And Theatre for All!
New York City’s Great White Way has finally reopened since the pandemic and there is so much to see and enjoy! I love live theatre, especially musicals, and I have enlisted an educated and artistic connoisseur to keep us all informed about what is on stage. I am thrilled to introduce Luisa Tanno, creative arts and theatre enthusiast!
Luisa Tanno – Book Nation Theatre Advisor…
Luisa is multitalented…a singer/songwriter, a yoga, meditation and dance instructor and choreographer, a massage therapist, a writer, blogger and a storyteller. A lifelong teacher and student, she recently graduated from The New School with a BFA in Musical Theatre! Follow her on Instagram @luisastanno to keep up with all things theatre.
Luisa and I met around 18 years ago when I started taking her dance class, and not only have we worked on projects together like a newsletter for our dance community, our Dance Express book club and several jigsaw puzzles, but we have developed a fun, supportive friendship and have had many outings together visiting museums (from Jackson Pollock’s house in the Hamptons to the Escher exhibit in Brooklyn), exploring nature (discovering blue Man O Wars on the beach and being stalked by wild turkeys in the woods), eating delicious meals (from my first introduction to Indian food to pizza with mushrooms at every Italian restaurant we happen to visit), and of course, attending live theatre together (from a local subscription to the Westport Playhouse to endless Broadway shows). Luisa splits her time between CT and NYC and has enjoyed more theatre than anyone I know! I look to her to stay informed while preparing for my next big theatrical outing!
Dim The Lights…
Theatre is back indeed! There is an extra special energy in the audience these days. We have all been yearning to take our seat and be collectively inspired, elated, and moved! I LOVE theatre and am so excited to talk shop with you on Book Nation about Broadway, Off-Broadway, Plays, Musicals, shows to stream, and more!
Let’s start with musicals! For me, when I was ready to don my mask and return to the theatre, I wanted to see something that was sure to give me goose-bumps and take me away. If you feel that way too, here are a few musicals currently playing on Broadway for you to consider!
If you are looking to be dazzled the minute you walk into the theatre, this is the show for you. It is vivid, pulsing with energy and tells a love story for the ages, set in the famed Paris nightclub at the turn of the 20th century. All this heightened by mash-ups of pop songs cleverly strung together to tell the tale. The Tony award-winning choreography by Sonya Tayeh is a highlight!!
This is a show that I can confidently recommend for everyone. It is an incredibly touching story of humanity, but it is also a beautifully crafted piece of theatre. Cast members seamlessly play multiple roles, and the set changes before your eyes simply with the re-arrangement of some chairs. You will be completely transported for 90 minutes (no intermission!) and will leave with your heart full!
I was eager to see this revival due to its powerhouse creative duo of Tony Kushner (Angels in America) and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home). It tells the story of a black maid working for a Jewish family in 1964 who is told the keep any change she finds in the young boy’s pants when doing laundry. This one detail sets the stage for a personal reckoning for the characters, as well as a broader expose of the social issues at the time. All still relevant today. It is artfully done, almost reminding me of something you might see off-Broadway (for the record, I consider that to be high praise! And, it DID have its initial run at The Public Theatre in 2003) If you want to see something singular that will make you think, I recommend this. But see it soon, it is set to close January 9th.
I simply adore this show, a re-imagining of the tale of Orpheus & Eurydice. It originated as a concept album by its composer Anais Mitchell and is brought to life on stage with tremendous sprit, romance, and depth. Greek tragedy has never been so life affirming. The cast album is superb and it breaks my heart wide open every time I listen to it. Andre De Shields’s voice pierces my very soul, as did his Tony winning presence on stage.
This show uses the songs from Alanis Morisette’s landmark 1995 album to tell its story. It covers many big issues: addiction, identity, sexual assault, family secrets. Some may call it overly ambitious, but I remained engaged the whole time, never sure where it was heading next. The cast is excellent and it has two show-stopping numbers that will certainly fulfill any goose-bump requirement!
Looking to laugh, tap your feet and be impressed by talented improv artists? Go to this show! The cast takes words and ideas from the audience to create raps on the spot. You will marvel at how they do it, and enjoy yourself thoroughly. Freestyle Love Supreme originated as a basement show co-created by Lin-Manuel Miranda long before any of us knew his name. He has been known to pop into this Broadway production on occasion, along with other notables such as Christopher Jackson and Wayne Brady. Every performance is different so you can see it multiple times!
Of course there are many others not mentioned here. Whatever your taste, there is something out there for you to enjoy! And tickets are, for the most part, pretty easy to come by right now.
Ticket- Buying Tips
Theatre Development Fund (TDF) – This is an excellent resource for discounted tickets and information about all things theatre. You don’t get to choose your seat, but I have never been disappointed. To see if you are eligible for membership click HERE!
Go directly to the Box Office! – I’ve gotten some of my very best deals this way. Plus, no service fees! I’ve had my best luck on the day of the show OR before the show officially opens (which is how I got Hamilton tickets for $79 dollars!). This is an especially good option if you are seeing a show by yourself – the theatre wants to fill those single seats! For sold-out shows: there may be a cancellation line that forms an hour before the show, or you can sometimes get Standing Room tickets!
Today Tix App – Lately, this is my go-to app and it has really come into its own post-pandemic. They offer solid deals, you can order tickets in advance, and even choose your seat, or at least your section. They also make it easy for you to enter your name for shows that offer “rush tickets, ” a daily lottery for a limited number of discounted seats.