New York: Dinner at Bea, and “Fun Home” on Broadway

nyc-theater-row

While we were walking to dinner Sunday night, the art director I was with pointed at the lineup of theater marquees and said, “That would make a good photo!” (She was right.)

I got back from another trip to New York City on Thurday night. My brain is apparently having trouble figuring out time and space associated with the trip, because Friday at work I was telling someone how I was there “last week” until I stopped and had to correct myself: “No, I’ve been home for less than 24 hours.”

I’ve been to New York more than 30 times since I first started going for work back in 2011. That sounds like a lot to me, but works out to only 6–8 trips a year. I’m not a hardened traveler like George Clooney in “Up In the Air” or the guy who sat next to me on the flight out, who said he flies almost every week of the year, and on mostly transatlantic trips. (I envy his frequent flier status and miles, but wouldn’t want to suffer through the traveling required to earn them.)

the restaurant: Bea

I do visit frequently enough to have routines and favorite haunts, though. On this trip I introduced another co-worker to the food and drinks at Bea, which I discovered quite by accident last winter and have returned to at least four times since. The food I had on my very first visit—ricotta cheese with rosemary honey and sea salt; green tagliatelle pasta and shrimp in cream sauce—was so good that I’ve never strayed from that order since. The only thing I’ve changed up is my drink, because Bea no longer offers a Thyme and Tonic (with thyme-infused gin). As luck would have it, though, I had grilled the bartender on how they infused the gin—how much thyme? how much time?—and have been able to re-create it at home.

The play: “FUN Home” on broadway

Performed in the round in a very intimate setting, with no intermissions.
Photo by Joan Marcus. (link)

I also got to see another Broadway show—this time, “Fun Home,” which I greatly enjoyed. I had heard good things about the play but hadn’t done my usual level of investigation—I knew it was based on cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s book, and that was about it. (The decision not to over-research was made mostly to prevent any inflated expectations about how great the play would be, like when I went to see “The Book of Mormon” having heard rhapsodic things about it and subsequently left feeling meh.)

I did have a couple of brief moments of concern, though …

The first one happened when I sat down in my great seat—Row 3! it pays to be a single theatergoer!—and noticed … the door.

nyc-fun-home-stage

As you might surmise from all the empty seats, I found my seat really early.
And there’s my friend the door!

As blocked views go, this is pretty minor—I could see both the piano just to the left of the door (behind the plant) and the desk to the right of it, so I was content knowing that I had a sweet view of a Tony-winning play. (“So no complaining!”) The people behind me really noticed the door, though, which vexed them to no end, and they would not shut up about it. (“I thought she said these were good seats,” over and over again.) The stage manager must be used to hearing grumbles like this because before the play began she walked the periphery, loudly declaring to nobody particular and everybody at once: “It moves, it moves, it moves.” (To be specific, the door sinks into the floor when not in use. The top side of the frame has been patterned to blend into the painted “rug” around it.)

The second moment of concern also came early on, when they busted out a musical number showcasing three earnestly singing, dancing moppet actors, who belt out a number for a cheap seats.

funhomekids

You can watch the actors perform the number live on “The View,” if you’re so inclined.

If I had texted someone at that moment—which I would never do, because that would be rude to my fellow theatergoers—here’s what it likely would have said, punctuation-free from panic: “oh my god what have i done this play is 1 hour 40 minutes long with no intermission and i can’t leave because i’m in row 3 please don’t let this be americas kidz got singing please stop soon.”

The song ends, of course—all songs do, after all—and the rest of the show was all-caps SPECTACULAR. I dashed back to my hotel so I could message my actor friend Matt and we could talk about what I’d just seen. He’s a Broadway megafan who used to live in New York, so he knew all about the show and its players (Now I also want to see “The King and I” if only for Ruthie Ann Miles, who must put on an insane performance if she bested “Fun Home” actress Judy Kuhn at the 2015 Tony Awards.)

WHAT SAM WORE: 9/19/15
shirt091915 shorts091915 shoes091915
The shirt: T-shirt by Champion.
The shorts: Gray cotton shorts from Old Navy.
The shoes: Custom camo-print All-Stars I made at Converse.com.
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