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Showbuzzness: Parental Advisory

Posted Thursday, May 8th, 2008 at 9:00 am by Mardie in Cultural Bees. More in 10018

So… after last week’s total theater geek-fest (did you survive? whew!) I thought I’d go back to the ol’ recommendations thing.

This week’s selections are:

Five shows to take your parents to when they come to visit New York.

Aka: No nudity, masturbation references, or other such elements that make you want to crawl under your seat and pretend you’ve never met the people sitting on either side of you. This list also works for tourists.

Ok, I know. This is a fairly homogeneous list of big Broadway musicals. But… that’s what a lot of parents like. If you think your parents would prefer something a little edgier, please see my previous post.

South PacificIn all my years of reading Ben Brantley’s, um, honest New York Times theater reviews, I have never seen such a glowing reaction as he had for South Pacific. Calling it flawless and “rapturous,” he reminds us all (amidst the swarm of jukebox musicals and celebrity casting gimmicks) just how great a show can be when it’s done right. Sometimes the classics stick around for a reason—you won’t know which famous tune to hum on the way out! (Shameless shout out to my friend Zach who’s in the show. Go and clap for that handsome sailor!)

Vivian Beaumont Theater • 150 West 65th Street
Tuesday @7pm
Wednesday-Saturday @8pm
Wednesday and Saturday @2pm
Sunday @3pm

Jersey BoysSpeaking of jukebox musicals… for a no-brainer choice of what every parent will love, look no further than the 2006 Tony Award winner for Best Musical: Jersey Boys. Mom and Dad can’t resist the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (“Sherry”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like a Man”, etc.) and you’ll love the concert energy too.

August Wilson Theatre • 245 West 52nd Street
Tuesday @7pm
Wednesday-Saturday @8pm
Wednesday and Saturday @2pm
Sunday @3pm

GypsyDespite the fact that Gypsy is inevitably about stripping, there’s nothing in it to warrant parental alarm. It’s the age-old story of the obsessed stage mother seeking more than just control, and it’s now in it’s, like, four-hundredth revival. But a pretty unbelievable group of actors makes the old material seem brand new. If you can, I’d try to see this one while the original cast (namely Patti LuPone) is still in it. Oh, and Ben really loved this one too.

St. James Theatre • 246 West 44th Street
Tuesday – Saturday @8pm
Wednesday and Saturday @2pm
Sunday @3pm

HairsprayI have to assume you’ve seen the Hairspray movie, or at least a commercial. Parents love reminiscing about the energy of the 1960’s, and as New York Magazine so perfectly put it, “So many numbers bring down the house, it’s a wonder the theatre is still standing!” My mom spent the rest of the night regaling us with hilarious teenager stories of sporting a blonde beehive and obsessing over American Bandstand. The happiest ending around—you can’t help but leave the theatre smiling.

Neil Simon Theatre • 250 West 52nd Street
Tuesday and Thursday @ 7pm
Wednesday @2 and 8pm
Friday @8pm
Saturday @2 and 8pm
Sunday @3pm

Mamma MiaI must admit it—I wasn’t looking forward to Mamma Mia. I was wary of listening to a bunch of random people cover ABBA songs for two hours. But somehow the brilliant producers managed to create a plot, albeit a corny one, that seamlessly incorporates ABBA songs as if they were written for the show. The contemporary Greek isles setting makes for a surprisingly “current” feeling despite the dated (but, admit it… fantastic) tunes. Check your self-consciousness at the door (especially for the final ABBA dancealong Megamix)—and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Winter Garden Theatre • 1634 Broadway
Wednesday @2 and 8pm
Thursday and Friday @8pm
Saturday @2 and 8pm
Sunday @2 and 7 pm

 
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