My Broadway experience…
This time last year I was returning back home from New York after my premiere and two shows of ‘Melina: The Last Greek Goddess’ thinking that I want to go back…
When it was announced to me that ‘Melina’ was chosen to participate at the United Solo Drama Festival of New York, on the 6th March 2018 – the day that Melina died in New York in 1994 – I could not keep my tears back. As I say in my monologue in Melina’s words ‘I tried to dry my tears. I had soap in my eyes and tears in my soap’.
The months of preparations, rehearsals and finding the financial help to make this wonderful and costly trip passed very quickly. The team was ready to fly one more time. This time to represent our country in an International Festival.
Having a godmother fairy named Ismini Michaels in New York made a huge difference. New York felt like home this time. The help, the support, the endless hugs and positive smiles gave me and the team, the strength to go on that Broadway stage and perform my beloved monologue honouring Melina Mercouri, honouring Greece and Cyprus.
The performance was a sold out. Two extra rows of chairs were added and in the first row I could see the continuous smiles of my people! The Consul of Greece Mr. Koutras and the Consul of Cyprus Mr. Phedonos. The President of the Pancyprian Association Mr. Philip Christopher, Mr. Nicos Mougiaris, Mrs. Ismini Michaels, my beloved Phyto Stratis who is the artistic director of the Pancyprian and my pillar in New York, my brother, my director Paul Lambis, Tasos Karydis on the lights, my makeup artist Ioanna Marineli and so many more friends.
All of them enjoyed the performance. I could hear them singing along with me, laughing, crying and participating in the life of Melina for the one hour my monologue lasts.
Having a standing ovation is the dream of every actor… let along having a standing ovation in the heart of New York on Broadway. I could not help it and pulled out the flag of my country, which I always hide under a coffee table on the stage. This has been my secret for a year now. Everywhere I perform the flag of Cyprus is on stage with me. My country is with me. It was a dream come true! And I cried! And I felt so proud! And right there I knew that next year I need to make everything possible to get back. And I will.
The celebration dinner was generously offered to us by Mr. Giorgos Kitsios at Carmine’s which is an Italian family restaurant and the concept of eating there is sharing huge plates of pasta with huge desserts. We had so much fun with our waiter whose name is Edwin. We felt that we needed to clear our plates with him around or else we would not be allowed to have dessert!
The next morning found me resting in the hotel. I spent the day by myself wondering around Times Square and trying to absorb the facts of the night before and the vibes of the city that never sleeps.
Going to Central Park and visiting the MET are my private rituals every time I am in New York. I did not manage to watch a show on Broadway this time due to the amount of professional meetings we had arranged from before. My brother did watch ‘Lion King’ though and he said it is just amazing! As for visiting Ground Zero, well it just gave me the chills. No words…just a respectful silence and a big ‘sorry’.
Flying back home to my little one was so refreshing! Smelling his hair and kissing his red cheeks brought tears to my eyes once again, feeling grateful!
Grateful that I am full as a person and as a professional. I still ‘beat up’ myself as a mom always wondering if I do a good job but looking into my son’s eyes and listening to his laughter makes me think that ‘yeah, I must have done something right…’
This morning I woke up with photos from my friends in New York… It snowed! Everything is white! Winter is here… Christmas is on the way! Thank you New York! You have been generous! We will be back soon!
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