architectural model of the set from the early 90’s. There's lots of nice opportunities to view show highlights, including a look back at many of the celebrities and other notable people that have visited Sesame Street.
I sat down for quite a while on a tiny wooden bench with some 70s-style headphones to watch some of the archival footage. I was fascinated by the clips from from the brainstorming sessions of the folks who conceptualized the show before it ever went on air. I got teary-eyed as I listened to the cast explain to Big Bird that his dear friend Mr. Hooper had passed away and would not be coming back.
Also sweet was the episode where Luis and Maria get married.
Looking around at all the families passing through, and being reminded that Sesame is in 150 countries around the world, I could really feel and see the impact that this show has had on the lives of millions of people around the globe.
After spending a few hours at the Sesame Street exhibit, I traveled to another part of the library and stumbled upon another exhibit. This one was titled Broadway Revealed: Photographs by Stephen Joseph Behind the Theater Curtain. In the center of the room were fantastic costumes from various musicals and plays. How fun to see the bright red beauties (see photo above) from Kinky Boots standing proudly in a lucite display box.
On the walls surrounding the costumes wre photographs of all the people who work behind the scenes to make the magic that is Broadway.
In between visits to these two fab exhibits, I took time to explore the shelves of this branch of the NYPL dedicated entirely to the performing arts. Such an exciting array of books, CDs, DVDs, and videos. I checked out a book of essays by deceased playwright Wendy Wasserstein, as well as some DVDs from The Best of Soul Train collection.
I finished my time at the performing arts library by writing my dad a letter to thank him for taking us to some really great musicals when we were children, and for encouraging us to go behind the scenes to see what the performing arts were all about.
I hope to extend that sense of inquiry and wonder into 2015, and make it integral to many of the adventures which I seek out this year.
Happy 2015, everyone!