I spent five days in New York and this is the fifth, and last, I promise, post on my visit. My primary reason to visit NYC (which I should have done ages ago) was to see Hamilton. But then I went a little crazy on Broadway shows... I have three whole posts for Hamilton and one for the city itself. Here's one for the other shows!
First up, Fun Home. This was my first show on Broadway, my first night in New York, at the Circle in the Square Theater. I was very overwhelmed and this show was just what I needed. It's almost quiet, extremely intimate. There were a total of 9 actors in the entire production, very minimal staging. This was also my first experience seeing any show in the round. I had read the Wiki summary of the show and listened to some of the cast recording on Pandora. Nothing prepared me for the intimacy of the show. It was a very human show, from the way the adult Allison interacted with her memories to the stifling energy of the Bechel house to the fun of the kids (it turns out, children singing about a funeral home is friggin' adorable - an aneurysm hook!). I laughed, I cried. I was so energized afterwards, I just walked around for maybe an hour.
Next up: Les Miserables at the Imperial Theater. I actually wasn't planning on seeing a show Sunday night; I had tickets to a night bus tour of the city that was part of my 'hop on, hop off' package. However, I wasn't committed to going and my Airbnb host had told me that morning about the reduced ticket booth in Times Square. The booth was on my way to the bus pick up location, so I checked on my way. And there were tickets for Les Mis! I couldn't pass up a chance to see the show on Broadway, so I impulsively picked up a ticket. I had about an hour so I quickly had some food (a restaurant actually on Times Square - it was overpriced but the host charged my phone for me while I ate!) and then rushed over to the theater. I was in the front row. It might have been obstructed viewing though? I was on the far left, literally right next to the stage, and some of the action happened behind me. It was a surreal seat - the actors were right there and in some cases I could have reached out and touched them. There was a lot of running and jumping right next to me. The cast is very trusting of the audience, is what I'm saying. Also, the two older women who sat next to me were thrilled. They kept talking about the actor who played Valjean like they knew him. I took pictures for them. Their excitement rubbed off (not that I wasn't excited already).
As for the show itself, it was Les Mis! On Broadway! Everyone was spectacular, especially Eponine, Valjean, and Javert. The 2012 film adaptation was fine but was live, on Broadway, was just beyond comparison. It's ending its run in September, so really glad I got to see this version.
And one more, Something Rotten! at the St. James Theater. This was two hours of pure joy. There were lots of inside jokes, so the more familiar you are with musical theater and, to a lesser extent, Shakespeare, the better. Aside from Hamilton, this show had the more recognizable faces, including Brian James D'Arcy (the original King George from Hamilton's off-Broadway run, most recently seen in the Oscar-winning Spotlight) and Christian Borle (those NBC Live! shows, Legally Blonde, and Smash). The idea of Shakespeare as a rock star, love it; every time he was on stage was thrilling (It's Hard to be the Bard). Probably the biggest musical piece of my entire time on Broadway, the type of thing that reminded me of Miranda's Tony opener from 2013, was "A Musical." I basically laughed or at least grinned like an idiot the entire time. The show isn't perfect - the ending was a bit clunky - but it was fun. A nice break from all that emotion and drama between Fun Home, Les Mis, and Hamilton. For when you just want to laugh and not ugly cry.
One more show, that I don't have an image for: Sleep No More. It's immersive theater, something that was recommended to me and I wanted to try. And I have to say, it was interesting. I definitely think it would have been more fun to have gone with people. It's absolutely something that is what you put into it - I kept thinking of the room escape I did with my family last year in St. Louis. And I didn't put much into it, honestly. You really could go nuts, figuring out clues and following actors. I got lazy and left after an hour and a half. I would do another immersive theater, absolutely, but not by myself and not after walking around Manhattan for 14 hours.