April/May 2018: Eight Days in New York City

On April 24, 2017 Greg (from Palm Springs to LaGuardia) and Tom (from San Francisco to JFK) and Tom's brother Richard (Portland to JFK) flew to New York City.

We rented a two bedroom 2 bath apartment at the same building as last year at 10th Avenue and 52nd Avenue. It is in the same building as last year and it's modern and roomy.

Wed April 25, 2017: Our Broadway Ticket Search

This year we only purchased one show in advance.  This was Boys in the Band which is just opening and weren't sure we could get tickets at the box office.  However, this day we walked all over Time Square and beyond to buy tickets for the rest of the week.  We see 2 shows on our first full day here.  

We will see a total of 8 performances.

April 25, “My Fair Lady” (Matinée)

In 1956/1957, the “Hamilton” of the day, and the hardest ticket to get was “My Fair Lady.” Long before the #MeToo movement, was this story of class distinctions and toying with transforming a “guttersnipe” simply for the challenge to prove superiority.  In that day the plot was not questioned. That was the story. In 2018, Lincoln Center has very subtly updated that story with a bit of a surprise twist. “Eliza” is finally in the driver’s seat. But, let’s not dwell on the politics. The reason for the enduring success of this show is all about the music and the visual.

Tom, Richard and Greg at the Vivian Beaumont Theater waiting for the lights to go down and curtain to go up!

This production is superb. The Overture, played by a full Lincoln Center orchestra does not miss a memorable chord. The arrangements follow the original Broadway recording, but, of course with 21st Century sound. The sets, starting out with the simplicity of a bare stage transform to Henry Higgins’ entire London building which silently rolls out, then turns repeatedly 360 degrees with the cast going from room to room during its rotation, then disappears again.

Lauren Ambrose and Harry Hadden-Paton

And, then there’s the cast: Those who have been following the career of LAUREN AMBROSE know that she was the sometimes-dramatic younger sister in “Six Feet Under.” She has done a few movies but has been quietly raising a family. There was talk a few years ago about her being cast as Fanny Brice in a revival of “Funny Girl,” but the backing fell through. Perhaps they thought that she couldn’t sing the part. She finally got her Broadway show. Lauren can sing! But, what is more, she is an intelligent actress first and a joy to watch at all times.

Harry Hadden-Paton

Professor Henry Higgins, HARRY HADDEN-PATON, who we have seen in “Downton Abbey” and “The Crown” can also sing (unlike Rex Harrison) and delights in the English language by the clearest enunciation this side of the West End.

Dianna Rigg (Mrs. Higgins)

There’s DIANA RIGG, not in a mini-skirt, but the Grande Dame as Higgins’ mother.

And, as an over the top scene stealer, the two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz as Eliza’s father, Alfred P. Doolittle. His numbers are tailor made for his dynamic energy.
Ascot Gavotte

The show is, as they say-“The Perfect Musical:”  sets, color, lighting, casting and of course music that you can humm….all the way home.

Greg writing our reviews to tell you what he/we thought of each play

April 25, “Lobby Hero” Evening
After the full out musical production of the afternoon, we decided to go small scale in the evening. Kenneth Lonergan, who is now best known for “Manchester by the Sea”(2016), wrote “Lobby Hero” in 2001. A tightly written cautionary tale about honesty and loyalty.

The action (dialogue) takes place in a Manhattan apartment lobby where you have a younger security guard who is always being reprimanded by his superior, the Security Guard Captain. Advice is constantly given, based on his failures. There are two members of the police department: the more experienced,  and a female rooky who also happen into the lobby.

Chris Evans, Bel Powley, Michael Cera and Brian Tyree Henry

MICHAEL CERA , who you might know from “Juno” and “Arrested Development” plays the awkward and  hopefully ambitious “Jeff”, the younger Security Guard. BRIAN TYREE HENRY who is staring in “Atlanta” plays his superior—full of advice of what is the right thing to do. BEL POWLEY is the diminutive rooky police officer who also looks for guidance from her more experienced partner, played by the posing,  preening “mustachioed” CHRIS EVANS. He is not only full of advice, but full of himself.

Chris Evans and Michael Cera

Honesty falls to the wayside when the lies and flaws of each of the characters eventually come to the surface revolving around an alibi for murder

Brian Tyree Henry and Chris Evans

Performances are strong, and the one set piece does not limit your attention to the plot. You do not leave the theater humming your favorite song—but you contemplate the place for truth and honesty in one’s life—and what we go through to maintain our outward hopes vs. our inner struggles.

I get my broadway fix vicariously from the three of you.  Please enjoy and report.  Lisa  M

Sounds like you’re off to a good start. Keep those emails coming.  Ken B

Sounds like I'll have to make sure I see My Fair Lady. I can already sing all of the songs.  See you Friday night!!!  DoreneK

Thank you Tom. I always look forward to your emails and the terrific reviews--you could write for the Times!  Enjoy--can't wait for your take on Boys in the Band!  Nick V

This is truly a great way for you guys to spend your vacations! Loved the description of my fair lady--and you're right: it's all about the visual (everything is!)
Roberta G.

Hello Tom, thx for mail we want to know all about yur adventures. Have fun and hello to Mr G!! - Henry H.

Give my regards to Broadway. Sylvia S.

Tom- Looking forward to your reviews.  Chris and I will be in NYC from May 25-29 and hope to see a show while we're there.  We'll be visiting my extended family (12 cousins, etc.) which is a different kind of live drama---but hopefully we can find a few hours to escape to Broadway.  After reading your review of My Fair Lady, I just tried to get tickets but it appears to be sold out over Memorial Day weekend.  Bummer!  Will be reading your review to find an alternate--or we will try the TXT booth at Times Square once we arrive. XOXO Barry M.

I am always delighted to receive your Broadway Shows critiques!   Your summaries are so informative and fun.!!!!   Will luv receiving your take on the  currennt cluster,   Wish we all could get together more often, Tom ~~~~~   I’m not going to Fromm any longer but I miss our get togethers and the classes.    Hugs to you and hope your upcoming summer will be enjoyable!    Peggy M

Thanks so much! Love reading about your adventures in New York.  Am especially appreciative of live theater after seeing Dream Girls in London! Keep the reviews and photos coming and have a simply fantastic time in New York!  Hugs to all!  Ruth K

Delighted as always to share in your trips and adventures!  And this time Richard went along too!  Hi, Richard! My Fair Lady sounds delicious, as it rightly should!  Love, Nancy D

All sounds brilliant. Where are you guys staying this time? And curious who was the costume designer on My Fair lady? Break a  leg of a visit boys! Kevin and Todd


Thursday April 26

Today we ate a late lunch at Becco restaurant on 46th St. It is on Restaurant Row and is owned by chef Lidia Bastianich.  We've dined there each year for the past 6 years. We arrived after the lunch crowd so there weren't a lot of other people there.

Today was sunny and warm.

Richard, Greg and Tom

Disney's “Frozen"

Caissie Levy (Elsa) and Patti Murin (Anna)

The three of us were grateful that we were not sitting by a young child at this production. However, part of the fun was watching (from a distance) the excitement on their faces. It must be so difficult for productions to keep the attention of a young person in 2018 after what they have been exposed to by the technology of the day.

Patti Murin (Anna) and John Riddle (Hans)

The story of “Frozen” is a bit hard to thaw, but if you sit back and enjoy the music and the spectacle, you have a great time. The play follows closely the animated movie (highest grossing animated film of all time) with a few new songs added. The husband/wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez can write very catchy tunes of the “Disney” variety.

The cast is a healthy racial mix which can exist without question in a fairy tale. (For example, the blond and redheaded sister's father was African-Scandanavian and mother was Nordic blond.)

There are laughs for both the adults and the kids: “Butt jokes” for the adults, and sexual innuendos for the kids. (?)

Greg Hildreth (Olaf)

However, for me (Greg), what was most impressive are the technical achievements that were pulled off flawlessly ... which were so easily accepted by the kids, and mind blowing for the adults.

In the day, I was sold on theatre by watching Mary Martin fly around the stage supported by clearly visible wires. Now it takes millions of $$$ in special effects to turn kids on to theater. Never the less, hopefully it does.

Jelani Alladin (Kristoff) and Andrew Pirozzi (Sven)


Kristoff and the Trolls

Two Trolls: Timothy Hughes (Pabbie) and Olivia Phillip (Bulda)

Tom, thank you for sharing!!  Glad to see you guys are having a great time!!  Say Hi to Greg from us!!
With Warmest Regards,  Beverly & Fred S.

Wow, the costumes are incredible. Glad you guys are having such a good time!  Thanks for sharing!  Ruth K.

I think I've seen that Pabbie at the Mine Shaft before?   Kevin W.

Looks wonderful there!  What a great trip. But you missed an amazing chicken pot pie at Women's Fellowship that Louise and Arlene made.  There's nothing in New York like that, I can guarantee you.  Just sayin'. Have fun! Blessings,  Deb P.

I didn’t know trolls had six packs - Todd M.

Thanks for keeping me on your Broadway report list.  I love the special and quirky insights that evade the more famous reviewers.  Eric C.

Thanks for the updates.  Love Lidia Bastianich.  Mike H.

Dear Tom, Greg and Richard, You have scored many points with the Kersens kids Celia and Hadley, by going to see "Frozen."  I bet that some day they will be able to join you in New York City for "Frozen."  Kim S

Having a good ga-thaw visualizing the 3 of you at FROZEN!  Pics make it more inviting to see than a professed adult night imagine.   Were you frozen in animation and awe?  The racial make up is somewhat that of Inge’s , Doug ‘s wife!  They are not exactly the South African Von-Trap Family but close!   Inge, Helge , Swen, Lisle!   A future for our grandchildren! You must be humming the same tunes as the 7 year olds as you sashay down the avenues! Go get ‘em, Boys! You Noreen M.

How are you able to obtain the pictures which are embedded in the email?  Jeff S.

Phew - I was worried that you three rebels might be breaking the laws of Broadway!  Your photos would be in every box office and they would refuse to sell tickets to you.  A theater queen’s nightmare!  Jeff S

Keep the news coming.  I am recovering from hip replacement surgery and it gives me great joy to see NYC and your adventures.  Love to Greg.
Linda B.

Thanks - day 2 of recovery and my sons are tag teaming to help me.  I hope to be on my own by next week.  Pauline is going to NYC in June and I know she will appreciate your reviews.  Linda B.

Aloha - So good to hear from after our trip to San Diego.   Again thank you very much for all you did for Douglas and I during our stay in San Diego.  It was a trip that we will remember for a very long time seeing old friends and  talking story. Mahalo, Sharlene I.

Wow, what incredible costuming!  Nancy D.

I am so damn jealous!!  tell Greg when he gets back coffee with Paula so she can hear full details. Paula A.

Such fun to share in your adventures, read such very well-crafted reviews, see lovely photos, and still sleep in my own bed.  Almost as good as being there. Thanks for the contact high! XXOO Syl K.

Tom: Hope your trip is fabulous. Cheers  Sara H

Friday April 27

Today we took the subway down to 14th Steet to Coppelia, a Cuban restaurant.  Good food and good company!

Tom, Greg, Richard and Dorene at Coppelia (Cuban) restaurant

Cuban pancakes


Edward Albee's “Three Tall Women"

Edward Albee (1928 - 2016)

Edward Albee (The Zoo Story, The Sandbox, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Delicate Balance, etc.)was an adopted son of a wealthy father and a socialite mother. Their relationship was not a happy one, as he left home at the age of 18—expelled from a variety of private schools.  The father refused to believe that he could be a writer so he struck off on his own.

At the John Golden Theater.

“Three Tall Women” is perhaps his most autobiographical work. The characters are named: A (a woman in her 90’s), B (a woman in her 50’s) and C (a woman in her 20’s.) When we meet them, A (Glenda Jackson) is well into senility, and requires the help of B (Laurie Metcalf) to do simple tasks—walking, going to the bathroom, etc. C (Alison Pill) is a young businesslike employee of a firm who is managing A’s money. In this scene we are made aware of A’s autocratic, racist and proud demeaner mixed with the uncontrollable weakness of humiliating bodily functions.

Lauie Metcalf, Glenda Jackson and Alison Pill

As the play progresses into the next scene it becomes clearer that A, B and C are the same woman at certain periods of life, and that A has had a stroke—lying unmoving in bed. This allows all three characters to be removed, look back at the body and reflect upon their lives—explaining to the others their motivation for what they did at the time. This is where Edward Albee tries to exorcise himself and work through some troubled memories. He is quoted is saying: “I didn’t end up any more fond of the woman after I finished it than when I started.”

The action takes place in a beautiful high ceilinged bedroom which opens up to a reflective copy of itself separated by glass, and a large wall of mirror allowing us to be removed from the body. The women  “reflect” on their own stories and motivations at their respective ages. The image is as complex as the stories they are telling. At one point, the son (perhaps Albee, himself) appears to visit his mother, but can only stare emotionless. His appearance is harshly commented on by all three of the “Tall Women.”

Mirror wall - tilts forward near the very end of the play

Needless to say, but I’m going to anyway,  the performances are superb in their ability to make you uncomfortable. The opportunity to see Glenda Jackson work her intense commitment to a role is quite memorable. She is known for her powerful voice—not only the timber, but the ability to deliver biting comments. She is in command. Laurie Metcalf, who has been getting much respected work, of late, has great timing—both comic and dramatic. And the younger Alison Pill holds her own with these seasoned pros.

Glenda Jackson

Poor Edward Albee. He had a lot to exorcise.

Lauie Metcalf, Glenda Jackson and Alison Pill in happier times?!

Tom, Dorene and Greg: One Tall Man outside Three Tall Women theater.

Loved it. Three Tall Women sounds like a fascinating play. Look forward to Saturday the 27th. Thanks for including me.... I always like reading your beautifully written updates. Todd H.

A very powerful play. Loved it at ACT with Marian Seldes and Michael Lerned. Can only imagine it with these two!  Thank you for sharing.  PS. Sat with Larry and Lucie at Ann’s show last night. Told him my great friend was going to see Boys in the Band. He said it’s smashing and so much better than when he opened it. Hugh praise I’d say. 
Nick V.

What an appropriate play: Three Tall Women.  Looks like you're having fun and eating well!  Roberta G.

Tom & all, Should you run into Glenda Jackson, please let her know I’m still head over heels in love with her.   Best Lisa M.

The last picture of Tom, Dorene, and Greg looks like Greg got caught with his fly open!  Mon Dieu!  Sounds like you are eating your way across Manhattan and loving it. You go, Guys! P.S. Tell Dorene she looks BEAUTIFUL! ... Noreen M.

‘whoa !    Sounds fun!   xxxx  Peggy M.

Hi Tom, Thanks for keeping me on your list as I always enjoy your reviews and hearing about the places you boys eat at! I arrived at Margaret's place on the Cape last Wednesday and I will be here till the 5th.  I planned on doing some significant yard work as she has an acre of land, but the weather so far has not been cooperating..... Enjoy your time in the Big Apple and my best to you all.... Tom S

Saturday April 28another Double Header: “Carousel” and “Mean Girls” A Broadway “leap” of 73 years.

Jessie Mueller (Julie) and Joshua Henry (Billy Bigelow) in Carousel

In 1945 Rogers and Hammerstein produced their second collaboration, after “Oklahoma!”. “Liliom”, a Hungarian drama, was adapted to the musical stage and placed in a New England coastal town. This became "Carousel".  The plot is heavy and brooding with a love story that is doomed to fail. This plot contrasts with a score as beautiful as any of the period. The full orchestra demands voices which can elevate the lyrics and create “goosebumps” in the listener. The deliberately slow and stirring rumble of the “Carousel Waltz” sets off a rhythm of movement which is picked up by choreography creating a visual carousel both tawdry and elegant.

Joshua Henry (Billy)

JOSHUA HENRY as Billy Bigelow is full of swagger and sexual energy. He is crude and predatory. JESSIE MUELLER, Julie Jordan, is overwhelmed  by this “energy”, because he certainly shows no tenderness to her. We know that this is not going to turn out well—for either of them, but the music and the voices soften us to perhaps understand  their relationship.


Here is a video of a dance sequences from Carousel from Playbill on Facebook:


While this carousel of a bad relationship evolves, we are treated to some of the greatest choreography on Broadway this season. Justin Peck, recently highlighted on CBS Sunday Morning for being the Resident Choreographer of the New York City Ballet in his Broadway debut was asked to create an expanded accompaniment to the story line—and he succeeded. All the Ensemble consists of highly trained ballet and modern dancers who are able to execute Peck’s every whim. He is just 30 years old and is now sought after by all the ballet companies of the world.

Renée Flemming (Nettie)

The old chestnut “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is imperially handled by Renée Flemming whose voice soars above the full stage of trained singers. You know what that song does to you, and you can’t keep from tearing up.

Lindsay Mendez (Carrie) and Alexander Gemignani (Enoch)

This “Carousel” gives you a complete Broadway experience of music, voice, dancing, storyline and visual beauty which is a part of our American Musical Theater heritage.

We ate a late lunch (between shows) at Don Antonios which was a short walk away.  We sat near the kitchen so we could watch our pizzas being flattened out, topped and baked.  Very tasty. 

Richard, Tom, Dorene and Greg. The monitor in the upper background shows what's going on in the kitchen (behind Dorene and Greg)

Erika Henningsen and ensemble

In 2018, (73 years later) another type of musical heritage “MEAN GIRLS” has just opened. Those  who are familiar with the movie of the same name realize that we’re not dealing with classic themes, here. In fact, the new Broadway Musical wisely must appeal to the new Broadway Musical patron—the younger audience. The pace of the new Broadway must quicken. Visual and sound bites must move rapidly to propel the storyline. “Listening” becomes “hearing.” Lyrics become secondary. Scenes must change so quickly that they become projections. Voices become electronic.

At the mall

There is no lack of talent in this production. Tina Fey, as we all know, is a gifted comedienne and she knows what is amusing. She has written some new material that is “LOL!” The characters are all high schoolers that we knew in growing up, and we can all see ourselves in there, somewhere. The Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, Dreamgirls, Something Rotten! Etc.) knows our musical heritage, but choses to appeal to the new audience. The young people in the crowd “ROAR” at what happens on stage, and somehow can follow the lyrics. His choreography extends to the “street moves” (arm and leg calisthenics) which is so popular now.

Kyle Selig and Erika Henningsen

There are some standout performances, as each of the young cast has a theater biography of merit.

Math Team, Erika Henningsen, Kerry Butler ("Tina Fey")

The two shows: “Carousel” and “Mean Girls” seen in one day can take you on quite an journey of a cultural artistic heritage. Perhaps Broadway is not “dead” after all.


Tina Fey with cast members at the opening on Broadway.

Sounds fabulous. So glad you saw Carousel. When I saw the piece on Sunday Morning I felt you would love the male dancers in Peck’s new arrangements. I thought they were amazing and would have loved to see a live performance of theirs.  Continue your exciting week. Hi to all from me.  Hugs from the tattooed lady! Ruth K.

Thanks for sharing.  Great photos. And the Daniels boys are lookin' good!!  So good to hear that you are having yet another great trip.   Sandra P.

Beautiful Pics! Thanks for sharing....Tell Richard to come come to our dinner night! Wade C.

Hi Tom.
What a day you all had!! I saw Carousel many many years ago while living in NYC. Tina Fey must have been extra special!!~!~ The city at this time of the year would indeed be a treat. Leave the 27th May for Oslo. Join Dick in Paris June 8th. Have a great time!!!
Dick P.

I never liked Carousel, despite some okay music.  I prefer happy endings.  I suspect I wouldn’t care for Mean Girls either, but it looks like you four had a great time!  Nancy D.

Sunday April 29

No shows today!

We booked 2 tours at the Tenement Museum at 103 Orchard Street.  At noon we took the subway down to Grand Street and walked a couple blooks to the Museum building.  While we waited for our "Sweat Shop" tour to start, we watched a video documentary of this area which was home to so many immigrants and how this museum came about.


Tenement Museum

The building at 97 Orchard Street was boarded up in 1935 when city codes were enacted that would have cost the landloard a lot of money to make these safety modificaitons.  It was cheaper to evict the tenants and only keep the retail storefronts on the lowest 2 floors rented.

A tenement is a set of rooms forming a residence in a building with multiple units. The term tenement has come to be know as living quarets in an old run-down building in a poor area.

97 Orchard Street entrance

Tenement apartment which has not been restored. 

Around the early 1900's, the tiny 3-room apartments were used as sweat shops where material was cut to paterns, pieces basted together and dresses sewn. A presser used a coal-heated, heavy iron to finish the garments.

This is a restored apartment where dresses were made.  Sewing machine (operated by a man) on the right.

This is the kitchen of a restored tenement apartnment. 4 people would have slept in this room at one time.

Our second tour was an outside walking tour of this area.

We stood at this intersection of Hester Street where this photo was taken. This photo shows a street filled with push carts and shoppers. We looked down this street and saw the same brick buildings today.

In the above photo there is a little boy, near the right/foreground, carrying white pattern pieces which he would be taking to the sweat shops. He was called a schlepper. When the dresses were finished he be taking them back to the broker.

Modern day photo of the buildings in the former tenement area.

This Beaux Arts Architectural Masterpiece on Broadway was built in 1912. It was built for the Yiddish newpaper called the Forward.  Now it has been converted into expensive condominiums.

Greg, Tom and Richard at the "99 Favor Taste" Chinese hot pot restaurant in Chinatown.

Placing raw food into the hot pots.

Cooking our dinner in hot pots

Greg and Tom (and Richard taking the photo) waiting for the "D" train to take us down to uptown.

Greg on the sun deck of our apartment building at sunset.  Looking towards the Hudson River.


Loved sharing your day with the three of you. 
So what are we doing today?  Sylvia S.

Wow, those tenements are really something....
Deb P.

Aloha Thank you very much for sharing your New York trip with us.  While looking at the pictures and reading your coments it felt like we were in New York.  My sister and I were in New Jersey at 9/11 and almost went to New York to make a tour since I had never been to New York good thing I over slept that morning.  Again thank you for sharing -- From Hawaii Sharlene I.

Looks like an excellent way to spend a Sunday - Marjorie H.

OMG what a cast worth Three Tall Women... for me a once in a lifetime to see Glenda Jackson who I thought was long ago retired!? Todd W.

The tenement museum was an unforgettable experience for me.  Glad you took the tour.  Isn't is hard to believe how people lived when first immigrating? Sylvia S.

Great recap, guys!  And I love touring the Tenement Museum when there. Have done it twice, and what stories they provide. Thanks for sharing!  Dave P

Monday April 30

Today we took the subway down to the south end of Highline Park.  It was colder this day, windy and later on we had a little rain.  Our destination was Samsung 837 (837 Washington St.)  It is very near the new Whitney Museum building. 

Tom in from of Samsung 837 building.

Samsung gave us each a Samsung 8 smartphone to use during our visit.  We used it to check into 6 different stations on the 2 floors of flagship store.  The first thing we did was a VR (virtual reality) demonstration.  We were given goggles and sat in special chairs. We were taken on a fantastic "roller coaster" sort of ride. It was scary and I closed my eyes about 10 times (going over cliffs, for example!).  Very exciting.  The chairs moved and made the "ride" feel very real.

Here is a link to a video of the Special Chairs we sat in for the VR demonstration.  The video of each VR goggle was powered by a Samsung 9 smartphone.


Richard on VR skis.

Here is a video of Richard skiing..


Richard and Greg writing on the Graffiti Wall

Tesla Showroom:

Richard and Greg learning about the Tesla X

View down 10th Avenue from the Highline Park

We climbed up onto Highline Park. There was a strong, cold wind so we only walked a short distance.  Then it started to rain so we returned to the street.

Sitting at the viewing "window" over 10th Avenue. Notice the rain drops on the wood.

“The Boys in the Band” (First day of previews)

The 50th Anniversary of the groundbreaking 1968 premiere of the Off Broadway production begins! When the limited (5 performance) play first appeared, it attracted such attention that it moved to a larger theater, and ultimately ran a total of 1001 performances. At that time, it was a sensation. Never before had there been a mainstream play of a group of homosexual men interacting with more than what the public was perceiving at that time.

Both the straight world and the gay world were shocked, but for different reasons. The straight world was presented the inner pain under the apparent humor of the dialogue. The gay world saw portrayed their pain in such a way that they refused to accept the public perception. This was prior to Stonewall, and the AIDS epidemic. Many feel that it was a starting point for the “Gay Movement.”

Original 1968 cast: Mart Crowely and Natalie Wood are also in this photo

The cast in the original ’68 production were advised to not take the roles, as their carriers would never be the same. The new production consists of OUT gays whose carriers have thrived despite their sexuality. We can look back at what life was like in ’68 and see the progress in many respects, but not in every.

This production, starring: Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer, Andrew Rannells, Tuc Watkins, Charlie Carver, Robin de Jesús, Brian Hutchison and Michael Benjamin Washington is beautifully cast with unapologetic award winning actors. All of whom are too young to have seen the impact of the original production, but not too young to have not felt the pain of public opinion.

The cast in this 2018 revival

The cast plus the director, the write (Mart Crowley) and producer Ryan Murphy.

It is interesting to see how the dialogue has become so well known to the gay lexicon, that it could be recited by half of the audience.

Jim Parsons (Michael), Zachary Quinto (Harold), Andrew Rannells (Larry) and Matt Bomer (Donald)

The set is slick: two levels, walls of glass in the upstairs bedroom and bath, the downstairs mirrored with step down seating ... and .... all of it RED!

From our seat in the 3rd row of the mezzanine

The sets for Boys in the Band.

The young people in the audience will go away with a different take than those of us who were there in the beginning. But, that’s what it’s all about….and yes, we get a fleeting glimpse of Matt Bomer’s heinie.


Interesting journey through NYC past.  Just saw some of the Tony nominations announced.  You folks seem to have picked several of the nominees!  Ruth K.

Tom, All very neat.  Have enjoyed your commentaries and pictures. Best, Richard L.

Had a good time following your theatre in week in NYC. Thank You Donna H

Was the play still set in 1968 or was it updated? I'd think if it were set today, it would seem very dated.  Nick V.

Sounds wonderful. I wouldn’t mind getting that glimpse myself!  He is so handsome! The virtual reality is a little stomach churning!  Enjoy the rest of your time there and safe travels home!  Hugs.  Ruth K.

Tuesday May 1

This is our last day and last play and you'll be relieved to hear our last e-mail!.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will be flying back to our homes.

This morning we took a Lyft ride up to the upper east side to the apartment of Mick, a Reed College classmate of Tom and Richard's brother Joel.  He has a beautiful home there. 

Mick's apartment: Mick, Greg, Tom and Richard

We walked to a Persian restaurant not far away.

Greg, Mick, Tom and Richard at Persepolis, Persian Restaurant on 2nd Ave

Now it was time to leave for our last show.  We walked across the street from Mick's and entered the brand new 72nd station on 2nd avenue.

Escalator down to the trains at the new station on the Q line

A new station on the Q line at E 72nd Street and 2nd Ave

Our last play: “The Band’s Visit”

We go to New York to see a full out spectacle with costumes, flashy sets, big music and dancing. It can  take those things to convey even the most simple story: boy meets girl, boy loses girl and then boy maybe realizes…something, with the help of a cast of thousands.

The Company of the Band's Visit - getting tickets to the wrong destination

Well, that’s not the case with “The Band’s Visit.”  In 2007 an Israeli film told the story of an Egyptian Band, “The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra” outfitted in nifty powder-blue uniforms is traveling to a ‘gig’ in the town of Peta Tikvah. Well, they end up in the town of Bet Hatikvah, (sound it out) instead. This fictional town happens to be some cement out in the Israeli desert – period.

The Company of the Band's Visit - arriving at the wrong destination

The people in this town are “waiting” for something to happen, and it usually doesn’t. One day a group of men in “nifty powder blue uniforms” and instruments arrive. They must stay the night as the bus to the correct town will not come until the morning. There you have the story. You wait for something to happen, which will change their lives—perhaps an Israeli/Arab enlightenment. You wait for one of the characters to fall in love. You wait for the story to go from “A” to at least “B.”  This is not what happens.

Kristen Sieh, John Cariani, Alok Tewari, Andrew Polk & George Abud

What you do have is a boy who gathers enough nerve to speak to a girl. A wife who leaves her husband, then comes home. A woman who longs for the romance of “Omar Sharif.” A young man who waits for months by the public phone for his girlfriend to call, and she finally does. What you come to realize is that the waiting, and longing is all part of the process, and if something happens that makes you feel differently, no matter how insignificant it is, it happened and there is a connection.

Tony Shalhoub Ari'el Stachel and Katrina Lenk

 Rachel Prather, Etai Benson & Ari'el Stachel

What is most difficult to express, however is the exotically beautiful and very un-Broadway music and rhythms  that the “Band” is able to play. A mix of Israeli and Arabic instruments that take you away to the atmosphere and spicy seduction  of the Middle East. The music is “stand alone” exquisite. That is what connects the audience to the “charm” of this very simple tale of people, no matter the politics, who have longings to connect. By the way, the “Band” makes it to their ‘gig.’

The company of The Band's Visit

In leaving the theater, I noticed that some people understood, and like me, will run home and see the film.


Thanks for the reviews. I especially enjoyed My Fair Lady and Frozen ("a bit hard to thaw"). Would love to hear more about Boys in the Band. The Tenement Museum was a new one on me. Might check it out next time I'm there. Have a good flight home all. Best,
Charles and Jon

Safe travels! I adore your emails. Sounds like it was a trip to remember!!  Jen F

You guys seem to be having a wonderful time!!!!
Amazing photos  Kisses  Janek B.

What a great review of The Band's Visit!  I saw and loved the film.  Have a safe flight home.   Sounds like another great visit to NY!   Sylvia S.

Great photos!! Especially the first one of Tony Shalhoub Ari'el Stachel and Katrina Lenk where one of them is playing the trumpet or cornet.  Roberta G

Never relieved...I have loved your daily adventures and, of course, the play synopses.  It reminds me to make NYC  An annual visit.  I especially loved this last review of The Band's Visit after all the Tony nominations and seeing the cast on the Today show 
yesterday.  Safe travels to you all, Linda (B?)

Tom!  Thank you so much for including me in your wonderful New York journey- it gave me great pleasure. I would have loved to have seen you guys, but I am up to my ears in the Cher Musical... And our 375 costumes.... I read your emails each night as a beautiful escape from the madness! Bless You, Joe M

Samsung looks interesting!  That apartment/home below looks charming!   (I will miss this series ~   be sure to re-start next year, Tom!!!!    Peggy

Bon voyage boys Thank you for all the wonderful emails and photos...enjoyed every minute. Kevin and Todd

Great e-mail and rhetoric makes me also want to se the film....thanks!  Safe travels... Sandra B.

I am not either cheering that it’s your last email for this trip – I love getting them!  Thank you for including me. Nancy D

Hi Tom,  Thanks for all of the email updates.  It looks like you guys had a great time and were able to catch some wonderful shows.  Take Care,  Beth K.

Had a good time following your theatre in week in NYC. Thank You. Donna H.