Last week we went up to NYC, with exactly three days to see shows, catch up with old friends, visit at least one museum exhibit and enjoy some of the things NYC has to offer, among those the impressive annual showcase of musical theatre triple-threats that CCM presents for casting agents.

Shuffle Along

We went primarily to see Joshua Henry, a former student of my wife’s. George C. Wolfe directs, Savion Glover choreographs, the design team has Santo Loquasto (set), Anne Roth (costumes) and Jules Fisher (lighting). The production fills up the stage of the intimate Music Box Theatre, and the performances are just what we expected from Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry.

Still in previews, this show is undergoing some major changes, so that it would be unfair to give it any kind of review. My gut feeling is that, once they are done with the changes and once they settle into a run, the star power of the cast and the terrific music will carry the show. Let’s wait and see.          

An American in Paris

In spite of the bad manners of three women who sat in front of us, eating a variety of noisy snacks they had purchased in the lobby of the Palace Theatre, this turned out to be a great theatrical experience. The production is brilliantly directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, the set and costumes by Bob Crowley manage to erase memories of the 1951 film, and the cast features an exceptional quartet of dancers capable of more than doing justice to George and Ira Gershwin’s music and lyrics: Leanne Cope, Brandon Uranowitz, Garen Scribner and Max von Esen.

Marilyn Maye

Sunday April 11 was her 88th birthday, and her show felt like a party to which the sizeable audience had been invited to honor a friend. At all times Ms. Maye was fully committed to delivering the message of the lyrics of the songs she sang, from Sondheim’s survival anthem, I’m Still Here to a medley of Johnny Mercer ballads to a wry Guess Who I Saw Today.

I’m providing the You Tube link to Marilyn Maye’s I Love Being Here With You, https://youtu.be/Dx1VD4fee24 which she used to open her cabaret show at Feinstein’s 54 Below, an intimate cabaret spot on West 54th Street.  This grand lady of cabaret will be back in May at 54 Below. If you have a chance to catch her act, may I suggest you go to www.54below.com and book your reservations now, as her shows always sell out…

Other things

We had two great brunches while in NYC. At 75 West 68th, just off Columbus Avenue and a short walk from Lincoln Center, Boite en Bois is one of our favorite places to eat when in NYC. The other is Lincoln restaurant, right next to Geffen Hall in Lincoln Center.

At the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, Beauty is their Triennial exhibit. Featuring innovative work by a number of important designers from around the world, the show will be on view through August. Definitely worth a visit, both for the exhibit and for the pleasure of looking at the former Carnegie Mansion, where it is held…