A great thing about living in Hoboken is that New York City is right next door - with so much to do and offer us.
Last month was Lisa's birthday, and my present to her were tickets to The Producers. I hoped she could find a nice guy to take her.
Fortunately, I was that guy.
Before the show we made plans to meet up at 6:30 and grab dinner before the show. She was nice enough to send me a few links on city search - and had me choose one.
What to choose. What to choose.
I chose Cascina Ristorante on 45th and 9th. It was a simple restaurant, and I chose a table outside, it was brisk enough to make me wear my jacket, but I love to people watch.
Lisa arrived a little while later, and we had some wine and shared each other's dinners. The restaurant was good enough and certainly i'd recommend eating there before a show.
As we arrived at St. James Theater, the buzz that exists at a Broadway show hit me. Its something, to me, that is surreal. The palpable excitement that was in the air was very cool, and you kind of feel like "you are part of something". A show like this, and the feeling of sitting in the theater is like watching a rocket launch. You get the giddy interest of the anticipation of the start of the show - and once it begins you have a sense of relief and awe.
Maybe that is just me.
The show itself was simply goofy, campy and fun. Richard Kind played Max Bialystock, and he was fabulous. Richard nailed his role, and charmed the hell out of the audience. Alan Ruck played Leo Bloom and he was very average. I don't think he did a poor job, I just didn't find his acting very believable - I kept watching Alan Ruck acting rather than watching Leo Bloom performing.
One other interesting actor to note was Brooks Ashmanskas. He played the fruity "common law assistant" Carmen Ghia and was simply hilarious. He drew the hardest laughs from the audience, and I from the angle of my seats I was able to watch Richard Kind trying to maintain his composure during Brooks scenes. You know when you are doing a good job when your fellow actors are having a hard time not laughing at your routine.
Was this Broadway at its best? Well, The Producers isn't Hamlet. Its simply a live-action musical based on a movie and I think its good for New York nightlife. Glengary Glen Ross is now a show and Spamalot is also on Broadway. I say bring more entertainment to the masses this way. Much like Harry Potter will turn on a new generation of book fanatics, shows like The Producers will get a new generation of Broadway fans - some who may delve into more intellectual plays.
I asked Lisa to check out TKTS during her lunch breaks - maybe she can snag some mid-week tickets and a fraction of the cost of what people pay for advance tickets and we can see some more shows.