Thursday, September 19, 2013

Scenes from Central Park

     So much has happened in the past week, and I just don't have the time to write about all of it in one go! For my sanity's sake then, I've decided to just focus on one of my new favorite locations in New York: CENTRAL PARK.

     I have ventured into the park numerous times already, and I've only just explored a small portion of the city's biggest patch of green. During my wanderings, I have encountered all sorts of interesting sights and people, including two wedding parties being photographed in which the couples looked like eerily identical pre-teen brides and grooms...

      Luckily, I have my unofficial NYC tour guide, Andy, to show me around the park sometimes. We even managed to stumble into a filming site one day and didn't realize until an official looking man in a hat instructed us to keep walking toward the lights that something was amiss. After we got out of their way, we turned around to watch. Much to our surprise, we had inadvertently sauntered into the area where they were filming Lea Michele for Glee. Second celebrity sighting? Check!

     Above all, I enjoy Central Park because it is an accessible, relaxing place to go when I'm between appointments or just don't have any set plans for the afternoon. I've even used it as my practice space when I need to fit in a little mental rehearsal with my opera recording and score in hand. Sitting on a park bench and dramatically mouthing German lyrics probably makes me look mentally unbalanced, but New Yorkers seem pretty accustomed to crazy types in the park.

     I'm looking forward to venturing further into the park when I can and revisiting places that have already captured my heart. The Metropolitan Museum of Art alone demands that I return in the future. There's so much art I have yet to see! Once the leaves start changing and sweater weather sets in, I am sure it will be even more gorgeous. Numerous autumn strolls are in my future!

     I will try to update you on more of my New York excursions when I can, but this next week may be a little hectic because...I FINALLY LANDED A JOB! It is such a relief to be employed, and while I won't be as free to wander the city, I am kind of looking forward to a more set schedule and definitely eager to have an income.

     Thank you to everyone who was sending positive vibes my way during my job hunt. I am so grateful to have found work this quickly, and without the support of my friends and family, the wait would have been even more unbearable. (A special shout out to Andy who spent many nights via text message telling me not to stress out and that I would find a job in no time. Late night job hunt anxiety leads to insomnia!) Things are starting to fall into place for me, and I can't wait to share more with you all!

     Just as a reminder (because I'm a singer and have to promote myself at every opportunity): I will be singing in New York Lyric Opera Theatre's Mozart Concert next Saturday, September 28th!!!! If you want to hear me saving Tamino from a monster and handing out magical musical instruments as the First Lady, please contact me immediately so I can get you on the will call list. Email me if you're interested! I'd love to have your support at my NYC debut!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Upcoming Performance: New York Lyric Opera Theatre

     I'll keep this brief, but I have an announcement to share! I will be singing First Lady in Die Zauberflote with New York Lyric Opera Theatre. It all fell into place very quickly, but I am excited to be making my NYC debut performance.

     You can find more information about the performance and cast on their website here, but here are the details:


WHEN: Saturday, September 28th, 2013 at 8:30 PM

WHERE: Symphony Space on Broadway
                2537 Broadway at 95th Street
                New York City

     That's only two weeks away! Another New York first within my first month of living here.

     Now for anyone in the NYC area or visiting at the end of the month, if you are interested in coming to hear me sing, let me know immediately! I had to buy tickets ahead of time, so if you want to purchase a ticket, CONTACT ME DIRECTLY. You can email me at I'm so thrilled to be a part of this production, and I'd love to know I have some supporters in the audience for my first NYC performance.

     More updates on my past week in New York coming soon with plenty of pictures. In the meantime, I've got some practicing to do!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My New York Firsts

     I've been in New York for a few days now, and it still doesn't quite seem real. I don't think I'll start to feel fully adjusted until I've got a job pegged down. I often return from the city at night and start panicking about not having a job yet... I'm not usually the type to let stress overwhelm me like this, but luckily I have friends that are skilled at calming me down and assuring me that I will find something.

     When I'm not busy worrying, however, I find myself overwhelmed with excitement at my surroundings. I've only been down to Manhattan two days, but already I feel like I've crammed in so many New York experiences. This blog entry is dedicated to a few of them.

My view of the Hudson on the train ride.
     On my initial venture into the city, my main goal was to try to navigate the public transit without getting miserably lost. Thanks to some phone apps and explanations by friends, my adventure was pretty successful.

     I must have at least looked like I knew what I was doing, because five different tourists asked me questions about the subway system during my trip. Unfortunately for them, I was just about as clueless as they were.

     My dad assured me that I must have looked like a New Yorker because I looked pissed off which may well have been true. In my defense, I had managed to sit next to the crazy person in the car, and it was difficult to look chipper while he was yelling at a Levi's ad the whole time. (Check that experience off the NYC bucket list.) Fortunately, I mastered the art of ignoring strange characters on public transit in Duluth, so this time it was just a normal commute.

     So I made it to my destination unscathed and free to explore for the afternoon. With my bagged lunch in hand, I set a course for Central Park. The weather here has been ideal since my arrival, hovering on the border between summer and fall. The cool but sunny day had drawn crowds of people to the park, but it was still enjoyable to wander and lounge in the shade.

     I have been informed that I barely made a dent in Central Park that day, but I already have plans for further expeditions. (Don't worry. I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures when I do.)

     After my transient lunch, I headed over to Lincoln Center to discover even more crowds of people. This time, however, they were all fabulously (and sometimes strangely) dressed for Fashion Week. I found myself interrupting all kinds of mini-fashion shoots as I walked across the plaza. Who knows? I may be making an unintended appearance in the background of some fashion blogger's latest post at this very moment!

     The highlight of my first Manhattan afternoon, of course, was getting a backstage tour of the Met! I had more fangirl moments than I care to disclose. Hopefully I didn't embarrass my guide too much. I've warned him many times about my tendency to nerd out, so he was prepared for probably much worse.

     I can hardly be blamed for my giddiness though. I've never been to the Met before, so it was an exhilarating experience! We even stumbled across an orchestra rehearsal being conducted by James Levine. It's like this big, beautiful maze full of gorgeous music!

     My most starstruck moment, however, was when we slipped into the theater and watched Mariusz Kwiecien and Anna Netrebko rehearse the last scene of Eugene Onegin. I tried to squee as quietly as possible. And yes, I did manage to restrain myself from rushing the stage and tackling Mariusz or throwing my panties at him. I do have some self-control...

     It was amazing! It was so inspiring to watch them rehearse, even the little moments when they would mess up the staging and Kwiecien would awkwardly scoot them across the stage as Netrebko giggled. Sometimes it's easy to build them up as the idols in my mind, so it was refreshing to see them having fun while they worked but still being utterly committed to performing. I definitely hope I can see the production in full.  With such beautiful singing and the stunning set, I'm already enamored.

     Later that evening, I did make it to Times Square. I'm already getting annoyed by tourists there, so I'm adapting to some aspects of the New York lifestyle quickly. I can't deny the energy and excitement of the area though. It can be a little overstimulating. I still refuse to do the prerequisite Times Square selfie, but I did manage to take one decent photo without a tourist's head in the way before I made the trek back to Grand Central to catch  my train.

     My second evening in Manhattan covered less ground but was equally jam packed. Perhaps the most important first milestone in my NYC experience happened yesterday: MY FIRST AUDITION. I thought I performed admirably. They were running at least twenty minutes behind, so I only ended up singing for about two minutes tops. Hopefully I made those two minutes count!

     After my audition, I was rewarded with Indian food and a Broadway play. The Glass Menagerie is still technically in previews, but I would highly recommend it to anyone. I've always loved the play, and this production was brilliantly performed. All four actors were incredibly strong in their roles, and the production was intimate in the best ways.

     Although this was not technically the first Broadway show that I've attended, I did manage to check another New York first off the list at the play. I had my first celebrity sighting! Just two rows ahead of us was Andrew Rannells of The New Normal and The Book of Mormon fame. I couldn't remember his name at the time though, so I just kept pointing at him and babbling, "It's that guy!" I suppose technically you could count Zachary Quinto as my first sighting, but as he was starring in the play I was attending, I don't think that really counts. Still, I'm sure I made a few friends jealous that I got to see him in his Broadway debut.

     Even more important than all the firsts I've had in New York thus far, I treasure the reunions with old friends. It's been great to see familiar faces in this foreign place, and I look forward to catching up with people who are dear to me that I haven't seen in awhile. I also want to thank my New York friends for their incredible generosity and helpfulness as I am adjusting to my new life. Without them, my stress may overwhelm me completely.

     I have exciting news to share with you very soon, so keep an eye on this blog! In the meantime, I've got some practicing to do.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Last Week in Limbo

Gin fizz on the dock: Perfection.
     Sorry I haven't updated in awhile. I move in just a few days, so all the packing and preparations in combination with Labor Day weekend has kept me sufficiently distracted from blogging. It feels like every time I cross a task off my to do list there is something new to replace it, but I am determined to fill you in a little before I fly out on Thursday.

     I truly wish I could have written about all this during my stint at the cabin, but the absence of internet service and my own dedication to relaxation prevented any productivity. I consider it sort of the crowning moment of my month of wandering. It has been a strange month, lacking a true feeling of structure or stability, and I have often equated it to being in a kind of limbo.

     Without a current job, sleeping on couches and in guest rooms, and with the majority of my possessions in boxes, my life hasn't felt like it has a lot of direction. This isn't to say that I've been a worthless bum or anything. Sure I've been watching plenty of trashy reality TV, but I've been sending in applications regularly and practicing too! Without a routine or a room to call my own, however, I just end up feeling like a vagabond or something.

    The week between Chicago Summer Opera and my move has been especially strange for me. Part of me wants to start gearing up for the unavoidable stress that moving and finding a job will force upon me in just a few days, but as my dual Pisces nature always insists, there is simultaneously part of me that keeps screaming out, "JUST RELAX WHILE YOU CAN! Cherish this last week, because your life is going to change drastically very soon."

     As usual with a prospective move, there is an overwhelming need to reconnect with friends and family before the departure. Thus, I was so thrilled that I could make it up to the family lake cabin in Wisconsin one last time this summer. The realistic side of Meghan made sure that I was responsible and packed up a sufficient amount of belongings before I made the trek up north, and once we arrived, my escapist side was like, "GAME ON!"

      It was only hot and sunny for one day at the cabin, but even in the shade and the rain, I had a great time. So while I may not have gotten a tan, I have plenty of other accomplishments to celebrate, including the following:

     1. I started and finished an entire book. The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure. As a major Little House on the Praire geek as a kid, it was a humorous and touching read. I highly recommend it.

     2. I brushed up on my bartending skills. Wouldn't want to get rusty would I? And no one seemed to complain when I brought gin fizzes down to the dock.

     3. Introduced Card Against Humanity to my parents and my aunt. We laughed so hard it hurt.

     4. After making my friend watch episodes of Sherlock, I may or may not have inadvertently created a fellow Sherlock/Watson shipper.

     5. I drank on a pontoon as we cruised our little lake. It did not live up to the country song hype, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

     6. I bonded with my cousin and fellow cat lady about how much we will miss our cats this year! (I'm still in denial about it.)

     7.  I got regularly dominated by my friend and my mom at the game Hearts. Whist was also a frequently discussed endeavor that never came to be.

     8. Bonfire. This is always a requirement.

     9. I resisted the urge to yell back at annoying children on the other side of the lake. Eventually I reconciled my feelings by acknowledging that I would totally have been one of those obnoxiously loud kids, so I can't judge.

     10. I got to have one last reunion with my Wisconsin relatives Duluth bestie! It was a complete last minute coincidence that he could join us for the weekend, and I was so glad. We hadn't been able to hang out all summer, so it was nice to touch base and goof off one more time before I head east. Pisces bonding weekend to the max!

     As we drove through the pastoral vision that is Wisconsin farmland on our way home, I joked with my mom that I would go into shock transitioning from these wide open, green spaces to the crowded city. I found myself trying to take in every moment, as if to catalog each image in my brain so that I could draw upon the memory when I needed it in New York.

     I'm not a big outdoorsy type, but I am still a Midwestern gal at heart. I like knowing that nature is at least easily accessible, just a short walk or drive away. It may not be every day that I long for Lake Superior or the wide open Iowa sky, but I will miss these places and the emotions I associate with them. I will have to be proactive about getting my nature fix in New York. Even if I have to open my computer to sift through photos, it will help. I can't believe I'm getting homesick about it already.

     Unfortunately, the time for relaxing and storing up fond memories of my homeland is at an end. I've got two days to finish packing and shipping my stuff, so it's time for productive Meghan to take over. Keep in mind when I post my next entry on this blog it will be from my new home in New York! I'm excited and terrified at the same time. I already have two auditions lined up, and the first one is just two days after I arrive. I'm jumping head first into the deep end it would seem. It's time to sink or swim!

     This last week in limbo has been amazing, and as I bid the Midwest at least a temporary "adieu," I can't help but feel blessed by my past and eager about my future. NYC, prepare yourself!