Monday, October 10, 2016

[MANHATTAN] Cool Broadway Nights


I paid only USD622 (~PHP29,250) for my roundtrip Air China ticket: New York – Manila – New York via Beijing. The plan was to be a no-show for the return flight because I really had no intention of going back to the Americas yet, despite my first trip to New York being too short and uneventful. To make things worse, I did not even see a single play or musical, which is supposed to be a non-negotiable for any New York or London trip because I am a huge theater fan. And then October came, and I decided to just fly anyway.

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At first I was thinking of going sightseeing again: meet Lady Liberty upclose, go camwhoring on the Brooklyn Bridge. You know, touristy shit. The alternative was to arrive without an itinerary, which is what eventually happened. After days of searching for a legit online website selling Broadway tickets, I finally stumbled upon Todaytix, which is awesome and has made my life more convenient. Instead of pickup or delivery, a representative of theirs will be waiting for you in front of the theater before the show starts.


Cats is one of the longest running musicals in the history of contemporary theater. Its appeal seems to stem from its rather convoluted premise made palatable to a general audience, especially the younger ones, by virtue of colorful song and dance numbers. Because of its layered theme, both adults and children can enjoy it, and is recommended as a worthwhile family affair.


Matilda caters more to children in the sense that most of the performers are of the same age range, and the song lyrics are rather simplified for a younger crowd to appreciate. As an older member of the audience, what you will enjoy more are the quips and rather unconventional views of Miss Trunchbull regarding child rearing, as well as the very ironic position she holds in that school in spite of her mindset.


All in all, The Humans works because it has a statement to make about family in general, an argument that regardless how dysfunctional everyone is, blood is blood. Fights are unavoidable and misunderstandings are bound to be plenty, but at the end of the day, sticking with each other is still the best option because no one will understand you more than they will. Most of the time you just need to give each other space and everything will be fine. Or maybe not.


An American in Paris is like reverse Miss Saigon, but a way happier version. There really is this certain kind of appeal when it comes to romance set during a regime change, when people are torn between staying and leaving in an effort to move on with their lives. Blame it on the immediacy of the situation? Here, the guy chooses to stay, which is perhaps why a shot at happiness is a luxury they can afford, as opposed to a tale of one being left behind and both ending up defeated and thousands of miles apart.


Vietgone is a musical, sort of. BUT wait, there’s more... They don’t sing. THEY RAP. When Ikeda emerges onstage and begins rapping about her new American life, I had to pause for a moment to process what I was hearing. For a while there I was, like, OH NO THEY DID NOT. When she starts dropping one too many “Motherfuckers” and “Shit” in her lyrics, my brain finally caught up. This is the shit. It is innovative in a way because not so many musicals subscribe to this kind of music for storytelling purposes.


Something Rotten has more than one highlight, with memorable scenes abound. There’s the tap dance showdown between Nick and Shakespeare, Nick and Nostradamus’ “A Musical”, and of course, Omelette: The Musical itself which is probably the most entertaining part of the show as it definitely brought the house down. These are just the musical numbers. Add the hysterical dialogue and you are in for a really entertaining theater experience.


Plot flexibility is key to Shear Madness’ success, as each of the four suspects are given a legit MO to make it believable that they can commit such a murder. The circumstances also provide a lot of clues, which can lead to the truth or just be summarily dismissed later on as red herrings. If you are the curious type of theater enthusiast, you will surely pay attention to those hints to make the experience more satisfying. This is “America’s favorite comedy whodunit” after all.


Over all, the daily routine was basically work work work work work in the morning and the afternoon, then head straight to Broadway in the evening to de-stress. And then I’d hang around and just chill on top of the red steps at Times Square for half an hour or so before heading back home to Brooklyn. It was so chill, peace of mind at its finest. At the back of my head I thought, “I can get used to this!” But winter is coming, and rent in New York is expensive AF. I’ll definitely do this again, though. Miss Saigon lands on Broadway in March 2017. I’m so not going to miss that.

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[MANHATTAN] Cool Broadway Nights

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