shrek_39a0653-w500-h500.jpgShrek: The Musical
Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig
Book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Sarah Rodgers
Music Director Christopher King, Choreographer Julie Tomaino
Theatre Under the Stars, Malkin Bowl, Stanley park.
July 11 to Aug 22, 2014

Vancouver, BC:  With my grandchildren (one a five year old) in town, this was a great opportunity to take them to see a Theatre Under the Stars musical at Malkin Bowl. The story of Shrek, the lonely ogre, was more age appropriate than Legally Blonde, which I had enjoyed last year. Seven of us trooped off to Stanley Park, hoping for a beautiful summer evening, and we got what we hoped for, a warm, almost cloudless summer night and good family entertainment.

 

p1100095-w500-h500.jpgFor a theatre-loving foodie, few cities in the world can match New York and on traveling out of New York, I always try to plan a few days in Manhattan before or after my trip. Theatre and restaurant reviews from my NY explorations over the past few years can be found through the links below. This post is the index to hotel, food and theatre experiences Spring 2014.
(New York New York: 2009 Part I Seven Days of Theatre and Food)
(New York, New York Part II) 
(New York, New York Part III)  
(New York, New York 2010) 
(New York  in Winter 2012)
(New York Theatre 2013)

This time en route to board the Crystal Symphony for a short cruise from New York to Halifax, I planned a two night stop-over in New York for dining and theatre. Despite the limited time I managed to enjoy several excellent restaurant meals and three shows.

img_0336-w500-h500.jpgThe Book of Mormon
Book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
Directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker
Choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
Eugene O'Neill Theatre, 230 West 49th St. (8th and BWay)

New York, NY:  After reading my little rant about the mind-numbing effect of excessive and unexpected profanity on stage, you may wonder why I would have chosen to see The Book of Mormon. After all it was written by the creators of South Park, the award winning animated comedy sitcom known for its shock value and crude language. The difference is that going into the theatre, I knew that this show described as a "bawdy, irreverent, hilarious" look at missionaries sent to Africa to convert the masses, would create  its comedy by using foul language and sexually explicit humour to shock. So in the context of the show, swear words were the least "offensive " aspect. Overall The Book of Mormon is entertaining and quite hilarious.

p1140366-w500-h500_1.jpgThe Capital Grille - NY- Time Life Building
120 W 51st Street (between 6 and 7th Ave)
PH: (212) 246-0154 or reserve online

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For the first pre-show dinner of my 2014 Spring New York Stopover I decided to try The Capital Grille. About a twenty minute walk from my hotel, it was just a couple of blocks away from the Eugene O'Neill Theatre where I was going to see The Book of Mormon.

We were seated promptly and water and drinks offered. I regretted that  had forgotten to bring my small flashlight for help reading menus in poor light but as it turned out, after hearing the night's special dishes I decided to try them rather than battle with reading the menu.

 

satchmo_at_waldorf_023_1-1-w500-h500.jpgSatchmo at The Waldorf
starring John Douglas Thompson
by Terry Teachout
directed by Gordon Edelstein
at the Westside Theatre (407 West 43rd)

New York, NY.   In general I avoid reading reviews of plays or musicals that I am about to see so as not to bias my enjoyment and opinion on the show. In the case of Satchmo at the Waldorf, I wish I had broken my rule as the play turned out to be very different to what I had been expecting.

In a powerful performance John Douglas Thompson plays the seventy-year old Louis Armstrong in his dressing room at the  Waldorf Astoria as he unwinds after one of his last performances.

p1140381-w500-h500_1.jpgDB Bistro Moderne
(212) 391-2400 or book online
55 W 44th Street
New York, NY 10036

p1140380-w500-h500_1.jpgFor an early lunch before heading off to the 2 PM show of Kinky Boots, we decided to try DB Bistro Moderne. I had read  about the famous DB Burger that incorporated foie gras and truffle but I had had a latish breakfast and the thought of a burger was just too daunting. So I decided to take up the offer of one of my co-diners to have a taste of her burger and instead opted for the Alsatian Tarte Flambée.

 

p1140391-w500-h500.jpgHakkasan New York
311 West 43rd Street, NY (Between 8 and 9th Ave)
Ph: (212) 776-1818  or reserve online

My first dining experience in a Hakkasan restaurant was in 2010 on a 5 day theatre and food visit to London before embarking on a dance cruise round the British Isles.

p1140393-w500-h500.jpgI had dinner one evening at Hakkasan in London.  I loved the food there, only bemoaning the fact that as I was dining on my own, I could not taste more than a couple of dishes, but they served a soft shell crab preparation that I thought was the best I had ever tasted.

kinky_boots_broadway_15_email_1-w500-h500.jpgKinky Boots
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper
Based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth
Directed and Choreographed by Jerry Mitchell
Music supervision, arrangements and orchestration by Stephen Oremus
At the Al Hirschfeld Theatre,  302 West 45th

kinky_boots_billy_porter_andy_kelso_757_1-w500-h500.jpgNew York, NY.   This is the second production of Kinky Boots I have seen. I first saw the show with the original Broadway cast  in June last year, and enjoyed it so much (specially the boots!) that on this return visit I thought my fashionista  friends had to see it too. Good decision because I confess I loved it even more the second time around.

 

p1140356-w500-h500.jpgMarseille
630  Ninth Avenue (cross street 45th)
New York, NY 10036
Ph: (212) 333-2323 or Reserve online

On my way back to the hotel after picking up theatre tickets at the box office, I passed a plethora of eating establishments from pizzerias to fine dining. The menu outside Marseille caught my eye and I decided to drop in for a light lunch.

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Element New York Times Square West
311 W 39th Street, New York, 10018
Ph: (212) 643-0770

p1140362-w500-h500.jpgp1140363-w500-h500.jpgOn visits to New York over the past few years I have been fortunate to have family living in Manhattan so its been a while since I tried out any mid-town hotels.  This time I decided to check out one of the Starwood Hotel Group's boutique hotels, prior to embarking on a cruise out of New York. For my 3 nights (actually more like 2.5 nights as I caught a red-eye into Newark) I chose the Element New York Times Square West. Interestingly, this was first suggested to me 2 years ago by one of my readers, in a comment on my New York in Winter 2012 story.

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