It’s where the actors go. It’s where the writers go. It’s where the artists go. If you are into fine arts in any way, NYC is a place you must visit at least once. I have been there once before, in 2004. I got to see WICKED with Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenowith and I was in the third row.
This time, however, was for another play. My mission was to see Jake Epstein perform the role of Peter Parker in SPIDER MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK. Jake Epstein, if you are unaware, played Craig Manning on Degrassi once upon a time and has now entered the realm of musical theatre. Spider-Man is my favorite superhero, so I decided I was going to go to a matinee to see Jake.
It was Sunday, February 24th. It was Three PM. I was in the third row. Center. I was ready. A woman, Kim, who had scored the seat next to me thanks to the discount ticket booth, was anxious to see the show. I told her how I had come all this way to see Jake and I was nervous about a possible meet and greet afterward by the stage door.
Peter Parker came up from beneath the stage. The lights came on. And… Jake looked different. His hair was longer and lighter. He seemed thinner than I expected. And then, when he opened his mouth, I realized… it wasn’t Jake Epstein at all.
Now, I had two choices. One, I could sit there for 2 and a half hours and be angry. I could mope and demand my money back. Or, two, I could sit back and enjoy the show. Kim, next to me, must have noticed my slight discomfort. “That’s not Jake, is it,” she whispered.
I decided to sit and enjoy.
The actor who was before me was Reeve Carney, the actor who regularly plays Spider-Man. My discomfort went away in a few minutes, after I thought about this whole situation: Sure, I wasn’t seeing the actor I had hoped to see. But this was THE Spider-man. This was the guy that had won the role full time. This was the guy they wanted to belt out the new tunes.
And, I saw why. Literally, by the time Reeve was BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS, I was content with seeing him. His voice is unlike I’ve ever heard. Clearly a singer. Clearly someone who could sell out a theatre. Obviously, a guy who could sing you the ABCS and make you melt as his voice swelled. I enjoyed Reeve’s performance in the role.
After the show, I went to my hotel and asked Jake what happened. I got a response:
I’m a spiritual person. And I was sitting in my hotel room, wondering just why God had decided to have this occur to me. Seeing Jake Epstein was my sole purpose for going to New York. And, admittedly, I was quite saddened that at the last minute, a schedule switch had occurred.
Now, many people reading this may disagree that God had any involvement at all. And, if he in fact did, I’ll never know his reason for it. But, I came up with the fact that I was highly nervous about meeting Jake. I mean, to the point of almost barfing nervousness. So, I figured God decided I wasn’t quite up for the encounter— so he made it impossible. And, there’s nothing wrong with seeing the FREAKING MALE LEAD, anyway. (As many people have pointed out….) :
The next night, something else interesting happened. I had scored tickets to Newsies through the Discount Ticket Booth. After the show, I got lost. My phone GPS was acting strange and was changing its route to my hotel every few minutes. My directionality is horrible and I get lost easily.
So, it’s about 10:15 PM. All the Broadway shows have ended. And my GPS has sent me to the way of FOXWOODS THEATRE, where Spider-Man plays.
As I walk toward the theatre, I realize something. This is the back of it. And I pass a door that says STAGE DOOR. And then… I see a young man talking to a couple who are holding Playbills in their hands. HOLY SHIT, I think. Holy Freaking Shit. I get just a tad closer and realize the couple is talking to REEVE CARNEY, the ultimate Spider-Man, who I saw just the other night.
And finally, I realize that I’m going to need to walk past them to continue on my journey to the hotel. I stop for a minute. My nervousness begins. Here is a chance to get a photo or at least say hello to SPIDER-MAN. And again, I think about God and believe this is an opportunity. I know you wanted to see Jake. But here’s someone just as famous. Be bold. Take a risk. Ask him for a photo or autograph.
All this happens in a matter of seconds. I wonder if I should take this chance. I mean, usually, a stage door is BLOCKED BY A TRILLION PEOPLE. But, here, there’s just TWO people and REEVE.
However, I decided I was just too nervous. I looked down and scurried past them and went on my way.
Do I regret my decision? Of course. God or no God, I had a chance to talk to a REAL ACTOR and I didn’t take it. I’ve never met anyone famous before.
The lesson here is that life gives you chances. These chances are meant to make your life worthwile. But, you have to take them. I didn’t take this one and I’m kicking myself for it.
I’m sure I’ll be in NYC again. And, my hope is, if I run into someone famous, where they aren’t busy— I’ll take the risk of at least saying hello.