Broadway, Broadway, How Great You Are (NY Trip Part 1)

April 12, 2012

Times Square in New York City lit up at night

As promised, I’m going to try to somehow give the overview of my New York vacation before my next vacation starts.

Mainly, my time there revolved around Broadway shows – planning which Broadway shows to see, waiting in line for rush tickets, ticket lotteries, the TKTS booth, standing room – anything to see Broadway.

I did a few other things that I’ll talk about in the next post, but none of them could be as exciting as seeing Broadway shows, so don’t get too excited.

You’ve already heard about Memphis, Peter and the Starcatcher, and NewsiesLet me give you the rundown of everything else.

There was Ghost, which has incredible special effects. I  sat next to two hilarious ladies. Throughout the show, they made comments such as, “Who’s dead now?” “Do you think that’s Patrick Swayze?”

My awesome friend Phil was actually there as well. (It shouldn’t sound too coincidental ’cause we planned it that way after he had already gotten tickets, and I had decided I was going to New York.) We saw the brilliant understudy, Moya Angela, play Oda Mae Brown.

Next up was Gore Vidal’s The Best Man. (How is it possible that tickets to a show with such a star-studded cast were at the TKTS booth?) What can you possibly say about a show that features, among others, James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, John Larroquette, and Eric McCormack?

Eric McCormack, Kerry Butler, and Angela Lansbury in Gore Vidal's The Best Man on Broadway
Photo from a bunch of articles. I’m unsure which one to credit.

I’m a big Eric McCormack fan. It was fun to see him live. Not to mention, I’ve now seen Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones on stage? Seriously? How cool is that?

On Wednesday, I saw two shows. (I had also barely slept.) In my posts while I was in New York, I talked a fair amount about never sleeping. Let me start to explain why.

I stayed with the lovely family I used to live with. They live out in Far Rockaway, which is really, really far. Really. On an amazing day, when I barely had to wait for either train, it took about an hour and twenty minutes to get out there. At night, when trains ran less frequently, it usually took two hours to get there. Sometimes I would just stay in the city all night. If I had to be at Death of a Salesman at 9am to try to get rush tickets, what was the really the sense in going home at night?

(I do see that there was some sense in it. Even if we assume two hours both ways, I could’ve gotten about 5 hours of sleep. Sometimes it just didn’t seem worth it, though.) On one of my first nights in NY (the Tuesday/Wednesday I’m talking about, actually), I got back to their house around 2am. They had forgotten to give me the deadbolt key. I didn’t want to wake anybody up at 2am, so I just turned around and went right back into the city. Of course, I wanted to see two shows on a Wednesday, so I just stayed in the city. This was where the whole lack of sleep thing really started.

For the Wednesday matinee, I went to see Once. There is some excellent acting that takes place on that stage. Steve Kazee as Guy and Cristin Milioti as Girl (yes, “Guy” and “Girl” are the characters names) command that stage with some top notch acting.

Official logo for Once a new musical on Broadway

The show didn’t affect me as much as it did the woman next to me, though. At the end, she was uncontrollably sobbing. Uncontrollably. Tears were streaming down her face. She was trying not to make noise, but she had to – she could barely breathe. The seats around her were shaking because of how much she was shaking.

It was interesting to see theater move someone that way. I wonder what it was that made her feel so strongly. And I wonder what she then did with all that emotion – if she wrote the cast a letter, or plays the cast recording everyday, or what.

The ambiance at Once (at the Bernard B. Jacobs theatre) is really cool. Actors play songs before the show starts, and audience members get to go onstage to listen. At intermission, the bar in the show turns into an actual bar. You can buy a drink onstage. The producers seemed to work pretty hard to make sure the audience felt like part of the show, and part of the night (afternoon, in this case). I think it worked well.

That night, it was off to the first preview of Magic/Bird. I really enjoy seeing shows in previews.  I look forward to telling you about it in Part 2. Tomorrow I’ll be talking about going to Havasu, AZ for half marathon #12.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?