Tootsie the musical

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80s nostalgia has been peaking its head lately. Not too long ago we had American Psycho on Broadway, Ready Player One in books and theaters and even some video games are reverting back to 80s pixelated looks. Tootsie, a hit movie in the 80’s for Dustin Hoffman has just began previews on Broadway in a musical form.  This is a reimagined Tootsie for the “Me Too” age and instead of taking place in an office like the movie, it is taking place on Broadway fulfilling the dreams for the out of work actor Michael Dorsey (aka Dorothy Michaels).  

This is a fun and light-hearted musical comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  It still has the standard tropes of the sleazy Director, a good looking but less than bright beefcake, lazy writer/best friend and hanger on ex-girlfriend.  Tootsie all in all is fun escapism and treat for all audiences. 

The Paradise Club

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Dinner and a show in Times Square

A few years back there was this bacchanalia of a show in Times Square called Queen of the Night. If you didn’t know that it was in the basement of a hotel you would have never known it was there. Fast forward to now and you have the new Edition hotel in Times Square with a beautiful, yet minimalistic lobby on the 10th floor and one floor more, a cozy lounge serving as a entree’ to an upscale, multi-course dining room. “Hidden” on the 7th floor is a new nightclub/performance space; The Paradise Club. The Paradise Club takes some DNA from the aforementioned Queen of the Night as well as burlesque shows and Cirque Du Soleil. It is fun interactive dinner theatre on all the best levels and is brought to you by trendsetting hotelier Ian Schrager and The House of Yes.

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First let’s talk about the show. As previously mentioned you get a bit of burlesque, acrobatics, dancing and singing. It is led by a charismatic emcee and the troupe of performers give their all and leave nothing on the table. They are not afraid of interacting directly with the crowd; there is no 4th wall here so don’t be shy. The show is done in two 30 minutes-ish acts and culminates in a dance party of sorts. After the show there is a DJ and it turns into more of a typical NYC nightclub with different themed nights music-wise.

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CAVIAR NACHOS

CAVIAR NACHOS

Now let’s talk about the food. The dinner is a multi-course menu executed by the John Fraser team, and this is where they set themselves apart from other shows past and present for me. WOW! See you they could have easily put out standard “safe” food that would appease a crowd mostly just looking to be entertained and to get their buzz on. But they really put thought, creativity and feeling into this food. And there is something for everyone here. Yuzu oysters, Prosciutto with pineapple & tamarind, Strawberry sweet & sour cauliflower, Smoking spiced ribs and Duck breast with foie gras & apricot. These are just some of the dishes we were blessed to taste. Oh, I forgot to mention the Caviar nachos, just ridiculously good with crispy potato chips as a vessel for the sour cream and the salty caviar. This actually makes me excited to try out the other food outlets since the team is doing the food for the whole hotel.

So how would one do the Paradise Club? I would do it with a group of friends that are looking to have a great night without having to hope around venue to venue. Did I mention they have a Manhattan cart? A good looking gentleman (the whole staff is incredibly attractive) wheeled around a cart making specialty Manhattans table-side as another option to a complete bar menu. Back to my previous thought, yes make a whole night of it; dinner, show and then stick around for the nightclub afterwards. Just make sure you have the next day off....

 

Hadestown

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The Road to Hell

So I just saw a preview of the Hadestown, which recently began performances on Broadway. What is Hadestown? It is a musical based on the Greek tragedy of Orpheus & Eurydice and the story of Hades & Persephone but set in Great Depression inspired time. The music is a combination of New Orleans jazz, folk and Americana which to me gives a real American feel.

Performance-wise there are some heavyweights that really make the show a winner. from the moment he comes out and shows off his waistcoat the ageless André De Shields owns the stage. As Hermes he serves as an Emcee/Narrator that moves the story along as easily as his lithe frame glides across the stage. Singer-songwriter Reeve Carney channels the late Jeff Buckley in his Orpheus. Eva Noblezada is as strong a presence vocally as when I last saw her as the title role in Miss Saigon. Amber Gray as Persephone is firecracker and has some great moments where she really gets the audience into it. And then there is Hades, played by Patrick Page (for all you nerds, yes he was also Green Goblin to Mr. Carney’s Spiderman in Turn Off the Dark). Now there has to be some vocal effects on him yes, but still, Mr. Page has that presence and plays the character so well that he could talk you into working in the factory for him.

The supporting cast consisting of the Fates and Chorus rounded out the strong cast. In addition to the actors there are the musicians. I have come to the decision that I prefer having the band on stage with the actors like they are in Hadestown. This allows interaction between the actors and musicians and the musicians become more prominent to the audience. It’s like they are part of the cast. And what a band it was! The Set Design was also particularly well presented and even utilized during some numbers with lamps virtually doing choreography.

Needless to say i really enjoyed this show and think it can enjoyed by a wide range of people. If someone is looking for a Broadway musical that is more on the contemporary side but with classical elements, striking set design and winning performances they should consider going to Hadestown…

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Mister Paradise

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An approachable high end cocktail bar

Mister Paradise located in the East Village is on the scene to give all of us high end crafted cocktails without all the pomp and circumstance. You can literally walk into this pine filled bar and be greeted by a good looking and genial staff and be served some of the best cocktails I have ever had. The Holy Hangrenade mixes gin, egg whites, Riesling and more to give you notes of a Thai soup. It’s absolutely delicious and amazing. The Spaceman Spiff combines bourbon and calvados with hints of lemon and topped with matcha. These are just two of the inventive cocktails on thier list I tried.

Holy Handgrenade

Holy Handgrenade

They also offer small bites including a burger and hotpockets. I tried the fried chicken which was so crispy each bite crunched like the first. It is served with miniature squeeze bottles of truffle honey and habanero honey. The habanero honey was more to my liking with the perfect amount of heat and sweet.

If you are looking for a bar with small tasy bites, creative cocktails and a great yet chill vibe in the East Village you can't go wrong in Paradise.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Spaceman Spiff

Spaceman Spiff