Monday, August 13, 2012

Metropolitan Museum and a Broadway Show - July 25

Today the Metropolitan Museum is open. The recommended admission for an adult is $25, but visitors can pay whatever they like. I pay the recommended admission.

To visit the Met is an overwhelming experience and it's best to plan before going. I have not planned my visit. I take a quick survey and decide to begin with Egyptian art and continue in chronological order, although I can tell the museum isn't laid out that way. I begin with antiquity, Egypt and then Rome. Next, I move onto the medieval art. I get lost when I try to look for Renaissance art because it isn't in a particular wing or gallery.

I move onto the American wing, which has 73 galleries.

At the end of my visit, two displays will stand out most clearly in my mind. The Egyptian temple, which was a gift to the American people from the Egyptians and the rooms that trace the art of home furnishings from the beginning of United States history to the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Explanation for Egyptian gift
The number of pieces people have contributed to the museum is immense. It reminds me of my visit to Wisconsin's House on the Rock, only these collections are far more sophisticated.

 The museum's website states its mission statement, which is:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870, "to be located in the City of New York, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining in said city a Museum and library of art, of encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of arts to manufacture and practical life, of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, and, to that end, of furnishing popular instruction."1
In 2000 the board of trustees affirmed its original mission statement, and added this addendum.
The mission of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is to collect, preserve, study, exhibit, and stimulate appreciation for and advance knowledge of works of art that collectively represent the broadest spectrum of human achievement at the highest level of quality, all in the service of the public and in accordance with the highest professional standards.
Whether I spend one day, one week, a year, or the rest of my life, I could not begin to grasp the immensity of what the curators of the Met have done, are doing and will continue to do.

One last point, my friend Gil is a journeyman carpenter with a passion for wood. In the American wing there were so many beautiful wood pieces I think it would be his idea of heaven, since he, as I, do not believe in a heaven somewhere in the sky. I soon gave up trying to take photos to show him. The collection was too immense. He must go to the Met and see for himself.

I wasn't feeling well and my main concern throughout my visit was where the nearest bathroom was.

My intention is to see a Broadway play this evening. I debate whether or not to go to the theatre. I find a pharmacy, purchase some over the counter medications that the pharmacist recommends, hope for the best and stand in line at TKTS  to see if I can purchase a seat for the play titled "At the End of the Rainbow." The play is the story of the last few months of Judy Garland's life. TKTS offers last minute Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets at discount prices. My luck is good, and I have a feeling last minute tickets to Broadway performances are usually available. I purchase a ticket. The ticket seller seems to be quite delighted at the seat he is able to offer me.
The play is performed at the Belasco Theatre. The Belasco had its debut in 1907 and was designed to allow the audience an intimate experience of what was happening onstage. In 2010, it was restored to its original splendor.

The play is intimate and the theatre perfectly matches its venue. When the play is over, I think it was good but not any better than anything I have seen at the Manitoba Theatre Centre Let it be said that Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada is a backwoods place with a surprisingly well developed arts culture.

However, over the next few days the depth of the play sinks into my psyche. Tracy Bennett gave an interpretation rather than an impression of Judy Garland. She sang many of the songs Ms. Garland was known for, gave an impeccable rendition of Ms. Garland's humor. Indeed, it was a haunting performance.

Good news, the medication worked and I was able to sit through the play without a desperate run to the bathroom.

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