Welcome to New York!
PART TWO NYC
Now then. When I say SuzyMae is my niece, I have to say she is family, blood family. In fact, though I don’t often claim my eldest sister for reasons I won’t go into now, I wholeheartedly accept her only daughter SuzyMae. Suzy may or may not feel the same way I do about my eldest sister and her dear mother, but I would say it’s safe to say we largely share the same opinion about her. Enough said. SuzyMae has turned out pretty damn good when you consider the challenges she faced. She is a what some might describe a “Tall cool glass of water,” in that she stands close to six feet in altitude, and probably tips the scales at less than 100 pounds. She has to exercise caution when walking over those NYC subway grates lest she fall in. Like many NYC models (YES she is a fashion model I am proud to say) she wears it well, with her blond hair, saucer sized eyes and long legs. She may prefer flannel PJ’s at home, but when she is out, she attracts attention I can promise you. Anyway…
We met her in the lobby of the London Hotel on 54th Street and gave her a soaking wet hug. We were hoofing it after getting ripped off by a Jamaican cabbie who took us the LONNNNNNNG way from 57th to 14th at the 9-11 Memorial due to a high rise fire. They did cover it in the nightly news, so it wasn’t a ruse, but $35 for a ride downtown? I complained for all the good THAT did me. We took the subway back to our hotel, less than ten bucks for all three of us. So we walked the rest of the time in NYC including when we came out of seeing Jersey Boys at the Theater (GREAT SHOW!) to a drenching rain. We walked fast, made it to the London Hotel, and shook the water off our hair and clothes while we waited for SuzyMae to meet us in the lobby. We hugged and hugged and exchanged names, (I finally got to meet her man Brian), then all six of us headed up to the 7th floor for the reading. One of their friends was with us as well.
Not knowing what to expect ( I mean New Yorkers can be stuffy and even pretentious at times-look it up p-r-e-t-e-n-t-i-o-u-s). To my surprise we were all warmly welcomed into this small hotel room suite with a couch, a bar and coffee table. The host was most gracious and we all felt welcomed and at ease from the start. There were several people sitting on the couch, they slid over to make room for us, and drinks were offered. Several other guests soon joined us and altogether there were about a dozen people present for the reading. The author had not \yet arrived, and when she did she was as bedraggled and rain-soaked as we were. Misery loves company you know. She freshened up while we were assigned the task of handing out copies of her one-act play, the play, the “event” they had all gathered to read for timing, improvements and preparation for filming a short movie of. She handed the host a box filled with ten copies of the play. Uncollated. Whoops. Ten page ONES followed by ten page TWOS, etc. So we set about assigning pages. I took page one, someone to my left the title page, to my right page two and we just started passing them around until we had ten sets 1-10. We laughed and had fun with the task, searching out the missing page 5, when we came up one page short for the last stack.
Then it was time to assign roles. Lots of women’s roles, as the play was about a famous Broadway star, a diva with lovers and mothers and boyfriends and stylists and agents. She needed a lead male, Ricardo, her spurned Latin lover who ends up strangling her in the last scene. Brian stepped up, “But I’m not sure I can do the Hispanic accent.” “Uh, I theenk I can do juan,” I intoned doing my best Cheech Marin. “Okay, you can be my Ricardo for the first read,” the author agreed.
I was excited. I only had one line in the first couple pages of dialog, “How does HE know what kind of CIGARETTE you smoke?” But five pages in, when Ricardo pays an unexpected visit to Linda’s dressing room to find out she has been with another WOMAN!! He, “GETS ANGRY” the note read. So…I got angry. I shouted and cried and called her names I dare not repeat here, I really got into it, it was so much fun. When I finished someone remarked, “Are you here to read the script or are you auditioning for the part of Ricardo?” Everyone laughed. After the read, they all agreed I “stole the show.” It was more fun than I have had in a long time. Affirmation from complete strangers, except for my wife, my daughter who saw a different side of Dad and my niece SuzyMae who was proud of her Uncle Frank.