Who: Lori, Theresa, and Heather
What: A very long day
Where: Manhattan, Amityville, Merrick
When: June 30, 2016
Why: Opportunity
Sites Visited:
Amityville Horror
Everybody Loves Raymond

Every musical that's opened on Broadway - I've seen it. I've traveled far and wide just to attend random shows. The Tonys are my Super Bowl. Telecharge is my bestie. And there's no business like show business, like no business I know. 

So when I found out that my co-worker, Rob, knew one of the crew members at the soon-to-be-opening-again, Cats and had taken other co-workers backstage at the Neil Simon Theatre during an office party that I was also in attendance of, I was like, "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

He claimed he "couldn't find me" and he had to take people over "right then" and he was "really sorry," and I looked him dead in the face and was like, "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

Rob, who everyday walks past my office filled from floor to ceiling with Broadway posters,and had heard me talking about theater many many times, and was very knowledgeable about my infinite love knew he had done screwed up big time. So to rectify his greatest sin against me, he got me in touch with Cats Dude and I was able to set up my own private tour! 

What fun!

To spread the joy, I coordinated with fellow Cats-snubbed co-worker, Theresa and fellow stalker, Heather and we settled on a time right before we were to go on a previously-scheduled trip to Long Island to see the house from Everybody Loves Raymond. A stalk extravaganza!

The Cats crew went on break at 12, so that's when we all met up and I quickly realized that the "crew member" Rob knew and the person I had now spoken on the phone with three different times, was someone who worked at our office on multiple occasions and who we had seen maybe half a billion times in the hallways. Really, Rob? Couldn't have given me that info beforehand???

But screw it, we were going to Cats!!!

Three weeks before the theater opened to the general public, Cats Dude brought us through the exclusive stage door and onto the stage so we could get a Cats-eye view of the entire theater. In three weeks, people would be sitting in the several seats before us for approximately $150 a pop. On this day, those same seats served as a holding spot for technical equipment, backpacks and a whole bunch of garbage. The magic of theater!!!

A Broadway aficionado, I had already been on several Broadway stages with friends I happen to have in moderately high places. As this was Theresa and Heather's first times, they were fascinated by the depths of the stage and the wings where performers would wait for their cues. I was more fascinated by the fact that the theater was decorated to look like my bedroom.

We walked around the stage and saw the sets and all the different "cat paths" the performers would be crawling on during the show. Then Theresa took a moment to tell Cats Dude all about the times in the 80s she would crawl around her living room and sing, "Memory." It was a joyous time.

We were in the theater for only about 20 minutes but made plans to come again when the show opened and to of course get another tour around. Theresa, the aristocrat of the group wanted to go buy our Cats tickets at the box office that moment, but I quickly crushed her dreams. Commoners and cheapskates buy rush tickets the day-of and pay $40. Theresa still had so much to learn.

To appease Theresa's Broadway fever however, we walked over to Studio 54 and purchased $47 tickets to that night's performance of She Loves Me. I had already seen it, but Heather, my stalking pal from last year's You've Got Mail walking tour wanted to see the musical the film was based on, and since I'm always down for a night at the theater, I obliged. 

But first, a day of house stalking! I picked up my car and we made our way to fancy Long Island, the hometown of Theresa, where so many movies had been filmed. For years, Theresa had been inviting me to her home so we could go see all the locations from these films --  these many, many films filmed in the area -- and I was excited to finally be able to see them - the locations of these many, many films. The Great Gatsby! The Wolf of Wall Street! Meet the Parents! So many houses! So close in proximity!

So closed off from the general public because they're very large mansions down long windy roads behind big metal gates!

In doing my several days of research I wondered what specific locations Theresa had in mind for this big Long Island movie tour, considering every address I'd researched seemed problematic. "I don't know," she said. I just know there's lot of places." Okay then... 

In 1974, a 23-year old man named Ronald lived in the house with his family and decided one day in December to shoot up all 6 of his relatives inside. A year later, a nice couple named George and Kathy purchased the house and had some fun paranormal experiences involving pig hooves and flies, and some zany unexplainable red welts and levitation. 

Two films based on this house were made - one in 1979 and one in 2005 -- neither of them featuring this actual location. So was this really a TV travel? No, but I did get a fancy picture in front just for funsies (and in the hopes a ghost would appear in the window).

(Amityville Horror house location)

No such luck.

The home of Ray and Debra Barone sits on a picturesque street in Merrick, Long Island, and in 2016 looks and seems the exact way it did in 1996 - except for the ginormous leafy tree that managed to emerge over the past 20 years, blocking most of the property. Did the homeowners not understand the need for random strangers to have photographic accuracy when they traveled miles and miles to stand in front of their home? Was that not a part of the mortgage agreement? Sheesh...

(Everybody Loves Raymond house location)

I did my best.

Then, right across the street, the home of Frank and Marie! 

(Everybody Loves Raymond house location)

Unfortunately, a car was parked right in front of the house, thus preventing an exact replication of the exterior shot's angle (Do I need to start telling people I'm coming??), but I worked around it. In the twenty years since the exterior shot was set, Frank and Marie seemed to have come into large sums of money, building an extension to the house over their garage. Did Robert come into hard times and need to move back in with his parents? Is a sequel in the works?? I kid, I kid... Frank and Marie are totally dead (RIP, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts).

With that, our long-anticipated very, very short Long Island tour was over and we were free to head out of our self-constructed TV world, and go back into the theater...

...which they happened to be filming for television.

Thanks for the mem'ries, NYC and Long Island!!