Monday, January 24, 2011

double double

Wednesday would be our two-show day, we decided. There are matinees and evening shows Wednesday. We got up bright and early and enjoyed a delicious breakfast at our hotel. I can't say enough good about our hotel. We stayed at the Hampton Manhattan Times Square North. It was affordable and right in Manhattan a short walk from Times Square and it was really nice. The room was cozy but totally clean and modern with nice furniture and decor, great linens and a splendid view from our 11th floor window out to bustling 8th Avenue below us. The breakfast room was amazing! There was space for about 100 guests, and lots of people came and went from 6am-10am while it was open. There were hot foods (bacon, eggs, sausage, hash browns), 2 waffle-makers, cereal, breads and pastries, yogurt, 2 different fruit salads, fresh fruits, oatmeal, granola, hot chocolate, good coffee, juices and a good selection of teas. The staff in the breakfast room kept everything fresh, tidy and stocked-up. The coffee bar stayed open 24 hours a day, along with a gigantic bowl of fresh apples in the lobby, and fresh cookies that appeared there every afternoon. There was a concierge who helped us figure out how to get places, free computers and printers and plenty of front desk staff to help with whatever we needed (to borrow a 3-hole punch, for example). There were free newspapers, fresh flowers in the lobby and outside the elevator on each floor, and kooky little black and white photos accompanying informational signs. We felt safe and comfortable and pampered every day and night we stayed there. It felt like a place where guests are valued and enjoyed.

So, after our morning love-fest with the hotel, we headed out in search of rush tickets. It was a bit complicated, seeing as different theatres sell their discount tickets at different times, and we had 2 shows to pick. It took some strategizing when we didn't find exactly what we wanted at first, and a fair bit of running around (really running, I mean) but after about 2 hours of work we had tickets to two shows.

We saw the matinee performance of Wicked at the gargantuan Gershwin Theatre. I had heard that I "must" see Wicked, and knew it was a very popular show. I guess I thought that it couldn't be as good as all that, but I guess we had better see it to find out what all the fuss is about. Oh my goodness. I am so glad that we saw it. Wicked was, by far, the most grand of all the shows that we saw. Costumes, scenery, company size - everything about it was grand and opulent. But it was better than that. The story was compelling and clever and funny and sad and sweet in turns. The performances were stellar. I was totally captivated and swept away into the world of Oz. I caught myself not breathing a couple of times. It was totally delicious and satisfying and great and definitely worth all the fuss.

We had time for a quick supper before our evening show, so we went to Angelo's pizza for supper. Their brick oven pizza was recommended to us by a friend. We thought it was pretty darn good! We ordered a small, and couldn't finish it.

Our evening show was Memphis. This was the best music of the whole trip. The story is set in the 1950s in Memphis. It's a love story about a radio DJ and a singer. It's about race relations, family, fame and music. The singing and dancing was fantastic. It was funny and moving and fast paced. We wanted more when it was over. The audience jumped out of their seats for a standing ovation, and stayed standing to watch and cheer the on-stage orchestra as they played the closing number. Memphis had not been our plan for the evening, but I am so glad that we saw it. So far, I think if I had to recommend a show I'd say go see Billy Elliot or Memphis. Both have strong, authentic story-telling and amazing music, singing and dancing.

We got back to the hotel about 10:45 and phoned home because it was just before 8pm there. It was hard to explain what a great day we had. What a treat to see two Broadway shows in one day, two such different worlds. I remarked to Fiona that we were experiencing realities completely different from our own. She told me that she is actually an African American coal mining munchkin and also a zombie. What a day.

question: did you ever gorge on shows?

mompoet - always room for more...

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