Lower Manhattan: NYC’s Newest Micro-Destination

Lower Manhattan: NYC’s Newest Micro-Destination

Summer is one of the busiest times in New York City with the sun and warm weather prompting as much sightseeing as possible. Instead of the usual Times Square attractions, however, New York City Vacation Packages (NYCVP) has seen a trend in tourists flocking to Lower Manhattan and the recently constructed landmarks there, which has quickly made it the city’s newest micro-destination.

“Tourists would come down here to catch a ferry to see the Statue of Liberty or take one of our walking tours, but now they are coming down here to have an entire Downtown experience with good food, museums, the Financial District & Wall Street, the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and the opening of One World Observatory. You can spend an entire day or two sightseeing in Lower Manhattan alone,” said Joel Cohen, Vice President of NYCVP.

Given all the growth and development Lower Manhattan has seen in recent years past, NYCVP has recently updated their Destination-Downtown New York City VIP Vacation to reflect the burgeoning micro-destination to include the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum as well as the brand new One World Observatory.

NYCVP’s Lower Manhattan vacation packages includes such attractions as:

  • Battery Park (State St. & Battery Place) – One of NYC’s oldest public areas and the launching point for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry.
  • Bowling Green Park (Whitehall St. & Broadway) – The first official park in New York, founded in 1733.
  • Brooklyn Bridge (East River) – One of NYC’s most beloved landmarks and an architectural phenomenon. .
  • Ellis Island (Ellis Island) – Home to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, where more than 12 million immigrants entered the United States from 1892 through 1954.
  • National 9/11 Memorial & Museum (Fulton St & Greenwich St) – Honoring the lives of those who were lost on September 11th, 2001, built in the footprints of the Twin Towers.
  • One World Observatory (1 World Trade Center) – The tallest skyscraper in the Western hemisphere and the newest attraction in Lower Manhattan with an almost 360 degree observation deck.
  • St. Paul’s Chapel (209 Broadway) – The oldest surviving church in Manhattan, where George Washington worshipped. Located across from what was once the Twin Towers, St. Paul’s Chapel also served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site.
  • Statue of Liberty (Liberty Island) – As the United States’ own icon of freedom, it was the welcoming site to immigrants arriving to Ellis Island to start anew.
  • Trinity Church (75 Broadway) – With so much history behind it, this church is famous for its three huge bronze doors, a small museum displaying historical documents and a churchyard with monuments from colonial American history.
  • Wall Street (Financial District) – The leading financial center in the world, Wall Street is the home to the New York Stock Exchange and near the Federal Reserve Building.

The full vacation package includes accommodations for 2-nights or longer at W Downtown, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry tickets, timed admission to the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, timed admission to One World Observatory , and a number of free bonus features.

For more information about Lower Manhattan, New York City’s newest micro-destination, or to plan your vacation to New York City, visit NYCTrip.com or call 877-NYC-Trip to speak to a personal vacation planner.

Fun Home

Fun Home

 

 

We interrupt our normally scheduled programming (aka the chronological order of the shows I’ve seen) to first talk about Fun Home because it’s too important. I’ve been waiting for this show all season. I know this might sound a little over-the-top, but I can’t help myself: it’s flawless. End of story. A musical like this only comes around once in a while (you can see highlights here). Consider me officially obsessed.

 

Some backstory: Fun Home is based on the graphic novel “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by cartoonist Alison Bechdel about her relationship with her closeted father. The name Bechdel might ring a bell if you’re familiar with the Bechdel test or the comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For.” Nevertheless, you’re about to get to know Alison and her family very well as she looks back on her childhood and teenage years, building a timeline and attempting to unlock (and draw) the mystery of her father. We meet her at three different stages: Young Alison is nine or so, Medium Alison a freshman in college, and current-day 43-year-old Alison.

 

Present-day Alison doesn’t quite narrate; rather she excavates her past with the audience in tow. As she sifts through her dad’s old things, she pieces together memories to literally draw from them and make a cartoon. And then she captions the different moments, casting a new light or interpretation on them whenever possible. “Caption: Dad and I both grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town. And he was gay, and I was gay.” Through her eyes, we quickly fall into this world of memories. It’s additionally effective because the production is performed in the round; company and audience, we’re all in this together. The set pieces spin and shift and disappear through the floor as we move through time. Like the recent production of The Glass Menagerie, the design does an excellent job of creating a memory piece (shout-out to Associate Scenic Designer Tim McMath who designed our gorgeous Summertime set).

 

And within the in-the-round theatre, we meet fully developed, three-dimensional characters, and the fact that they’re based on a real family makes the experience all the more visceral. Each performance is more fantastic than the last. The chillingly good Michael Cerveris (who just won a Tony!) loses himself in Bruce, Alison’s father – his inner pain radiating from every move, every smile or outburst, every awkward attempt to connect or push people away. The same goes for Tony-nominated Judy Kuhn’s poignant, understated performance as Alison’s mother, Helen. And the three Tony-nominated women who play Alison each bring something unique and beautiful to the role. Eleven-year-old Sydney Lucas plays Young Alison, and all I want to know is where did this girl come from?! She’s stellar and changes everything when she sings THIS (it was also the Tony performance on Sunday). Emily Skeggs brings an infectious, wide-eyed joy to Medium Alison as she discovers her sexuality. And Beth Malone as adult Alison is the center of this show, keeping everyone and everything grounded. From the moment she starts speaking, you know you’re in good hands.

 

Here is one of my theories about musicals. If it has a bad score, it dies, it’s forgotten. If it has a great score and not the strongest book, it’s forgiven. As long as it’s got that score, people let the bad, typically contrived, book slide. So when a musical comes along with a book that’s just as strong as the score, if not stronger, it leaves a mark. Shows that meet this criteria stand out (think Sweeney Todd, Next to Normal). So bless you Lisa Kron for this book and lyrics, and Jeanine Tesori – whose music doesn’t always click with me – for writing a beautiful score that I’ve been listening to nonstop since Monday evening. The story weaves seamlessly in and out of song and spoken word (hear the Tony winners discuss the music and lyrics here).

 

And just a quick word about the subject matter and gay characters. I won’t delve into this too much because I fear I’m not eloquent enough to discuss how important and enormous it is to have a lesbian character be the lead of a musical. It’s unheard of. So instead I’m going to quote an LA Times interview I just read with Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director at the Public Theater where Fun Home began Off-Broadway:

 

Fun Home, Eustis believes, has the potential to do for lesbians what Angels in America did for gay men: “Take a marginalized group and say, ‘No, you are actually center stage.’ The art form…depends on empathy. It has been magical watching Broadway audiences at Fun Home. No one is thinking, ‘Oh, I know a lesbian.’ They are identifying themselves with the story, and that changes you. Once you’ve identified with someone, you can’t think of them as the other anymore.”

 

I’m so thrilled that the Tony for Best Musical went to this intimate, heart-wrenching, funny, true-to-life story of love, self-denial, self-discovery, and above all, family.

 

Caption: Get your tickets, and come on home.

 

Fun Home

Music by Jeanine Tesori, Book and Lyrics by Lisa Kron, Based on the Graphic Novel by Alison Bechdel, Directed by Sam Gold
Circle in the Square Theatre, Open-ended
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus and Jenny Anderson
Pictured: Sydney Lucas, Beth Malone, Emily Skeggs, and the Cast of Fun Home

 

 

The Tonys Bring It Home

The Tonys Bring It Home

Tony Award Dress Rehearsal

 

Can I get an AMEN?! What a wonderful thing to celebrate the success of Fun Home last night (and all the other winners and nominees and non-nominees). It was a fun evening of surprises right and left (all four Actor/Actress in a Musical categories went the opposite way of the predictions).

 

Before I dive into my high/lowlights of the evening including links to all the performances, a brief word about Sunday morning. If you haven’t heard, I attended the Tony Dress Rehearsal with Miss Jenn Haltman, and it was a grand ol’ time. The best moment for me may have been stepping into Radio City and seeing the iconic Tony set on the stage. It was pretty surreal. The dress rehearsal is as you might expect – they run through the entire evening, all the performances, all the banter, presenters, even fake winners and acceptance speeches. There’s a set of ten or so actors who “play” the nominees, sit in their seats, and one goes up to deliver a thank-you speech after each award is announced. It’s actually quite entertaining. You also get to see how the sausage is made, like how the cameras work and how the crane reaches over the audience. It was a super cool morning, but now, onto the real thing.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

  • Let’s begin with the best of the best: Sydney. Effin. Lucas. Is there really anything else to discuss? This was the performance of the evening. The folks at Fun Home made the (very) smart decision to highlight one song and one performer (with cameos by Tony nominee Beth Malone and now two-time Tony winner Michael Cerveris) to represent their show, a decision I fully support. And to have Joel and Jennifer Grey introduce the number made it all the more apropos. This song stands for so much in the musical theatre genre, and the fact that an 11-year-old is delivering it makes it all the more impressive. I could talk about it for ages, but I’ll let the song speak for itself. Here’s Tony nominee Sydney Lucas singing “Ring of Keys” from Fun Home. Also, a mini-anecdote from director Sam Gold in the press room after winning his Tony, talking about directing Sydney in that song: “The day that I was first going to stage that song with Sydney in rehearsal, I was really nervous…What was I going to say to her? She was nine at the time. I started to ask her, ‘Do you understand what this song is about? What can we talk about?’ And she was like, ‘I got this.’ She had it already. She understood everything about it. She’s a very mature actor and didn’t need to be treated like a kid. I treated her [from] that moment forward like all of the adults.”
  • Something Rotten also gave a great performance. Since there was no real opening number (missing you, NPH), Rotten ended up serving as the big opening of the night, presenting the Act One show-stopper “A Musical” featuring Tony nominees Brian D’Arcy James and Brad Oscar. It’s funny, right?
  • Let’s focus now on the lady power happening last night. I did a lap around my living room every time a woman won. Firstly, yay lady director Marianne Elliott for Curious Incident. Second, representation in all the design categories: Catherine Zuber for The King and I Costume Design, Bunny Christie for Curious Scenic Design, and Natasha Katz for American Lighting Design. And then! Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori for Best Book and Score for Fun Home. They made history by being the first all-female writing team to win for a musical. What should be on the lowlights is the fact that these wins happened during commercials. Considered “Creative Arts Awards” – and deemed not worthy to be aired with the rest of the program – book, score, choreography, and designer awards all happen off-screen with only five-second snippets of their speeches shown later. So here I share their fantastic and important speeches: Lisa Kron for Best Book and Jeanine Tesori/Lisa Kron for Best Score.
  • Let’s hear it for Ruthie Ann Miles as Lady Thiang. This category seemed like a shoe-in for one of the Fun Home I haven’t seen The King and I yet (going in July), but I’m still so excited for her and her adorable speech. And how nice to squeeze in a little bit of diversity on that stage (wow, I just looked it up: she is the second Asian actress ever to win a Tony).
  • While we’re on the topic of The King and I, let us all bow down to the wonder that is Kelli O’Hara. Congrats on winning your first Tony after six nominations. Yes, standing ovation! And that speech!! And have you seen the quick change video going around right now? Amazing offstage choreography. Kelli, I hope you’re still shuffling off to Buffalo filled with joy.
  • I want to do a couple of shout-outs to my other favorite actor wins. Alex Sharp is so wonderfully earnest. Annaleigh Ashford I’ve been rooting for since I first saw her in Legally Blonde in 2007. And Michael Cerveris for Fun Home! A frazzled Tony speech but a terrific performance as Bruce Bechdel.
  • Best presenters of the night were Larry David and Jason Alexander. How Larry David manages to ride that line of hilarious yet offensive is quite the feat.
  • Although I am not a supporter of the medley performance (more on that below), I think On the Town, An American in Paris, and The King and I were solid performances, showing off their stars and choreography.

LOWLIGHTS

 

  • I said it before and I’ll say it again, It Shoulda Been You drives me nuts. From David Hyde Pierce’s intro with a fan letter to the jokes to the song itself, I can’t do it. But let’s give well-deserved credit to the talent that is Lisa Howard and the sound that she produces. I just wish I liked the song.
  • I can’t really speak too much of Gigi because I have not seen it (nor do I intend to quite honestly), but it doesn’t do anything for me. Here’s Vanessa Hudgens performing “The Night They Invented Champagne.”
  • As Jenn said about Finding Neverland while we watched the performance yesterday morning, “Everything is happening onstage, and nothing is happening onstage.” Yes, Matthew Morrison can still sing underneath that beard of his, but this number was literally smoke and mirrors to distract from the fact that so little is actually going on. Here’s “Stronger” featuring Morrison and Kelsey Grammer. Also? That intro.
  • I would never speak badly of Chita Rivera; she’s Broadway royalty. But The Visit, or as I’m now calling it, “The Visit – What Is It?”…I just had no idea what to make of that performance. And sadly I’m not the only one – they just posted the closing notice Monday afternoon.
  • Although the memoriam was touching and featured a record amount of performers in a Tony number (not to mention actually being aired on the live show as opposed to last year), the speed of that slideshow left something to be desired. It didn’t need to be rushed! Why not start it at the top of the song (with the right notes ideally) instead of featuring Josh Groban for one minute and twenty seconds?
  • Let’s talk about the E.T. bit. While funny and unexpected, let’s read the room, shall we? Wait to send Kristin out in that ridiculous costume until the audience has stopped reeling from Sydney’s performance. The music had barely faded out when she wobbled out, unfortunately reducing the moment that had just occurred.
  • The Jersey Boys finale was a little bit of a letdown after some of the great closing bits we’ve had over the last couple years.
  • As I mentioned above, any award happening during the commercials is a lowlight.
  • And now, a mini-rant on medleys. Have you heard this before from me? Medleys are so rarely a good idea in my book. I totally understand that you want to show as much of your production’s range and stars as possible. I get that one number doesn’t fully represent what your musical is, but what a medley tends to do instead is get all…jumbly. It gets messy because too much is being squeezed into a few minutes. So for example, On the Twentieth Century, which I very much enjoyed the other week (review to come), comes off looking all over the place. There were technically FOUR songs covered in those few minutes. People don’t know what to come away with after seeing that. Why not just do the last song in the medley? I know we don’t get to see Peter Gallagher or the adorable tapping porters, but we’ll get to see Kristin sing her heart out and we’ll enjoy one full song. It’s a bummer Tony winner Christian Borle didn’t get to perform in the Something Rotten number, but guess what? It was still great, and now people get a sense of what that show will be. Why not just do “Shall We Dance?” from The King and I or one dance with the two leads in American in Paris? Haven’t we learned yet that medleys don’t do a show justice?

Alright, let’s not dwell too much on the negative (like no love for Hand to God). Things like this exist now! Not all of the shows can be recognized, and there will always be a lot of BS that gets in the way of celebrating the arts, but Fun Home taking home the big wins last night is a huge accomplishment. So let’s bask in that while we can. One more time, here’s a link to all of the performances. Go see a Broadway show!

 

Oh yeah, one more thing. Bring back Sound Design.

 

69th Annual Tony Awards Results

69th Annual Tony Awards Results

The dances have been danced and the songs have been sung and the 69th Annual Tony Awards results are in. If you didn’t get to watch last night, here’s some of the shows that won big:
 

HomeFun Home

5 Awards

  • Best Musical
  • Best Book of a Musical
  • Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical: Michael Cerveris
  • Best Direction of a Musical: Sam Gold

 

CuriousIncidentThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

5 Awards

  • Best Play
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play: Alex Sharp
  • Best Scenic Design of a Play: Bunny Christie and Finn Ross
  • Best Lighting Design of a Play: Paule Constable
  • Best Direction of a Play: Marianne Elliott

 

KingThe King and I

4 Awards

  • Best Revival of a Musical
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical: Kelli O’Hara
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical: Ruthie Ann Miles
  • Best Costume Design of a Musical: Catherine Zuber

 

ParisAn American in Paris

3 Awards

  • Best Scenic Design of a Musical: Bob Crowley and 59 Productions
  • Best Lighting Design of a Musical: Natasha Katz
  • Best Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon
  • Best Orchestrations: Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott

 

 

AudienceThe Audience

2 Awards

  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play: Helen Mirren
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play: Richard McCabe
  • Best Orchestrations: Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott

 

 

RottenSomething Rotten 

1 Award

  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical: Christian Borle

 
 
 


 
What do you think? Did your favorite show take home a coveted Tony? Were you satisfied with the results or think a show got snubbed? Were Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming actually funny? Discuss with us on Facebook and Twitter!
 
Click here for the full list of 2015 Tony Award Winners.
 
Or click here to see the full list of Tony Award Nominees.

It Shoulda Been You

It Shoulda Been You

It Shoulda Been You

 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but It Shoulda Been You is not the way to go this season. The premise is promising – an old fashioned wedding story of families colliding with a modern twist – but this brand new musical comedy misses the mark.

 

It’s Rebecca’s wedding day, and nothing is going well. Her mother and the groom’s mother aren’t getting along, her ex-boyfriend has gotten wind of the nuptials and is on his way to crash the ceremony, and her sister Jenny, always the bridesmaid, is expected to keep everything together (click here for highlights).

 

The book is weak and offensive. I suppose I might be more forgiving if the score were likeable, but the songs, after an hour and a half, were like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. The lyrics also include gems like, “How you pulled that out of your hat is making me smile like a Cheshire cat.” The music is made up of random notes following one another, trying to force a melody. I was looking forward to Lisa Howard’s 11 o’clock number because that woman has pipes, but I sat there thinking, this is what she has to sing every night?

 

Speaking of my excitement for Lisa Howard, I was so psyched for her to finally have a lead role on Broadway, but there’s a terrible subplot about her weight and her mother’s rude comments. The book is packed with fat jokes, Jewish jokes, black jokes, gay jokes, and alcoholic jokes, but none are smart. Mostly they made me cringe, and I’m not easily offended. I’m typically fine with that style of humor (The Book of Mormon, anyone?), but when written poorly, it just comes off as mean.

 

What a waste of talent. It’s a fantastic cast full of big names (Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, Chip Zien, Sierra Boggess, David Burtka), and the brilliant David Hyde Pierce at the helm directing, so I can’t help but wonder what went wrong here. I’ll give it this much: there’s a surprise in the show that neither Matt nor I saw coming, and I don’t know the last time I was that genuinely surprised by a plot shift. But it doesn’t save the show by any means. For a brief moment I did think, “Oh, this will help the story,” but it only made it more convoluted.

 

But really, the show’s tagline is, “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be home by 10.” I mean, what? Their best foot forward is how short the show is?! That’s not gonna cut it for me. It shoulda been better.

 

Book your summer vacation here, and don’t forget to stop by Becca on Broadway for more reviews!

 

It Shoulda Been You
Book & Lyrics by Brian Hargrove, Music by Barbara Anselni, Directed by David Hyde Pierce
Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Open-ended
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Pictured: Lisa Howard

 

Everything You Want To Know About the 69th Annual Tony Awards

Everything You Want To Know About the 69th Annual Tony Awards

It’s that time of year again! Some of New York City’s most talented performers have been singing and dancing and acting and schmoozing their butts off for the chance for that coveted Tony Award, and now it’s down to the wire. The 69th Annual Tony Awards are this Sunday, June 7th, and here’s everything you need to know to be ready for that red carpet.
 

Tony-black-logo

When

  • Sunday, June 7th
  • 8:00-11:00 PM EST

Where

  • Radio City Music Hall in New York City
  • Live EST Broadcast on the CBS Television Network (delayed PST)

Who

  • Presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing
  • Hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming

And the nominees are…

Best Musical

Best Play

Best Musical Revival

Best Play Revival

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Best Leading Actress in a Play

  • Geneva Carr, ‘Hand to God’
  • Helen Mirren, ‘The Audience
  • Elisabeth Moss, ‘The Heidi Chronicles’
  • Carey Mulligan, ‘Skylight’
  • Ruth Wilson, ‘Constellations*’

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

  • Michael Cerveris, ‘Fun Home’
  • Robert Fairchild, ‘An American in Paris’
  • Brian d’Arcy James, ‘Something Rotten!*’
  • Ken Watanabe, ‘The King and I’
  • Tony Yazbeck, ‘On the Town*’

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

  • Kristin Chenoweth, ‘On the Twentieth Century’
  • Leanne Cope, ‘An American in Paris’
  • Beth Malone, ‘Fun Home’
  • Kelli O’Hara, ‘The King and I’
  • Chita Rivera, ‘The Visit’

Best Book of a Musical

  • ‘An Americcan in Paris,’ Craig Lucas
  • ‘Fun Home,’ Lisa Kron
  • ‘Something Rotten!,’ Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
  • ‘The Visit,’Terrence McNally

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics)

  • ‘Fun Home,’ Music: Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics: Lisa Kron
  • ‘The Last Ship,’Music and Lyrics: Sting
  • ‘Something Rotten!,’ Music and Lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
  • ‘The Visit,’ Music: John Kander, Lyrics: Fred Ebb

Best Featured Actor in a Play

  • Matthew Beard, ‘Skylight’
  • K. Todd Freeman, ‘Airline Highway’
  • Richard McCabe, ‘The Audience’
  • Alessandro Nivola, ‘The Elephant Man’
  • Nathaniel Parker, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • Micah Stock, ‘It’s Only a Play

Best Featured Actress in a Play

  • Annaleigh Ashford, ‘You Can’t Take It with You’
  • Patricia Clarkson, ‘The Elephant Man’
  • Lydia Leonard, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • Sarah Stiles, ‘Hand to God’
  • Julie White, ‘Airline Highway’

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

  • Christian Borle, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Andy Karl, ‘On the Twentieth Century’
  • Brad Oscar, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Brandon Uranowitz, ‘An American in Paris’
  • Max von Essen, ‘An American in Paris’

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

  • Victoria Clark, ‘Gigi’
  • Judy Kuhn, ‘Fun Home’
  • Sydney Lucas, ‘Fun Home’
  • Ruthie Ann Miles, ‘The King and I’
  • Emily Skeggs, ‘Fun Home’

Best Scenic Design of a Play

  • Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
  • Bob Crowley, ‘Skylight’
  • Christopher Oram, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • David Rockwell, ‘You Can’t Take It with You’

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

  • Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, ‘An American in Paris’
  • David Rockwell, ‘On the Twentieth Century’
  • Michael Yeargan, ‘The King and I’
  • David Zinn, ‘Fun Home’

Best Costume Design of a Play

  • Bob Crowley, ‘The Audience’
  • Jane Greenwood, ‘You Can’t Take It with You’
  • Christopher Oram, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • David Zinn, ‘Airline Highway’

Best Costume Design of a Musical

  • Gregg Barnes, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Bob Crowley, ‘An American in Paris’
  • William Ivey Long, ‘On the Twentieth Century’
  • Catherine Zuber, ‘The King and I’

Best Lighting Design of a Play

  • Paule Constable, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
  • Paule Constable and David Plater, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • Natasha Katz, ‘Skylight’
  • Japhy Weideman, ‘Airline Highway’

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

  • Donald Holder, ‘The King and I’
  • Natasha Katz, ‘An American in Paris’
  • Ben Stanton, ‘Fun Home’
  • Japhy Weideman, ‘The Visit’

Best Direction of a Play

  • Stephen Daldry, ‘Skylight’
  • Marianne Elliott, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
  • Scott Ellis, ‘You Can’t Take It with You’
  • Jeremy Herrin, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • Moritz von Stuelpnagel, ‘Hand to God’

Best Direction of a Musical

  • Sam Gold, ‘Fun Home’
  • Casey Nicholaw, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • John Rando, ‘On the Town’
  • Bartlett Sher, ‘The King and I’
  • Christopher Wheeldon, ‘An American in Paris’

Best Choreography

  • Joshua Bergasse, ‘On the Town’
  • Christopher Gattelli, ‘The King and I’
  • Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
  • Casey Nicholaw, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Christopher Wheeldon, ‘An American in Paris’

Best Orchestrations

  • Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, ‘An American in Paris’
  • John Clancy, ‘Fun Home’
  • Larry Hochman, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Rob Mathes, ‘The Last Ship’

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater

Tommy Tune
 

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Stephen Schwartz
 

Regional Theatre Tony Award

Cleveland Play House
 

Special Tony Award

John Cameron Mitchell, ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch
 

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theater

  • Arnold Abramson
  • Adrian Bryan-Brown
  • Gene O’Donovan

Presenters

Performances

  • An American in Paris – “’S Wonderful” and “I Got Rhythm”
  • The King and I – “Shall We Dance?” and “Getting to Know You”
  • On the Town –  “Lucky To Be Me,” “New York, New York,” and “Times Square Ballet”
  • On the Twentieth Century – “Life is Like a Train,” “On the 20th Century,” “I’ve Got It All” and “Babette”
  • The Visit – “Love and Love Alone” and “I Would Never Leave You”
  • Fun Home – “Ring of Keys”
  • Something Rotten! – “A Musical”
  • It Shoulda Been You – “Jenny’s Blues”
  • Finding Neverland – “Stronger”
  • Gigi – “The Night They Invented Champagne”

And in honor of Jersey Boys’ tenth anniversary, the current cast will perform “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night).” Josh Groban will also perform a medley of show tunes from his album Stages.
 


Now that you know all the facts, all that’s left is for you to sit back, relax, maybe grab a bowl of popcorn, and take in all the splendor and accomplishments of the talented men and women from the Broadway stages. Get your own Tony Award ballot to play along at home! Fill out your ballots, and share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!
 
Tony Awards Ballot

 

And if the Tonys happen to get you in the mood to visit the Great White Way and see these spectacular shows in person, you can book your NYC Broadway weekend vacation or see other Broadway shows right here, and visit our faithful reviewer, Becca on Broadway, for some more insights into what’s happening on Broadway!
 

New, Escorted VIP New York City Thanksgiving Week Trip

New, Escorted VIP New York City Thanksgiving Week Trip

NYCVP announces hosted New York City Thanksgiving parade vacations.

One thing is certain: Holiday time in New York City is busy. With all the crowds and chaos in mind, New York City Vacation Packages (NYCVP) is introducing their brand new Hosted and Escorted Thanksgiving vacation from November 24th to the 28th, 2015.

 

What’s included?

  • Roundtrip private transfers for guests flying into New York City airports
  • 4-night accommodations at the Sheraton New York Times Square
  • Sightseeing and tours
  • 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • A Broadway show and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
  • Services of a Tour Host from Wednesday morning through Friday evening

 

The itinerary is set. Guests arrive in New York City on Tuesday, November 24th, where a private vehicle will be waiting to take them to the Sheraton New York Times Square. The holiday activities begin on Wednesday, November 25th, when the tour host will meet all guests and escort them on a walking tour of Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After lunch, a chartered motorcoach tour will take everyone to the Macy’s balloon inflation area—where the world-famous parade begins to take shape. Guests will have the opportunity to take photos and watch some of their favorite balloons being inflated before continuing on the motorcoach tour to St. John the Divine, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, for an organ recital. That night, the schedule includes dinner at a nearby restaurant and seats to a Broadway show.

 

Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 26th, and guests will start their day escorted to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and NYCVP’s exclusive Stay Warm Thanksgiving Breakfast at the Heartland Brewery. Guests are welcome to come and go as they please, grab a bite to eat, use the restroom and then go back out to view the parade. An upgrade option is available to attend an indoor Parade Viewing Party.

 

After Santa crosses in front of Macy’s Herald Square at the end of the parade, guests will have some time to themselves to explore the city before the tour host escorts them to a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the trimmings. After dinner, a motorcoach tour will take guests to view the holiday displays and decorated department store windows like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s, Lord & Taylors, and more.

 

Friday, November 27th, includes an escorted tour of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan—including Wall Street and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Guests will also have tickets to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and dine at a special farewell dinner.

 

Saturday, November 28th, guests will be transported by private vehicles back to the airport for their return home.

 

All admission fees, taxes on included items, and gratuities for all meals are already included in the price. Additional nights and upgrades are also available upon request. For more information and full details for the hosted and escorted Thanksgiving parade packages, visit www.nyctrip.com or call 877-NYC-Trip to speak to a personal vacation planner.

NYC Bike Maps

NYC Bike Maps

NYC is known for it’s heart-stopping theater, it’s to-die-for restaurants, and it’s larger than life shopping and nightlife. When you think “Big Apple” you think Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, the rumbling subway, and those crazy taxis. What you might not think about is all the biking opportunities.
 
Biking is actually a big form of transportation in the city.  Why bike? Why not! It’s quicker than walking, and definitely quicker than a taxi stuck in traffic or a broken-down subway. If you’re looking for tours, what better way to see Central Park then the take a spin around on two wheels? Want to see the Brooklyn Bridge? Why not pedal over it!
 
It all starts with renting a bike.
 
All five boroughs have paths and routes for bikers, and here is just a sample of some:
 

Manhattan Bike Map
See this and more maps at http://www.nycbikemaps.com

 

You can download NYC bike maps from the NYC DOT here. There are also multiple online options for finding bike routes. HopStop and Google offer directions by bike,  or you can check out Ride the City.

 

2015 Tony Award Nominations

2015 Tony Award Nominations

Tony-black-logo

And the nominees are…

Best Musical

Best Play

Best Musical Revival

Best Play Revival

Best Leading Actor in a Play

Best Leading Actress in a Play

  • Geneva Carr, ‘Hand to God’
  • Helen Mirren, ‘The Audience
  • Elisabeth Moss, ‘The Heidi Chronicles’
  • Carey Mulligan, ‘Skylight’
  • Ruth Wilson, ‘Constellations*’

Best Leading Actor in a Musical

  • Michael Cerveris, ‘Fun Home’
  • Robert Fairchild, ‘An American in Paris’
  • Brian d’Arcy James, ‘Something Rotten!*’
  • Ken Watanabe, ‘The King and I’
  • Tony Yazbeck, ‘On the Town*’

Best Leading Actress in a Musical

  • Kristin Chenoweth, ‘On the Twentieth Century’
  • Leanne Cope, ‘An American in Paris’
  • Beth Malone, ‘Fun Home’
  • Kelli O’Hara, ‘The King and I’
  • Chita Rivera, ‘The Visit’

Best Book of a Musical

  • ‘An Americcan in Paris,’ Craig Lucas
  • ‘Fun Home,’ Lisa Kron
  • ‘Something Rotten!,’ Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
  • ‘The Visit,’Terrence McNally

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics)

  • ‘Fun Home,’ Music: Jeanine Tesori, Lyrics: Lisa Kron
  • ‘The Last Ship,’Music and Lyrics: Sting
  • ‘Something Rotten!,’ Music and Lyrics: Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
  • ‘The Visit,’ Music: John Kander, Lyrics: Fred Ebb

Best Featured Actor in a Play

  • Matthew Beard, ‘Skylight’
  • K. Todd Freeman, ‘Airline Highway’
  • Richard McCabe, ‘The Audience’
  • Alessandro Nivola, ‘The Elephant Man’
  • Nathaniel Parker, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • Micah Stock, ‘It’s Only a Play

Best Featured Actress in a Play

  • Annaleigh Ashford, ‘You Can’t Take It with You’
  • Patricia Clarkson, ‘The Elephant Man’
  • Lydia Leonard, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • Sarah Stiles, ‘Hand to God’
  • Julie White, ‘Airline Highway’

Best Featured Actor in a Musical

  • Christian Borle, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Andy Karl, ‘On the Twentieth Century’
  • Brad Oscar, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Brandon Uranowitz, ‘An American in Paris’
  • Max von Essen, ‘An American in Paris’

Best Featured Actress in a Musical

  • Victoria Clark, ‘Gigi’
  • Judy Kuhn, ‘Fun Home’
  • Sydney Lucas, ‘Fun Home’
  • Ruthie Ann Miles, ‘The King and I’
  • Emily Skeggs, ‘Fun Home’

Best Scenic Design of a Play

  • Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
  • Bob Crowley, ‘Skylight’
  • Christopher Oram, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • David Rockwell, ‘You Can’t Take It with You’

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

  • Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, ‘An American in Paris’
  • David Rockwell, ‘On the Twentieth Century’
  • Michael Yeargan, ‘The King and I’
  • David Zinn, ‘Fun Home’

Best Costume Design of a Play

  • Bob Crowley, ‘The Audience’
  • Jane Greenwood, ‘You Can’t Take It with You’
  • Christopher Oram, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • David Zinn, ‘Airline Highway’

Best Costume Design of a Musical

  • Gregg Barnes, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Bob Crowley, ‘An American in Paris’
  • William Ivey Long, ‘On the Twentieth Century’
  • Catherine Zuber, ‘The King and I’

Best Lighting Design of a Play

  • Paule Constable, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
  • Paule Constable and David Plater, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • Natasha Katz, ‘Skylight’
  • Japhy Weideman, ‘Airline Highway’

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

  • Donald Holder, ‘The King and I’
  • Natasha Katz, ‘An American in Paris’
  • Ben Stanton, ‘Fun Home’
  • Japhy Weideman, ‘The Visit’

Best Direction of a Play

  • Stephen Daldry, ‘Skylight’
  • Marianne Elliott, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
  • Scott Ellis, ‘You Can’t Take It with You’
  • Jeremy Herrin, ‘Wolf Hall’
  • Moritz von Stuelpnagel, ‘Hand to God’

Best Direction of a Musical

  • Sam Gold, ‘Fun Home’
  • Casey Nicholaw, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • John Rando, ‘On the Town’
  • Bartlett Sher, ‘The King and I’
  • Christopher Wheeldon, ‘An American in Paris’

Best Choreography

  • Joshua Bergasse, ‘On the Town’
  • Christopher Gattelli, ‘The King and I’
  • Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
  • Casey Nicholaw, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Christopher Wheeldon, ‘An American in Paris’

Best Orchestrations

  • Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, ‘An American in Paris’
  • John Clancy, ‘Fun Home’
  • Larry Hochman, ‘Something Rotten!’
  • Rob Mathes, ‘The Last Ship’

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater

Tommy Tune

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Stephen Schwartz

Regional Theatre Tony Award

Cleveland Play House

Special Tony Award

John Cameron Mitchell, ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theater

  • Arnold Abramson
  • Adrian Bryan-Brown
  • Gene O’Donovan

*Just A New York Minute! reviewed show

Something Rotten!

Something Rotten!

Something Rotten

 

I gotta say, Something Rotten has Best Musical written all over it. Admittedly, I have yet to see most of the new musicals this season as they’re all coming out right about…now (pre-Tony time is busy, friends!). So it’s true, I might change my tune after seeing Fun Home or Finding Neverland or It Shoulda Been You. Lots of new musical potential this year (update since I wrote those last two sentences: It Shoulda and Neverland did not do too well with the critics).

 

But Something Rotten knows what it’s doing, and it’s got Casey Nicholaw at the helm (you can view highlights here). Now Casey and I don’t always see eye to eye. I couldn’t quite get on board with his productions of Aladdin and Elf, but then there’s the hilarious The Drowsy Chaperone and underdog The Book of Mormon. And now he’s back delivering a brand new (that’s right! NEW!), yet deliciously old-school musical full of big shtick, big comedy, and big musical numbers. And Shakespeare references!

 

Wait, hold up – this show is about Shakespeare? Don’t run off just yet! It’s not all uppity with super insider-y jokes (although there are plenty for the big Shakespeare fans out there). Here’s the basic premise. All the Bottom brothers, Nick (Brian D’Arcy James) and Nigel (John Cariani), want is to write a hit of their own, but they can’t get a word in edgewise because William Shakespeare (Christian Borle) is all anyone can talk about, and his new play Romeo and Juliet just premiered at the Globe. Nick will do anything to top his rival, so he goes out in search of a soothsayer (Brad Oscar) to find out what the “next big thing” might be. And what does he learn about? Why, musical theatre of course! So he dives headfirst into creating the world’s very first musical. Cut to countless hit musical references. I mean, so many you won’t catch all of them in one viewing.

 

Now sure, there are some easy jokes that drove me a little crazy (a woman guarantees there will be gender equality in no more than five years – get it?!), but on the whole, it’s a silly ball of fun. I don’t know the last time I laughed that hard at a musical. The score is packed with catchy tunes that you will actually leave the theatre humming. And to top it off, you have the impeccably talented cast.

 

Led by D’Arcy James and Borle, right off the bat, you know you’re in good hands. D’Arcy James is steadfast in everything he touches. He plays a solid straight man amidst all of the craziness but still gets his chance to cut loose. As the Bard, it’s so much fun to once again see the cockiness of Black Stache mixed with the bravado of Tony winner Borle himself. Brad Oscar is insane and hilarious, and Cariani and Kate Reinders are adorably charming and funny as the young will-they-won’t-they-couple. Oh, and Heidi Blickenstaff – I could listen to her sing all day. I wish there were more to her character, but sadly it’s not her show. This is very much about the Bottom brothers and Shakespeare, and the women unfortunately are left in the sidelines. I guess that’s what happens when a show takes place in 2015 – sorry, I mean 1595.

 

So. A musical chockfull of Shakespeare AND musical references? It sounds like this was made for me. How can you go wrong with a musical that’s an ode to musicals? I’m eager to see what the critics will be saying after the opening tonight, but honestly? I’m not the least bit worried about this show. Nothing’s gone rotten here.

 

Book tickets here, and visit Becca on Broadway for more reviews!

 

Something Rotten! A Very New Musical
Music and Lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, Directed by Casey Nicholaw
St. James Theatre, Open-ended
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Pictured: Christian Borle and the cast of Something Rotten