Brits invading Broadway
If you are travelling to New York then one thing that many visitors want to do is experience the excitement of a Broadway show. If you didn’t get a chance to see the show in London, then you have a chance to do so now. Because some of the excitement is due to the number of Britsh transfers that are there or British actors appearing.
For example opening yesterday to generally good revies was James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors at the Music Box Theatre. This sold-out production in London when Corden was appearing at the National could be one New York’s big hits this year. Jesus Christ Superstar opened last month after a gap of thirty-one years and the Lloyd-Webber juggernaut also has Evita running with Ricky Martin as Che Guevara and The Phantom of the Opera is still playing. Alan Rickman was called the “funniest man on Broadway” according to the posters outside his comedy, Seminar, at the Golden Theatre. Jeff Goldblum has just replaced him though. War Horse which also transferred from the National has won five Tony Awards and is running at the Lincoln Center. It’s hard to miss this play as it seems half the buses in New York are publicising the show. And those that aren’t are promoting Mary Poppins.
But it is another Brit, Tracie Bennett who is winning all the plaudits for her portrayal of the last year of Judy Garland’s life in End of the Rainbow at the Belasco. It only opened on April 2nd but is already a hot tip for awards.
After teething problems earlier, Spider-Man Turn off the Dark has settled down and is one of the more difficult tickets to get hold of. Although Andrew Garfield is appearing in the new film, this Surrey born and bred actor isn’t in the stage show but he is on stage there. With Philip Seymour Hoffman, he is in Death of a Salesman at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Who remembers that Angela Lansbury is British? Or at least, this granddaughter of a former leader of the Labour Party was born here before finding fame in Hollywood with Elizabeth Taylor in the 1940’s film, National Velvet. She has just opened with James Earl Jones in The Best Man at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Another difficult ticket to obtain is for Ghosts which was pipped by Matilda for some many awards at the Olivier Awards last Sunday. How long will it be before Matilda crosses to Broadway?
Simon Callow has just finished a run of his one-man show, Being Shakespeare that was at the Trafalgar Studios last month but you can catch him this week and next at the Broadway Playhouse in Chicago where he opened last night.
But how can you be sure of a ticket in the first place and a reasonable seat in the second? Applying at the box office is the obvious idea but if you are only in New York for just a couple of days as most of us would be, then you stand a good chance that the performance might be sold out. You might rely on the concierge at your hotel – if you have one – but whilst these stalwarts have their contacts and usually can get you tickets to anywhere, it can come at a price.
It is called The Broadway Collection and consists of a number of the top shows that are running on Broadway and Manhattan.
The shows they offer include many of those listed above but also such favourites as Billy Elliot, (only ten Tony awards!) Godspell, Mama Mia, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (with Bette Midler producing and Tony Sheldon is from the London cast is still wowing the audiences there) You can get these tickets in advance by contacting your travel agent. If they aren’t selling these tickets already, a quick call by them should be able to get you your tickets pretty rapidly. In addition many of the large tour operators such as TUI and Virgin Holidays are also selling them. The Broadway Collection doesn’t cover all the shows currently running, but they do offer those that a majority of people want to see. And having a UK office means the travel agent has no expensive or lengthy transatlantic calks to make. The London office does all those.
There is another reason visitors might want to consider using them. Many Broadway theatres are huge, some seating over 2,000. A seat too far back is one that you can easily be sold by the Times Square booth. The Broadway Collection only takes seats its owners would be happy to sit in themselves so no columns obscuring your view and no need for a telescope to see the actors.
Whatever you do, Broadway is serving up some wonderful shows for the visitor who can get tickets.