I don’t know how often NYC residents actually attend Broadway shows. If you think about it, spending over $150 for decent seats to a two-and-a-half hour affair can feel like a lot. But sometimes my dinner bill comes out to that much, so I suppose I personally don’t have an excuse. I tell any out of town guests that seeing a Broadway production is a must and it doesn’t matter which one—they’re all good so just pick whatever is available and of interest and go!
I justify seeing a musical once or twice a year, and usually it’s only if there’s a very appealing storyline or a rather famous actor joining the cast. Otherwise, I tend to stick to off-Broadway plays, both because of the price and how intimate they feel. The first musical I saw when theaters opened again after the pandemic outbreaks was The Music Man—it was my dream since high school to see Sutton Foster on stage (and Hugh Jackman was pretty good too). In that vein, I guess I’m just a sucker for well-known actors and actresses, and I’m almost always willing to pay a pretty penny to see if they’re really that amazing.
I guess the greats are the greats for a reason, because I was over the moon after seeing Into the Woods last week. This is the first Sondheim musical I’ve ever seen. Despite Into the Woods having an incredibly well-known story (remember how there was a movie version?), I didn’t know much about the plot, which I think made it more exciting for me. When the first act ended, I was thinking ‘huh? That was a nice, happy ending so what more could there be?’ Well, what a tragic second act.
Plot aside, let’s get back to the point and the reason I saw the show in the first place—the all-star cast. I was thrilled to see what few names I know in the musical theater world together on a playbill. Phillipa Soo sings like an angel and shines in every number she’s part of. Sara Bareilles, as magnificent of a composer and singer she is, belongs on a theater stage. Perhaps most impressive, in my very non-expert opinion, was Patina Miller in her role as the Witch. I’ve seen her performances of numbers from Pippin on Youtube dozens of times, and her presence and vocals are even more powerful in person.
Another thing I just loved was seeing the orchestra on stage. Can you tell I was an orchestra nerd in high school? The orchestra often sits in the pit, which is either mostly or completely covered, but I found it really cool to see the musicians as more visible part of the production. And of course, you can’t forget the very cool set design and brilliant Milky White cow puppet, cleverly operated by Kennedy Kanagawa.
Given all the things I’ve just raved about, I think this may have been the greatest Broadway show I’ve seen. (The only other contender up there would be the last revival of Les Miserables that I happened to see when Ramin Karimloo was Jean Valjean. Which is also hard to top.) I’d certainly also argue that it’s the best show in New York at the moment, and it seems that a lot of actual, very real theater critics agree. All this to say, Broadway shows are quite magical and for any locals, something you should visit every so often.
3 thoughts on “Log-In NYC: Best Show in New York?”
In my case, have to rely on Broadway Tours- luckily live in a major US touring city. On average, I see 2-4 musicals a year
August 2006- that was when I saw my first musical on Broadway (Wicked and one of the theater dates with my mom)
Do you find that the tour performances are any different from the Broadway ones? Very cool that you saw Wicked during its earlier years!
Wicked was the only show I saw in NYC- don’t have vivid memories of that night
Yes, saw that musical 5x- but remember the tour more, which was seen 4x