Monthly Archives: November 2012

“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!” – A Christmas Story, the Musical

by Kelly, Manager of Group and Partner Services

Fade in on the 1940s in Indiana, and the most important time in young Ralphie Parker’s life – Christmas time.  Ralphie only wants one thing for Christmas – an official Red Ryder Carbine Action 200 Shot Air Rifle (with a compass in the stock and that thing that tells time.)  All Ralphie needs to do to make this dream a reality is convince a few key people…and be good until Christmas, of course.

We all know the story – Ralphie sets out to convince his mother, his teacher and Santa himself that there are many reasons why he should have this magical toy – only to be met each time with the fateful words “you’ll shoot your eye out!”  Combine this quest with classic family foibles like The Old Man’s obsession with winning a newspaper puzzle contest (where his “Major Award” comes as quite a surprise to the family), Triple Dog Dares that lead to sticky playground situations…and a new Christmas dinner experience after the Bumpus hounds’ interruption causes the family’s traditional plans to go awry.  We owe this beloved tale to radio personality Jean Shepherd, whose colorful radio broadcasts between the mid 1950s and mid 1970s rose to fame featuring retellings of his short stories.  Several of these stories were formed into the plot of the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story,” which has become a cult classic movie and Christmas tradition in many households.  The stage version has been in production since 2006, finally making its way to the Broadway stage this season for a limited engagement run through December 30, 2012 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

A Christmas Story: the Musical, with music and lyrics by the young songwriting team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (making their Broadway debut fresh off their Off-Broadway run of “Dogfight,” which I also loved), book by Joseph Robinette (an award-winning author of 55 published plays and musicals of his own), and directed by John Rando (Urinetown, The Wedding Singer), features the talents of John Bolton (Curtains, Spamalot, Titanic) as The Old Man, Erin Dilly (Nice Work if You Can Get it, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) as Mother, Dan Lauria (Lombardi, TV’s The Wonder Years) as Jean Shepherd, and introduces Johnny Rabe as Ralphie.

Many of my colleagues and friends seemed skeptical when a musical version of the beloved classic movie was announced.  I, admittedly, have only seen pieces of the movie in question – though after seeing and loving the musical, this movie will definitely have to become part of my Holiday movie tradition.  The amusing storyline lends itself well to the stage – Ralphie’s daydreams are the perfect fodder for full-length and fantastic production numbers like “Ralphie to the Rescue” and “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” (the latter being one of my favorite numbers of the show, featuring the terrific Caroline O’Connor as Miss Shields in a tap dance number with the kids that literally stopped the show with riotous applause), while the quietly beautiful “Just Like That” sung with heartbreaking care by Mother brought a tear to my nostalgic eye.  The score is the perfect mix of rousingly raucous, traditionally tender, and energetically entertaining, with lines that I am still humming weeks later.  The cast is led by the adorable Johnny Rabe, who has a presence well beyond his years.  His talent and youthful exuberance light up the stage and have us rooting for Ralphie ‘til the very end.  Another standout performance for me was John Bolton as The Old Man.  Bolton’s number “A Major Award” was another favorite of mine, with a kickline of leg lamps to add to the hilarity of his character.  The young ensemble of 10+ children are exceptional talents, and a joy to watch, with special mention of youngster Luke Spring, who at 9 years old is already an accomplished tap dancing machine – who has to be seen to be believed.

A Christmas Story: the Musical is the perfect holiday treat for families, Holiday visitors, and fans of the original movie alike.  Whether you’re a movie purist or a newcomer to the story like me, this blast of Holiday cheer will warm your heart all winter long.  Be sure to get your tickets now and start the Holiday season off right!

If you’d like more information on how to get tickets to A Christmas Story: the Musical, please contact me at kshoemaker@newyorkguest.com, or give us a call at 212-302-4019.  Happy Holidays…and “fa ra ra ra ra…ra ra ra raaaaah” to all!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Broadway Review

Pacino’s Big Sale

by Louise, Director of Operations

There seems to be a new trend of Hollywood stars taking Broadway by storm with uber-depressing plays about regular joes struggling to support their families. First Philip Seymour Hoffman was the star of Spring 2012, inspiring many a visitor and local alike to fork over $500 a ticket or more to witness his expert portrayal of Willy Loman’s life of quiet desperation in Death of a Salesman. Now, this fall, Al Pacino takes the stage in Glengarry Glen Ross, David Mamet’s story of real estate salesmen driven to the edge by their struggles to succeed.

Although neither of these works is new – Salesman was written in 1949 and Glengarry in 1984 – the themes and stories are certainly timeless. Good men will always face difficult situations and will always make questionable decisions, especially when thinking of their families. And in both of these plays, that is exactly what happens. What I will say, however, is that to my mind, Glengarry Glen Ross is much more fun to watch, and the cast of the new Broadway revival is impeccable. I may have left the theater feeling a bit blue, but I spent the majority of the preceding 105 minutes laughing and clapping for Mamet’s dark humor and the cast’s mind-blowing performances.

The first act of Glengarry Glen Ross is a series of vignettes, set in a Chinese restaurant. Two by two, you are introduced to the six central characters of the story: four real estate salesmen, their office manager, and one unlucky client. You become acquainted with their struggles, their dreams, their strengths and weaknesses, and most of all, their character flaws. While each vignette is funny, engaging, and pretty darn awkward (I mean that as a compliment), the real intent of the first act is to set the stage for act two, when all these men come together in an explosion of alternating aggression, camaraderie, spirited take-downs, and venomous verbal exchanges, culminating in a shocking reveal that will (start preparing now) make you pretty heartsick. Despite the fact that not one character in Glengarry is particularly sympathetic, you still may find yourself rooting for all of them – after all, who among us is perfect?

Obviously, the star of this show is Al Pacino as Shelly Levine. From the very first line he has you believing that he is a pathetic, past-his-prime, probably-never-very-good-in-the-first-place salesman, desperate to make a comeback and not willing to accept that it won’t happen. He is fidgety and awkward and never once stops scratching his head. I was feeling terrible for him deep down in my soul, until I remembered that in real life he is Al Pacino. Bobby Cannavale is another stand-out in the cast. As Ricky Roma, top salesman in the office, he is sleazy and shifty and brimming with confidence and bravado, but ultimately pretty pathetic anyway (after all, there is not much to be said for being the best player on a losing team).  I also quite liked the performance given by David Harbour in the role of office manager John Williamson. His character spends a lot of time NOT talking (doing it pretty loudly, though), but then he owns some of the most unforgettable moments in the second act.

Without a doubt, every member of the cast embraces their role with enthusiasm and they all do an amazing job. Pacino will certainly receive most of the accolades, but he is not the only reason to check out Glengarry Glen Ross if you get the chance. The limited run ends on January 20th, and seats are already hard to come by, so if you’d like to plan a trip to see the show this winter e-mail me at lgeller@newyorkguest.com to get started.

Leave a comment

Filed under Broadway Review

(B) Side – Williamsburg

by Vanessa, New York Guest Sales Associate

Fedora: Check

Skinny Jeans: Check

Handle Bar Mustache: Double Check!

The boon and bane of hipster-dom in Montauk reached such feverish heights this summer it warranted a feature in the New York Times. Locals ran anti-hipster campaigns, banning fedora and ironic mustaches alike as latter continued to arrive to Montauk’s modest shores in hoards. Once an honorable title of the 1940’s subculture, the term hipster in now at best a slur dropped at the slightest hint of apathy. While we could continue in that direction, I’m glass half full kind of girl, and after a recent weekend spent in Williamsburg-their capital- I have made a small space in my heart for all things hip-and -ster.

Wedged gently between Greene Point and Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg straddles the edge of history and modernism along the East River in Brooklyn. The remains of a once booming industrial center have been reapropriated into shops and warehouses for artisans, artists, and all things avant-garde.

Arrive in reverent form on single speed rented at the Brooklyn Bike Peddler, a modest though well stocked joint for all things bicycle. After a long grueling (wink) journey into the heart of Williamsburg, quench your thirst and settle you hunger at Radegast Hall and Biergarten. Cozy and comforting without the slightest sense of claustrophobia, this beer hall not only boasts a large selection of German and local beers, but a brunch menu so divine a “friend” felt compelled to order three dishes on her own.

While one could spend an entire day under a canopy of pretzels and mustard, I encourage you to wander north through many funky and locally made clothing shops.

Treasure hunters and vintage junkies might opt for a Sunday trip as Williamsburg plays host to a weekly flea market located between Kent St and the East River on 6th Ave. For the food obsessed, any day is a good day to be a in Williamsburg, Saturday however boasts a convergence of all varieties of gastronomic delights aptly titled, Smorgasburg (same location as Flea Market). Foodies need not worry about missing the flea market; a stone’s throw from the food market lays Artist and Fleas, a daily indoor flea market.

Exhausted from a day of treasure hunting and foraging, pause for a perfectly brewed “cup o’joe” from resident West Coast hipsters at Blue Bottle Café before ending your day along side the river to catch the golden hour as the great fedora in the sky (formerly the sun) retreats below Manhattan as you coast back home.

For more on the mention locations or for further information on all things Williamsburg contact us at info@NewYorkGuest.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Brooklyn, Further Afield, New York Stories

The Top 10 People of New York photos

New Yorkers are an eclectic bunch, and this month’s top 10 certainly capture that. From daily commutes to once-in-a-lifetime celebrations, there is always a moment worth capturing on (or beneath) the streets of NYC.

Scroll down to check out the candidates, then cast your vote for the winner! Voting will be open until 9 AM EST on 11/26/12.

#1 by Connor Brown Morse

#2 by Ilse Neugebauer

#3 by Juliana Alonso

#4 by Kali Jones

#5 by Juliana Alonso

#6 by Laura Ghisalberti

#7 by Linda Brown

#8 by Luca Martignoni

#9 by Matt Rennie

#10 by Paul Quinones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Monthly Photography Contest