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Ev Brenner's Annual Online Meeting Theater Scene Companion

Magazine article Information Today

Ev Brenner's Annual Online Meeting Theater Scene Companion

Article excerpt

Your amateur critic with his Broadway biases is back to tell you what to see and not to see on your visit to New York while attending National Online, insisting that you take advantage of the best that New York has to offer in entertainment at its most professional level of quality.

What's New in Musicals

What's new is old in musicals. That is, they're mostly revivals. "Show Boat" has received excellent reviews. Tickets will be difficult. "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," with Matthew Broderick in the leading role, is in previews, "Grease," which opened quite a while ago to fair-to-middling reviews, now stars Brooke Shields--I'm not sure to what advantage. Tickets will be available for that one.

The only new "non-revival" is Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard," a musical version of the classic movie. It's one of those spectacularly spectacular extravaganzas, but it and other Webber musicals are turn-ons that don't turn me on. Tickets are unavailable for this big hit starring Glenn Close, so you can probably forget about going anyway.

What's Old in Musicals

Last year's revival musicals still on Broadway are "Damn Yankees," "Tommy," and "Crazy For You," which I highly recommended for its Gershwin melodies and its excellent choreography. Non-revival holdovers from last year are "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Blood Brothers," "Les Miserables," "The Phantom of the Opera," and "Miss Saigon," the latter two by Andrew Lloyd Weber apparently moving into record-breaking survival statistics. My only recommendation among the non-revivals is "Les Miserables."

For my part, I don't usually attend revivals unless the reviews are real "wows," particularly if I've already seen an earlier version. Somehow, music that I've heard over and over again seems trite. But if you've a mind to, you should have little trouble getting tickets to the holdover long-runner musicals. Save yourself some money and walk over to the box office of the show of your choice rather than booking through your hotel agent. The walk is very short from the Hilton (ten minutes if you're a slow walker). And you will pass the TKTS TKTS box offices in the Times Square area where you just might get a half price ticket for the show of your choice. Don't despair if you see long lines. There are four box offices and the lines move quickly. Tickets for musicals are particularly high these days, so it's worth the visit. Even at half price, you will still be paying $25-$30 per seat.

What's New in Conredy and Drama

Well, just about everything! Unfortunately, it is difficult for a non-musical to sustain a long run these days, which is too bad, because there are plays that are really worth seeing. So don't wait until next year's meeting if you want to see one of my recommendations. For example, "Angels in America." with unbelievably "wow" reviews, is no longer playing, perhaps because of its gay theme.

This year there is another gay play with reviews almost as good as Angels. Don't miss "Love! Valour! Compassion!" unless you're sensitive to male frontal nudity--lots of it, totally, germane to the play's action and writing by playwright Terrence McNally who has had many previous hits on and off Broadway. Nathan Lane, a super actor, leads a wonderful ensemble cast of six. The play is both very funny and very sad. …

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