Lessons Learned as a Groupie in NYC

It’s been a while since I’ve written, as life’s been rather chaotic. Sometimes, though, that chaos entails a wonderful adventure!

My husband, Andredeep2w, and I have just returned from a month’s stay in New York City! Andrew had the incredible opportunity to perform in an Off-Broadway production via the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Remember when I wrote about Deep Love, that mind-blowing rock opera in which he’s been playing bass? Well, that mind-blowing rock opera made it to the Big Apple, and it brought me and Andrew with it!

Our NYC adventure was so hectic and fantastic, there’s no way I could possibly write every detail down. So, I’ll note our experience in a microscopic nutshell, by way of a realistic list.

Lessons learned as a groupie in NYC:

1. Hauling gear around the city is nearly impossible.

Seriously. I don’t understand how local gigging musicians do it! Navigating the bustling streets and cramped subway pits of NYC is grueling. Now, add a long, awkwardly shaped and completely in the way bass guitar and a pedal board to the mix and you’re in a literal hell (or, a hell hole if you’re in the subway). Luckily, lugging amps around was unnecessary because everyone was backlined (the theatre provided amplification). Still, a heavy bass and pedal board alone will wreck your precious bass-playing hands when you’re carrying it around all over a gigantic city. Anytime I volunteered to schlep gear around, to distract myself from my own misery, I couldn’t help but wonder how drummers do it. They must take cabs. Or, they have their own cars (which, in a city like New York, appears to be its own private hell). There’s no other way, right? If any NYC drummers are reading this, please enlighten me because I cannot fathom your everyday struggle.

2. Musicians are the absolute bottom rung in the theatre industry.

It’s true—they’re the lowest of the low. No one in the theatre industry gives a rat’s ass about musicians. It’s as though they don’t realize musicals can’t function without the music! All the acclaim goes to the directors, writers, singers, dancers, set designers, the list goes on. Musicians are hardly on that “list” at all. Out of all the reviews, advertisements, and even the giant poster in front of the theatre, the only place in which you can find the musicians’ names is the pamphlet you’re handed as you walk into the show. Even then, the musicians don’t have these lengthy, elaborate bios like everyone else in the crew does. I’d like to see what the thespians would do if the musicians became as invisible as they were treated. It would be a shit show—literally.

3. Nothing can replace the extraordinary experience of rehearsing and performing in the heart of the city.

This was the coolest experience. Even though I wasn’t a performer and, therefore, never actually rehearsed in the studios or played in the theatre, being there and feeling the excitement of the crew was enough to grasp the value of the precious and unique experience. Imagine rehearsing in a high-rise studio, passing by developing artists as you walk through the halls and make your way up countless flights of stairs or elevator stops. You feel like you’re a part of this wonderful scene as you witness this lifestyle you’ve only ever seen on television. Then, imagine performing in a theatre that’s steps away from Times Square, next to the theatres that house famous Broadway shows. You’re part of something colossal, and it feels as though you’ve, somewhat, reached the top. Again, I did all this vicariously through my husband, as I wasn’t truly part of the production, but I still came away with a life changing experience.

Was Deep Love’s journey to NYC a success? Well, go read about it in the New York Times!