The only plan we came up with was to spend a day in "the greatest city in the world" to "stage door" it. That's a verb, right? She would be "satisfied" if that's all we did.
After having some issues with finding parking in Princeton Junction, we had to run "non-stop" to catch our train. The plan was to hang out at the stage door while she met the actors and had them autograph the pictures she drew of them. We've done this a few other times when we've had other plans that brought us into NYC, this was the first time this was our only plan.
I ended up hanging out in the Hamilton Cancellation Line mostly because it was a penned off area where I could stand while I could still watch Ashley work her way to the stage door. Besides wouldn't it be cool to be "in the room where it happened?"
It was a Wednesday which meant two performance -- one at 2pm and the other at 8pm. Unlike a make-up heavy show such as Cats, or Elphaba in Wicked, these actors can show up 15 minutes before the show and still start on time. It probably drives the stage manager crazy, but that's what they do. Knowing this, we planned to arrive by 12:45 to allow time to get into place, and to still have one more train as a back up.
I was not with Ashley for most of her stage door experience. She is ecstatic that Gregory Haney invited her to be on his daily Snapchat show. After 24 hours the Snapchat disappears, so I can't link to it. I saw it and she was totally star struck. No pictures of Gregory Haney because I was in line when this all happened.
What has been a constant with these experiences is how nice and genuine everyone comes across. Their compliments on her artwork seem heartfelt and real. One actor (Voltaire) was thrilled to meet the person whose artwork he had see on Instagram (check her out at HamilArtt on Instagram). Unlike some, she keeps her artwork, and has them autograph it. She is thinking of scanning some and mailing copies to those who seem most interested.
We met that evening's Alexander Hamilton (Donald Webber). A really nice man, and very tall. He not only complimented Ashley's artwork, but made a point to tell me how talented my daughter is.
No idea who this is, but I know Ashley could tell you all about him.
"You drew this?" Voltaire wanted to buy it from her on the spot. She offered to trade it for two tickets to that night's show (by this point it was after 7:30 and we were still waiting). He said even he doesn't have that much pull. Planning to scan it and mail it to him this week. Unfortunately he was not in that evening's performance (must have been on standby just in case), which is why he was the last one to show up.
Voltaire wanted to know if we got into the show. With some encouragement, Ashley finally wrote him the next day that she did. She felt odd messaging them during the show to say "I see you, but you don't see me," especially to someone like Alexander Hamilton (he was understudying that night, the regular Hamilton (Javier Munoz) was out with a minor injury).
She squeals with delight anytime someone from the cast likes one of her pictures. As a mom, I'm glad she has found some positive, approachable role models.
As we left the theater that night, I did remind her next time we go in to "stage door" it, that is not code for we are planning to buy last minute tickets to the show. Can't afford to set that precedence.
Shout out to stage door handlers Jimmy and Matt, who kept control of the situation, and Officer Sully whose presence alone kept everything at bay.
Some pictures from past stage door experiences: