life in and around NYC is insane

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mama Mia!

One of the joys of living near NYC is the opportunity to experience live theater.  Yes, other cities offer a theatrical experience -- Boston has a theater district, and Washington has the Kennedy Center.  And every year at the Tony's they give out awards for regional theater.

But nothing compares to Broadway.

And you know I love live performances.

So for my birthday Drew bought tickets to see Mama Mia.  Can you believe the show's been running on Broadway since 2001 but I had never seen it?

So after work yesterday I met him for dinner and a show.

Times Square was bustling, as usual.  Wednesday is matinee day, so at the dinner hour you have two large groups -- those who are dining after seeing a show, and those who are grabbing a bite to eat before heading to the t.heater.  School is out this week here in NY, so there were lots of locals mingling with the tourists.

Not to mention, the street vendors with food carts and souvenirs . . .the hawkers trying to get you into their show or restaurant . . .performers trying to make a buck by dressing as Mickey Mouse or Elmo and posing for pictures.  Last night I saw a guy with a guitar sit down next to a guy playing drums for an impromptu concert.

I was supposed to meet up with Drew at the restaurant, but we found each other in front of the Winter Garden Theater.  You know, Mama Mia has been playing there for over 10 years, but when I look at the marquee I still half expect to see two yellow-gold eyes staring back at me -- Cats was there for 19 years, you know.

Our original plan was to eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner.  You know I love that place, more for the entertainment than for the food.  And it's on the same block as the theater.  But on Monday Drew saw one of those shows on the Food Network or the Travel Channel, not sure which, and asked me if I'd mind going to a place featured on that show instead.

Good thing we changed our plan.  Ellen's has become so popular that there was a long line to get into the restaurant, probably a good 20-30 minute wait for a table.

So instead we tried a place neither of us had been before, the Stage Deli on 7th and 53rd.  It's a Jewish deli but not a kosher one, so you can get cheese on your corned beef if you so desire.  The triple decker sandwiches are all named after celebrities, such as Mel Brooks or Howard Stern.  It's called "Sid's Caesar Salad" and "Kevin Bacon, lettuce and tomato."  I had pastrami on rye, Drew had tongue.  Each was plated with pickles -- cole slaw, etc. isn't included and we didn't need it.  We each brought home half a sandwich.  We also shared a baby cheesecake -- abd brought some of that home as well.  The portions are huge!

Let's talk movies for a moment.  Usually when I see a movie based on a Broadway musical, I've already seen the stage production and the movie doesn't measure up.  This time I saw the movie first.  Really liked it. 

It still doesn't measure up.  The show is so much better.  They lost a lot of humor and silliness in the movie, not to mention subplots, minor characters and additional music.

Yes, I loved the show.

Afterwards we discussed whether to walk to Penn Station -- we were on 50th and Penn is on 34th -- or whether to just hop onto the subway.  It was a relatively warm night, after all.
So we decided to walk.

We actually didn't have a choice, as it turns out.  When we walked past the subway station we saw that the police and fire department were blocking access.  I think it was a track fire.

We walked past the Marriott Marquis Theater.  They're already advertising Evita even though the show doesn't start previews until next month.  The marquee and posters are up and the music from the cast album comes streaming out of sidewalk speakers.  We have tickets for April.  I can't wait.

The only downer of the night was Penn Station.  A group of happy Knicks fans, having just witnessed a Linn-tastic performance, had celebrated with too much beer, and were just a bit too loud.  As in, shouting.  Inside the train station. At 11:00 at night.

Sigh.

Overall, though, a fantastic night.

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