life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, August 18, 2011

mini trip report

So last night we went to see the revival of Sondheim’s Follies. You know how I love live theater!

Our evening began, as it frequently does, in Ellen’s Stardust Diner. We love this place! You go for the atmosphere, not for the food.  This is not a place for quiet conversation..

Ellen’s, as I’ve probably mentioned before, is a salute to the pop culture of the 1950’s, the outside designed to look like an old subway car, and inside  you’ll find old fashioned diner tables, video screens showing scenes from I Love Lucy and real vinyl records and album covers (from artists like Johnny Mathis and Elvis Presley) on the walls.  It’s also the home of the singing wait staff, where the person who just took your order is the next person to grab the mike and sing.

The wait staff used to be very 1950’s as well.  The guys would wear red bowling shirts and paper soda jerk hats.  The girls would be in poodle skirts, red t shirts and little scarves tied around their necks.   It was very disconcerting to see two girls in poodle skirts singing the latest Lady Gaga song!

Well, they’ve updated the place a bit.  They took away the toy train that used to circle around the edge of the balcony and they’ve added a few neon accent lights.  The costumes have changed, too.  Everyone’s wearing blue or green bowling shirts, with a panel of silver lame down the front.  The guys are in black pants and the girls are in short, tight black skirts and black tights. 

Well, last night was a bit of an “off” night.  Though I did like the young lady who was wearing a foam Statute of Liberty Crown.  And the trio who sang an Abba medley inspired jokes – Ellen’s is right next to the Winter Garden Theater, where Mama Mia is playing (though I still look for the Cats eyes on the marquis….) Best performance of the evening was the guy who sang “Shout” and did the worm right on the diner floor – Drew and I smiled, remembering how they played that song at our wedding and how Drew got down on the floor …..

After dinner we walked from Ellen’s – on
51st Street
– to the Marriot Marquis Theater at
44th Street
to see the show, and after the show we walked down to Penn Station (
34th Street
) to catch a train home.  I love the sights and sounds of Times Square on a summer evening!  Lots of tourists around now, so the streets were very crowded.  (Folks, it’s called a side WALK not a side-stand-around-and-block-traffic!).  Lots of interesting things to see.  In front of toys R US we saw “Elmo” and “The Cookie Monster” from
Sesame Street
.  A woman dressed as a stewardess circa 1965 was handing out flyers for Catch Me If You Can near Duffy’s Square.  We also saw a guy dressed as Mr. Reeses Peanut Butter Cup – a refugee from Hersheypark.  Two pedal cabs crashed into each other, and the drivers got into an argument – and one tourist whipped out his cell phone to videotape the whole thing.  Sidewalk vendors selling hot dogs and t-shirts and sunglasses, street musicians, hawkers trying to drum up business for tour companies and comedy clubs. 

But the most interesting thing was … the singing Cow Girl.

Now, many people have heard about The Singing Cowboy.  He runs around Times Square in his underwear, a cowboy hat and boots, carrying a guitar and posing for pictures.  I’ve seen him a couple of times; I think I posted a picture in this blog…. Well, anyhow, there are copycats out there.  The cowgirl carries a guitar, wears a cowboy hat and boots, a bikini bottom, and two large, strategically placed stars. 

Only in New York.

So…the show.  Bernadette Peters was brilliant, as always.  Love the Sondheim music, the deep psychological storyline, the beautiful singing and graceful dancing…a perfect evening of theater.

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