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NYC Tour 2017 BLOG

NYC Tour 2017 BLOG

Goodspeed Musicals launches its first New York City Theatre Tour

An enthusiastic group of theatre lovers boarded a private coach in the Goodspeed parking lot and headed to the Marriott Marquis at Times Square to join members outside Connecticut. The trip was planned and escorted by veteran staff members Mary Miko, Special Events Coordinator and Nancy Altschuler, Development Director.

After being detoured by the Greek Independence Day Parade, we arrived in the Theatre District, dropped our luggage and heading over for a 3:00 matinee of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. Yes, it’s a long title, but the book it is based upon, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, is not a quick read. The show was everything we had heard. The Imperial Theatre was reconstructed to house a show that takes place in a Russian nightclub. Velour curtains encompassed the entire theatre all adorned with artwork of the period. Musicians were tucked away in every box or cubby. Actors used every aisle and runway to keep us entertained. The stage was surrounded by cabaret style seating where the performers used the space as their stage. Of course, the huge draw was Josh Groban. He not only performed but played the piano during the show. Some of us were lucky enough to catch a box with a ‘pierogi’ or played along with a ‘shaker egg during the top of Act 2. What a spectacle! We were all exhausted.

Our Welcome Dinner was held in the hotel at The View, the only revolving restaurant in NYC. Everyone had a change to mingle and meet our Executive Director, Michael Gennaro.

On Monday we took a tour of Radio City Music Hall. Unbeknownst to us and our tour guide, one of our travelers, Dolores Andrew, informed us that her father-in-law, Peter Clark, designed the hydraulics for the stage. His photo and the original working model are on display. She shared his obit and articles that had been written about him. How special was that first-hand knowledge.

Dolores Andrew at Radio City Music Hall   Radio City tour  
Dolores Andrew at Radio
City Music Hall
     
 

Following our tour, we proceeded to The Lambs Club for a special lunch. The Lambs, a professional theatre group, once occupied this site, hence the name. Formed in 1874, it has a roster of past and living names that reads like a Who’s Who and is still active today. Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian oversees the restaurant and is known for his appearances on Chopped and Iron Chef America.

There were many special guests at lunch, including two of our Trustees, Ted Chapin and Hila Rosen. Producers Jason Eagan and Emily Shooltz from ArsNova spoke about the process of bringing ...The Comet from a reading at their theatre space to Broadway. The writers from Come From Away, Irene Sankoff and David Hein, spoke about their experience at Goodspeed's Festival of New Musicals in 2013, while commercial producers Sue Frost and Randy Adams took us all over the map following the shows presentations from La Jolla to Seattle, to DC, to Toronto and a little town called Gander. Everyone was now ready to see this show.

That evening we attended a preview of Groundhog Day The Musical, which premiered at The Old Vic in London the previous summer. We all knew the movie. Andy Karl was a delight. No wonder he won the Olivier for Best Male Lead in a Musical. The set was one of the most ingenious, designed by the Brit Rob Howell. Of course, several Goodspeed alum were on stage, backstage and conducting the orchestra. It was a full day!

Tuesday allowed for a bit of free time where some shopped, booked the 911 Ground Zero Tour, or viewed Monet’s paintings at MOMA. Early afternoon, we headed to Curtain Up: Celebrating the last 40 Years of Theatre in New York & London to see an exhibit co-curated by the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the Society of London Theatre. We heard an insider view from Doug Reside, the library’s curator.

NYC Tour    
     David & Judith Macri
   Doug Reside addresses the group

 

We dined early at Feinstein’s/54 Below, taking in the first seating of a show entitled Tara Tremendous, The Musical. The cast included several veteran performers, including GOH alum, Micky Dolenz. The girl portraying Tara was one of the Broadway Matildas. You never know when you might see the next new Annie!

     
Micky Dolenz meets with our travelers        

 

Before we blinked, our last day in NY was here. Lunch in the theater district was at Trattoria Daniela, a minute away from the Schoenfeld Theatre for our matinee production of Come from Away. The show ran 100 minutes without an intermission and everyone was blown away! The writers, producers, and a few cast members conducted a talk-back for us. Then adrenaline in our group could not be contained. Before boarding the coach for our return to CT, our members ran over to Shubert Alley to purchase the recent cast recording. All discussion on the bus ride back was about the show.

Come From Away   Come From Away   Come From Away    
    Talkback with the cast        

 

As with all Goodspeed trips and events, new friendships were formed and single travelers felt the ease and comfort of being with the Goodspeed Family.

We look forward to next year’s trip, whether it occurs in the Big Apple or elsewhere. If you are interested in future events, please contact Mary Miko at mmiko@goodspeed.org

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