The Only Way to Fill the Palace…

Is magic. Literally. 

Last Friday night, I went to see The Illusionists at the Palace Theatre. I’ve seen so many shows at the Palace over the last couple of decades because the place is so friggin’ huge that nothing can fill it. I mean, take a walk down from the balcony and you’ll feel like you’re walking to the bowels of the Titanic. It’s insane. And sitting in the balcony? You’ll get vertigo. But all that aside, I was interested in seeing The Illusionists to see what exactly they’d show me. 

I assumed the theatre would be mostly empty because The Illusionists isn’t even a real Broadway show and who the hell is coming to see this?! Turns out: everyone is coming to see this. Well, probably mostly tourists, but the theatre was 80% full at least, and this is a really hard thing to do for most shows that are in that theatre. 

I knew it’d basically be a magic show and not an actual Broadway show. I knew the skeptic in me would basically look for the first opportunity to say, “Oh I can see the string that it’s hanging on,” but whatever. I’m a New Yorker, what do you expect?

I have to say I was most impressed with The Clairvoyants, Thommy Ten and Amelie Van Tass, and The Daredevil, Jonathan Goodwin. I am still dying to know whether or not The Clairvoyants acts were set up but if they weren’t, they were really impressive. Impressive like picking a random person out of the audience, guessing they had a cell phone and what color and service provider they used. 

And Jonathan Goodwin, well, he was absolutely insane. He’s known worldwide as the closest thing we have a real life super hero and for a good reason. He’s an escape artist with a love for Houdini. One of his acts included handcuffing his hands behind his back, holding onto a sharp object with his teeth, while being raised over 3 foot spikes and trying to free himself from the handcuffs. Oh, and the rope that was suspending him over the aforementioned spikes was on fire. 

There was also a short scene by a puppeteer, Justo Thaus, with a marionette doll that was really adorable, and Charlie Frye, The Eccentric, who has a knack for juggling and acrobatics, as well as Dana Daniels, The Charlatan, who loves balancing things (like chairs) on his face. 

I yawned and thought it was super cheesy any time a ball was “floating” in the air (pretty sure it wasn’t) but other than that, I found all of the acts really impressive. Did the show need to be two acts? No. An hour and forty-five minutes would’ve sufficed. But if you find yourself looking to be entertained with an unconventional show in midtown, The Illusionists might just be the ticket you’re looking for. 

It (Doesn’t) Suck to Be Me

This won’t be much of a review since Avenue Q has been around since 2003. Everyone’s seen it (if you like theatre) and everyone knows it’s greatness. I hadn’t seen Avenue Q onstage (so: at all) since 2005 or 2006. It was a great little show and I saw it twice on Broadway. When J mentioned that he’d heard “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet is For Porn,” I thought it’d be a great birthday present and it was.

He liked it so much more than we both ever could’ve imagined. He never stopped laughing. I, of course, enjoyed it, too. It was nice to see it again, this time in a smaller space. The cast was fantastic across the board. 

J spent the rest of the weekend ranting and raving to anyone who would listen about how good the show was. And like I said, he’s lost most of his interest in seeing Hamilton now because he doesn’t think it could entertain him more than Avenue Q did. Is Hamilton as funny as Avenue Q? Likely not. I’m certain it has it’s own merits though – duh, of course.

The moral of this story? Since no one can get tickets to Hamilton, go see Avenue Q. Obviously. Because it’s (still) a solid and terrifically entertaining show.

Lazy

You know how I stopped working in theatre a year and a half ago? (Maybe longer? I’ve lost track.) Well, I sure don’t miss it (save for the free tickets) but my theatre-going has slowed a bit. Oftentimes afterwork, I’m just all, “I just want to go home,” or, “I’m just going to go to yoga.” Trying to get a super cheap back-of-the-theatre or rush ticket just doesn’t sound appealing. 

I know, I’m so whiny – I’d have to take the train 3 stops, then get off and check, and then possibly get back on. The horror. I guess, technically, I also want to hang out with my cat while she’s still getting used to living with me. (Secretly I think she counts down the minutes until I leave in the morning but I could be wrong.)

But I’m slowly rectifying that. I purchased a ticket yesterday for Saturday’s matinee to Tuck Everlasting for starters. I really think it sounds 100% boring, but it has a great cast and it was the only show that had a Saturday matinee on TDF, so why not

Secondly, while I contemplated going to see a show last night, specifically Waitress (because @endotique says it was great), I decided against it and bought a ticket for May 18th instead. Afterwards I picked up tickets for an irreverent musical for J’s birthday in a couple of weeks. I’m not saying what it is here incase he reads here, but he’ll love it. 

What else do I need to see? Blackbird, Bright Star, Fiddler on the Roof, possibly Fully Committed, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (amazing cast), The Father (why not?), She Loves Me, The Color Purple (I’d have no interest after seeing the original production but I hear this one is fantastic), The Crucible (I’ve never seen it live and who doesn’t love a 3-hour play about McCarthyism?) and, oh yes, Hamilton. I guess. (I’ll do the cancellation line sooner or later before Lin leaves.)

I’m pretty sure that’s about it. Ten shows. It’s a play-heavy list, that’s for sure. I want to see American Psycho again soon but hopefully that’ll be around for a little while.

Writing it out in a list like that makes it not seem so insurmountable. One show every week? Every two weeks? Done in no time. Except for Hamilton. I’ll have to take a Monday or Tuesday off from work to sit in the cancellation line to get tickets for my dude and I to that fucker. Goddamn you, Lin-Manuel.