Seniors Visit Broadway
An Annual Visit with ATCA
By: Sandy Katz with photos by Gerry Katz - Nov 26, 2017
Every year we look forward to a theatrical cultural injection in The Big Apple. Our enticement is American Theatre Critics Association mini- conference run by well-connected member of long standing Sherry Eaker and her many helpers. Prominent members of the theatrical community are invited to participate on panels and the special treat is having lunch at Sardi's Restaurant for current performers on Broadway. Mixing and mingling is always so enjoyable.
Being a senior who uses a cane and has difficulty walking offers quite a challenge to keep to a schedule. We always pick the most centrally located hotel The Row. It has worked out well with convenient walking distance to Broadway theaters.
We had to rely on the doorman at The Row to whistle us a cab even when theater is close by. The taxi drivers were all so kind and accommodating to bring us literally around the corner. The one-way streets gave them an opportunity to make the trip worthwhile.
We arrived on Thursday before weekend conference to maximize enjoying New York City's delights. We usually start our theater-going experience with Phantom of The Opera, which has maintained its luster even though its the longest running Broadway show. The thrill of the exciting special effects including the show's legendary chandelier still amazes me. Then there is the beloved story and mesmerizing score with songs "All I Ask of You” "Music of the Night" and "Masquerade."
Since The Row is in such close proximity to all our shows and events, it makes it a very convenient eating venue at their City Kitchen restaurant-food court style. City Kitchen is where we mingled with friendly locals and tourists as we shared tables-family style. I am offering the quote that was on the wall of the City kitchen: “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's home and eat with them...The people who give you their food, give you their heart."
Thursday night we attended Beautiful-Carole King Musical who has always been one of my favorite singer songwriters. This musical tells the story of the early life and career of Carole King using songs she wrote, often together with her husband Gerry Goffin and other contemporary songs with other collaborators. The plot showcases her journey from teenage songwriter to Grammy-winning superstar. The musical is jam-packed with timeless hits, such as "So Far Away" and "Will You love Me Tomorrow."
Friday morning was our first panel: Journey of a New Musical: The Band's Visit. We had an opportunity to meet the creators that brought this potentially award-winning musical from Page to Stage. The Band's Visit . I will put it on my wish list for the next time I come to Broadway. This musical is based on a 2007 Israeli film
That night we attended The Bronx Tale. This streetwise musical will take you to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s-where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss aspires to be. This musical is based on the real-life story of Chazz Palminteri who takes a young boy under his wings introducing him into the gangster world. You can't help but notice the musical influence of Jersey Boys and West Side Story. A surprise visit from Chezz Palminteri brought the house on their feet!
The much awaited Sardi's luncheon occurred on Saturday. There was mingling before the luncheon. It appeared that the leading lady of The Band's Visit" made quite a hit among the critics at the luncheon. Katrina Lenk spent her time posing with every person that could catch her eye. She was Broadway star glamour!
Our matinee to Curvy Widow was a delight and especially for meeting the real-life Curvy Widow , feisty Bobby Goldman who, at 68, found herself in the unexpected post-bereavement dating pool. Her adventures inspire laughter and reveal truths about love, sex and life.
Saturday was to be my husband's special night. All he wanted for his 80th birthday was "Hamiltom." Don’t ask how we managed to get a ticket. What a happy man Gerry was watching a musical about young rebels that changed the theater and history. Lin-Manuel Miranda's rap-driven musical of the rise and fall of Alexander Hamilton with mesmerizing songs and precision dancing thrilled and made him feel young again. Having Hamilton touring will give many more people the opportunity to have this incredible theatrical experience. My husband will forever re-live his Hamilton adventure. I will have to settle for You-Tube snippets until my lucky time arrives.
While Gerry was at Hamilton, I had my own theatrical adventure at Come From Away based on an inspiring story. On September 11, 2001 thirty-eight planes with 7,000 stranded passengers were diverted to a small town in isolated Gander, Newfoundland. Small town camaraderie bands together these townspeople to care for stranded passengers as they made them as comfortable as possible by providing them with a place to sleep and eat. The story had all the ingredients of a feel good musical. On a personal note Gerry and I boarded the last plane from Canada before the 9/11 attack. Knowing the kindness of our Canadian neighbors, I feel we would have been well cared for if stranded.
We ended our theatrical journey with a hilarious Sunday matinee The Play That Goes Wrong. The show personified the slapstick that Chaplin and Keaton made famous. This farcical murder mystery was a play within a play performed by Theatre Mischief and made everything that went wrong simply hilarious.
No trip to New York city is complete without our yearly tour on The Ride. "The tour on this $1.5 million tour bus with coliseum-style seats that all face one window, offers a new perspective on New York City's past and present." (The New York Times) Usually, The Ride navigates a 75 minute route exploring over 10 NYC neighborhoods and 50 landmarks. However, due to NY marathon being held, the route was shortened and thanks to state-of-the-arts technology, we saw all our planned landmarks visit projected on screens on the bus.
Thanks New York City for the trip that went right!
If you go:
The Row 700 8th Ave. 212-869-3600
City Kitchen at The Row
The Ride: 212-221-0853 experiencetheride.com