At 2:15 A. M. On Tuesday, June 12, members of the Richland Springs Drama Club pulled out for the Austin airport on their way to New York City for the trip of a lifetime. After an unexpected layover in the Chicago O’Hare airport due to inclement weather, the students landed safely at La Guardia airport in NYC. From there, they went to a theatre workshop conducted by Shaneca Adams, one of the blue men in Blue Man Group and Kenneth Kantor, one of the actors in Phantom of the Opera. Then, the students walked to Broadway gift shops for souvenir purchases and on to the Hard Rock Cafe-NYC for dinner. After dinner, all attended the play, August: Osage County which starred Phylicia Rashad, who played the mother on the Cosby Show. This 3 hours and 30 minutes play kept everyone on the edge of their seats with its humor, sadness, and dramatic excellence. Playwright, Tracy Letts won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for drama with this play. After a long subway ride to the Marriott Hotel at the Brooklyn Bridge, everyone collapsed for a few hours sleep.
On Wednesday morning, the group gathered at 6:30 A.M. for breakfast at the Brooklyn Celeste Diner and then subwayed to Midtown for a workshop with renowned make-up artist, Alison Wadsworth, who attended Juliard and does the makeup for Wicked, The Lion King, Billy Elliot, and many other shows. Brennen McGinty was made up by the artist to appear as an old, sick man while Sara Hedley was made up in regular Broadway stage makeup. After that workshop, students attended an improvisation workshop with master teacher, Jeff Lagreca, who led them through various exercises to improve their acting skills. After lunch at one of New York’s famous deli restaurants, all subwayed to the Empire State Building where they enjoyed spectacular views of NYC. Students were most impressed with trees and gardens growing on top of tall buildings. A walking tour of Chinatown and Little Italy was conducted by the very able and instructive tour guide, Sean Parrot, who is also an abstract artist. Then dinner was at the famous, Da Nico restaurant in Little Italy with delectable desserts afterwards at the famous Ferrera Bakery with Mrs. Hall having four different chocolate desserts. From there, students subwayed to Astor Place Theatre in the Village to see Blue Man Group Tubes.
Thursday morning brought a subway trip to The CBS Early Show at 58th and 5th Avenue where all of the students appeared on live TV with Emily Smith being interviewed by Dave Price, CBS weather anchor, who asked her questions about Richland Springs. Students also saw, Julie Chen, a CBS anchor. A light rain was falling, and students hurried over to St. Patrick’s Cathedral where they were enthralled with the stained-glass windows, pipe organ, statues, Stations of the Cross, and enormity and beauty of the cathedral. A tour of the NBC studios followed with Brennen McGinty being selected to give the evening news, and Sara Hedley being selected to present the weather. The presentations were live and were recorded, but they were never actually aired. A DVD of their presentations was brought home to show parents and friends. Another deli provided the famous NY cheesecake as well as other delicacies. Thursday afternoon was spent shopping on Fifth Avenue where students saw the Tiffany diamond, toured Trump Tower, and shopped in the famous toy story, FAO Schwarz. From there, they went to the famous Mars 2112 restaurant where Brad Pitt has been photographed with his children. After dinner, The Phantom of the Opera was the next stop. Students were awed not only by the beautiful Majestic Theatre, but also by the special effects of the show. The production was dazzling, spectacular, and mind-boggling. After the theatre, students took a group photo in Times Square at midnight.
On Friday, everyone rode the Ferry from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty. After taking many photos, all rode the Ferry to Ellis Island and toured the museum there with some finding their last names on the Wall of Immigrants. After lunch, students toured the financial district and took photos of the bull on Wall Street, the U.S. Customs House, Trinity Church, Federal Hall, St. Paul’s Church, and Ground Zero. From Wall Street, it was on to La Guardia and back to Richland Springs via DFW.
Students, Kelyn Green, Brennen McGinty, Sara Hedley, Emily Smith and their group leader, Patsy Hall would like to thank everyone who helped make this dream come true by donating money or time or by participating in the spaghetti dinner, the play performance, the bingo night, the barbecue supper, the virtual bake sale, or the Ad campaign. A special thanks goes to Mrs. Melanie Smith for her encouragement and help in all ways possible. A special thanks also goes to Commander Robert Close USN (Ret), uncle of Patsy and Grant Hall, who made a large financial donation which was a great part of making this trip and dream come true. Also, many thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Jerry McGinty and Mr. & Mrs. Ed Smith for transporting everyone to and from the airport. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who helped us reach our dream.