“The Best of Times is now!” – La Cage Aux Folles
We were in New York City on Sunday, September 12th for the 19th Broadway on Broadway annual offering. Broadway on Broadway® is a free outdoor concert that kicks off the Broadway season each September, held on a giant stage in Times Square.
We have followed it over the years but this was our first time to watch it live. The show draws in 30-50,000 thousand people each year! With that thought in mind, we left Boston at 3am and was in New York by about 6am hoping to at least be near the stage to make our trip worthwhile. We parked on West 64th and had to walk 20 blocks to get to W 44th and Broadway where the show was going to be at. We got to the site around 7:15 (had to stop for breakfast to go) and by this time there was already a crowd of about 60 people! They had blue bands on their wrists and they happily announced that the bands were given 45 minutes ago to the first 50 people!! Bummer, we were among the first 62 people, why couldn’t they give away 100 bands to what will become a crowd of 50 thousand?!
We waited standing in the cold, cloudy weather 4 and a half hours to show time and it reminded me of my long waits to the pre-show meet and greet of the Idols Live tour- only then it was hot and humid! It rained for about an hour and surprisingly, just when the show was about to begin, it stopped! The lucky 50 were now milled near the stage while we were stuck at a distance. The stage was still at least visible.
We had HIGH expectations because we were after all going to see the best of the best theatrical performers in the world! So much for that. Then again, this was a free show! Still, we expected a star-filled extravaganza! We hoped Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth currently playing Gomez and Morticia in the Addams Family would show up, they didn’t. Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth of “Promises, Promises” were nowhere in sight. Constantine Maroulis isn’t on “Rock of Ages” Broadway anymore because he is headlining the national touring production of the same musical until June 2011.
Some notable people on Broadway did show up: Kelsey Grammer- the host this year! Sutton Foster- didn’t sing but read from a list of the upcoming Musical shows in Broadway. She stars in a musical revival “Anything Goes.” Judith Light and Dan Lauria announced the upcoming plays lined up for Broadway including “Lombardi” where they appear. Lombardi is a bioplay about famed Green Bay Packers (NFL) coach Vince Lombardi.
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Find more photos of the concert and NYC on Flickr.
The Highlights for us:
Seeing American Idol winner Jordin Sparks perform with Clifton Oliver in her Broadway debut as Nina in the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical “In the Heights” was delightful to see!
Tony and Grammy Winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (In The Heights) and Tony Winner Karen Olivo (In The Heights) performed “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys for the rousing Broadway on Broadway finale with matching confetti showers in the end! That was wonderful to watch!
Both were very nice and friendly as they met fans after the show. They mingled, signed and posed with the fans…
Mandy Gonzales who plays Elphaba in “Wicked” was great to watch too!
The low point was clearly: “Rain: Tribute to the Beatles” Not only did these supposed Fab Four butcher “Hey Jude” and mangle the lyrics, they fail at their attempt to play the parts!
After the free concert
We watched a 3pm matinee of LA CAGE Aux Folles, winner of the 2010 Tony Award for BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL and we had a blast! While seasoned TV actor Kelsey Grammer delivered, it was Douglas Hodge who stole the show for us. He was just unbelievable! Totally deserving of the 2010 Tony Award for Best actor!
When the show was over, we met most of the cast including Douglas Hodge and was pleasantly surprised how nice and accommodating Kelsey Grammer was that we forgive him for his dismal hosting at the Broadway on Broadway concert…
We had a huge buffet meal before heading back to Boston. We were home by midnight! In the end, was our day trip to New York to watch a free Broadway concert worth it? Little sleep, standing in the cold and rain for hours and hours and all that… You bet! Musicals and live theater performances are a class of its own. We encourage everyone whether you live in New York or a small town- when there is an opportunity to watch one, do so!
Something unexpected happened on the way there! At around 6:30am still walking the long stretch of Broadway, we saw three or four (tipsy) guys at a distance laughing and walking funny that caught my attention. We were walking towards them and this one guy in casual wear and sneakers suddenly lied down on the ground to take a photo of a tall building on his phone. By this time, we got so close to him that when he stood up while attempting to keep his balance swaying left and right, he came face to face with us! Our eyes locked for a good 5-8 seconds and that is a long time to be staring at a stranger at such an early hour! My partner was so clueless to what was going on and he thought I knew the guy and was waiting for us to say hi and embrace or something. The guy finally smiled, nodded with sort of knowing look and I smiled back at him, nodding back. And off the guy left…
“That was John Mayer we just saw and you didn’t even know,” I exclaimed! “No sir,” he quipped. “Yessirree, I’m positive!” This is who I saw, the same shabby hair cut(!), same look, same eyes! The photo was taken 4 days before. I am so sure it was him but he had his last show in Florida the night before, how could he have been partying in New York? Then again, he could have easily boarded a plane to get back to New York that same night after all John has an apartment in New York’s SoHo in Manhattan!! He lives mostly in New York! Interestingly, I was going to check John Mayer’s official Twitter to see if he says anything about being back in NYC on the 12th to confirm that was him I saw but lo and behold, he just deleted his Twitter account on the 13th and bid all his 3.7 million followers goodbye just like that! His last tweet? “What does this button do?” Apparently, he was playing with the delete account button…
I have stopped becoming a John Mayer fan when he started opening his mouth on interviews and realized what a (insert appropriate word here!) the guy is but I have to say he is such a talented musician and artist. At least he’s on his way to enlightenment, he quit Twitter. That’s a start.