Mopping up Broadway

Monday 3 May 2010

Goodness. It feels as though it never happened. Perhaps it didn’t? Perhaps we dreamt it. Perhaps Broadway had a nightmare.

Our strangely protracted stay on The Broadway seems like a bright, glittering, star-encrusted, faraway world and everything now seems so terribly flat and gloomy. Like Linda Blair our heads have been turned and they may never face the same way again.

The Broadway strikes which affected previous trips seem trivial compared to the confusion engendered by that volcanic eruption. At one point it looked like we might have been stranded in New York for months or smuggling ourselves into David Babani and Sonia Friedman’s hat boxes to return on the Queen Mary 2.

Actually you do not need to read this post. It’s mostly thank-yous and us writing things down so that we can look back in our dotage and be reminded of the fun times.

There was shameless celebrity hob-nobbing and endless meets with the US theatre bloggers. Then there were the chance encounters on the street: Richard Mawbey wheeling a case of wigs down the street fresh from helping to drag Regis Philbin up to act as door-woman at a Wednesday matinee of La Cage Aux Folles, Everyone Loves Raymond‘s Doris Roberts looking a tad startled in the early hours of the morning and Keanu Reeves who seemed completely relaxed, happily chatting to anyone who encountered him on W46th street, even Phil.

Then there was Phil’s now infamous Green Day/green room gaffe, perhaps not quite of Gordon Brown/Mrs Duffy proportions but, in what must have been a very dull week, apparently bounced around as a twiddly bit of Broadway gossip for a while and was certainly enough to Andrew keep sniggering for days.

Phil took time out with Steve on Broadway to watch a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman show. After hours of queuing, being warmed up by hyperactive flunkies, being forced to practice cheering, whooping and clapping like performing seals, they clearly passed the test and were seated fairly near the stage of the interesting neo-gothic Ed Sullivan Theater (sic). Letterman was quite impressive when the taping eventually began, rattling off some rather good volcano/stranded travellers gags. The celebrity guest was Demi Moore whose physique made Kristin Chenoworth look like Rosie O’Donnell. We were awarded a cookie for our troubles. An experience, but never again.

We were surprised to be invited to the announcement of the nominations for the 76th Annual Drama League Awards at Sardi’s where Phil’s new best friend and arch Republican (as distinct from too arch-Republican hopefully) Kelsey Grammer (La Cage aux Folles) and Bebe Neuwirth (The Addams Family) read out the list which was no mean feat given that there were 58 nominations for the Distinguished Performance Award alone which means that it’s easier to notice who’s not on the list (Promises, Promises‘ Kirstin Chenowith) than who is (Promises, Promises‘ Sean Hayes, Promises, Promises‘ Katie Finnenran). The complete list here.

Another surprise was the fact that shows that haven’t even opened are eligible which seems a bit strange given the fuss people make about judging previews. Honestly, sometimes you wonder if producers don’t want to have their cake and eat it too.

We also got to meet the lovely Bill Tynan (right) who is a Tony nominator which sadly means he is unable to express opinions on current shows but that just left more time to express ours, so it all worked out fine.

And talking of Tonys we also met Howard Sherman of the American Theatre Wing which apparently is about much more than just the Tonys.

Bellyaching, partying and being on hold to Virgin Atlantic’s helpline left us little time to do much else. But we did manage to shop for underpants, walk over Brooklyn Bridge and the full length of Central Park and visit MOMA where we enjoyed the crowded Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition, were bemused by Marina Abramović’s The Artist is Present, which surely is a parody of modern art installations. We happily eschewed the opportunity to squeeze between two naked models (one male one female).

MOMA is also hosting a Tim Burton exhibition which we – like Lucy Prebble and Rupert Goold, so we’re in good company- failed to get into. But whilst trekking around the gallery the Whingers did happen upon a Giacometti sculpture, which, with Phil standing guard, Andrew was able to fashion into the Whingers’ pose with startling results.

Their last night saw the Bellyachers experiencing very, very peculiar dreams. Andrew had a dream about playing Crazy Golf with Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme. Phil dreamt that Andrew forced him to wear his unwashed pyjamas. Heavens to Betsy! Analysis on a postcard please. Perhaps it was a result of the big slice of Broadway cheese they’d consumed earlier.

It was clearly time to go home.


Special thanks to lovely PR people Adrian Bryan Brown, Michael Hartman, Rick Miramontez,  to Michael Dvorchak, Mark Shenton, Susan Haskins, Michael Riedel, Howard Sherman, Roger Calderon Sonia Friedman, David Babani, Barbara Foy, Joe McGeough, Baz Bamigboye, Doug Lyon, Bill Tynan,Paul Whalen, Enron creatives Lucy Prebble, Rupert Goold and Sophie Hunter who with their show then in previews must have had far more pressing things to do than shoot the breeze with us and the accommodating staff at the Paramount Hotel who made things so much easier for us. And particularly the staff of Angus McIndoe for never actually throwing us out no matter the lateness of the hour. And to all the lovely bloggers we met  Theatre Aficionado at LargeThe Clyde Fitch ReportAdventures in the Endless Pursuit of EntertainmentBroadway & Melit-wit. And to all the other people we’ve left out. Including JohnnyFox.

But above all to Steve on Broadway introducing us to most of these people.


6 Responses to “Mopping up Broadway”

  1. Baz Bamigboye Says:

    Hey,WE Whingers,great to bump into you on the Great White Way.Neither of you were sober at the time so you probably don’t remember meeting me.Nonetheless ,I was very impressed with the way you covered the Broadway scene.I suggest,however,that you hurry back and catch Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in the revival of August Wilson’s Fences.It was theatrical magic and I know you WE Whingers will love it.It’s a thousand times better than some of the nonsense you caught during your trip.Keep up the good work.
    Best, Baz B.

  2. JohnnyFox Says:

    Of course you missed the real excitement, the car bomb that closed everything from 42 to 48 streets around Times Square.

    Leaving before the interval, again. 🙂

  3. The pleasure was certainly all mine. I was secretly responsible for the volcano cloud as part of my devious plot to have you as my captive audience in New York!

    As far as introductions are concerned, you certainly reciprocated by introducing me to Baz Bamigboye and JohnnyFox, as well as one truly lovely producer, a delightful director and a budding playwright worth watching. So I think we’re squared away, save for the photo credits I deserve on the left.

    See you next week, volcano permitting.

  4. SarahB Says:

    LOVED meeting you both at Angus! You’re fun to read and even more fun in person – “British people make everything sound funny.” I hope to see you again in the future (and can’t wait to read what you think of Women Beware Women and the upcoming Paradise Found).

  5. Chiara Says:

    *snorfle* Will you ever be able to type Kristin Chenoweth’s name correctly?

    Also: BEBE.
    (that is all)

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