2012: New York

Theater Day!

Oct. 21


Sunday was theater day. Months ago I scored two hard-to-get tickets to a matinee of The Book of Mormon and we had scheduled a lot of the trip around that date. I decided to cluster it with another show that evening, rather than scheduling a show at the end of a long day of walking and sight-seeing. An all-theater day.

The Book of Mormon had to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen. All I can say is, if you ever have the opportunity, go.

Our evening show was a preview performance of The Heiress, starring some very well-known names: David Strathairn, Jessica Chastain, and the British actor Dan Stevens (best-known as the heartthrob Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey). We didn't enjoy it very much. I felt that Strathairn and Chastain were miscast and probably playing the leads because of their name recognition, not their stage talent. Strathairn was playing his usual mealy-mouthed bumbler, nothing like the domineering and cruel father as written in the play. And Chastain's performance was just -- odd. She made some very strange choices, and she didn't seem to have the acting chops to portray the radical transitions her character undergoes. Overall, the gorgeous set was the best thing in it.

I do understand the need to sell tickets, but this kind of movie-star casting really chaps my hide because there are dozens of great stage actors around who have worked hard, studied their craft, and could have done a better job while asleep. Maybe the names will sell tickets for a while, but they may not continue to sell tickets if names are all they have and the actors can't deliver.

Our evening performance ended early enough that we decided to check out another photo opportunity. I had done a lot of online research about the best views in Manhattan, and one place that popped up for a great night view was Ink48, a hotel over on the Hudson.

Ink48 has a lounge with an outside deck and a great vantage point on the midtown skyline. The lounge wasn't really our scene -- too young, too loud -- but we had a chance to test our Lumix camera again and it came through with a few great nighttime shots. Note the top of the Empire State peeking out from behind a building at the far right of the skyline.