Yesterday I traveled to NYC. It wasn’t the best day of traveling I’ve ever had. Because I live in a small town, I had to hop three flights to get to NYC. I don’t normally mind flying, so this wasn’t a big deal to me.

But the first flight was really turbulent, horribly, horribly hot (I stripped down to my tank top, thank goodness I always travel in layers) and came complete with screaming toddler directly behind me. Really, I didn’t blame him. Thankfully, it was a short hop so the misery was over quickly.

The second flight was fine and I had a two hour layover in Norfolk,Virginia, where I had to switch airlines and so, leave security, go to another concourse and re-enter security. Bleh. The flight was overbooked but since I had Mamma Mia tickets, I couldn’t give up my seat. I was pleased because it was a plane with one row of single seats on one side (double on the other) and I was in a single so I had a window and an aisle seat all in one. But then…we waited. And waited. For over an hour we sat on the tarmac waiting for the okay from air traffic control to take off. Too much traffic over JFK so they wouldn’t release us. Bleh. I started to worry about making the show.

We finally did land at JFK around 5pm and since the show was at 7pm, I figured I was good. Until I discovered that I had made it but my bag hadn’t. Ugh. Even better, I had packed my coat in my suitcase since I had no need of it while traveling (it was gorgeous everywhere I went). So without luggage or coat, I hopped a cab to Times Square and my hotel. And discovered I dislike both the NY cab experience and NY traffic.

I did make it to my hotel by just after 6, got checked in (by that time I was convinced the next thing to go wrong would be a lost hotel reservation),threw my stuff in my room and booked it to the theater. Slightly chilly but not too bad. I made it with 20 minutes to spare!

Mamma Mia was fabulous, amazing, awesome, energetic, ginormously fun and all other good adjectives you can think of. I loved every minute. I grinned the whole time. I saw the movie a few weeks ago, and liked it, but it doesn’t capture the magic, depth or sheer talent of the stage show. Did I mention I loved it?

For the first act, I was sitting at the back of the orchestra seats, with half a row to myself (a pole separated me from the other half). I was totally fine with this. The seats were great and I had little problem seeing, though I am kind of short (don’t tell my husband I admitted to that). When I came back from intermission, my row was full! I guess some other people didn’t like their seats so they moved because, as they said “when we looked over, all we saw was one little girl sitting all by herself”. That would be me. They were very nice, but the lady used her seat and then half of mine for her arm space. But after some rearranging, we got things squared away and I also ended up with, don’t laugh, a booster cushion. Which was good since I was in a different seat with a taller man in front of me.

People are always curious to know why I’m somewhere by myself. I’m so used to going to things solo, it never occurs to me that it’s not the norm, but I guess most people do go to shows with friends. So the lady asked me why, I said I was traveling for work. From their the conversation went on to that I’m in publishing, we publish romance, and yes there is a lot of demand for “that sort of book”. I always love to watch people’s faces as they process “romance”. Yes, romance for women. Books about love. Yes, lots of people buy it. Yes, I do like it. Yes, that’s what Harlequin publishes (or Mills and Boon if you’re having this conversation in Australia/New Zealand or other parts of Europe).

The second act was as fabulous as the first and the lady next to me and I immediately jumped up to dance at the end. Not too many others were standing and dancing, but we didn’t care. Then in the second encore song, some random guy in the front stood,then a lady and just like that, the whole audience was standing and dancing (how they resisted the first song, I don’t know). What a fun way to end the show, with three encore songs (Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen and Waterloo for those wondering), bright colors and high energy. I left the theater totally energized and upbeat. Just what I needed after my day of traveling.

I wandered Times Square for awhile, the energy of it is just a lot of fun at night (haven’t been during the day yet). At one point, I happened by the backstage door where the cast of In the Heights was coming out to sign autographs and people were screaming. Made me wish I had time to see it (but I don’t).

So while I didn’t love the cab or the NY traffic experience, the show, the downtown area of Times Square, the energy and even the kind of jaded, slightly unfriendly and sometimes rude people have all been a really unique experience. Especially when you add in Batman. Did I forget to mention he was in the middle of the street last night? Yeah.

Welcome to NYC. Where, apparently, anything goes.

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