#4: See a New Broadway Show
I'm friends with many show-hopping Broadway babies - theater lovers with stars in their eyes and Playbills in their hands. They troll the internet for tickets. They stand in the TKTS line. They join fantastically exclusive theater club thingies to get fantastically illusive tickets and fantastically fantastic seats at the Tony Awards. This. Is. Passion.
So when I decided to add "see a new Broadway show" to my Before 40 bucket list, I absolutely KNEW I had to do it with a Theater Lover. I didn't want to just see a Broadway show, as I've done many times before. I wanted to experience a Broadway show. A new one. A grand one. A memorable one.
Last night, I got my wish!
After enjoying a pre-theater dinner of lobster risotto and a good red wine at Bocca di Bacco, we wove our way through the Saturday night crowd toward the historic Shubert Theater. Tickets given, Playbills received, velvet seats located, photos taken, applause offered, and then, finally, the plush curtain slowly rose. And there she was....
...the Divine Miss M...
...the legend herself...
Now, I know that "Hello Dolly" isn't a new Broadway show, having first debuted in 1964. But the 2017 revival has been hotly anticipated, since the show's not hit the Broadway stage for 20+ years, and the iconic performance rolled out with new energy, new cast, new costumes, and new stage effects. Yeah, totally counts.
Anyway, from the first moment Bette Midler chugged onto stage seated in an elaborate train, we were utterly transfixed. Dazzling costumes sent rainbows of color swirling around the set, propelled by petticoats and feathers. Midler's character, widow-turned-matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi, is equal parts cheeky, ballsy, and irresistible, perfectly played with tiny hints and winks that made the crowd roar with delight. She played opposite her not-so-secret love interest, kooky entrepreneur Horace Vandergelder, played by the hilarious David Hyde Pierce.
I said I wanted to attend this show with a theater lover - and apparently, there were hundreds in attendance last night! The energy in the room sparkled. God, did we love it! We loved it together. We loved spotting Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson in the crowd with us. We loved laughing and giggling like school kids. We loved singing along. We loved grinning at the stage with pure joy. It was magical.
When the show ended, applause thundered and we whooped our appreciation toward the stage. Exhilarated, we then set our sights on the next part of the Broadway experience: the "signing of the Playbill" ritual.
It looks like this:
We focused on the black SUV parked outside the stage door.
And then Iit opened. I saw her!!! I saw Bette inside, still wearing the huge, white plumb of a hat that she'd yet to remove from the final scene. I saw her!!!! But she didn't walk outside. Drat.
David Hyde Pierce did, though, and he graciously signed several Playbills.
So we departed for the final stage of the "Broadway Experience" and dove back into the Times Square crowd to find a seat at a bar for a post-theater cocktail.
I raised my gin & tonic in a to toast the Great White Way. A toast to theater. A toast to joy. And a toast to my journey toward turning 40 years old.
" A man is not worth a cent until he’s forty. We just pay him wages until then, to make mistakes.” -- Hello Dolly