---- 2023 Broadway: Tom Daniels, Greg Gilman and Richard Daniels

Hello Friends and Family,

Here is our record of our  trip to Broadway this year.  We are Tom Daniels [Oakland], Greg Gilman [Palm Springs] and Richard Daniels [Eugene] . This is Tom’s 11th year, Greg’s 9th year and Richard’s 4th year. The shows are cleverly reviewed by Greg.  Tom adds photos and generates the e-mailing. 

As one might expect, or at least hoped, BROADWAY 2023 has opened with a vengeance. The streets around Times Square are packed again with people looking for “The Olive Garden” to grab a bite before showtime. So many more of the theaters are running shows in hopes of that evasive TONY Award. To qualify for that honor, the show must OPEN (not just run as a preview) by April 27th, which is today! For the rest of the country this is not a monumental thing, but for NEW YORK CITY, where Broadway is King, this is Christmas Day! Since many of the shows haven’t opened when we get tickets, we take our chances on what “The Hit of the Season” will be. Sometimes we win, and …well, you know the rest.

Our first day in New York is a busy one. We must get up early enough to go to all of the box offices of the shows we would like to see. Telecharge and Ticketmaster will now add as much as $15.00 to $20.00 per ticket for fees and service charges. Multiply that by as many tickets are we are buying, and you add several hundred more dollars to a Broadway visit. If you buy it at the box office, there are no fees. This is a good way of getting over jet-lag on the first day. It also allows someone who has long legs to be able to choose a ticket on the aisle. Because it is a Wednesday, we will have 2 shows this first day.

---- Sweeney Todd

Our Matinée is Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” and a brand new just opened show called “Shucked.” For people who say that “musicals” are all the same, there is no better example of the variety of offerings than these two “musicals.” One can find almost anything entertaining.

Full disclosure, I am a Sondheim “freak.” Like Stephen Sondheim himself, if there is a note out of order, it will be noticed. “Sweeney Todd” has been revived several times, but not since it first appeared in 1979 has it been presented on the grand scale in which it was conceived. Few musicals can afford to have a 27-piece orchestra in the pit anymore. Much is demanded of the cast, as very little is spoken. The lyrics and the orchestration take you on an emotional journey which makes this show the masterpiece it is.

The lead players are Josh Groban, as Sweeney and Annaleigh Ashford as the scheming Mrs Lovett. The rest of the cast are as talented, including Jordan Fisher as Anthony, the troll faced Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things) as Tobias, Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles as the Beggar Woman, etc.


Attending the matinée, as often is the case, Josh Groban was replaced by Nicholas Christopher. This was a disappointment, but as soon as the show began the disappointment was forgotten and Mr. Christopher had the stage presence and the voice to match the power needed to take us on his murderous carnage. Not to get too involved with telling the story but here are the high points: Victorian era. A barber is wrongly accused and sent away to Australia for 15 years because a corrupt judge has evil intentions on the barber’s wife and child. When the barber returns he promises revenge on the judge at all costs.

T he barber shop was above a “pie shop” run by Mrs. Lovett who secretly loved the barber, and assists in the revenge. Coincidentally, there is a lack of supplies for the pie shop. But, as you might expect there happens to be an endless supply of fresh meat due to the strange disappearance of the barber’s clients upstairs. This, of course, is so much more convenient than chasing the cats in the neighborhood. A story as extremely gruesome as this, (and it really is) can only be presented in such a way as to allow for extreme humor which matches the pathos.

There is really only one man who could pull this story together and turn it into a masterpiece. When you combine a visual, musical, and mental assault on all of your senses it has to be a Stephen Sondheim creation. The complex lyrics, the visual shock, the cruelty and the humor are all interwoven into a memorable experience. Much is said about Sondheim, but not enough is said about the man who could match the cleverness of his lyrics with an orchestration so complex and detailed as his orchestrator of choice, Jonathan Tunick. He is responsible for nearly all of his musicals. If you ever have an opportunity to hear just the orchestration without the voices you will become instantly aware of what separates a Sondheim musical from the rest.

A final comment, or I will go on and on. Seemingly ¾ of the audience were young adults, and perhaps first time Sondheim recruits. I have never heard the level of roar as a reaction to a Broadway musical as I heard with “Sweeney Todd.” Sondheim may have recently passed and will be missed, but he will never be forgotten. Brilliant.

---- Shucked

The evening performance was quite a contrast. Take a multiple award winning writer, Robert Horn who has written “Tootsie”, “Designing Women”, tours for Bette Midler, Dame Edna and much much more, and combine that with a fondness for the old television variety show “Hee Haw” which ran for 23 years, and you might begin to understand “SHUCKED.”

Music and lyrics by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally.  Book by Robert Horn (not pictured).

Take that New York sensitivity and add two of the best known country music Composer/Lyricists; Brandy Clark and her best friend Shane McAnally and you have a show! Country music has come a long way since “Hee Haw” but the down home (and down and dirty) humor has not. The music is toned down, melodic and varied with both good dance numbers and ballads.

The show is easier explained as a fable--“Farm to Fable” to be exact. A very racially mixed group of family members has been isolated from society physically by circumstance (they are completely surrounded by corn fields) and by choice (they are happy and have everything they need.) They have corn. A fresh all-purpose ingredient which is healthy to start out, and toxic when made into whisky. Among other important advantages is that it “comes out in the same way as it goes in!”

One day, during a wedding ceremony between Maizie and Beau, it is noticed that the corn has gone limp. Something must be done. The people in town don’t quite know what to do, so Maizie takes it upon herself to go to the Big City (Tampa) to get help. She, of course runs into a handsome, slick con man who makes his money by treating ladies’ feet to foot rubs. He calls himself a “Corn Doctor.” Well, now you can imagine the confusion.

The "Storytellers"

The plot is a small part of the fun. What really moves the show along is one “Corn” pun after another. At first you think that it’s amusing, but soon you find yourself caught up in the preponderance of puns. If you miss one, don’t worry, in another minute there will be another. And, I have to admit that they are very clever. Even puns that I have never thought of. But, don’t ask me to repeat any of them as I wouldn’t be able to write that fast. Just surrender yourself to it. As you can imagine one “hee haw” vignette after another, and it all ends up well.

When it comes to the cast, they were very well chosen. What they lacked in beauty, they gained in talent. They all had great voices, good dancers and completely enjoyed themselves.

Alex Newell

There is one performer who might be known to the vast television audience as a character who is written to be a sassy, self sufficient woman. She is Maizie’s cousin Lulu, who produces the whisky. “The whole town loves Jesus Christ, but they drink a little.” Alex Newell (they/them) has been seen as a character in “Glee”, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” along with the Tony winning “Once on this Island.” They have been gifted with a voice of such power that their choir teacher couldn’t deal with it when in school. They can sing a song which will nail you to a wall in the gospel church variety. It is obvious that their song “Independently Owned” was written for them. They approach a delivery which hasn’t been seen since “And I am Telling you, I’m not going” from “Dreamgirls” They stop the show, and the audience rises to its feet.

As you might imagine, you’re not going to leave the show wondering what the deep meaning of “Shucked” is. In a way you are spending time with a community that treats each other with kindness and love, and they don’t ask for more from life. That alone is something…..Oh, and they drink a little.

Fantastic!  May I share with Mike and with Walt and John and with Randy and Bob?  ... Ruth K

Just as I was wondering if the Broadway Report would be repeated again I see this!!    As usual a fun, from a distance, romp through wonderful B'way plays.  Thank you for brightening my day.  Hi to my friend Greg. Paulla A

Thank You So Much!!  Beverly S

Hi Tom & Richard and all,

It sounds as if your New York Broadway trip started with a bang!  I hope the other days are as great, although how you could surpass these first two shows will be difficult! Love, Nancy D

Sounds like a great trip. I’m in Japan having a super time. Beautiful scenery and great food! ... Eric S

Sound like lots of fun!!! - Kurt K

Thanks Tom!  For an old lady who can-no longer make the trip to NYC, It is fun reading about your Broadway week. Keep ‘em coming! ... Love,
Sylvia S

Oh, it makes my heart so happy to know that you boys are back in NYC, enjoying the good life!  Have tons of fun!  Vicariously yours, Elaine F

Hi to all! Loved your reviews and re-telling! Hoping you’re having fun and that everyone is well!! Love, Dianne H


Tap, tap, click, click the deadlines must be met!

Lerner and Loewe’s CAMELOT is now being revived at Lincoln Center. One cannot help but be overwhelmed by the facilities at Lincoln Center with its venues for ballet, jazz, symphony, opera and educational institutions. Surrounding the theaters are Julliard, The High School for the Performing Arts, Fordham University’s Performing Arts Program and a multitude of rehearsal venues. But it stands to reason when you consider the importance of the performing arts in New York. Those new stars have to get their training somewhere.

Tom, Greg and Richard, at Lincoln Center before this evening's performance.

Lincoln Center plaza area.

---- Camelot

The Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center (LCT) has been staging revivals of the golden era of the musicals like “South Pacific”, “My Fair Lady,” “The King and I,” “The Light in the Piazza” using the beautiful facilities and orchestras available to them at LCT. Many of the shows have been directed by Bartlett Sher who has received many awards for his work. This time he directs “Camelot” with a new take on the old Arthurian legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

Aaron Sorkin

Sher is being assisted by a well known film and television writer, Aaron Sorkin, who has been leaving his imprint on Broadway of late. One of his last rewrites was “To Kill A Mockingbird” which went on to receive 9 Tony Nominations and become the highest grossing American Play in Broadway history. Even with his long running “West Wing” Sorkin has always attempted to base his work on the virtues of equality, courage, bravery and fairness to all.

[Andrew Burnap, top, as Arthur, with Jordan Donica as Lancelot and Phillipa Soo as Guenevere]

This might be what drew Sorkin to attempt a rewrite of Camelot. This production stars a young cast of beautiful voices. Andrew Burnap, Arthur (Tony winner for “The Inheritance”), Phillipa Soo, Guenevere (“Hamilton”, “Into the Woods”, “Amélie”) and Jordan Donica, Lancelot du Lac (“My Fair Lady”, “Phantom of the Opera”.)

Another rare opportunity to hear a 30 piece orchestra, like in the “good ol’ days”, and a staging on one of the largest stages on Broadway. “Camelot” has always been a difficult play to unify. It has some brilliant moments, to say nothing of the music written by Lerner and Loewe, but some other awkward passages to deal with having to do with the progress of the story. This time, perhaps, Sorkin wanted to bring the story into a more 21st century sensibility by eliminating the “MAGIC” of the original legend.

We all know that Arthur became King of England by magically pulling “Excalibur” out of a stone. He was also guided by the magical wizard Merlin, who filled his head with wisdom and potential. He could appear and talk to Arthur when needed. In this version there is no magic. Arthur pulled out the sword because thousands of others tried before him, and it became loose. Merlin is no longer a wizard, but a Sage. When he dies, Arthur is only guided by his memory. What used to be a legend of magic, sorcery and imagination has become a realistic struggle to do what is humanly right with the risk of doubt and failure. This to me is too much like a reality show. Who wants that?!

The staging is stark-- a vast empty stage with a vaulted ceiling of retreating arches high above. Beautiful, almost monochromatic projections, portray the interiors and the exteriors. A silhouette of a tree will very slowly descend, then slowly fly back up. Except for one scene, the costumes are all muted autumn colors and grey. Only during the “Lusty Month of May” do we get any brighter colors. Lancelot, who is quite impressive, is the only one who will wear a somewhat brighter blue. There is no royal gold or silver to be seen. It is as if it were really staged in vast medieval stone halls with no furniture. Perhaps this also contributes to the idea that there is no magic.

With all of this starkness, we also have the 3 way love affair which delights, then destroys Camelot. The idea of science is stressed, over magic. This science however provides no chemistry between the lovers. It’s not until it’s too late do any of the characters declare their love for each other. This makes one feel almost as if it’s not worth saving.

King Arthur is striving to create a world of equality, virtue, honesty, peace and reason. Sadly reality enters the picture, and all is lost. War ensues. Of course the last scene before Camelot (England) goes to war with France do we get a glimmer of hope. A young boy named "Thomas", who has heard of the virtuous Knights of the Round Table, wants to be trained and fight in the war. He is knighted by King Arthur, not to fight, but to run. Run from the battlefield and tell everyone who asks of that “Brief Shining Moment that was known as “CAMELOT.” Add that full orchestra music to that, and you have no choice but to succumb.

Thanks!  I’m enjoying your reviews as are Mike and Walt and John. They all say ‘Keep ‘em coming!’ Hugs, Ruth K

Dear Tom, Richard & all, Keep the letters coming!  Smile  Although I agree that this version of Camelot sounds pretty depressing – and it was already, to begin with! Love, Nancy D


---- Some Like it Hot

You already know the story: It’s the end of prohibition and there are two out of work musicians who happen to witness a mob shooting. THEY, then, become the target of the next mob murder. They have to get out of town so they take a quick job in a band—a girl band. (Of course, they’ll never be recognized dressed up as women!)

That’s right. Another musical version of the famous and arguably the most successful mob-comedy film of all time from 1958, starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe at her prime. Wasn’t there already a musical about this? Yes, “Sugar” from 1972. However, since they were not able to use the well known name, Some Like it Hot, due to copywrite issues, it wasn’t as successful ($$$) as it should have been. So, why not make another one where they can take advantage of name recognition?

So, the brand new “and improved” version is now appearing. But haven’t things changed a bit since 1958? Yes. Only a few vocal people, nowadays, seem to be shocked by men in women’s clothing. So, there needs to be some changes to match our current social norms. It is still early 1930’s, and the characters are the same, but there are some subtle changes. Joe, and Jerry, who is a tall handsome black man are brothers raised together “from another mother.” At that time it is easier for Joe to get hired as a musician, but not Jerry (“You Can’t Have Me-If You Don’t Have Him.”)

Sweet Sue, the band leader is also a strong black woman who controls her girls with a firm hand. And, Sugar Cane (Marilyn Monroe’s character) is also a black blues and jazz singer who has eyes to make it to Hollywood. When the band is on the move, Sweet Sue is asked “We headin’ South?” the Black diva dryly replies, “It’s 1933. Look at me and ask that again.” So off they go by train to San Diego, California to the Hotel Del Coronado (ironically the location of the original shoot.) So there are changes, but the plot is still recognizable.

The amount of talent that has been assembled to produce this show is staggering. The music is composed by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. It’s impossible to mention all the shows that they have composed for. As a start, Marc Shaiman has received 6 Oscar nominations for just his films. The book has been written by Matthew López and Amber Ruffin who have been writing plays and television shows for some time.

Adrianna Hicks, Christian Borle and J. Harrison Ghee

The cast is starring Christian Borle (two time Tony winner) as Joe/Josephine, J. Harrison Ghee (Mrs. Doubtfire, Kinky Boots) as Jerry/Daphne, NaTasha Yvette Williams (Color Purple, Waitress, Chicago) as Sweet Sue and Adrianna Hicks (Six, Color Purple, Aladdin) as Sugar. We can’t stop there. The Director/Choreographer Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin, Book of Mormon, The Prom) received many Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations and awards. And an entire cast of flawless dancers and singers.

So, what we have here is an embarrassing richness of talent, each vying for attention. You have never seen so many “tap” numbers together in one show since “42nd Street.” The first few numbers are eye opening, then another, and another. We get a few ballads thrown in, then back to the Big Tap Numbers, followed by a chase scene with six doors opening and closing to tap dancing (a la Commedia Dell’Arte)

Too much of a good thing doesn’t always work out with the desired effect. The show is practically flawless for costumes, sets, music, acting, dancing, and good old time musical theater pizzaz! Half the audience will be deliriously happy, and the other half will have become numb to the frenzied energy and volume of enthusiasm. “Some Like it Hot”, and others like it slightly cooler.

Enjoying the emails. They just keep getting more professional every year. Say Hi to Greg. Todd and Kevin

It sounds like fun to me – maybe with a set of ear plugs close to hand! Love, Nancy D.

Wonderful emails. Thanks for sharing your fun and reviews. Larry and Bob

Tom, thank you so very much for sharing your vacation with us…. I truly feel that I’m there with you. Melanie D


---- Good Night, Oscar

Oscar Levant

Only people of a certain age are going to remember Oscar Levant, and then only a “personality” of Oscar Levant. When all is said and done, he was a composer, conductor, author, radio game show panelist, television talk show host, comedian, film actor, but most of all an accomplished concert pianist. Perhaps, ultimately, that was his undoing. He had a brilliant mind which was stretched over so many disciplines that he couldn’t rest comfortably with the idea that he could excel in all of them. His classical music training brought him into contact with the greatest musicians of the time, which led to a friendship with George Gershwin. Gershwin died at the young age of 38, and Oscar Levant then became the foremost interpreter of the treasure trove of Gershwin music.

Jack Paar and Oscar Levant

Some remember him as the favorite talk show guest of Jack Paar. He would appear on that show and make off handed but extremely witty comments which would put NBC into jeopardy with the legion of decency. He was applauded and condemned at the same time for his candor. Levant talked openly on television about his neuroses and hypochondria. Despite his afflictions he was considered a multifaceted genius. He himself wisecracked, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.”

Later in life he became addicted to prescription drugs, was frequently committed to psychiatric hospitals by his wife, and withdrew from the limelight. To find a person who could portray such a character is not an easy task. The person must be a good actor, with impeccable comedic timing and an ability to seriously perform “Rapsody in Blue” by Gershwin. Sean Hayes, who we have known from the television show “Will and Grace” is thought of as a loony character who portrays “Just Jack!”

Like Levant, there is much that is hidden in his bag of tricks. What we learn is that Sean Hayes is not only a “triple threat” actor (act, sing and dance) but is also a trained concert pianist! It is often thought that a dramatic actor will stumble doing comedy parts; but truth be told, it is far easier for a true comedian to be a dramatic actor. “Good Night, Oscar” covers the period of time where Oscar is making talk show appearances, and is scheduled to appear on the Jack Paar Show. The Network NBC is very apprehensive to have him on the show, as he is always a troublemaker when it comes to his (brilliant, but biting) comments.

He is late in arriving for the show, and his wife finally confesses that she had to get him out of the psychiatric hospital of “Cedars Sinai.” What we observe is Oscar going in and out of hallucinations dealing with many things, but primarily his disappointment of never being recognized as important a musician as George Gershwin, who appears to him as a harsh critic. He gets further and further into his psychosis only to take too many pills which numbs him down to a state where he is still able to make his biting comments but not much else.

It comes down to the network forcing him to play the piano, to rescue himself from the disaster of an interview. We then see him stumble to the piano and play “Rhapsody in Blue” to an incredulous audience. We become aware that the depth of his genius is profound. Now it is hard to think of any other actor who could portray this character as well as Sean Hayes. There was not a moment during the entire production where you thought that you were seeing “Jack McFarland” from “Will and Grace.” In fact, I was worried for his health. But, finally at the curtain call, I saw that smile, and realized that we had more to admire in Sean Hayes than “Just Jack!” Bravo!

---- Leopoldstadt

Sir Tom Stoppard is a Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter. He has written for film, radio, stage, and television. His work covers themes of human rights, censorship, and political freedom, and was knighted for his contribution to theatre by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997. Throughout his career he has not delved into any autobiographical significance until now. Perhaps for his last play, he has written a testimonial (perhaps eulogy) to his ancestors. Stoppard was born Jewish, but after fleeing Czechoslovakia and ultimately ending up in England, he was never a practicing Jew. He researched his family, and found that their story was like so many of the other Eastern Europeans families which ended up being victims of the World Wars. He has written an homage to a family which could be just like his, but coming from Vienna, where there was a Jewish section called Leopoldstadt.

The story covers a timeline between 1899 to 1955, and will be played by as many as 38 actors. The play begins with a tableau of the large family posing for a photo (ironically) around a Christmas Tree. Because of that Christmas tree the family is discussing their various degrees of acknowledging their Jewishness. Some of the family members have married gentiles, or even been baptized as Catholics. After all, they were a typical well to do Austrian family. We soon realize that we have several characters which we are going to have to identify as the time passes. Babies advance to adolescence, and young adults have families of their own. As we proceed through World War I, and into the eventual occupation of the Third Reich, we prepare ourselves for the ultimate culmination of a wealthy, happy family torn apart by circumstances which before that time were of little consequence to them.

The acting is strong in every generation. The scenes are tied together with black and white films and photos of life in Vienna which become more and more concentrated on the Jewish scene. Needless to say we make it to 1955, and there are only 3 family members left who were young and struggle to remember. One is a young man who grew up in England where his family escaped. Another is a woman who spent much of the war in New York, and the third a young man who escaped the concentration camp which took his family and his possessions. He will begin the challenge of restitution.

Japhet Balaban, Eden Epstein,  David Krumholtz and  Faye Castelow

A powerful statement on the grand scale. The play premiered in London in 2020, and now in New York. I can’t imagine that they will be able to travel with a show with a cast of 38 people. I feel privileged and affected to have been able to see this production. It might be the last of Tom Stoppard’s career.


---- Life of Pi

Before we get into “Life of Pi” I would like to just comment on the scope of possibilities when it comes to theater. Think about the range of stories and imagination of the shows that we have seen until now and you get a small idea of the realm of possibilities in theater….when it’s done well. While racing to the theater under a full and constant downpour in Times Square it is hard to think that we are passing by people who are a part of this remarkable community which provides a limitless source of not only live entertainment, but enlightenment. Sure, it’s all based on what will make ($$$) money, but aren’t we lucky that it’s in the hands of truly creative minds which in return gives us something that money can’t buy.

“Life of Pi” was first a Canadian philosophical novel by Yann Martel, published in 2001. It was then made into a film by Ang Lee in 2012. The film chose to whitewash some of the philosophical elements, as well as a few of interpretations. Those who saw the film, however, saw CGI representations of the voyage and the animals. They were beautifully done, but they were on film. How can you represent those concepts live and on stage? In the last few years there have been some plays, in particular from the West-End in London which have been able to portray a wide range of visions seemingly out of thin air. Some of you might remember “War Horse” which told the story of the horrors of WW I with the foot soldiers and their horses. Then, a few years later, a wild tale of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” which portrayed the mental state of a young man. These plays start out with the barest minimum of a stage, and by the time the story is told you are presented with the full picture.

The “Life of Pi” is such a production. It begins in a hospital room in Mexico when 2 people come to question the young man who is as survivor of a shipwreck for 227 days at sea. One of the visitors is from the Canadian consulate, and the other from the Japanese Ship Company who wants to know details of the sinking for insurance purposes. And so the story begins. Pi, (real name Piscine Patel, which he hates) is from Pondicherry, India, where he lives with his parents who run a local zoo.

Instantly we have a zoo with butterflies, a goat, 2 zebras, a giraffe, a hyena, an orangutan (named Orange Juice) and a new Bengal tiger (Richard Parker.) These animals appear and move across the stage with the grace of nature, and the assistance of a team of puppeteers who soon disappear behind their animals. Things are getting difficult in India, and they decide that they are going to move to Canada. We soon are transported to the deck of a ship which is loading these animals in crates onto the hold of the ship. The family bids farewell to their friends, and off they go on their next adventure. After several days of sailing, not far off the coast of the Philippines, the ship takes on water, and sinks. Pi is thrown from the boat, as well as some of the escaped animals.

Pi finds himself on a lifeboat, worrying about his family. We learn that he is the only survivor. Shortly, we also learn that a few of the animals have found the life boat, and climb on board: the orangutan (Orange Juice), an injured zebra, and spotted hyena. Pi, who is raised Hindu, is a vegetarian and is horrified to see that soon the hyena eats the zebra, and then Orange Juice. And he is probably the next to go. This is when Richard Parker, the Bengal tiger appears, and the story becomes even more desperate.

One cannot adequately describe the 227 days at sea, but we are introduced to a variety of ways to survive. Some are obvious, and others are ways that we would not want to think about, however necessary they are. We are treated to colorful images of flying fish, starry nights, sea turtles etc. All the while Pi is relating the story to the investigator from Japan, and the Canadian consulate, who are disbelievers of the animals and the situation. It is here where we begin to realize the symbolism of Pi’s story. The reality may not be what is being described, but perhaps the reality is too difficult to face. In order to survive did Pi imagine things that were more bearable than the idea of loss of family, and cannibalism? (Ironically, cannibalism was never suggested in the movie version.)

The deep implications of religion, reality, loss, and metaphysical concepts are all implied, but what we see is what has been imagined by Pi, as well as created by a team of puppeteers, and stagecraft magic which is executed to perfection. At the end of the story, we are asked which is better: to believe in the cruel horror of human predators, or to believe in Pi’s tale of training the beastly tiger to submit and coexist with him? I think that we all agree. The second is a better story.


As a side note. If you are going to see this show, the best seats are in the Mezzanine, as you will be able to see all of the projections and the magic to its best execution. We, on the other hand, sat in the first row, where we couldn’t see the stage floor, and much of what happens on the stage. However, what we saw was the amazing traces of drop doors, turn tables, invisible tracks which make it all happen. There were more mechanics on that stage than I have ever seen before. But, we had infinite leg room! Which story do you prefer?


---- Kimberly Akimbo

On our last full day in NY, May 2, they announced the Nominations for the “Tony” awards. This Broadway Season has almost returned to pre-pandemic. There were 38 shows that qualified for the Tony Awards this year. We chose 8 shows to see this year, and all of them have been nominated in one or more categories, including our last show, Kimberly Akimbo.

Victoria Clark as Kimberly

This charming show opened in late October 2022, and little by little has been gaining popularity. It still is not well known outside of the Broadway beltway. It first was a novel, then became a straight play followed by a musical. All of the versions were written by the same author, David Lindsay-Abaire. “Kimberly Akimbo” was produced by the Atlantic Theater Company, in NYC. It was met with such interest that it ultimately was moved to Broadway.

This show is a good example proving that there is no formula for a successful Broadway show. There are so many factors which contribute, but ultimately, it’s the humanity of the storyline. This story revolves around a lonely 16 year old girl who suffers from a condition similar to progeria that causes her to age rapidly, giving her the appearance of a woman in her 60’s. Knowing that she has a limited time, (few live past the age of 16,) she is determined to make the best of her situation which is difficult to say the least.

Kimberly with her mother and father

Her parents are perfect examples of narcissists. Her mother who has both hands in casts, leg in a brace, 9 months pregnant is hoping that the baby is not going to be like Kimberly. She is insensitive to saying it out loud to her. The father is an alcoholic, who also is looking out for himself, and ignoring all of the requests of his daughter. Into this grouping comes an aunt who is just out of prison for being a con artist and much more. Her behavior can only be described as a Sherman Tank. Kimberly is the adult in this situation.

Kimberly's Aunt Debra [purple top]

Kimberly is the new kid in school and is looked on as a freak, until she is discovered by other outcasts who would only be described as nerds. One, in particular, Seth takes an interest in her. He is obsessed with words and anagrams. He takes her real name, Kimberly Levaco, and happily turns it into Kimberly Akimbo. Seth is the type who is also under a great deal of stress at home, but is able to turn it into a positive curiosity. The two team up. The plot is complicated by the aunt who is planning to use the young friends of Kimberly for a check fraud scheme, which moves the plot into dangerous territory. It is not worth going into the entire plot, but what is amazing is how in the midst of all of this unhappiness there is such humor and optimism. Much of it is due to the brilliant casting, directing and music.

Seth [played by Justin Cooley]

The other nerdy students

The role of Kimberly has been taken on by a true Broadway icon, Tony winner Victoria Clark. She is 60 something, and is able to portray a 16 year old in voice, movement and innocence with all the believability of a sensitive introspective child. She has starred in no fewer than 11 Broadway shows. She is known for a clear operatic soprano voice which she is able to disguise to fit in with her young friends, who are truly in their teens. But it has been a long time since we have seen her take over a complete character since she won the Tony for “Light in the Piazza.”

Justin Cooley [left], understudy Miguel Gil [right]

The 19 year old Justin Cooley (Seth) has been praised for his character, and believability. Unfortunately we did not see Justin, but his understudy Miguel Gil who was superb. The third standout was the scoundrel Aunt Debra (Bonnie Milligan) who dominates the stage with a true comic and manipulative force. All three of these actors have been nominated for a Tony.


The music is clever and appropriate without being too ‘teeny-boppy.’ The composer is Jeanine Tesori who is the most prolific and honored female theatrical composer in history, with 5 Tony Award nominations. She has written: Caroline, or Change, Fun Home, Shrek, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Violet. She has composed Off-Broadway shows, Film Music, symphonies, and operas.

This show is considered one of the front runners to receive a Tony for original musical for 2023. It has been nominated for 8 Tonys. Trying to explain the story does nothing to get across the fine line between the serious subject, the heartbreak and the overwhelming desire to live to the fullest, knowing that life is finite. As Variety Magazine states: It’s the “Oddball Musical That’s Impossible Not To Love.”


---- And then they ate

Some incidental photos along the way ....

Waiting to go into the Vivian Beaumont Theater for Camelot. Our seats had minus legroom. Richard flagged down the head usher at intermission and we were moved to good seats with legroom!

Quiet spaces inside of the Lincoln Center complex

Weird lights inside the "Vessel" at Hudson Yards. Hadley and Richard. The Vessel is still closed outside of the bottom areas.

The opening set for "Good Night, Oscar". This was Jack Paar's office.

Waiting for the show to start. Richard, Hadley and Tom. I can't remember the show this was at.

Return to Don Antonios (pizza). L-R Hadley, Tom, Dorene, Richard and Greg. Great Neapolitan pizzas.

Meeting up with hometown friends at Skylight Cafe near Hudson Yards. L-R Tom, Richard, Chris, Barry and Greg. It was Sunday brunch and the iconic coffee shop, with a round table was the perfect place to meet.

Dinner with Bay Area friends at Osteria del Doge: Linda, Greg and Hadley. Barbara and Linda overlapped our visit there. I had to be careful when I would say "We met Barbara and Linda in New York" because of other "Barbara and Lindas".

The other side of the table: Richard, Tom and Barbara. Osteria del Doge featured delicious Venetian fare like pastas and ravioli.

Lion King at the Museum of Broadway.

Harry Potter display at the Museum of Broadway.

This was my little desk in our hotel room (Homewood by Hilton on 37th Street)

A view from the Board Room at JFK. Runways to the left and construction of new Terminal 6 in the foreground. The TWA hotel is hiding behind.

Lunch on my flight home [which seemed to go on and on] ... while watching a movie on my tablet. Ice cream for dessert. We landed about 30 minutes early and in pouring rain!