Friday, February 19, 2016

Theatre Thoughts: Something Rotten!

Last December, I happened to see a show in NYC that made me fall head over heels in love with it.  And I meant to tell you all about it at the time, but Christmas got in the way, and it flew right out of my head. That's going to change right now.

"Something Rotten" is sort of high concept and sort of hard sell if you're trying to explain it to someone but here goes - Pretend it's the 1590s and Shakespeare is vying with another playwright to stage the very first musical in history.  See?  It just sounds ridiculous, which it is - ridiculously funny!

If you're a Shakespeare geek or a musical theatre geek (2 for 2 here), then you'll spend the entire 2.5 hours trying to catch all the hidden references and Easter eggs the show throws your way.  That is of course, while you're not laughing loudly because of a perfect song or sarcastic comment.  It's just so very funny. For a taste of the humor, see the video below from the Thanksgiving Day Parade. 
Imagine about 12 more songs equally funny, and you sort of get the idea of just how great the show is.    
Then you have the cast - Christian Borle as the Bard himself, Brian d'Arcy James, and Brad Oscar are just a few more well-known names in the show.  Others include Brooks Ashmanskas, Heidi Blickenstaff and Kate Reinders - all phenomenal!  To say they earned their pay 10 times over, is an understatement. It's been a very long time since I left a show and just had to google what else the entire principal cast was in.  They landed every joke even the obvious ones and just looked like they were having the time of their lives - which is of course, the absolute key to a good show.

Aside from the cast, and the set and the music all being perfect, you're also privy to an all out tour-de-force of choreography thanks to the likes of Casey Nicholaw.  I didn't know much about him before seeing the show, but now that I've completely fallen for his style, I just had to google him.  Apparently, he's been the choreographer for a few more huge concept musicals and did it brilliantly with those as well.   Saying the numbers are showstopping doesn't even begin to cut it. 

It may sound like I'm gushing, and I mostly am.  But after seeing it for the first time with someone who was seeing it for the second time, I can say I honestly know why she wanted to pay the money to see the show again. Had our bus not been leaving at 6, I would have turned around and seen the 8:00 show that night.  So if you're in NYC in the coming months, I would most definitely suggest going to see it, if only to see an entire cast dressed as eggs performing an 11:00 number.  See?  Now you're interested, aren't you?  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Daytripper: NYC

There are so many, many things to love about Manhattan.  It's hard to put into words just how much this city means to me.  I got my first taste for my 16th birthday and it's fair to say it was love at first sight.  There was just so much to see.  On that first trip, I we saw the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, The Twin Towers (I have a beautiful photo of them taken from a boat that I'll always treasure), the view of the city from the Top of the Rock, and the piece de resistance, a real-deal Broadway show; my very first!  

Just as my love for the energy of the city was instantaneous, so was my love of the theatre. From the first chords of The Phantom of the Opera, I was hooked. I'd never be able to sing and dance like the amazing people on stage, but I could totally keep finding ways to see these glorious shows - and that I did!  

Over the years, I've become a little less of a tourist in the city.  I now have favorite restaurants that are off the beaten path.  I can get myself around and even hail a cab all on my own. Of course, there are still the occasional disasters - who knew Chelsea was such a long walk from Midtown?!  Certainly not me.  But it's more like a second home now. However, it's never lost that energy and electricity for me.  In a perfect world, I'd be living in Carrie Bradshaw's apartment and working as the theatre and the restaurant critic for the Times.  But I just don't see that happening any time soon, unless a lottery is won.  So for now, I'll focus on the occasional day trip here and there - which, in the goals for 2016, will be monthly.  (I'm already booked up to September, so I'm not feeling this is going to be too difficult...)

January's trip was a last minute one.  We really didn't have much planned, but we knew the weather forecast was calling for rain, so we chose something indoors - Chelsea Market.  I'd been there before, and as long as I was able to get a No. 1 Taco, I was all in.  On top of the Taco, there may have also been some doughnuts (from The Doughnuttery) as well some Macarons. Seeing as the market is mostly food, and seeing as we had had our fill, we left in search of something else to do.
That took us to Bryant Park, one of my most favorite destinations at Christmas Time.  Like I said, though, it was no longer Christmas Time.  Therefore, the shops I had foolishly assumed would still be up on the 9th of January were not.  All that was left was an ice skating rink, a half & half Christmas Tree (why de-decorating one half was easier than the other, is a mystery to me) and the view of some beautiful buildings. Not really the time-killer I had in mind. 
After some meandering, we made our way to a pre-theatre lunch of burgers at HB Burger.  Not sure how I ate after all the food I'd consumed at the Market, but somehow I did.  Then it was on to the St. James to see "Something Rotten!"  This was my second time and it was still just as magical.  It's currently my most favorite show on Broadway and I'm not ashamed to say, the cast album has been on an almost constant repeat since I first saw it in December. (Get there quick to see this amazing cast and this fantastic show!)
After the show, there was just enough time to head to Schmakary's for some cookies, which I chose to not partake in.  (Small caveat: Everyone in the theatre community is nuts for these cookies.  I personally think they're too soft and too sweet and they are just not my cup of tea!)  Then grab dinner at Don Anotonio in Hell's Kitchen for some brick oven pizza.  Then catch a last glimpse of Times Square which you just can't appreciate until the sun goes down. 

Then we were off and dreaming of the next trip back - which is in just a few weeks so woohoo!