Wednesday, May 24, 2023

At This Theatre: The Palace

Perhaps the most internationally legendary of all of the current Broadway theaters, the Palace was built in 1913 as a vaudeville house by impresario Martin Beck of Orpheum Circuit fame. From the 1930's through the early 1960's it was a movie theater. Then, in 1966 it was re-opened as a legit house with Sweet Charity starring Gwen Verdon. Over the past century, "playing the Palace" has been a goal for many aspiring performers. Legends have played here: Eddie Cantor, Betty Hutton, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, and both Judy Garland and her daughter, Liza Minnelli. And several legendary shows played here as well, including Applause, Woman of the Year, La Cage aux Folles and AIDA. These days, you can't see much of the grand old theater, as it is currently undergoing a (literal) face lift and renovation. Soon, though The Palace will once again take its place among the greatest theaters on Broadway.

At This Theatre:
The Palace

# of shows we've seen here: 10

The shows we've seen here: AIDA, An American in Paris, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, La Cage aux Folles, Legally Blonde, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Sunset Boulevard, West Side Story and The Will Rogers Follies

Our Favorite Shows Here: The Palace may be the only Broadway house where every show we've seen there ended up being among our favorites. Narrowing it down to our five favorites is nearly impossible, let alone ranking them, so here are five in alphabetical order:

Beauty and the Beast
Broadway had never seen anything like it at the time Disney made its Broadway debut. Not only did they bring a beloved animated classic to life on stage, they expanded it and somehow made it better. Lavish doesn't even begin to describe the magic of every aspect of this production. For me, this is the best they've presented - including The Lion King.

La Cage aux Folles
Back in the day, this triumphant Jerry Herman classic caused quite the stir - threats were made, picket lines were formed. You'd have thought it was today. A beautiful, powerful and outrageously funny show, it managed to be hopelessly old-fashioned and refreshingly modern all at once. I'll never forget George Hearn's triumphant "I Am What I Am." The stuff of legend.

Legally Blonde
Of all the many, many movie-to-musical shows, this is one of our favorites. Like Beauty and the Beast, this one took the film and expanded it in creative and surprising ways. It helps that the cast was completely delightful. But the book and score were just as great, too. Pure entertainment!

West Side Story
Despite being a virtual copy of the original production, this revival soared. Jerome Robbins' stunning choreography was breathtaking, and the performances were equally thrilling. It was a wonderful opportunity to see a classic.

The Will Rogers Follies
Oh how I miss Tommy Tune. His style and endless creativity is missing on Broadway these days. This one was a jaw-dropper - the dancing, the concept, the visuals. And you can't beat a Cy Coleman-Betty Comden-Adolph Green show! Keith Carradine, Dee Hoty and Cady Huffman were charming and delightful.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...