Wednesday, March 13, 2024

At This Theatre: The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

When I look over my lists of shows seen at each theater, the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre stands out as one of only a few where I have enjoyed every show I've seen there. And I've seen a wide variety of productions there, modern plays, classic revivals, and musicals from masters of their craft and newer voices. It's the theater where I've seen some of Broadway's most celebrated performers from icons like Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones, to currently established actors like Jenn Colella and Jeremy Jordan, to the newest names and future stars, like Joy Woods and John Cardoza. Not every show has been a hit, but every show offered entertainment that lifted me up, made me think, and challenged the limits of theater.

Opening in 1917 as the Plymouth, the venue has housed premiers from such playwrights as Ibsen (A Doll's House and Hedda Gabler) and Simon (The Odd Couple and The Star-Spangled Girl). British plays included Equus, Nicholas Nickleby, and The Real Thing. Musicals also found a home there, like Irma La Douce, Tony-winner Passion, Jekyll and Hyde, and the long-running Come From Away. In 2005, the theater was renamed as the Gerald Schoenfeld.

At This Theatre:
The Gerald Schoenfeld

Number of Shows We've Seen There: 13


Shows We've Seen There: A Chorus Line (2006), All My Sons (2008), American Psycho, Bonnie and Clyde, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Come From Away, Jekyll and Hyde (1997), Life of Pi, Passion, Gore Vidal's The Best Man (2012), The Bridges of Madison County, The Humans, The Notebook

Our Favorite Shows Here: Choosing my favorites here was like asking a parent to name their favorite child. I loved each one for different reasons. That being said here are my top five musicals and one play that stood out the most for me. Who knows? Ask me tomorrow, and I might name six entirely different productions!

Here they are, in alphabetical order:


A Chorus Line
This revival of my all-time favorite musical makes this list, not just because it was a pristine tribute to the original production, but because of the remarkable talent on that stage. Each dancer at the top of their game, including Charlotte d'Amboise, Deidre Goodwin, Tony YazbeckJason Tam and Michael Berresse. It was, once again, a singular sensation.

All My Sons
The chance to share the room with the brilliant John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Patrick Wilson and, in her Broadway debut, Katie Holmes was an opportunity of a lifetime. But it wouldn't have mattered if the material wasn't equally brilliant - Arthur Miller's masterpiece was as poignant in 2008 as it was in 1947, and remains a timeless classic.


American Psycho
: Crazy, disorienting, violent and wickedly funny, this notorious flop will most certainly come back when Broadway is ready for it. Duncan Sheik's 80s infused score (supplemented with re-orchestrated 80s hits) was as thrilling as the bloody staging. And who can forget Benjamin Walker in his tightly whities, or Alice Ripley making her big entrance atop a washing machine? 


Bonnie and Clyde
Another flop that I have a feeling we will see again, this troubling musical was captivating from start to finish there isn't a clunker in the entire Don Black-Frank Wildhorn score, and the company was utterly perfection. For my money, Jeremy Jordan has never been better.


Come From Away
I don't think I was aware of anything happening around me for this show's 100 intermission-less minutes. I was that captivated. Everyday people turned heroes are pretty common in fanciful musicals, but when they are real-life actual heroes, it takes this show to an entirely different level. I was moved, and my faith in the basic goodness of humanity was restored. In fact, whenever that faith gets shaken, I pull out the cast recording or read the commemorative book to gain some of it back.


The Notebook
I was completely taken by this beautiful musical from the first note to the last. From the gorgeous design, to the fully theatrical book and staging, this adaptation took the popular book and film to a thrilling new level. Stars Maryann Plunkett, Dorian Harewood, Joy Woods, Ryan Vasquez, Jordan Tyson and John Cardoza brought the tragic, moving love story of Allie and Noah to life. As I said, it was beautiful.

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre Playlist:
The songs that live on, from the new musicals that played there...
  • From American Psycho: "Selling Out," "Everybody Wants To Rule the World," "Cards"
  • From Bonnie and Clyde: "The World Will Remember Us," "How 'Bout a Dance?," "Dyin' Ain't So Bad"
  • From Come From Away: "Welcome to the Rock," "Screech In," "Me and the Sky"
  • From Jekyll and Hyde: "Facade," "Someone Like You," "In His Eyes"
  • From Passion: " Happiness," "I Read," "No One Has Ever Lobed Me/Finale"
  • From The Bridges of Madison County: "To Build a Home," "Before and After You," "One Second and a Million Miles"
  • From The Notebook: "Time," "Carry You Home," "I Love You More"

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