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For the love of $19

So tonight, I had a great time hanging out with an old friend Kim who I worked with at IKON and hadn't seen in person in almost 2 years. We had a great dinner and went to see Kathy Griffin at Carnegie Hall. Still as funny as ever.

Coming home turned out to be a nightmare.

We walked from Carnegie Hall (57th Street) to Penn Station (34th Street). No big deal, it was a nice night we had an hour before Kim's train and we could both use the extra exercise.

I left her at Penn Station and walked over to the PATH station at 33rd Street. Lots of people milling about but I didn't think anything of it. I get downstairs, and all of the sliding doors are closed, completely blocking access to the station. Note: I didn't even know those sliding doors existed, in the 5+ years I've been taking the PATH I've never seen them closed.

Hunky man in uniform tells me the entire system is down and is likely to be for awhile. He said my best bet was to go to the Bus Terminal and figure out a bus.

I walked up the stairs and figured I would try my hand at finding two or three others heading to Jersey City to split a cab with. I find two people and the first cab we find (at this point, the cabs were lined up with dollar signs in the cabbie's eyes) explains rather abruptly he can't split fares. The other people reluctantly get out to look for another cab.

Instead of departing the cabbie says "Are you paying with a credit card or cash?" I explained it would be via credit card."

He responds with "You'll have to pay now then, because our satellite system doesn't work in NJ." Yeah I know, don't get me started.

I told him I had no problem doing that but how could he know the fare? He said it would be $45 plus tolls which are $7.

He pulls it up on the screen, the amount is $62.

I kindly pointed out that $45 plus $7 was $52 not $62. He explains that I also had to pay a minimum of 20% tip, hence $62. I stupidly agreed and off we go.

Halfway through the Holland Tunnel, we come across two drunk guys walking through the tunnel. The cabbie asks me if I want him to get them, explaining they can help pay my fare and at least get them out of the tunnel, which is illegal. I didn't have an issue with it.

They were very thankful, explaining that they would each give me $20 and we would drop them off at the first gas station out of the tunnel since they actually were headed to Hoboken.

We get to the gas station and they throw open the doors and take off running. Well, whatever, at this point I just wanted to get home. However, one of the guys dropped a bunch of bills as he was running away, and though the cabbie and I both called out to them they didn't come back for it.

I jumped out of the cab (leaving the door open, knowing if I didn't the cabbie would leave me there in a heartbeat) and picked up the money. I got back in the cab and was counting it to which the cabbie yelled for me to hold it up so he could see if it was $20s. I said no twenties, all singles.

So off we go. I explain to the cab driver how to get to my area of Jersey City.

Finally about 3 blocks from my place he stops and says "I can't go any farther, it's not allowed. And give me my money that was dropped." Oh, and my apartment is less than 2 miles from the gas station where the losers ran off.

I said, "Your money? If you'll credit it off the $62 fare you charged me you can have it."

Then he proceeded to start screaming at how I was a thief, etc. I should have been smart enough to snap a picture of the cab number.

I'm hoping that the cab number will be on the credit card pending charge. Even if it's not, I'm still going to file a complaint I think.

And for the record, the drunk guys dropped $19.

Was I wrong to refuse to give him the money?

Also, I love the fact that even though I subscribe to the PATH alert messaging system, which loves to send me text messages every time there's a 5 or 10 minute train service delay, there's still nothing been sent out about the whole system being down for the past 4 hours or so.


There are no words...

My friend Scott, summed it up far more eloquently than I could...but I did have to say a few things.

If at all possible, see A Normal Heart while you can. This may not happen again in our lifetime.

I came home full of things to say and thoughts I wanted to express. Instead, all I could do was cry.

It's a wonderful work, well written, beautifully directed and acted. The all white stage with it's difficult to read messages of despair, very touching.

I don't think there was one person on that stage who wasn't perfect for the role they were playing.

One of my current favorite actors on Broadway was there, Tony Sheldon who is currently starring as Bernadette in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The two readers of this journal and my Facebook will note that I ran into Nick Adams on a Wednesday night not too long ago as well.

I wanted to approach Mr. Sheldon after the show and just say Hi and tell him I loved his performance and wish him the best at the Tonys. However, everyone was crying when the show was over, it just seemed so wrong to say something to him at the moment. Really, it seemed wrong to say anything.

I also saw Cynthia Nixon and her partner, both with tears streaming down their faces as they headed West on 45th street. anarchy_lime spotted Kathleen Chalfant, I did not. Nor did I realize who she was until I googled her.

So, if I was a real critic I would write. "Go see A Normal Heart. Take some tissues, and someone you love. When the show is over, tell everyone you love again and again that you love them. Don't stop."

And if you're reading this. I love you.


On Broadway

I updated this for my own purposes...Updates to the list are in italics...

88 Shows, and counting...

I was trying to figure out which Broadway theatre I've been in the most times, so I went about it the long way.

I've been blessed to see a lot of shows! You'll have to read through the list to see the winner though.

Al Hirschfield/Martin Beck
How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
Sweet Charity
A Tale of Two Cities

American Airlines Theatre
Hedda Gabler
A Man For All Seasons

Belasco Theatre
Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Booth Theatre
Next to Normal

Broadhurst Theatre
Baby, It's You

Broadway Theatre
The Color Purple
Promises, Promises
Sister Act (2 times)

Brooks Atkinson Theatre
The Odd Couple

Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Company (2 times)
Speed The Plow

Cort Theatre
Barefoot In The Park
A View From The Bridge

Eugene O'Neill
The Book of Mormon
Sweeney Todd (2005 Revival)

George Gershwin Theatre

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
A Steady Rain
All My Sons
A Chorus Line
Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life
The Ladies Who Sing Sondheim

Helen Hayes Theatre

Foxwoods (The Hilton)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Spider-Man (2 times)
Young Frankenstein

Imperial Theatre
Billy Elliot (2 times)

John Golden Theatre
Avenue Q
The Normal Heart

Longacre Theatre
La Cage Aux Folles (3 times) (2010 Revival)

Lunt-Fontaine Theatre
The Addams Family
The Little Mermaid

Lyceum Theatre
Scottsboro Boys
Steel Magnolias

Marquis Theatre
9 to 5
Annie Get Your Gun
La Cage Aux Folles (2004 Revival)

Minskoff Theatre
Fiddler On The Roof

Music Box Theatre
Dame Edna: Back With A Vengance

Nederlander Theatre
Guys and Dolls

Neil Simon Theatre
Catch Me If You Can
The Music Man

New Amsterdam Theatre
The Lion King
Mary Poppins

Palace Theatre
Legally Blonde
Liza's At The Palace
Minnelli On Minnelli
Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Samuel J. Friedman (Biltmore)

Blithe Spirit

St. James Theatre
Gypsy (2008 Revival)

Stephen Sondheim (Henry Miller)
All About Me
Anything Goes
Bye Bye Birdie

Studio 54
110 In The Shade
Cabaret (1998 Revival)
Pal Joey
The People In The Picture
The Ritz
Sondheim on Sondheim
Sunday In The Park with George (2 times)
The Threepenny Opera
Wishful Drinking

Vivian Beaumont
South Pacific
War Horse

Walter Kerr
A Catered Affair
Grey Gardens (2 times)
A Little Night Music (2 times)
The Normal Heart (Benefit Reading)

The winner, with 10 productions attended, is Studio 54.

Theatres I've Not Been In

August Wilson
Bernard B. Jacobs
Circle In The Square
Richard Rodgers
Winter Garden


War Horse

Fading away like the stars in the morning
Losing their light in their glorious sun
Thus would we pass from this earth and it's toiling
Only remembered for what we have done

Only Remembered, one of the moving songs in War Horse, a play with music currently on an open-ended run at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater.

You must see it. Get a ticket, and it's a hot ticket right now so it will take some doing, but it will be well worth the effort. Tip: Try to get a seat on one of the aisles.

I've been looking forward to this show since it was announced the London production would open in the United States, and I was not disappointed.

War Horse is based on a children's book, but it is far from a children's production. It's the story of a boy named Albert, and his horse, Joey. Joey is sold by Albert's alcoholic father to the British Calvary. Eventually Albert runs away to travel through Europe to find him.

Joey, and the other horses in the story, are puppets. Saying that they are puppets doesn't begin to describe them really. These puppets quickly become real. They breathe, they whinny, they stamp their feet, their hooves clomp when they walk around the stage, they do everything but poop on the stage. I'd say within 5 minutes of young Joey's appearance onstage no one in the audience thought of him as a puppet. There is also an adorable goose who I just wanted to take home with me. In addition to the two main horses, Joey and Topthorne, there are about 8 other horses in the show. Most of the other horses are not nearly as intricate as Joey and Topthorne.

As you can imagine the show packs quite the emotional punch but I wouldn't call it a tear jerker. There's a scene right near the very end where I think everyone in the theater gasped at the same time. The couple next to me from Spain burst out crying. That part in and of itself was worth the price of admission.

The staging of the show is a work of brilliance on it's own. I hesitate to use the word magic, but the entire back of the stage is dark and they use that to make the whole cast appear and disappear in seconds, and it is quite something to witness.

In World War I, it's estimated that 8 million horses died, that's almost as many horses as people. The ones that didn't die, were most often just left on the battlefields, in the trenches, or in France, sold to the local butcher. They weren't brought back as heroes.

As a side note, there was a fight behind me in the middle of the first act. This couple kept talking and talking and the people around me kept shushing them, it was like being at the opera the way people were shushing anyone who made the slightest noise. Anyway, finally this young man sitting next to the talking couple screamed "Shut the fuck up!" and hit the guy with his Playbill. Several of the actors on the stage turned and looked and I actually thought they were going to stop the show, they continued on though and those two seats were empty for the second act.

One thing about this show is it doesn't appear that Lincoln Center does a cancellation line. And outside of the theater, there are people literally begging for tickets. You would think these people were trying to get into The Book of Mormon. With the demand for tickets though, I was saddened to see a few empty seats and one entire empty row, for the whole show. Obviously people who had purchased tickets and just didn't show up for whatever reason.

So again, go see the show if at all possible. In addition to this production, it is going to begin a National Tour next year. I put some links to some neat video footage below.

This one I couldn't embed...


That Kooky Broadway Family

I had the pretty good fortune of seeing The Addams Family musical tonight, I mostly enjoyed it.

The things I did like.

Nathan Lane & Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez & Morticia Addams. Kevin Chamberlin as Uncle Fester may have the best part of the show, sohipithurts you should definitely see him, but try to get discount tickets if they are available :)

Some of the songs are really good, I think the cast recording if it sticks to just the songs, might be a very enjoyable experience.

The set is really well done, as are the puppets. Even though the creators have stated that the show is based on the cartoons, not the TV show or the 2 movies, we get the familiar "snap snap" theme music, plus appearances by Cousin It and Thing. I believe all 3 things were from the television show.

Several of the reviews have said the show's plot of Wednesday asking her family to be normal when they meet Lucas Lucas Lucas' family is stupid, because the Addams believe they are normal. I didn't have a problem with that aspect at all, I think every child, no matter what their family is like, just wants their family to be normal in that situation.

I thought Gomez and Morticia's quandry about getting old, etc, was very touching.

Some of the jokes are very funny, even if they were predictable. "Stop the damn texting and pick up a book!" and "Ohio is a swing state!" Oh, and lest we forget "What's the one thing we all want but not everyone has? Health care?"

We had great seats.

What I didn't care for.

The first & second act felt totally disjointed and Uncle Fester is missing for most of the second, though he does get two big parts. A cute dance with the moon and one other thing I won't give away. sirpupnyc pointed out that mostly the second act was all couples.

Morticia doesn't get to dance very much, but when she did lift up her skirt (literally), it was very enjoyable. In fact, I'd say Morticia doesn't get much of a part at all, the whole show is clearly Gomez'.

The writers, who clearly didn't spend any time on the second act at all, should have had the time to research that in 1969 John Lennon wouldn't have discovered that "All You Need Is Love".

The show will probably run forever. Five years ago even Wicked got bad reviews and look what happened to them!

If you can get a discount of some sort (doubtful) it's worth your time to see it. I'm not so sure it's worth the $136.50! to see, unless you have money to throw away. In which case you are probably not reading this.

Sondheim's 80th

I saw the concert last night with the NY Philharmonic, I thought it was very enjoyable. David Hyde Pierce did a good job as the host and even got lots of foreign language bits in even they he said they turned down his request to do the whole show in languages other than English, like West Side Story recently did.

It was a little slow to get started but after the first few pieces it got really good.

The first section was songs that Sondheim wrote the lyrics for.

The show began with the company from West Side Story doing "America", and since they have a performance tonight I don't know if they will do something different in that piece or skip it altogether.

Marin Mazzie & her husband sang "We're Gonna Be Alright" from Do I Hear A Waltz? with alternate lyrics.

Victoria Clark sang the song Sondheim wrote lyrics for Judy Holiday to sing in Hot Spot.

The next sequence was shows Stephen wrote in the 70s.

Nathan Gunn sang "Johanna" from Sweeney Todd

"You're Gonna Love Tomorrow" was performed by four people, only one of whom I recall - Matt Cavenaugh.
"Too Many Mornings" performed by Nathan Gunn and Audra McDonald (this was one of the highlights of the whole show)

The next sequence was songs performed by the original performers.

"The Road You Didn't Take" performed by John McMartin
"It Takes Two" performed by Chip Zien and Joanna Gleason. Joanna got a big laugh when she started "You've changed"
"Finishing The Hat" performed by Mandy Patinkin
"Move On" performed by Mandy with Bernadette Peters
"Pretty Women" performed by Michael Cerveris and George Hearn
"A Little Priest" - Patti LuPone with two Sweeneys Michael Cerveris and George Hearn

The Second Act

Began with "Goodbye for Now" from Reds, featuring two dancers from the American Ballet Theater. Very moving.

Laura Benanti sang "So Many People In The World" from Saturday Night

David Hyde Pierce sang "Beautiful Girls" while the evenings Beautiful Girls walked out. Audra McDonald, Donna Murphy, Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Marin Mazzie and Elaine Stritch

They all wore red gowns, except Elaine who wore a red suit with a hat. They sat in a semi circle to perform the next section.

Patti LuPone started with "The Ladies Who Lunch". There was a collective gasp from the audience when we realized she was singing Elaine's song, with Elaine sitting there. Patti did a good job and Elaine stood up and walked over and hugged her when she was done. Big laugh on the line "Does anyone still wear a hat" since Elaine was indeed wearing a hat.

Marin Mazzie did a great job of "Losing My Mind"

Audra McDonald sang "The Glamorous Life" from the movie of A Little Night Music

Donna Murphy sang "Could I Leave You?"

Bernadette Peters sang "Not A Day Goes By"

Elaine Stritch sang "I'm Still Here". In my opinion, and I love her generally, she didn't do a very good job. You couldn't hear her very well at all and she seemed to flub and or forget several lines.

For the finale, they brought out actors and actresses from shows currently running on Broadway, there was many, at least 100 of them. All dressed completely in black they filled the stage, the aisles of the main floor and the aisles on the first and second tier. They sang "Sunday" and I don't think there was a dry eye in my section for this part.

The actors/actresses quickly left and were replaced by the "stars" of the evening who sang "Happy Birthday"

At this point Sondheim walked up from the audience and clapped and cried and bowed, it was very moving. He said something I couldn't understand because everyone was clapping so loudly and he was clearly very emotional.

That was the end. Just slightly over two hours.

I was kind of surprised by what they seemed to skip over. They do only one song from A Little Night Music and not Send In The Clowns even, nothing from Passion, Assassins, Anyone Can Whistle (being done by Encores! in a few weeks) or Pacific Overtures.

Movie Bears

Coming soon to a Manhattan theater near you!

I did start a group on Facebook, but haven't done much else to promote it, even with our great logo designed by vernnyc

It looks like our first official movie will be Alice in Wonderland, but we will have to do a screening the weekend after it opens.

You can find our Facebook group here.

I'll come up with another way for the Non Facebookers (notice that I'm looking at sirpupnyc when I say that) amongst us.

Rest in Peace, Mother

Oh how I will miss you...


My First Night Without You

IMG_0323.JPG, originally uploaded by WonderBoyNY.

My little Tina went up to Heaven about 6:00. I miss her terribly but I know she's in a better place.

Thank you for your kind words

Brian & Bob

Brian, originally uploaded by vernnyc.

In the absence of The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, I went for the gayest Ice Cream they had, although I guess I could have had him rainbow sprinkled.

Thanks Vern for the pic