On Tuesday, July 1st, our oldest daughter turned 11. We are not a family that does birthday parties any more elaborate than a family cake, so the kids tend to get some pretty great gifts. This year, I bought 4 tickets to see Grease on Broadway! I know, I'm a great mom :)
We decided to take an early train so we could gawk at the excess of Times Square and have a leisurely meal. We were also meeting my sister and brother in law who came in from Philadelphia for the day. But of course, the best laid plans... apparently there were brush fires near the tracks in Brentwood that day so we didn't end up getting in to Penn Station until nearly 4:30pm. Due to our delay I hailed a cab rather than walk the 14 blocks; and dear husband very politely requested she and I not take the subway alone (but that's another post!).
So we met my sister at Toys R Us, and poor daughter was having complete sensory overload and an uncharacteristic case of the "I want that"'s; but we left without a purchase and all is well.
A friend had told me earlier in the day about restaurant row, which seems really obvious now but was previously unknown to this farm girl. It was like Mecca! My sister and I walked up and down with our tongues hanging out just imagining all the possibilities if it had just been she and I. While dear daughter have a wide pallate, it was hot and she was tired so we played it a bit safe.
We chose The Joshua Tree, which had a crazy Prix Fixe offer: a glass of wine, soup or salad, any entree, dessert, coffee or tea.... for $25.95!!!! Jackpot!!! We got a chicken Marsala with steamed broccoli, a NY Strip topped with Stilton over broccoli rabe and roasted fingerling potatoes, and a grilled shrimp risotto . The risotto was underseasoned, but perfectly cooked. Everything else was delicious. The children's menu ($6.95!!!) offered JR penne with grilled chicken and a side of onion rings along with a drink and dessert!!!!
Oh, the dessert. Included with our meal was a trio of homemade sorbets; pomegranete-blueberry, mango and coconut...heaven in a frozen dish. We also shared a chocolate fondue platter with rice crispy treats, bananas, strawberries and marshmellows for dipping...incredible.
We then walked the block and a half to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre for the show. Anyone alive the the 70's has to have memories of belting out one of those iconic songs to the sounds of a scratchy record player. The show was exciting from start to finish, although the talent was more of an off Broadway caliber. If you recall, this show was cast via an American Idol like television show, and that is kind of obvious. The actors are talented, no doubt, but this is Broadway and expectations are high. Speaking of American Idol, the part of the Teen Angel who counsels Frenchie to go back to High School is being played by Taylor Hicks. He has definitely had some voal training since his own American Idol days and his performance was great. But there were some harmonica parts written in which were clearly an afterthought once he was cast. A phenomenal musical performance, but not congruent with the overall tenor of Grease.
I got front row mezzanine seats on my daughter's birthday for more than $40 less than rear mezzanine prices. If you are fortunate enough to find excellent seats at a great price I would definitely recommend this show, it was entertaining and engaging and we found ourselves smiling A LOT!!!!! But don't pay Broadway prices for the show as it is currently casted, wait for the movie :)