Winter in New York City means I was Broadway bound...
I’ve had a love affair with the stage since I was in grade school, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that week after week, I’ve emerged from the 42nd Street subway station to find the bright lights of Broadway welcoming me.
Over the last few months, I’ve been steadily adding to my already enormous Playbill collection. From Laura Linney’s drama, “Time Stands Still,” a love story framed around the war in Iraq to “Million Dollar Quartet,” about one musical night in 1956 that united Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash in a tiny Memphis studio, I’m trying to see, dare I say, them all.
I’ll admit, I’d make a horrendous theatre critic. I’m not capable of tearing into the talent that night after night creates magic on the stage. Even "Spiderman," which has been panned in seemingly every review, I enjoyed enough to find some redeeming qualities in the 65-million dollar production. Even though I got antsy when my watch hit three hours, the score didn’t resonate with me, and a few of the characters didn't seem to have a purpose, the costumes were superb, the set was creative and injury-prone acrobatics were impressive. Since I had the opportunity to see the troubled show in previews, when it re-opens (if it opens), I‘d like to see the new revamped version of this pricey production.
"Spiderman" is currently dark and slated to open early this Summer
“Lombardi” was a surprise treat one night when I snagged discounted tickets with my resident theatre buddy, Rocco. I’ve never seen so many straight men, together, for a boys’ night out at the theatre. But it makes perfect sense since the play was about the legendary Green Bay Packers’ coach. It was a perfect way to spend a chilly Saturday evening.
Dan Lauria (Remember him from Wonder Years?) and Judith Light with fellow "Lombardi" cast members
Obviously, Times Square, also known as "The Crossroads of the World," is also terrific for entertaining family and friends. During Laura’s visit, we took in not one, but two shows, and they couldn’t be more different. “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” was a comedic rock musical about America's seventh President while “Next to Normal” was an unconventional dark musical about bipolar disorder, death, drug abuse, divorce and suburban life.
"Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" closed January 2011
During my mom’s visit, we were drawn to one of the more flamboyant shows about drag entertainers. Kelsey Grammer took the lead role in the revival of “La Cage aux Folles.” You may also remember the 1996 film adapted from the musical, starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
With one of the colorful cast members of "La Cage" collecting cash for AIDS research through Broadway Cares.
I guess you can always depend on drag queens to entertain. “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” rocked too! My friend Rajat was more than a good sport to check out this elaborate production about a tricked-up tour bus packed with three road-tripping drag-show performers on a road trip of personal discovery. The show based on the 1994 Australian film really is one of my favorites because of the memorable and fun 1970s music, elaborate costumes and the performers with stunning muscles. My long-time idol Bette Midler is one of the producers behind this fun, heart-warming, crass production. In addition to a playbill, I have another souvenir from the show. A pink ping-pong ball! It took me straight back to the live ping-pong show I experienced in Thailand in 2010.
My most recent show was “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” starring Robin Williams. In his Broadway debut, I thought Williams was terrific in this dark play about the chaos in Baghdad shortly after the invasion of Iraq. Days after walking out of the Richard Rodgers theatre, I was still thinking about the intensity of this production.
Exploring Times Square with Kimmy, my little sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters
Shows I’d still like to see? “Memphis,” “Book of Mormon” and “Sister Act.” Yet, I may not be able to squeeze them in right now. As a warm weather person, the theatre kept me cozy and entertained during my first true winter in five years. Now that the birds are chirping at 5am and the buds are just about to burst, rather than taking in the sights and sounds of the Great White Way, I’m ready to explore the parks and neighborhoods again.