After Karen returned from New York City, I decided I needed to move there for a month. If we were going to make our way to Broadway, I needed to immerse myself in NY theatre and (not as exciting but necessary) handle all the legal aspects of making sure we could get there. So I rented out my house in LA, rented an apartment on the Upper West Side, and booked a flight out of Burbank. And then all bets were off. Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast and the airlines cancelled all their flights in and out of the region. Of course, the well-being of New Yorkers was my primary concern, but with Dan watching over my shoulder as usual, my flight out of Burbank turned out to be the first flight into JFK after the hurricane. When my sister picked me up from the airport, there was ZERO traffic -- unheard of coming out of Queens. Witnessing the devastation made me appreciate Southern California’s earthquake country. Especially when I arrived at my sister’s home to no hot water and no heat! Brrrrrrr. We ate a lot of candy that night (it was, after all, Halloween, and not even a hurricane was going to stop the kids from trick-or-treating)! A few nights later, life was starting to return to normal for many New Yorkers. I moved into my undamaged apartment right along the Hudson River, and got invited to a preview of “Dead Accounts” on Broadway. There I was, in the third row, watching Norbert Leo Butz and Katie Holmes hilariously bickering as only brothers and sisters do… I could VERY easily move here, I optimistically told myself.
Most of the work I accomplished in the following weeks had to do with the business aspects of mounting a musical. In between, I got to see The Book of Mormon and Once. It struck me that every great show breaks new ground, whether it be by pushing the limits of outrageousness (Mormon Elders in Uganda? You bet! And yes, it was hilarious), or the way Once transformed the standard pit orchestra into the Irish musicians on stage through subliminal choreography. By the end of November, I decided I just HAD to stay an extra month. There was still so much to accomplish. I was able to arrange meetings with several investor types (bankers, successful entrepreneurs, fund managers, etc.) And as long as I was on the right coast, a visit to Boston, for similar meetings, was definitely in the cards. And it would give me time to see more Broadway shows ;-)
The holidays in New York are a dream come true, and I enjoyed every minute of them! I drove through the middle of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with gigantic balloons overhead, I watched the Christmas Tree go up in Rockefeller Center, the skaters in Central Park, and the best part of all was spending time with my friends and family. Living 3000 miles away, I’m lucky if I get a short visit once or twice a year. Being in NYC for two whole months, I got to hang out with my best friend from high school (and her husband and kids), my best friend from graduate school (and her husband and kids), my darling cousins, my dear Aunt Shirley in Bellport, my sweet Libby in Harlem, and my sister and brother-in-law and my two gorgeous nephews (3 and 5 ;-) in Armonk! And then to set up more meetings in my old stomping grounds – Boston – meant I’d get to hang out with my old pals and all their kids… It was such a treat! And as if I needed anything more, every single person I spoke to about Part of the Plan reinforced what we had told ourselves – that we were onto something really special. Before leaving NY, I had a call from a friend in Los Angeles who wanted me to meet with a friend of his who was involved with Nice Work If You Can Get It on Broadway. Would I have time to go see this fabulous revival starring Matthew Broderick before I came home in preparation for a meeting in LA? Why, of course! The show was fantastic, and the perfect cap to my time in The Big Apple.
I made it back to LA in time to happily ring in the New Year with Richard. Karen and I reviewed all we’d learned and accomplished in 2012, and I have to admit, we felt pretty good about it. Then we set our sights on 2013 and all the challenges ahead of us. We now knew that our next steps involved staged reading(s) and workshop(s) with rewrites in between. We needed to investigate where we might do this next level of development. Given Dan’s connection to Illinois (born and raised in Peoria, and an alum of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and my having attended Northwestern University in Evanston, one thing seemed obvious. It was time to get ourselves to the Windy City.
- Kate Atkinson