New York is a hub for virtually all major industries and the arts is one of the biggest of them all in the city.
Basically, Broadway is London's West End on a much bigger scale. Yeah, even I was surprised by the amount of theatres. After falling in love with musical theatre around 7 years ago, I'd been eager to see something on Broadway, so after booking my trip I knew I had to start finding a show to go and see.
Turns out, most shows were either ending just before I arrived, or starting just after I left. Sod's law, right? The main shows on my list (that I knew would still be showing) were Waitress & Kinky Boots, one influenced by Tumblr and the other starring Killian Donnelly. I honestly had no idea what to choose.
I decided on seeing Waitress the day before I went to see it, thanks to the ticket app TodayTix (can be used globally, so download it and see what cheap tickets you can pick up!), and I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am that I took someone's advice on Tumblr. Especially for the divine scent of freshly baked pies in the foyer. I'm still craving one!
Based off a film and with the music written by Sara Bareilles, it's full of moments that have you laughing hysterically one minute and then fighting back tears the next. Jessie Mueller is unreal, I'm so happy that I was lucky enough to see her wonderful talent in this role and the rest of the cast were as mesmerisingly incredible too. I'm a new Drew Gehling fangirl right now, I just love Dr Pomatter.
I'll tell you this now, the soundtrack is addictive so its definitely up to you if you want to listen to it. Thankfully I'm no longer crying into my Cheerios over She Used To Be Mine and You Matter To Me.
To the amusement of my friends (yeah guys, I know you're just kidding) I ended up finding myself amongst a tonne of theatregoers outside the stage door and met this sweet chap, William Popp, who plays Mr Nasty aka Earl Hunterson. I was also lucky enough to meet Joe Cassidy who plays Cal and Ella Dane Morgan who plays the adorable little Lulu (no picture evidence for either, soz).
I'm not sure if it was the thrill of Times Square, the buzz of a new city at night, the theatre adrenaline or a mixture of all these combined, but I couldn't resist wandering from theatre to theatre to see the places I'd only ever heard about. How incredible to see these influential places up close?
The following evening, after abandoning my friends on the last evening after dinner, I all but ran over to the Al Hirschfeld theatre to catch Killian Donnelly after the evening performance of Kinky Boots. Yes I did fall and sprain my ankle, but I met this little gem and I'm only so ecstatic about it. I think the highlight was him seeing my phone's lock screen photo of George Bladgen & I and calling out 'Blagdog!'. (My Les Mis obsessed heart cried a little. I just really love Grantaire & Combeferre okay?)
Once again, I found myself back at the Brooks Atkinson theatre just as the evenings performance of Waitress was ending, the kind security guy gave me 5 Playbill's and I was the first to stand at the stage door, so I managed to grab a fair portion of the cast to sign a copy.
Tips / Recommendations
1. Look for tickets on TodayTix
I'm recommending this purely because this is what I used to find my ticket, it was cheaper than Ticketmaster and it was a fairly decent seat too.
I'm not sure how much street vendors charge but shopping around would be a good option.
2. Grab a Playbill
Playbill's are an iconic piece of Broadway, I only wish we had them in the UK, or something similar. A few years back I paid £10 + postage for a How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying one with Darren Criss on the cover which is insane because at the theatres they are FREE. They're available on the seats in the theatres so everyone is given one and if you ask they'll most likely give you more.
When I went off to meet Killian I realised I had nothing for him to sign, I popped my head around the door of the theatre, politely asked them if they'd let me have a Playbill and they were more than happy to help me. The same went for Waitress, like I said earlier, they gave me a stack of them! I've also heard many stories about tourists asking for them at theatres and most have been successful.
Next time I'll theatre hop for them.
3. Wander around the theatres after 10pm
I know this sounds dangerous and irresponsible, and anywhere other than NYC I wouldn't recommend such a thing but there's so many people (!!!), and once the shows let out you have no idea who you'll bump into.
I wandered past one theatre that Nathan Lane was currently appearing at (y'know, Timon from The Lion King?) and whilst I didn't see him, tonnes of people were outside the stage door with cast members. It's very easy to see people there.
4. Make the most of Broadway
I understand that not everyone loves musicals like I do (what a crying shame) but theatre isn't just musicals, find another production or play to immerse yourselves in. Trust me, there's plenty to choose from.