Matilda the Musical in London: Whimsical & Wonderful

I must have read Matilda by Roald Dahl over 100 times when I was little.  It is one of those great children's books that really transports you to another world. 

I had the chance to see Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre in London last week and aside from a strange appearance by the Russian mob towards the end which I felt was unnecessary, I loved every minute.  Names like Miss Trunchbull, Miss Honey, and the Wormwoods came flooding back from my memories of reading the book.  The talented little actress who played Matilda received a well-deserved standing ovation, and the entire cast was brilliant.  I think everyone was surprised at how much they enjoyed it!

Matilda the Musical is coming to Broadway in New York City next year!

Matilda the Musical Stage

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.

Friday Links to Love

Tuesday coffee meeting with this viewIt's been a crazy week that I'm glad to say good-bye to. But a highlight last night was seeing Love, Loss, & What I Wore with my pals Dana and Valerie.  The show was written by Nora and Delia Ephron and rotates a cast of five women each month.  It's in a tiny theater on West 43rd Street and runs just 1.5 hours. Plus the itsy-bitsy, miniature, gorgeous Giada DeLaurentiis was at the show!

Esca, a Mario Batali restaurant, is a great pre- or post-theater choice. This pomegranate bellini could go head-to-head with my favorite peach bellini any day.

This week, I loved:

View from the Mahattan Bridge on a walk this week

Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays

I saw an incredibly touching and hilarious set of short plays and monologues last weekend called Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays. It is getting rave reviews, including one in The New York Times.  The set was put together in response to the changing and often infuriating and unfair laws such as California repealing legal gay marriage in 2008.  With Craig Bierko, Mark Consuelos, Harriet Harris and Richard Thomas, each cast member made me tear up and laugh at different moments. 

It's playing at the Minetta Lane Theatre. Tickets can be found through the show's site here. Always check for discount codes, like Broadway Box, before booking.  You often get the same discounts as waiting in line at TKTS but can get the tickets weeks in advance...and you don't have to stand in line! 

We had great seats! 

Broadway: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

There is nothing I love more than a great New York night. Nothing. Last week, we went to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and then had dessert and coffee at Joe Allen’s on Restaurant Row, W. 46th Street. 
The stage before the show
Yes, Daniel Radcliffe drew me in to the show.  And there were a couple moments at the beginning where I giddily thought “That’s Harry Potter!” And then, “Wow he’s really short.” And then I forgot about Harry Potter altogether because he was so fantastic in the role, singing, dancing and commanding the stage.  It’s a fun show, with a great supporting cast and I left thinking that Daniel Radcliffe can do anything.  He’s in the show until January, when Nick Jonas takes over the role. 
Joe Allen, New York City
After, we went around the corner to Joe Allen, a place that I felt nostalgic for as soon as I walked in and I had never been.  Open since 1965, the walls are covered in posters of notable Broadway flops, like Breakfast at Tiffany's.  
They’re famous for their banana cream pie so we split that and still had a lot left.  It’s gigantic and good, but I probably wouldn’t order it again.  The ultimate Broadway chick, Kristin Chenoweth, told Bon Appetit “At Joe Allen’s in New York, I order the banana cream pie.  It’s ridiculously good. I had it two nights ago. When I’m in town and I want to treat myself, that’s what I have.” 
Joe Allen used to give hefty discounts to struggling actors when it first opened and it’s still inexpensive by New York standards.  I will go back again and again on those Broadway nights.