She Loves Me

This past Saturday I road tripped it up to NYC with my friends Heather and Karen to see She Loves Me on Broadway. This is the first time I’ve driven up to New York in a long time. Generally I usually take the bus or train because it can be cheaper and/or more convenient than driving. We waited too long to get train tickets and they were too expensive, so that wasn’t an option. The Bolt Bus doesn’t work for day trips because they don’t run buses late enough, and after my last experience on MegaBust I don’t really ever want to travel with them again. Heather graciously offered to drive and smartly suggested that we should be able to find free parking on the street on the Upper West Side.

She was indeed correct about the parking. I never considered it before. I don’t know why since we wound up parking only a few blocks from where my sister-in-law and her family live and I have seen their car parked on the street on weekends. At any rate it worked out very well for us and is something to keep in mind again for the future if need be. I still think the train in the best option, but that can be pricey if you don’t hit the tickets right.

We were ready for brunch after we got into the city. Based on what people were saying they were in the mood for I suggested Sugar & Plumm, which I had walked by any number of times but had never eaten in because it was always too crowded to consider taking my niece and nephew there. We got right in, but I still think it’s not a good place to dine with them if the service is always that bad. The food was delicious, but it took us almost 2 hours to eat lunch. It worked out for us since we had plenty of time to kill, but it’s not something that’s reasonable to do with two five year olds.

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Delicious mushroom and meunster cheese waffle.

After lunch we had just enough time to walk down to Studio 54, which is where She Loves Me is running. She Loves Me is just one of the many Broadway shows I want to see this spring. There’s too many to see everything I want, but I prioritized this show because it only has a limited run as part of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 50th anniversary.

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It is a revival of a 1963 musical production based on the same story that is the inspiration for The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail. This production stars Zachary Levi, who you may know as the star of the tv show Chuck, as Georg and Tony Award winning actress Laura Benanti as Amalia, two clerks in a perfume store in 1930s Budapest. As these things happen in romantic comedies they of course clash only to discover they are truly in love in the end.

I actually wasn’t familiar with the musical at all going into it. I was just drawn in by Zachary Levi and Laura Benanti starring in it. I hadn’t yet had a chance to see Laura Benanti perform on Broadway, which seemed a travesty, and I had enjoyed Zachary Levi in his first Broadway show, First Date. He’s got the starring role in a Broadway musical romantic comedy down. The show was quite delightful. It was nice to see a bright, shiny musical for a change. I feel like shows like this are a rarity on Broadway these days.

I was also very happy that Laura Benanti was actually in the performance we saw. I saw her tweeting all week leading up to the show that she was sick and then her understudy went in for her on Thursday night. She apparently made a valiant effort to rally for the shows on Friday and Saturday, but I saw her tweet again on Sunday that she was out for a few days with bronchitis. I’m impressed because I never would have known she had bronchitis from her performance. So kudos to her for putting on an excellent show even though I imagine she must have been feeling like crap.

Needless to say Laura Benanti didn’t come out for the people waiting by the stage door after the performance, and I don’t blame her. Happily Zachary Levi did though. We didn’t get the chance to hang around after seeing him in First Date because we had a bus to catch, but we had plenty of time on Saturday. I was probably in high school the last time I actually hung out by a stage door, so I don’t know if this is how things normally work now or it’s just how it was being done for this show, but everyone lined up very politely along the security gate and Zachary Levi told everyone he was going to make one pass down the line to give autographs and then if people wanted to stick around he would go back down the line and take photos with everyone. He was very nice and very gracious, and it was the most organized stage door experience I have ever had. As you can tell I was very excited to meet him.

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After the show we just wandered around mid-town until our dinner reservation at 6:30. We got a lot of walking in since over the course of the day we essentially walked from 102 to 39th and did some loops in there as well. We ate dinner at an Italian restaurant called Mercato. We had eaten there a few years ago when we went up for Heather’s birthday and she suggested going again. It’s delicious so I had no complaints about going again. We even wound up being seated at the same table.

And that was pretty much the conclusion of our lovely day in NYC. After dinner we cabbed it back up to the car and hit the road home. All in all it was a wonderful day.

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