I've been immersed in Broadway lately, because my husband and I saw a show a few weeks ago and I've been listening to my Les Miserables soundtrack (and the Wicked and Mary Poppins soundtracks are not ever too far off my playlist).
I wrote a bit about Les Miserables (the stage show and the movie) on 5 Minutes for Books today, and I thought I would give a quick recap of the shows I've seen on Broadway (These dates are all -ish. I'm having trouble with my timeline), and I am going to keep updating this as I see shows.
1996(ish) -- Les Miserables
Terry and I saw this when I went with him to New York on a business trip. It was my first Broadway show, and I was surprised at how casual everyone was dressed (and this was years ago before everyone was casual everywhere). I read the book in preparation for seeing it, and I think that the book gave me a greater appreciation for it. This remains Terry's favorite show.
As I said in my 5 Minutes for Books, there are definitely PG-13 elements to this show.
2003 -- Movin' Out
Terry and I saw this when we visited NYC for our 10th anniversary. The music was great, the dancing was incredible, and a serviceable story was woven together using Billy Joel's songs as a backdrop. Since we are both big fans, we enjoyed it a lot. We also had a star sighting. A short baldish character actor was sitting right in front of us across the aisle. We later figured out that he was the guy sitting with Kramer on the subway who was reading a newspaper naked. You'd know him if you saw him. He works a lot.
10/2004 -- The Producers
We either saw this for my birthday or for our anniversary. I don't remember. We both liked it. It has some big numbers (a show within a show) and some laughs.
9/2005 -- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
A year after we moved here, a friend was going to be here in the City the weekend of Amanda's 7th birthday. We met her at the American Girl Cafe, and Amanda and I spent the night there together. I also took her to her first Broadway show, even though she didn't want to go! There were some $20 seats on the last rows, so I figured it was worth that (and we ended up moving up). She was sold on the theater before the curtain went up. She was craning her neck to hear and see the orchestra warming up. This show did not get good reviews, but Amanda and I loved it (as did other people I know who saw it). It's a great family show. Much of the music is similar to the movie, but there's more. It's actually on tour now, so check it out. I would never take a child under five to see a show, because they are long, but Amanda, at barely 7, enjoyed this.
10/2006 -- Phantom of the Opera
I took my grandmother to see this when she was in town. I didn't really like it. I didn't like it at all, really. I think that part of it is that I don't like that techno sound of the music (honestly -- Les Mis has a bit of that too, but it's not too much for me). On top of that it seems a bit hokey and overdone. Okay, musical haters everywhere will say that's what musicals are, but I disagree. I love the musical in general, I just did NOT like this one.
11/2006 -- Mary Poppins
We surprised Amanda with these tickets for an early Christmas present. I really loved this show. It's in a big theater, which takes away a bit from the Broadway experience (we were up high in the back), but you can still see from those seats. This is funny, moving, with bright costumes and great song and dance numbers. We all love this soundtrack. I compared the book, movie, and show in a previous post.
2/2007 -- Barefoot in the Park
I bought tickets to this Broadway play for Terry for Christmas. It starred Amanda Peet, an actress he likes, and also starred Jill Clayburgh and Tony Roberts. But Terry and I reached the same conclusion: We'll spend our Broadway dollars on musicals.
4/2007 -- Wicked
My sister-in-law Dana and I saw this together when she visited. This is far and away my favorite musical. I absolutely love it. The way that they tell the story is incredible. I'm hoping to take Terry and Amanda to see it sometime. I think that the themes about being different and looking beyond appearances is one that a tween would appreciate, plus she loves the music.
I wrote about how the book was a disappointment and why the musical is better.
Star-sighting: John Stamos sat right behind us.
7/2007 -- Spamalot
We saw this with two other couples. This too has plenty of PG-13 humor. If you are a Monty Python fan, you'd enjoy it. Another thing I appreciated was a running spoof of Broadway shows. This was funny and enjoyable. Guys who might not otherwise want to see a show would enjoy this one.
8/2007 -- Mamma Mia
Some girlfriends and I went to see this together, and all I can say is "Fun!" Everyone was dancing and singing at the big number at the end. I think that this would be best enjoyed with a bunch of girlfriends or maybe a mother/daughter outing (for a teen daughter).
8/2007 -- Mary Poppins (reprise)
My friend was just as big a fan of Mary Poppins as I am. We thought that the music took us to our happy place. So right before she moved away from Connecticut her mother came into to town, and they graciously invited me to see it again. Would I love it just as much? How would it hold up to a second viewing? It was fine, but not quite so magical unfortunately. It still is one that I highly recommend (for families or grown-ups).
4/2008 -- Curtains
Dana and I saw this shortly before it closed. David Hyde Pierce was still in, and we were so close we probably got some of his spit on us. I took Dana around to the stage door and we waited for them to come out, so I got a great picture of her getting her program signed (picture and narrative HERE). This was good, too. A bit off-color at times, but funny and with the big Broadway feel that I love.
My dad and Susan came to babysit the kids for a week while Terry and I were off on our deserted Caribbean island celebrating our 15th anniversary. Susan had been wanting to go to New York City with Amanda ever since we moved here, so I bought them tickets to this in light of their very honorable service to us.
Amanda says this is her favorite of the three shows she's seen, and Dad and Susan (who have seen lots of touring Broadway shows) says it was fantastic as well. I missed out, but I do love the music and in listening to it I could envision the fantastic staging and choreography.
11/2008 -- Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular
This isn't really Broadway, but it IS Christmas in New York. It took us four years to get around to seeing it, and I'm sure we'll go again. We took my mom and stepdad when they were here for Thanksgiving, and even Kyle (at 4 1/2) went, sat still, and enjoyed it.
2/2009 -- South Pacific
Terry wanted to see this ever since the revival started. One reason is that the star (Kelli O'Hara) is a friend of a friend. As it turns out, she was off that day, so we saw the understudy. I really enjoyed the show. It had more humor than I thought it would, and I did enjoy the music. I think Terry was a little disappointed, but he was glad that I liked it.
6/2009 -- Guys and Dolls
This was fine, but lacked the "big Broadway" elements of some shows. Terry really enjoyed it, and we both enjoyed seeing the stars Lauren Graham and Oliver Platt in their roles, however I'm always a bit annoyed by the audience's response to them when they come on stage (too much adulation before they prove themselves!).
9/2009 -- Burn the Floor
Amanda and I saw this, courtesy of my review gig with 5 Minutes for Mom. I am absolutely surprised how much we both loved it. Read my full review over at 5 Minutes for Mom.
9/2009 -- Rock of Ages
This is easily the funniest show I've ever seen on Broadway. Once again my PR contact through 5 Minutes for Mom hooked us up. We went for Terry's 40th birthday, and he had a blast. Read my review over at 5 Minutes for Mom.
Star Sighting: Terry recognized basketball player Michael Dunleavy.
10/2009 -- Finian's Rainbow
I reviewed Finian's Rainbow for 5 Minutes for Mom. You can read my full review there. I was excited because I consider this Amanda's first "real" Broadway show -- not aimed at children (though wonderful for her age-group). I was glad that she enjoyed it.
2/2010 -- The Miracle Worker
Amanda and I saw The Miracle Worker at Circle in the Square theater (linked to my review I did in conjunction with a sponsored giveaway at 5 Minutes for Mom). The show was good, but the small stage setting blew us away. It was amazing.
2010 -- West Side Story
This did not blow us away. We didn't particularly like it. The dancing was awesome,and the story's themes did seem particularly relevant -- especially because there was a big group of teens of various races, but mostly Hispanic and African American sitting in front of us.
9/2010 -- Time Stands Still
I saw this show and Lombardi the same day -- catching a matinee showing of this play in the Cort theater for a review and giveaway at 5 Minutes for Mom, and then later having a date with Terry for Lombardi. Two excellent shows, in two intimate theaters.
See my full review of Time Stands Still with an incredible well-known cast.
9/2010 -- Lombardi
This was the second show I saw in the Circle in the Square theater, and Wow -- great show, and once again the setting was fantastic. Read my full review at 5 Minutes for Mom, where I featured a review and giveaway of the star-studded Lombardi play.
10/2010 -- Wicked (reprise)
This was just as good the second time around. Terry and Amanda saw it for their first time and enjoyed it as well. It seemed funnier and campier with this cast, which didn't improve it or make it worse -- just different.
Two of the three of our seats were the orchestra level "limited visibility" seats on the aisle, which I've heard are just fine (and are about half price!). These were great seats.