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Ring Around the City

New york times square  It’s great being back in New York. 

Sure my feet are killing me and I've lost a few pounds thanks to public transportation, also known as my legs, but it’s different this time, because I’m working, not visiting, or cleaning up loose ends. 

And what’s even better is because I’m back; I’m able to be here for my friends as an audience member in their shows.

I feel like we’re playing ring around the city because we’re all taking turns to support each other by being in the audience, midtown, downtown, you name it, for each other's shows. 

First up was my friend Suzen Murakoshi, who performed a one-woman show at the People’s Improv Theater. 

"Breathe, Love, Repeat" is about Suzen's journey towards her mother's last breath. Letting go, leaving, and the need to be in light and enlightened by the process. 

Remember that New Year’s I spent in Kauai in 2009? I was there with Suzen, her boyfriend Mark, and her mother. It was one of the most magical New Year’s I had ever spent.

I remember on my last day while wading into Hanelei Bay, a thick mist came in from the ocean and the sunlight shone through it so strongly that all I could see all around me was a beautiful strong solid white light, like the Heavens.

About three months later, Suzen’s mother passed away from cancer.

I had no idea what Suzen’s show was going to be about when I went and towards the end of it couldn’t keep myself from weeping up as she vulnerably and poetically said goodbye to her mother in the show.

I was touched as an audience member and grateful as a friend to have been a witness.

Next up was my friend Niki’s cabaret show at the Laurie Beechman paying tribute to the life and accomplishments of Dame Shirley Bassey; "Where Do I Begin; A Celebration of Dame Shirley Bassey. 

It’s no surprise that Niki’s voice and presence as a songstress brought the house down. 

There was a moment in her solo, This is My Life, when I thought, “The only other singer I’ve ever heard with that kind of power in her chords is Ethel Merman.” 

I was impressed with her confidence on stage and the balance of control and abandon with which she sang each number.

She revealed just the right amount of emotion without compromising the choices in her musicality. And afterwards the crowd moved to a food and wine venue where we all danced and drank the night away! Woo-Hoo!

Not only am I happy to be supportive of my friends and entertained by them, but by being a witness to their work the standard for my own is raised.   

You are the company you keep. And it’s back to work for me with the company I'm keeping. 

(photos courtesy of New York City )

Yours Truly – Ann Hu

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