This past weekend, my wife and I took advantage of her sister offering to watch our three children in order for us to spend an evening together. We had been talking about traveling into Manhattan and checking out the TKTS booth in Times Square and seeing a show. The TKTS booth offers discounted theatre tickets and is a good value for fans of Broadway.
We had a few ideas about what shows we would like to see and we checked our train schedule for our trip to Penn Station and quick subway ride to Times Square. When we left our home it had begun to snow but it wasn't too bad. Our train ride to the city was uneventful and after arriving by subway to Times Square, it seemed we walked a bit to our exit on 42nd street. When we got on the street, the snow was coming down hard and visibility was poor. The first order of business was to get to the TKTS booth on 46th street and select our show.
Due to the snow and tremendous crowd, Aimee and I walked west on 42nd street and made it to 8th avenue. We then back tracked on 43 and walked up Broadway to 46th Street to the TKTS booth. The crowd in Times Square was large (so much for thinking the bad weather would lessen the crowds). We saw at the TKTS booth that our first choice was sold out, the musical ONCE. Our second choice was still available at a 50% discount. This was the Tennessee Williams play, The Glass Menagerie.
With our tickets secured we walked back west to have some drinks and dinner at The House of Brews, 46th Street between 8th and 9th Ave. The walk was made in the slushy slop of the sleety snow joining the melted puddles from the previous storms we've endured this winter. We arrived at the House of Brews and quickly got a table and orders for drinks and a look at the menu. We had plenty of time to eat and drink before our trek to see the show at the Booth Theatre on 45th street.
The House of Brews - 46th Street
The Booth Theatre is near several other theatres including the one housing ONCE, which had a huge crowd standing in front to get in. We arrived at the Booth and went right inside. After settling in at our seats, which provided a stellar view of the stage, another spectator came into our row and he found his seat next to my wife. He was very nice and explained to us that his wife was about 12 seats to his left in the same row and his daughter was on the same level but on the right side section of seats. He explained to us that he and his wife were visiting from Oklahoma and they had seen their daughter perform at the Met in Price Igor. The theatre filled up with an additional standing room only just two rows behind us.
Zachary Quinto, Mr. Spock in the rebooted Star Trek films comes out and begins the play, a memory play - one of Williams' most autobiographical works. Cherry Jones stood out in this production portraying Amanda Wingfield, the aging matriarch who clings to her past glories as a Southern Belle with visits from her "gentlemen callers" reduced now to selling magazine subscriptions by the telephone. Now this family, including damaged daughter, Laura yearn for a life different from the one they currently find themselves in. For Quinto's character Tom, he sees the path of his father who abandoned his family as one he will take. He seeks escape in the form of trips to the movies or escape in the form of drink. He wants to be a writer but hides that ambition from most of his co-workers at his shoe warehouse job. The past glory and future desires collide with the tragic difficulties this family faces in their present in this Depression era St. Louis setting.
These characters are joined by the "gentleman caller", O'Connor, a former schoolmate of Laura who has also fallen from the heights of his High School days. However, he has a plan of self-improvement via public speaking courses he is taking.
I recall having this play as part of my English-Literature class at St. Dominic's High School, either in 9th or 10th grade. My teacher, Mr. Cambisio really liked presenting classic works of American literature and this play was no exception. He also used the VCR to present a televised version of this play in conjunction to the text.
Aimee and I really enjoyed this production. The lighting and music played added to the stark material and tragedy unfolding in this play. In addition, the acting was top notch with well choreographed movements on the stage. This production has been playing since last fall and will close next Sunday, February 23. If you happen to be in New York City before then get tickets and see it, you will not be disappointed.
Our fun in the big city concluded with a subway ride back to Penn Station and a LIRR ride back to our home station. The LIRR ride was hilarious as we had several loudmouths on the train, heckling others as well as a girl who was quite loud who rambled her discourse on what Hispanic group lived in the following towns: Mineola, Westbury, Brentwood, and Islip. Her mouth was annoying to another rider who sat behind us and he was muttering to himself some actions he wanted to take against this loudmouth but I can't print them here on an all ages blog. Fortunately the woman with him was able to pull him back from the brink before an action was taken.
Always fun in the big city...