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For pure theater, nothing compares to NYC

I'VE loved theater since I was 12 years old when a rehearsal gone awry put me behind the scenes and in the lighting booth.

In the six years since then, I've lived in four other countries, currently Shanghai, China, and have been involved in productions from comedic to absurd, from middle school plays to a one-man show by a professional mime.

As one might imagine, when my family's summer plans leaned towards New York City, arguably the most famous theatrical hub in the Western world, my excitement was comparable to that of a six-year-old on Christmas morning. With that feeling stirring in my chest, we ventured out for a vacation that surpassed any expectations I could have had.

From the minute we exited JFK airport, I was bombarded by iconic yellow cabs, advertisements for Broadway shows, and bouts of boisterous laughter from the airport staff. On the way to our hotel, a brief glimpse of Times Square made my breath catch - there were all the billboards and lights that you see in the movies and shows. I even managed to catch a quick look at the glittering ball that gets dropped at New Year hanging high above the square. I went back to Times Square many a time over the three weeks that we were there and explored the stores, spoke with girls dressed up advertising shows, and even strolled along a market that popped up one day, spanning nearly 10 blocks.

The most jaw-dropping aspect of my own experience in New York was undoubtedly the plays that we saw. There were far too many fantastic sets, stories and performances to possibly explain them all, but it would be criminal not to mention some of the highlights. Originally, we had three shows lined up to see; "The Book of Mormon," "Avenue Q," and "Priscilla Queen of the Desert," which included a hilarious story of Mormon elders traveling to Uganda, puppets singing about sex and racism, and a life-sized pink bus moving around on stage, respectively. These were all incredible plays and if we had just seen those three, I would have been thoroughly satisfied. However, we were quickly introduced to the exciting and often disappointing world of rush and lottery tickets. Through various instances of queuing and putting our names in buckets, we managed to get tickets to see Brooke Shields as Morticia in "The Addams Family," Daniel Radcliffe putting on a surprisingly solid American accent in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," as well as a mind-boggling production of "Wicked."

However, like all vacations, this one had to end, and, while I'll work my hardest to get back to New York City one day, for now I'm happy to be back in Shanghai.

(Kelsey Watt, center, is a student from Shanghai Community International School)


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