Category: Ricky Martin

November 17th, 2013 — 7:31pm

It’s been an action packed week for me. On Tuesday, I had the exhilarating pleasure of seeing at a signing for his first children’s book, Santiago The Dreamer. Wednesday, I enjoyed a fun dinner date with an adorable member of And this weekend, I stood by my beloved cousin Alexandra’s side as she married her longtime beau Michael.

Mr. and Mrs: Mike and Alexandra

Held at The Fountainhead in New Rochelle, the wedding was a joyous celebration of a truly perfect couple. Alexandra and Mike met three years ago, when she found herself at a bar in downtown Manhattan for a blind date. The date didn’t last long, but it didn’t matter – because she ended up meeting Mike that same night. I remember the first time Alexandra told me about Mike, thinking that she’d never sounded so over the moon about a guy.

This is a couple that truly compliments each other, bringing out the best in one another and exemplifying what is possible when two people are truly kindred spirits. I’ve never been happier or more proud to be a bridesmaid. And part of that is also because of how much I adore my cousin.

Me and the beautiful bride :)

More like a younger sister, has had a very special place in my heart ever since she was born. We experienced so many fun times growing up – many of which were captured on VHS. When we watched the footage with Mike, he said his face later hurt from smiling so much. I feel the same way whenever I think about how much Alexandra and I have shared over the years.

I’ve watched my baby cousin blossom into a beautiful, vibrant woman with a big heart to match her infectious laugh. I feel so fortunate to have her in my life and to now have a new cousin in Mike. And seeing them find happily ever after with each other makes it seem somehow more possible.

Congratulations, Alexa and Mike!

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April 7th, 2013 — 8:10pm

Thursday, I caught up with my good friend Jenn for dinner and a show.

Our fun evening began at Thalia in NYC’s Theater District. Over a delicious meal at the American-Italian bistro (foccacia bread, iceberg wedge salad, roast chicken), we talked about the luck factor in dating, job crossroads and missing our beloved Ricky Martin now that Evita on Broadway is over.

Having seen Evita half a dozen times last year, we’ve also been missing our regular theater fix. Needing a good laugh, we opted for Cuff Me: The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Fifty Shades of Grey.

At The Show: Check out the paraphernalia behind us

When Jenn and I walked into the Actor’s Temple Theater off Eighth Avenue, a small former synagogue-meets-school-auditorium venue, we weren’t sure what to expect. Thankfully, what the setting lacked was more than made up for by how thoroughly entertaining is.

As its title suggests, Cuff Me is a hilarious sendup of EL James’ bestselling erotic romance. The winning cast gamely juggles multiple roles while, ahem, poking fun at Fifty Shades’ signature elements.

Cuff Me is 90 minutes of non-stop laughter

James’ simplistic writing is mercilessly spoofed, Christian Grey (Matthew Brian Bagley) is melodramatically arrogant and twisted, Anastasia Steele (Laurie Elizabeth Gardner) is recast here as being more ditzy than unsophisticated. But it is Tina Jensen as Kate and Alex Gonzalez as, among other roles, the personification of Kate’s inner goddess, who steal the show.

A huge part of the fun here is its pop music soundtrack. In the tradition of Rock of Ages and Mamma Mia, Cuff Me’s musical numbers spoof hits by Beyonce, Britney Spears, Madonna, Katy Perry and – much to our surprise and delight – Ricky Martin. Their x-rated reimagining of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” alone is worth the price of admission.

If you haven’t read Fifty Shades, Cuff Me probably isn’t for you. But if you have and want to spend 90 minutes laughing out loud, don’t miss it!

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May 6th, 2012 — 2:33pm

There are some nights that remind me how lucky I am to live in a vibrant, exciting city like New York. Friday was one of them.

It began with dinner at with my longtime galpal Sara and her friend Emily. A fixture for nearly 50 years, Victor’s serves up delicious Cuban fare complimented by swift, attentive service and live music. We shared Bartolito to start — sweet plantain filled with roast Berkshire pork, olives, and raisins over black bean sauce and goat cheese – and then all enjoyed ropa vieja. Yum.

Otherworldly Chemistry: Cassie Levy and Richard Fleeshman in GHOST The Musical (Photo: The Hartman Group, Joan Marcus)

After our delightful meal, we walked over to Times Square and the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre to see The classic 1990 movie about a banker who’s killed but stays behind to take care of some unfinished business translates well to the stage, thanks to charismatic leads, beyond thrilling special effects and a book written by Bruce Joel Rubin, who won an Oscar for his original screenplay. Having seen the movie multiple times, it was great fun seeing classic scenes – including, yes, the pottery wheel moment — brought to life once again.

Richard Fleeshman (Sam) and Caissie Levy (Molly) bring their own distinctive charms to the roles so  famously inhabited on screen by Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. Having originated the roles in London’s West End, they have a sweet, believable chemistry together and powerful, dazzling singing voices. Tony Award nominee Da’Vine Joy Randolph is a scream as Oda Mae Brown and Bryce Pinkham rounds out the ensemble well as duplicitous Carl.

Ghost’s score, written by The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, is pitch-perfect pop and I loved how the ubiquitous “Unchained Melody” is woven through the show. The special effects are amazing – huge digital projections capture everything from larger than life silhouettes of the cast to NYC subways and neighborhoods racing by, and bring an epic feel to the afterlife transitions that are so much a part of Ghost. One of my favorite musicals this year, for sure, and definitely worth seeing.

The show ended just in time for me to walk across to the Marriott Marquis, where a huge crowd had lined up to see Ricky Martin after performing in . Within a few minutes of nabbing a spot, I caught a brief glimpse of Ricky, looking adorable in a black Members-only style jacket, sign a few autographs and wave before getting into his SUV.

Sigh. A truly perfect night in NYC!

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April 14th, 2012 — 7:50pm

Twice this week, I found myself falling in love all over again — with my hometown. The Big Apple produced a pair of memorable outings that I’m still smiling about.

Wednesday night, business intersected with pleasure during a visit to The Townhouse, flagship store of my PR client, iconic NYC tobacconist . The occasion — an El Tiant Cigar tasting with baseball legend Luis Tiant.

Baseball legend Luis Tiant and me

As I listened to Nat Sherman’s Michael Herklots talk with Mr. Tiant about how the cigar industry has evolved while they enjoyed a few stogies, I couldn’t help thinking of my beloved father. Dad was a cigar smoker for most of his life. Having tried a cigar for the first time only recently, I can now appreciate why he enjoyed it so much. There’s something about a cigar that, much like wine, lends itself to good times with good company.

After Michael and Mr. Tiant chatted with a handful of journalists, all of us adjourned downstairs to The Johnson Club Room, Nat Sherman’s private smoking lounge. Like the rest of the Townhouse, it has a classic, old New York vibe — dark wood, leather couches and vintage photography. I chatted with Sam Perry, a legend on the sales floor for more than 20 years now who’s served as tobacconist to customers ranging from Milton Berle to Jay-Z. I’m not surprised the celebs love him — Sam is a star in his own right, with his a to z knowledge of cigars and heart of gold.

The next morning began with a trip to Times Square to catch Ricky Martin and the cast of sing two numbers from the show on Good Morning America. and I secured a front row spot, where we marveled at how the performers navigated brisk 40-degree temperatures and a much smaller stage than what they’re used to.

Elena Roger, Max Von Essen and the cast of "Evita"

Elena Roger (Eva) led a rousing rendition of “Buenos Aires,” while Ricky was tender and pitch perfect with “High Flying Adored.” I can’t wait to see Evita a third time next month.

Ricky Martin lit up the GMA stage

Where else but New York could you go from a night with a baseball superstar to starting your day with a free, live performance from a Broadway blockbuster? Sigh. I love this town.

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March 15th, 2012 — 1:53pm

Monday, I enjoyed a supersized girls night out celebrating Ricky Martin’s return to Broadway in .

Pre-show fun: Jenn and me at Havana Central

The fun began at Havana Central in Times Square, where I savored a delicious dinner (arroz con pollo, churros for dessert) with about 25 fellow Ricky fans. I caught up with old friends Jenn, Donna and Sheila – my traveling companions to last year – and made a few new ones too. Having exchanged tweets for months, and I enjoyed meeting for the first time and discovering we work within walking distance of each other. Two words: lunch date.

Speaking of dates, I filled Jenn in about my favorite Nominate A Date bachelor and his earlier text about me being in countdown mode for Evita. After a two year wait since the Broadway revival was first announced, we were all beyond excited it was finally here. And we weren’t the only ones – we caught a glimpse of Ricky’s adorable longtime boyfriend, Carlos Gonzalez in the audience.

Take A Bow: Ricky Martin & Elena Roger received a standing ovation for their amazing performances

Ricky and co. did not disappoint. As Director Michael Grandage promised during, this version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s celebrated musical is infused with Latin flair. The orchestrations, choreography and sets – a number at a Buenos Aires bar took me right back to my experience of this magical city – feel as authentic as they are vibrant.

In his role as Che, Ricky proved why he’s such a dazzling entertainer, lighting up the stage with his energetic dancing and singing and swoon-inducing charisma. Argentina-born Elena Roger – who played Eva in the 2006 London revival – brings spunk and humanity to her portrayal of Argentina’s controversial first lady. She completely nails “Don’t Cry For Me” in the climactic balcony scene, rendered with the exquisite majesty and power associated with Evita’s most famous moment. Michael Cerveris (Peron) and the rest of the talented ensemble cast deliver knockout performances too.

Evita is a five-star production worthy of this show’s long and storied history. I can’t wait to see it again next month and, of course, enjoy another Ricky-themed girls night out!

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February 18th, 2012 — 4:08pm

Much as I love New York, sometimes the city that never sleeps can get to be, frankly, a little too much. Invariably, though, whenever I reach that point, the Big Apple reminds me what makes it such a vibrant city. This week, it happened on two great evenings out.

Monday night, I had the pleasure of attending a Q&A hosted by the St. George’s Society (a group for British expats dedicated to UK heritage) with award-winning director Michael Grandage. Michael charmed the intimate audience with his witty, candid insights about working on both the London and New York stages, how performance anxiety and fear can work in an actor’s favor and, of course, his current project – the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s

Evita director Michael Grandage and me

Michael said this incarnation will reflect how much more is known now about Buenos Aires than when Evita was first staged more than thirty years ago. Everything from set design to choreography is infused by this vibrant city’s history. As he spoke about the authenticity that Argentina-born Elena Roger and the wonderful Ricky Martin bring to their roles, I grew even more excited about seeing Evita when previews begin on March 12th.

After a quick post-Q&A chat with Michael, I left thinking how fortunate I am to live in a city full of opportunities to experience great entertainment – and meet the people who make it happen. Last night, I was reminded of another reason I love my hometown so much, its rich food scene.

Last night, I headed out to Williamsburg, for the opening of Japanese restaurant Fushimi’s third location just off of Bedford Street. While sipping on a lychee sake bellini, I took in the dramatic, retro-futuristic décor –stones embedded in LED-lit glass on the spacious bar, custom chandeliers designed to look like a school of jellyfish and a cozy dining room with such flourishes as Geisha murals and tabletops made with Japanese River stones.

Enjoying the atmosphere at Fushimi's opening night celebration

Fushimi is a good choice for either a girls night out or a date (as evidenced by the even ratio of couples and girl groups) and, much to my delight, the food lives up to the setting. During a press preview, a group of food bloggers and I enjoyed a six-course tasting menu of Fushimi’s Japanese fusion fare. My favorites – a peanut-infused lobster salad, Chilean sea bass in a sweet miso base, wasabi truffled filet mignon and sea scallops with pesto and cauliflower puree. Oh and the sushi’s delicious too, if Fushimi’s sex on the beach roll is any indication.

VH-1 Mob Wives’ stars Angela ‘Big Ang’ Raiola and Carla Facciolo

Joining the opening night festivities were VH-1’s Mob Wives stars Angela ‘Big Ang’ Raiola and Carla Facciolo. Though I’ve never seen Mob Wives before (and I’m perfectly okay with that), I couldn’t help appreciating that a night out in New York can mean rubbing elbows with random reality stars. And just like that, I became a little less jaded and little more starstruck again – with my hometown.

Up next…the scoop about Nominate A Date bachelor #2!

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November 14th, 2011 — 8:51pm

Saturday, my girlfriends getaway to Puerto Rico continued with a relaxing afternoon by the Radisson Ambassador’s rooftop pool. Then, it was time for the weekend’s main event — Ricky Martin in concert at Jose Agrelot Coliseum.

The Pre-Ricky Glow: All smiles before the concert (from left: Donna, Jenn, me and Sheila)

Despite bad directions and a 45 minute adventure, Donna, Jenn and I arrived in plenty of time for the pre-show sound check. You could feel the warmth and joyful energy between Ricky and his amazing team of musicians and dancers, a connection that ignited in full force during the concert.

Ricky seemed euphoric to be back in his beloved Puerto Rico. He pulled out all the stops for the MAS tour finale, engaging the crowd between songs and beaming the entire time. Favorite moments: a heartstopping version of “Vuelve” and an old school rendition of “Cup of Life” (complete with confetti) that skipped the quieter instrumentation he performed it with back on opening night in March.

Yesterday, the Ricky-inspired fun continued with a road trip to Ponce. Jenn, Sheila and fellow fan Lee joined Donna for a visit to the Centros Sor Isolina Ferre. Donna’s been supporting the Centros — a Christian humanitarian organization that Ricky has been affiliated with — for many years.

We were greeted warmly by Sisters Margarita, Mildred and Sylvia, who treated us to a traditional lunch of arroz con pollo that reminded me of the meals my beloved grandmother (who was born in Puerto Rico) used to cook. After touring the center and learning more about the incredible work the nuns do with education and community outreach, we visited La Guancha, Ponce’s lively boardwalk featuring music, open air restaurants and local artisans.

During our visit, it was Sister Margarita who most inspired me. With more energy than most people half her age, she is a woman who sees the beauty in every thing great and small — who believes happiness is always closer than people realize.

“Life is good,” she told us. “You have to look at it, face it and embrace it.”

In addition to all of the inspiring missionary work she’s done, Sister Margarita is multi-talented — she’s taught aerobics, writes poetry and makes heavenly candy from papayas that she grows in her front yard.

As she spoke about the importance of feeling gratitude every day, I thought about how easy it is to lose sight of that. And how thankful I felt for the weekend that had introduced me to her.

Just before we left, Lee’s phone rang to the tune of Ricky’s classic hit “Maria.” We all laughed and Sister Margarita started dancing. Who would’ve thought a celebrity crush could connect me with so many amazing women?

She’s so right — life is good. 




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March 29th, 2011 — 1:45pm

My action-packed weekend in Puerto Rico was everything you could want from a girls getaway.

Thursday afternoon, my friend Jenn and I lounged by the Radisson’s rooftop pool, soaking up sun and comparing notes on speed dating. Unlike my experiences with it in NYC, Jenn has found the New Jersey versions she has attended to be largely absent of eligible bachelors.

“He had no teeth!” she said, describing her most offputting speed dater.

For dinner, we ventured into Old San Juan, enjoying stuffed mofongo and pina coladas at Café Puerto Rico.

Before The Show: Jenn and me at El Coliseo de Puerto Rico

Friday, after a little beach time, we got ready for the weekend’s big event — seeking Ricky Martin kick off his MAS concert tour. Thanks to our membership in Ricky’s fan club, we were able to book a ticket package that also included a meet and greet with him.

Backstage: Ricky Martin and me. Heaven.

As he has been every other time I’ve met him over the years, Ricky was exceedingly gracious (and, yes, irresistibly cute). The Latin superstar’s nearly two-hour set proved he still has the pipes and powerhouse moves to deliver an exhilarating, unforgettable show. In addition to songs from recently-released MAS, he performed a seamless mix of beloved Spanish tracks like “Vuelve,” “Tu Recuerdo” and “Maria” and English pop hits including “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” “Loaded” and “Cup of Life.”  

Saturday, Jenn and I joined four other Ricky devotees for a fun afternoon at the Bacardi Rum distillery. A quick ferry ride from San Juan, Bacardi is well worth a visit (and it’s free too).

The weekend winded down with a visit to Humacao, where I caught up with relatives from Florida that happened to be on vacation at the same time. My aunt had me and my cousins in stitches with her tips on how to pick up more than produce in the supermarket. I just might take her advice, stay tuned!

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March 26th, 2011 — 9:56am

For the first time since my European Dating Blitz last year, I’m enjoying a getaway that has involved air travel — and one of my favorite destinations, Puerto Rico.

The occasion for my visit to this island paradise (and land of my maternal ancestors)? Seeing Ricky Martin in concert! I’m happy to report that the international superstar is as mesmerizing as ever on stage — and equally charming off.

Coming up…a full report of my time in San Juan!

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December 15th, 2009 — 10:30pm

Saturday, my weekend in Boston continued with Cristina and Chris’ wedding. One of the best I’ve ever attended, the 130-person event was truly an affair to remember.

Happily Ever After: Cristina and Chris on their wedding day (photo courtesy: Michelle Abril)

Following a nuptial mass at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the festivities continued at Boston’s Omni Parker House – America’s longest continuously- run hotel, located next to Beacon Hill.

During the cocktail hour, I chatted with Cristina’s sweet twin brother and Man of Honor Robert. We shared a laugh when he quipped that he refrained from adjusting the bride’s train for fear that traditionally female gesture might end up on YouTube.

I also caught up with my former work husband and good friend Morty. Morty filled me in on phD application overload (he’s applying to 15 psychology programs), and we debated the subtle yet important distinction between desire and need when it comes to the object of one’s affections.

Eventually, everyone made their way upstairs to the ballroom, elegant with its dark, wood paneling and decorated with a Christmas tree and Baby’s Breath centerpieces. A snowflake ornament adorning each place setting completed the festive holiday theme.

All Smiles: the beautiful bride and me

After the Best Man said a few words, Chris spoke from the heart with gratitude for his parents and in-laws – and abiding love for his beautiful bride. Recalling the day he met Cristina six years ago, Chris said he knew then it was forever.

“You are the love of my life,” he said. “You’re the only person I’ve ever loved.”


Speaking of wow, the DJ impressed with a perfect mix of dinner-appropriate tunes (including Sinatra in heavy rotation) and lively dance songs. Knowing my affection for Ricky Martin, Cristina had him kick off the booty shaking with “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”

Not only did I shake, as Morty put it, all three of my moneymakers but I managed to forget about my injured leg. One of the bride’s relatives later told me–

“You should be on Broadway!”

Along with everyone else, I also got my groove on to such crowd pleasers as “All The Single Ladies,” “Disco Inferno,” “Don’t Stop The Music” and “I Gotta Feeling.”

What a celebration. When a couple is so perfect for each other like Cristina and Chris, you can’t help but be overjoyed to watch them embark on happily ever after – and feel hopeful all over again in finding it yourself.

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