This theater was very, very different than the church or synagogue: upholstered seats, smoky lighting, and since we were partially below ground level, no windows. A small Ark stood in the center of the stage, surrounded by Oriental rugs that covered a wooden floor painted glossy grey. I left my jacket in a backstage Green Room about five times larger than my apartment, and found a seat in the audience; Ne'ila wouldn't begin until 6, after the Minha service and teaching. The instrumentalists began to gather over to the right by a grand piano, and I could see a sound engineer stage left at what looked like the dashboard of a space station. I was impressed, although it seemed like we were all waiting for the curtain to rise on a musical rather than a very serious religious service.
Although I'd been fasting for the past 23 hours, I wasn't the least bit uncomfortable. Adrenaline is much more effective than food or water. I felt guilty for being excited; these were the gravest hours of the year. But, just like the rehearsals that made me feel like a rock star, this was certainly the closest I'd ever get to singing solo on a Broadway stage. I still had until sunset to ask forgiveness for my delusions of grandeur.