Year of Theater: Wayward Children and BroadwayFlea

Fellow theater fans, rejoice! Because after an unexpected hiatus, I have returned with more theater stories for you. This post is September, then be on the lookout for October, November, and December adventures!

Check out the other parts in this series: part 1: January & February; part 2: March & April;  part 3: May & June; and part 4: July & August.

September brought that wonderful thing that happens twice a year: Broadway Week! Broadway Week happens in mid-September and mid-January, where NYC Go offers half price tickets on many Broadway shows, even some that don’t normally have discounts. I’ve seen Wicked, Deaf West’s Spring Awakening, and Kinky Boots via Broadway Week discounts.

This time, it was finally time for my bestie Ally and I to hit up shows we’d been planning for a while. Not just any pair of shows would do for us this time; we had a theme: Wayward Children. We scored tickets to School of Rock matinee and Matilda evening show.

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School of Rock at the Winter Garden Theater
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Matilda the Musical at the Shubert Theater

School of Rock is based on the movie with Jack Black, but turned into a stage musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, famous for Cats, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, and many more. School of Rock follows musician Dewey Finn from being kicked out of his band to becoming a substitute teacher and inspiring the buttoned-up kids to learn to rock. \m/ Will Blum, who was playing Dewey Finn at this performance, was all over the stage. I can see why there needs to be an alternate (the principal actor playing Dewey was Alex Brightman, and it’s Alex who’s on the cast album). The whole cast had so much energy, it was impossible not to have fun! We wanted to be “in the band” and “stick it to the man” just like the kids! This show is quickly becoming a favorite and luckily, the album is on Amazon Prime so I can add to my library and listen all the time. One kid stood out specifically to me: Luca Padovan, who played Billy the band’s stylist. Previously, he was Les in Newsies, so naturally I gravitated toward him.

It was so much fun, I was almost disappointed it was over! This one will definitely be a show I see again. The songs are catchy and it’s just a good time.

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Will Blum, Dewey Finn in School of Rock

Evening show was Matilda. This is based on the Roald Dahl book, as was the 1996 movie. This show was also fun and well-done, but I do have to say that I enjoyed SoR a little more.  In Matilda, Lesli Margherita was hilariously and fabulously “Loud” as Mrs. Wormwood. Memorable songs were “Naughty,” “When I Grow Up,” and “Telly.” The last song is sung by Mr. Wormwood at the top of the second act, telling the audience how much better television is than books. Bryce Ryness was Trunchbull; I previously saw him in First Date, but I came to love him as “Woof” in the 2009 Broadway revival of Hair. For someone who’s so intimidating on stage, Bryce was very sweet when we met him after the show! Also at the stage door, I got to reminisce with “Queen” Lesli (as she’s known) about the “Best Blizzard Ever” – BroadwayCon! We’re both looking forward to the con in 2017.

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“Queen” Lesli Margherita
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Bryce Ryness – Woof in Hair and Trunchbull in Matilda

 

Also in September was one of the biggest days for Broadway-lovers: the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS annual Broadway Flea Market and Grand Auction! I look forward to this event every year. Most current Broadway shows, companies, and other theater organizations have tables set up on West 44th Street and Shubert Alley. All the proceeds go toward the cause of BCEFA. You can find show memorabilia, old Playbills, and much more.

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My Playbill haul from 2016 BCEFA Flea Market

This year, I was smart and brought a rolling cart with me. Last year, I was so bogged down with bags, I don’t know how I made it home on the bus! One of the other features of the Flea Market is the Celebrity Autograph and Photo Booth. This year, I was able to get autographs from Corey Cott (who signed my Newsies book) as well as Jessica Keenan Wynn (who signed my Heathers cast recording CD). I was in line to meet Joel Grey (of Cabaret fame) and Harvey Fierstein (of Hairspray and many others), but I was too far back in line and didn’t make it to the front by the time they were done. Even with waiting in line for hours to get the autographs (or not get them as the case may be), I still managed to stock up on lots of stuff, most of which I did not need. I did feel as if I did in the moment, though—or maybe that was just due to the table that offered “buy a bag for $5 and fill it up” at the end of the day. Same with the Creative Goods table, which handles most t-shirts and other merch for Broadway and National Tour shows—at the end of the day, everything was $1 each. Oops? Anyway, it all goes to charity.

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2013 & 2015 photo ops with Jonathan Groff & Corey Cott at the BCEFA Flea Market

Join me back here again for my October and November adventures with 54 Below and Roundabout Theater Company!

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