The Adventures of “My Party Dress”

The story of how one dress made a musical theatre dream come true…

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When I first heard about Kerrigan and Lowdermilk’s American Songbook concert at Lincoln Center, I immediately knew I had to be witness to what I knew would be a spectacular evening. Unfortunately, however, tickets sold out before I could procure them. My window of opportunity had closed and I was upset to say the least. Much to my surprise, last week, the closed window was opened when they announced via Twitter and Facebook the “My Party Dress" contest. I jumped at this unexpected second chance, quickly threw together some pictures of me doing "Party Dress" and submitted it, knowing it was unlikely that anything would come of it. 

Then on sullen, tragedy stricken Tuesday, my phone vibrated beneath my leg during an exam, and I caught a glimpse of a tweet from the K+L twitter. I figured it was nothing special since I subscribe to their tweets anyway. Then after handing in my exam, I checked my phone and saw the tweet that read: 

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Needless to say, I lost my ever loving mind in the hallway, but couldn’t scream or shout or sing or do anything of the sort, so I settled for something between crazed flailing and a victory dance; no doubt a treat for the others roaming the halls at the time. 

I got back to my room and cried because I had been so wrapped up in the darkness of the world, that I’d temporarily forgotten about the light, and this was truly illuminating.

Fast forward to Friday, when I donned my beloved “party dress” and pranced my way over to Lincoln Center, breathing in the evening’s balmy spring air. We got our tickets, headed to the 10th floor where the penthouse is located and were welcomed with complimentary wine, which my friend and I greatly enjoyed (of course in moderation.) 

Upon taking our seats, I scanned the room spotting so many artists whom I respect, and I’m sure I looked simultaneously crazed and in awe

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The show started shortly after and opened with “Hand in Hand” as sung by the incomparable Lindsay Mendez. I could think of no better way to start the evening, which perfectly blended old favorites and new works. In my opinion, highlights included:

  • Lindsay’s opening: "Hand in Hand" - She looked stunning and her performance was unreal; that woman can do no wrong.
  • Jeremy Jordan’s performance of "Run Away With Me," which featured a stunning new folk-influenced arrangement that beautifully showed off Jeremy’s vocal capabilities
  • Andy Mientus and Michael Arden singing "Vegas" - This was probably the highlight of the night for me, considering how much I love and respect Michael and Andy and the fact that I’d never seen Michael perform live before, it was really a dream come true. The song follows friends on a trip to Vegas and the shenanigans they get into. My favorite part was when the song culminates with the boys on the run from the police, but then Michael said, “you realize we didn’t leave the apartment?” and Andy said "we’re also gay together in real life" and I lost it. They sang and acted it so brilliantly and they’re just such magical humans… Ah… perfection
  • In any event, then Laura Michelle Kelly beautifully took on "Not a Love Story" and that song was born anew. Truly breathtaking. 
  • Then Andy sang "Last Week’s Alcohol" in a brilliant new arrangement. So electronic. So indie. So Andy.
  • Then the song that got me there, "My Party Dress," which was HILARIOUSLY performed by Jen Cody… I’m pretty sure I can count my reaction to that song as my core training for the next year (or seven…) my abs are still sore. 
  • Next we were treated to 4 new songs from Kait and Brian’s latest, Republic. Michael singing “Rise" stood out most. Also, the lovely duet between Nikki M. James and Jeremy Jordan.
  • Then Carrie Manolakos sang “Avalanche,” one of my all time favorites, and although I will always favor Lindsay Mendez’s version, I appreciate what she did with it, and I loved the new arrangement, once again with a new folk influence. 
  • Then, the finale was “Holding On," the song that they end all their shows with. They introduced it by talking the tragedy in Boston and about how important community is, and I just started to weep. After this week of unfathomable sadness and uncertainty, it was a beautiful reminder of what is good in the world. I was deeply moved and really needed that. 

Overall, this was a really perfect night. I had been dreaming of this, honestly, since before the concert was announced and it was all I dreamed and more. Tonight was a night that put things into perspective for me and made me realize how grateful I am to get opportunities like this. I am so blessed to have been a part of it all and wish I could have shared it with everyone…

Alas, the best I can do is impart what was reaffirmed for me tonight: surround yourself with community and love and music… Oh! and also, never doubt the power of a party dress!

Congratulations if you made it to the end of this post! As a treat, here is my party dress’ journey this evening:

Before…

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No during available because the usher yelled at us, so here’s my face….?

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And after… mind BLOWN

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"and I guess that’s it…"

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