March 26, 2019 Lifestyle

Enjoying Broadway

Jeffrey Allen

My wife and I have enjoyed live theater for many years. We make at least one trip to New York a year, stay for a week, and catch 7 or 8 shows on Broadway. The Senior Lawyers Division (SLD) will travel to New York City for its Spring Meeting this year and the HQ hotel, the Marriott Marquis, sits right in the middle of the Theater District. As a result, they asked me to do a short series on reviewing Broadway shows that we saw in early February. You will have a phenomenal selection of plays and musicals to see this Spring. The hard question will be deciding which ones to miss.

While you can sometimes get tickets to Broadway shows on the night of the show at a discounted price (often half off), if you want more than a single, it becomes harder to get them together. Some shows are next to impossible to get that way.  If you want a hot ticket to a new show, order at full price and well in advance. If you want to see a good show that has bearound for a long time (such as Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Wicked, Book of Mormon, or Lion King), your chances of scoring half-price tickets (even two or three seats together) markedly improve.

In order to help you choose shows to see in NYC during the spring meeting, I have divided this discussion into several parts. In this first part, I will tell you the plays my wife and I saw in New York in early February and the plays that we plan to try to see in May. I will give you one or two reasons why I do or don’t recommend those we saw and why we will look to see the new shows. I will also note some of the shows still available that we have seen in the past that you may want to see. Over the next two months, I will provide you with a more detailed review of each of the eight shows we saw in early February.

In early February we saw two plays (one play with two parts) and six musicals

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (parts 1 and 2). We thoroughly enjoyed this flight into fantasy. The special effects heightened the enjoyment. If you followed the original Harry Potter series and liked it, you will want to see these two. If not, you may not want to, as you will miss a great deal of the references.
  • My Fair Lady. One of my favorites going back for years. Very well done even though Rex Harrison was unable to reprise his role as Henry Higgins.
  • Mean Girls. Fair. We were not terribly impressed by it. Second half saves it from complete mediocrity.
  • King Kong. Fair. Worth seeing just for the special effects though.
  • Pretty Woman. Enjoyable and well performed. Not as good as the movie, but worth seeing.
  • The Prom. Fun and engaging. Worth seeing.
  • Frozen. Quite entertaining. The sister princesses did exceptionally well, and the special effects stunned.

The shows we will look to see in the Spring:

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird has come to Broadway and become one of the hottest tickets in town. We could not get tickets in February and will try to get them for May.
  2. Kiss Me Kate will return to Broadway. One of the classic musicals. It stars one of my favorite Broadway voices, Kelly O’Hara. If you have never heard her you want to see this. If you have, you know why!
  3. Gary, a new play with Nathan Lane, who I consider one of the most entertaining, engaging, and funniest men to grace a Broadway stage in recent times. This one opens in March.
  4. Hillary and Clinton. Yes, as the name implies, this is about Bill and Hillary. That would make it interesting in itself, but Laurie Metcalf will play Hillary and John Lithgow plays Bill, so this should be pretty good.
  5. King Lear. I always enjoy a good Shakespearian play. This one becomes potentially very special as Glenda Jackson stars.
  6. Tootsie. We enjoyed the movie, so we thought we would try the Broadway Show.
  7. Beetlejuice. A musical version of the movie. Not sure what to make of it, but the movie was pretty good, so we added it to our list.

Finally, I thought I would call your attention to some long-standing success stories that continue on Broadway. We have seen all of them on Broadway except for Hamilton (San Francisco) and Lion King (London). You cannot go wrong with any of these:           

  1. Aladdin. You all know the story. We saw it several years ago with a different cast and liked it very much.
  2. The Band’s Visit. Won 10 Tony awards, including Best Musical.
  3. The Book of Mormon. Entertaining, irreverent, and funny. Won 9 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.
  4. Dear Evan Hansen. Unusual psychological study as a musical. Won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical.
  5. Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wildly successful rap musical about the life and death of Alexander Hamilton. I am not a fan of rap at all, and I still enjoyed this very much. It has become a cultural phenomenon and is even credited with keeping Alexander Hamilton’s picture on the $10 bill.
  6. Lion King. Who even remembers when this thing started? But it remains very popular. If you have young grandchildren and bring your grandchildren to New York, you will definitely want to take them to see this show.
  7. Phantom of the Opera. They must be doing something right as this show has enjoyed a 30-year run on Broadway and continues to sell tickets.
  8. Wicked. One of my very favorite musicals. The story of Oz before Dorothy blew into the scene. My wife and I have seen this in New York, San Francisco, and London. 
  9. Chicago. If you have not seen this one, consider it strongly. One of the best of all times in my book. It has been on Broadway for over 20 years.

Author

Jeffrey Allen is the principal in the Graves & Allen law firm in Oakland, California, where he has practiced since 1973. He is active in the ABA, the California State Bar Association, and the Alameda County Bar Association. He is a co-author of the ABA book Technology Tips for Seniors.