Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Broadway Triage

As I mentioned before, we’re planning a trip at Thanksgiving to see the revival of A Chorus Line, and I’m not sure if or what else to see while in New York. Broadway shows are expensive and for me require lodging in New York which is rebounding price-wise from it's post 9/11 slump.

We got a fantastic bargain at the Waldorf Astoria in October of 2001. We had tickets to a matinee and were just going to daytrip it, but we answered Mayor Guilianni's call to spend money in New York as our patriotic duty. Lately because my wife teaches, we are stuck visiting during peak tourist season around the holidays where hotel bargains are few and far between.

I like to fit in several things when we're in New York like museums or unique dining or just sightseeing. Often times I will build a trip around a theme. Once we saw all the locations used in the movie Serendipity, including the titular dessert shop. If we are going up to see a show, I will check for bargains or overlooked events to piggyback onto the main event. Part of my entertainment triage is trying to prioritize what to see when. Here’s a rough breakdown of the categories I would place shows I’ve seen in.

Gotta See: Things that just based on advance word I had to see – Hairspray, Mamma Mia (in Toronto before the New York debut), Spamalot, The Odd Couple, Three Days Of Rain, and The Producers (with Lane and Broderick).

Good Buzz: Heard great things, let’s see it while we can still get tickets – Avenue Q, Wicked, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Assassins, and The Boy From Oz.

While We’re In The Neighborhood: We’re in New York anyways; lets see a show – Phantom Of The Opera, The Lion King (actually the Toronto production), Saturday Night Fever, Cabaret, and The Full Monty.

What A Bargain: Impulse purchase at TKTS or great deals on off-Broadway shows – Thoroughly Modern Millie, By Jeeves, Altar Boyz (not to be confused with Jersey Boys), Blue Man Group, The Musical of Musicals, and Forbidden Broadway.

Not Worth It:
Wish I had saved my money – The Woman in White, Little Women, and Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.

Take A Pass: I waited for the touring company or the regional production – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Whistle Down The Wind (which never actually made it to Broadway), The Producers (without Lane and Broderick), and Urinetown.

Actually if I had to see only one regional production last year, and I did see only one, the Signature Theater staging of Urinetown was the one to see. It swept the local theater awards and was said to be as good or better than the original Broadway run.

I have seen a rumor that High Fidelity is being adapted for the stage. Since I’m a huge Nick Hornby fan, if that rumor pans out I’m calling in my chits and putting that at the top of the list.

Blatant Comment Whoring™: Do you see live theater, and if so, what shows have you liked?


Anonymous said...

I go to shows at the Creative Alliance a lot. They're usually somewhere in between live shows, musical theater, and performance art. I just typed that sentence and realized that it sounded incredibly snooty and pretentious -- but really, it's pretty wacky and generally a blast. And it's right in Highlandtown in East Bawlmer, hun! You should check it out. Particularly good is Stoop Storytelling, a regular feature ... and I'm not saying that just because I got picked out of the audience to tell an impromptu story myself at the last show (I'm the one with the sideburns who appears to be doing some sort of karate chop).

Sandy J said...

It's been so long since I have seen any kind of live theater, but i do love it. Went to New York twice and saw two shows and planning a trip in the next two years. Not sure what we will see that time.

Here from Michelle's!

Mooselet said...

Do high school plays count? I'd like to see Hugh Jackman when he comes to Brisbane for his A Boy From Oz, but none of my friends are game plus the tickets are riduculously expensive. Ah well, I will continue to live vicariously through you, yello.

yellojkt said...

High school plays count. Some are really good. Oz is a so-so show, but Jackman really gays it up in character and interacts with the audience which makes it fun.

I've gone to several local things, but the runs are usually so short, that by the time I read the reviews, the show might be sold-out.

I just learned a group in Philly is doing a rock opera of Bright Lights, Big City. That might be worth a road trip.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Even though I've always wanted to see a Broadway play, if I had limited time in NY I'd probably waste it doing something stupid like going to Letterman, John Stewart or SNL. That's just how I am.

yellojkt said...

I took the NBC tour once and have been in the SNL studio. The guide said that SNL is the toughest ticket in television. You have to have a connection to get a ticket. Other shows have people handing out tickets on the street.

Letterman would be very cool to see.

Anonymous said...

My husband (another Straight Guy Theater Fan) and I see about 3 shows a month. Tonight I'm going with some out of town guests to see The Glass Menagerie at Berkeley Rep starring Rita Moreno. San Francisco's a great theater town but of course nothing beats NYC!

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Forgot to mention... I saw Joseph when it came to Mpls a few years ago with Donny Osmond and it was fabulous. After that it toured with Adrian Zmed. I heard that was ok but no Donny!

Anonymous said...

I basically see local Denver stuff (Buntport Theatre rocks). However, a few years back I was lucky enough to see Sarah Jones do a lot of the material she used in Bridge and Tunnel. Checking her website, it looks like she is still doing the show out in NYC, and it has moved to Broadway. That woman can act. I'd give it a shot if I were you. And I am. Trust me.

yellojkt said...

They gave Sara Jones a special Tony because there were not enough shows to fill out her category.

Dear AL said...

I use to work for a small theater, designed the sets for Little Shop of Horrors, Prisoner of 2nd Avenue, Kindertransport, the King and I, and a dozen other plays.

The last show I actually sat down and watched was "Can't take it with you", which I wasn't involved with since I no longer work for this theater, but it was great.

Kristian said...

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