Two weeks ago I traveled to Las Vegas for Ticket Summit®. I decided to arrive early in order to see the sights and catch a show. When I went to decide on a show a few weeks ago, I knew I didn't want to pay a lot of money. I also knew I wanted to see something good, and something off the beaten path created by shows like Cirque. At first it seemed like an impossible combination, if only because of the huge number of shows to choose from.
Enter Matsuri. I was initially attracted by its name and its description, but the reviews seemed pretty good, too. Still, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I decided to go, anyway.
I arrived in Vegas on Sunday evening and went to get my ticket. Good thing, too, as Imperial's entrance is kind of hidden, even though the hotel is on the Strip. After getting my ticket, I headed over to Margaritaville for a meal, and then headed to bed.
On Monday afternoon, I arrived at the theater, only to find that my seat was stage side. Oh boy! were my first thoughts. Was I going to kill my neck craning it to see all the acrobatics? Was I going to need a masseuse afterward?
On a recent trip to New York with my mom, we ended up focusing a lot on Radio City Music Hall and the surrounding area, and I realized what an amazing place it really is. As a historical NYC landmark, you definitely need to see it at some point in your life. Don't know where to start or what to do? Check out a few suggestions here.
Radio City Stage Door Tour
These half-hour tours take place most days during the late morning/early afternoon. They take you through the gorgeous lobbies (and even a few bathroom antechambers), the room where they throw parties for celebrities that entertain at the hall, and if you're lucky you might even get to go underneath the stage to see how all of the hydraulics work (during our visit Cirque du Soleil - Zarkana was there, but we still got to watch a sweet video). Oh, and you also get to meet a real live Rockette at the end! Very cool.
Cirque du Soleil - Zarkana
Speaking of Zarkana, if you get the chance to go to NYC in the next few months you should definitely check it out. The show includes breath-taking and very complicated stunts, many of which made me very nervous but also very impressed. The story line can be hard to follow unless you pay close attention, but I just let the whole spectacle wash over me and took away feelings instead of thoughts. If you're a Cirque fan, this is a great option.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
If you haven't heard of this, you've clearly been living under a rock for the last 75 years. I went to this last December, and it was amazing. The Rockettes are every bit as awesome as you've heard, and the show utilizes the moving stage pieces to its advantage, including a turntable in the center of the stage, raised sections, and more. If you can't make it to NYC for the holidays, there is also a touring show that hits multiple cities every year, which will give you a small taste of the Spectacular.
Other Attractions Nearby
You'll have to venture out between the tour and the show, so why not hit some nearby spots? On this particular trip, we visited Rockefeller Center, which is pretty any time of year; Central Park for some hot dogs and ice cream while relaxing on the grass; and FAO Schwartz, which has some of the craziest and largest toys you could ever imagine. Don't forget to just wander the city...you never know what little spot you'll find.
In light of the Spider-Man implosion now gracing Broadway, it's worth taking a bit to wonder "How did Spider-Man ever even make it to Broadway?" The history of musical theater is awash with better shows that didn't make it to Broadway, for one reason or another. (Why Spider-Man got lucky is a whole other question…)
What might prevent a musical from gracing a Broadway stage?
"BAD SUBJECT MATTER…"
One of the top ways to kill off a musical is to make it about something distasteful or musically inappropriate.
Consider Prettybelle (1971) - "a lively tale of rape and resurrection" - with book and lyrics by Bob Merrill (who wrote the music and lyrics for Carnival, as well as other pop songs in the 1950's) and music by Jule Styne (Gypsy, Bells Are Ringing, and many other Broadway hits).
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark recently finished a major overhaul, during which they took several weeks off to change the script and music in the hopes of overcoming terrible reviews during previews. This got me looking for the original Spider-Man reviews, and in the process I found several other gems, where the reviewer reamed the show in question with some very clever and entertaining phrases. Here are some of my favorites (I heartily recommend clicking through to read the reviews in their entirety):
The show: Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
- What it’s about: Who even knows at this point? The show has undergone so many revisions (and accidents) that I have no idea what the “final” product will be.
- The reviewers: New York Times, Slate
- "The sheer ineptitude of this show, inspired by the Spider-Man comic books, loses its shock value early. After 15 or 20 minutes, the central question you keep asking yourself is likely to change from ‘How can $65 million look so cheap?’ to ‘How long before I'm out of here?’…‘Spider-Man’ is not only the most expensive musical ever to hit Broadway; it may also rank among the worst…[it] is so grievously broken in every respect that it is beyond repair. Fans of Ms. Taymor's… ‘The Lion King,’…will have to squint charitably to see evidence of her talent."—New York Times
- "Julie Taymor's train wreck, through and through…a comic book musical that seems to have no affection for comic books or musicals…[a] mass entertainment that at its heart is one woman's wild ego trip.”—Slate
One of the perks of being based in central Connecticut is that New York City is only a few hours away by car or train. What follows is a “typical” day of playing hooky in the city.
8:17 a.m.: Awake (sort of) after snoozing my alarm several times. I don’t really like having to wake up at a decent time on my day off.
9:12 a.m.: My boyfriend, Andrew, and I are driving to the New Haven train station to catch a 10:10 train, but we get stuck in traffic near Hartford. Hope we still make it on time, otherwise lunch plans are kaput.
9:52 a.m.: We get to the station in plenty of time, but the parking garage next to the train station is full, so Andrew drops me off to go get tickets and snacks while he finds a new place to park. He makes me promise not to leave without him. I guess, if I must.
10:02 a.m.: Andrew arrives, and we board the train with tix and water in hand.
10:10 a.m.: On our way to The City!Read more...