Thursday, August 15, 2013

There's Always Something New in NYC

Broadway street sign
Photo credit: PeterJBellis
Today's prompt is: somewhere new you visited in your town. 

Well, as long as I've lived in New York (which is my whole life), the city keeps changing around me, so there's always something new to check out. The tricky part is deciding which new things are worth checking out. 

Like this place that makes the cronuts? I'm not getting up early and standing in line for pastry. So I'll wait for cronut knockoffs to start showing up everywhere. But I hear that everything they make is really good, so I may stop by some day when the cronut crowds are gone.

But a few weeks ago when my in-laws were in town (during the week of out-of-town visitors), we went to see Mother Divine, a musical written by a woman from their hometown, St. Joseph, Missouri (deathplace of Jesse James and the start of the pony express). The show started at 9pm, which is unusual. It was part of a festival. One that's been going on for ten years without me knowing about it.

The New York Musical Theatre Festival may be the salvation of Broadway. Not that I didn't love The Lion King. But between the musicals based on movies, and the jukebox musicals, musical theater feels a little lame these days. Mind you, some of these shows are brilliant, and I'm dying to see some of them as soon as the migraine sitch improves to the point that I can commit to seeing a show in advance. But when a so-so musical is based on a formula (pick something that audiences are already familiar with), it doesn't get extra marks for effort.

Of course with $100 a seat, audiences are less likely to take a risk on an unfamiliar story. But  it would be better for everyone if we could get ticket prices down to pre-Producers prices.

NYMF tickets are much more affordable. And during the festival this year, they held 59 events, including 20-30 musicals. All original. Over the years, shows that have been performs at NYMF have gone on to off Broadway or Broadway.

Next year, I plan to be all over this festival. Because creative, affordable musical theater? That's worth checking out.
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