I’m from Hayward, California, near San Francisco. I thought that San Francisco was big, but this place is something. When I first got to New York the first thing that went through my mind was “I don’t like snow.” But I said, you know what? I love Broadway more. Because I love Broadway, I can get through the winter. And this was one of the hardest winters ever. When I first came here, all I wanted to do was be on Broadway. And I just stood in Times Square, and thought this is great. And I love to be a part of this community and be able to walk around Times Square and say, “wow, this is still amazing to me.” I still think, this is the biggest, brightest place I’ve ever seen.
What do you love about New York City?
1. I love going to the movies on 42nd Street. I work down the street at the New Amsterdam Theatre, and both of my movie theaters are right there. On a two-show day, when it’s not awards season, I can go see a quick movie and then come back and do my show. It’s great.
2. There’s a little Chinese place called Peking Duck. They have the best roast duck over rice in the world. When I was in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, it was right near the theater. So I would go there every day.
3. Every now and then, when I feel down, I go into two stores. I go into the giant Toys R’ Us in Times Square, and I go into the Disney Store. I know that sounds cliché, but I am such a Disney fan and such a big kid. I walk around Toys R Us. I walk around all the floors. I see all the toys. And then I walk in the Disney Store. And I walk out thinking, “You know? Life ain’t that bad.”
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