Broadway Sunday: Porgy & Bess, Sardi's & Chez Josephine

A classic Broadway New York day goes something like this: show, Sardi's, post-theater dinner.

I sat wide-eyed and glued to this production of The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess (originally an opera), on Broadway through June 24. I fell in love with Porgy (Norm Lewis), and I teared up when Bess (Audra McDonald) hit the high notes. As The New York Times review says, "And when she sings — ah, it’s a God-touched voice that turns suffering and ugliness into beauty...This Bess has the breath of divinity in a world that feels entirely too mundane to keep her. " I highly recommend it.

Porgy & Bess cast at curtain callSardi's needs no introduction for New Yorkers-it's been open for 90 years in the heart of the theater district. The restaurant is especially famous for its walls, adorned with smiley caricatures of hundreds of celebrities. It's a tourist trap that I don't mind being trapped in.

On far west 42nd Street is Chez Josephine, a bizarre, funky restaurant that feels like you're stepping into a 1930s Parisian woman's boudoir. It was a great dinner start to finish, with live piano renditions of Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, and "Moon River" and a terrible but laughable first date at the table next to us. It is a tribute to Josephine Baker, the American-turned-French singer who adopted TWELVE children, and with close familial ties--it's run by her adopted son, Jean-Claude Baker. The only thing missing is a cloud of cigarette smoke to make it feel truly authentic.