Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Off Broadway

I couldn't resist.  I cannot be this close to NYC and stay away from Broadway.  So this afternoon, after checking into my hotel in Newark, NJ, I jumped in the car and headed toward Manhattan.  (For why I was so close, check out my previous blog post.)

As a side note, I would rather have been in Tallahassee, where my good friend Steve's new Chick-fil-A location was being dedicated.  But work had me here, and "here" is tantalizingly close to one of my favorite places in the world.  So there I went.

I wasn't sure what if anything I might be able to see.  It's Monday night, which for years has traditionally been "dark" on Broadway.  I was prepared to just have a nice dinner in "the city".  But it seems that now some shows are going dark on a different night so that Monday can be active, so when I got to the discount ticket booth in Times Square (pictured below), there were some choices.

Just a few choices, but there were some.  There was Phantom, which I've seen almost as many times as I've seen Wicked.  There was Mamma Mia, which I've seen in Atlanta...nah, not in the mood for ABBA.      There was Rock of Ages, a musical with tons of great 80s music....very tempting, and I almost bought the ticket.  But then I noticed that The Fantasticks was playing Off Broadway.  It originally ran on Broadway for 32 years, making it the longest running show on Broadway.  It's a script I've always liked (based on a couple of college performances I had seen), and I had never seen an Off-Broadway production of anything.  So that's the way I went.

It was, well, a fantastic evening.  (Sorry, couldn't resist.)  It was very interesting to be in NY and see a show in a small theatre on the third floor of a building -- it probably held about 150 people.  I was on the front row, and it was so intimate that many times the actor was looking me directly in the eyes while speaking.  It was an atmosphere that I had only experienced in college theatre or the Octagon at ASF.  To experience that environment with highly professional actors (and singers) was a treat.  Thanks to Edward Watts (El Gallo), Erik Altemus (Matt), Juliette Trafton (Luisa) and the rest of the cast for a wonderful evening.

I started this post intending to spend some time on how the show's script moved me.  About how it paints a picture of life with some points that parallel some truths of Scripture.  The fact that Ms. Trafton listed a Bible verse (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) in her bio makes it even more tempting.  I may do that too in another post, but it can wait.  For now, I just wanted to share that I didn't need the large house, lavish orchestration, and large sets with moving parts to enjoy a night of musical theatre.  Good acting and music along with a funny but deep script were enough.

I love Broadway...hope I get back here soon.  Now I know that the choices for good entertainment are even wider than I thought.  Off-Broadway ain't bad.

Now...back to work in the morning.


  1. Love love love that show. I first saw it at AUM when I was 6.

    I was a theatre major and for our final senior project, we had to direct and produce a show. I chose The Fantastiks. I had to do everything. Cast it, block it, costume it, come up with the lighting plot, work on the musical arrangements, find props, build the set, etc... It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

    In fact, the song I danced with my Dad to at my wedding was, "Try to Remember."

    And I have seen it Off-Broadway as well. I am so glad you chose that over Rock of Ages. Very very smart choice.

  2. I saw that same show in that same tiny theater the last time I was in NYC. It's definitely "intimate" - haha! I thought I was best friends with the characters by the time it was over!! :) I assume it was in the Jerry Orbach (sp?) Theater - that was an interesting place to visit and see a show. :)

  3. Lori, that's exactly where it was. Definitely an interesting place, and absolutely PERFECT for that show!