Friday, February 17, 2023

At This Theatre: The Sam S. Shubert Theatre

This month's theater is one that is special in many ways. Its facade is iconic with its "lights of Broadway" 44th Street corner marquee and awning-covered entrance. It is also the flagship theater of the Shubert Organization. Personally, this space holds a very important place in my theater-loving heart. It has been the home of several of my favorite performances, plays and musicals, including my all-time favorite musical, A Chorus Line.

At This Theatre:
The Sam S. Shubert

# of shows we saw there: 10

Shows we saw there: A Chorus Line, Big: The Musical, Chicago, Crazy For You, Hello, Dolly!, Matilda: The Musical, Memphis, To Kill a Mockingbird, Some Like It Hot

Our Top 5 Favorites at the Shubert:

5. Crazy For You:
 Believe it or not, this was my first brush with a "new" Gershwin musical. There have been several since, and they all pale in comparison. It is due, I think, in large part to Susan Stroman, who made her Broadway debut with this extravaganza. Risky, witty and dazzling, every number was better than the last. Of course, its stars, Harry Groener and Jodi Benson (and their superstar replacements, James Brennan and Karen Ziemba, were at least their equals) were electrifying!

Where We Sat: Side orchestra and center front mezzanine; both locations were great.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird:
One of the greatest plays I've ever seen, the show did Harper Lee's masterwork more than justice, with fine performances by the huge cast, lead by Jeff Daniels, Gideon Glick and Tony-winner Celia Keenan-Bolger.

Where We Sat: Center upper balcony. Far from the stage, but an excellent view. Not for the faint of heart, there are no elevators and what feels like 300 stairs.

3. Matilda:
Oh how we loved this charming, thought-provoking fantasy musical! Maggots rejoice! Clever and visually stunning, this was musical theater heaven. Just the thought of the swings during "When I Grow Up" makes me teary.

Where We Sat: Center front mezzanine. A perfect view.

2. Chicago:
What can I possibly add to the discourse surrounding the longest-running American musical in Broadway history? Well, the cast I saw was incredible: Ruthie Henschall as Velma Kelly, Sandy Duncan as the greatest Roxie Hart I've ever seen, Brent Barrett as Billy Flynn, and the late-great Marcia Lewis as Mama Morton. It was beyond fabulous.

Where We Sat: Front center orchestra. For Chicago, pure perfection!

1. A Chorus Line:
The show that changed my life. It was only my fourth Broadway show, and still to this day my absolute favorite musical. I felt an instant connection to each dancer on the line, and felt seen with the inclusion of gay characters. I knew representation was important decades before it became a (necessary) social watch word. 

Where We Sat: Center center orchestra. A singular sensation!

In summary, we've sat just about everywhere in the Shubert flagship, and I don't think there's a bad seat in the place.

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