NYC Theatre Tour 2019 BlogGoodspeed’s 3rd Annual Tour ends five day trip with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Twenty-Five was the total of our group this March - all serious and adventurous theatregoers. Our Wednesday departure from The Goodspeed brought us to The Marriott Marquis on Times Square in time for coffee and a stretch before walking over to the matinee performance of Be More Chill. With trepidation, as we were not sure how our Goodspeed patrons would receive this new musical, a show that had gone viral with over 150 million streams and broke box office records during the first week on sale.
Well, they loved it! Goodspeed’s Artistic Associate, Anika Chapin, led a talk-back after the matinee. She has been involved with the show since its birth in 2017 when working at the Two River Theatre in NJ. No matter what age you are, you can relate to the traumas experienced in high school. Show choice #1, success!
The Welcome Dinner was held at The View atop the Marriott. Last year our view was snow; this time a gorgeous sunset. Most travelers had not seen each other since previous London trips or at other Goodspeed member events. No one was a stranger.
Thursday morning we took a private tour of the recently renovated Hudson Theatre. Who knew it had such a history? This was not a backstage tour but a chronology of the oldest Broadway Theatre. Opened in 1903, it became a leading theatrical venue before also serving in later years as a network radio and television studio, a night club, a movie theater, and even a corporate event space. It was built by theatrical producer Henry B. Harris, who never returned back to New York City from his voyage on the RMS Titanic. His wife Renee was the last person to leave the ship and managed his theatre before, during, and after the Great Depression. Now owned by the UK based Ambassador Theatre Group, it houses the Lanford Wilson’s revival of Burn/This.
Off to lunch at Bond 45! We were joined by three guests: Goodspeed Trustee Hila Rosen, Costume Designer William Ivey Long, and Lighting Designer Donald Holder. Both William and Don have worked at Goodspeed numerous times and are on the creative team for the new musical Tootsie. We asked Mr. Long to talk about the challenge of costuming a male to look gorgeous as a woman. He brought sketches and told us “it starts with the waist.” Hila had to help hold the end of the dressing track for Santino Fontana, who portrays the role of Michael and Dorothy Michaels. Toostie is William’s 75th Broadway show as a designer. Now, that’s impressive!
Don Holder’s discussion was two-fold. Yes, he designed the lighting for Tootsie, but also designed the interior lighting for Bond 45. He worked closely with Shelly Fireman, head of the family-owned Fireman Hospitality Group. In wrapping up, Don mentioned how much he loves working at Goodspeed (seven times). A few in the group saw his impressive work in London on Porgy ‘n' Bess.
A free evening! Some met friends or chose to dine leisurely. We offered an optional theatre choice of Hadestown, which a small group attended. Another great show with a Goodspeed alum! Others chose to see Kiss Me Kate, The Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof, Hamilton, Come From Away, To Kill a Mockingbird and Gloria, A Life.
Ever been to Ellen's Stardust Diner? Only two of our travelers had. All the waiters are Broadway hopefuls who serenade you while you dine on burgers, a Coke, and fries. Over 200 Stardust servers have gone on to work on Broadway. Maybe we’ll see one of them on the Goodspeed stage someday. The DJ happily welcomed Goodspeed Musicals and was so thrilled that we came.
That afternoon we split up visiting the many wonderful museum choices the city has to offer. Plus, something new! Gloria and Mary accompanied those who love to walk to the massive new mall sprawling retail space, featuring more than 100 shops and 25 restaurants, many from celebrity chefs. Opposite the Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards is The Vessel. Of course, we had to climb to the top.
And then the long-awaited first preview of the musical Tootsie. Laugh? You bet. Re-written and updated to today, Robert Horn (book writer for 13) had us guffawing. As members of the first NYC audience, we were given an autographed headshot of Dorothy Michaels as we exited the theatre.
Our last day of theatre was a long one as we saw Harry
Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II. Aside from a dinner break, we were inside the Lyric Theatre for almost
seven hours. The play, with music, is a
spectacle, and you don’t have to be fans of the book or the movie to enjoy it.
The best part for Goodspeeders was James Snyder. He is the first replacement in the role of
Harry Potter and a Goodspeed favorite. Once the curtain came down, he and Stage Manager Derek DiGregorio (another Goodspeed alum) met us at our hotel bar. He proudly told us that his career took off after being noticed as Billy
Bigelow in our 2012 production of Carousel.
Before our Sunday morning departure back to Goodspeed, we gladly ate a hearty Marriott breakfast for the last time.
We hope you enjoyed reading our blog! Perhaps you'll join us next March for our 4th New York City excursion.