When I left the Hilton on 42nd Street at 1:30pm, it was snowing heavily. Wow, I thought. Eight blocks in this mess to the theater. Theater on the Square is a smaller venue, on the round, adjacent to the Gershwin Theater on 50th St. off Broadway. It took about 20 minutes to navigate the snow. Not too difficult when it’s fresh you know. I shook off my coat, stomped my shoes and settled into my seat.
When you enter the theater for the performance of Lombardi, youcan’t help but notice there is a different feel. For the first time in memory, people were taking pictures in the lobby, which is covered with Green Bay Packer memorabilia and pictures of Coach Vince Lombardi, the man who made the Packers a legend.
The show was brilliant, a look at a fascinating man, the players he coached and the times they lived in (the play takes place in 1965). As a sports fanatic who has a moderate interest in football, I was absolutely mesmerized. 90 minutes later, I had wiped tears from my eyes twice, laughed a hearty laugh a number of times and learned a lot about The Coach. It was one of the best investments of an hour and a half in recent memory. If you are a football fan over 45, you simply must see this show.
When I left the theater, the snow had stopped. The air was crisp. The walk home over eight blocks was a little tougher, as the snow was coated in ice. Time for a cup of soup, a quick look at e-mail and a nap at my hotel before the evening half of my entertainment doubleheader.
By 7:15pm, the snow had returned with a vengeance. Except now is was freezing rain. The theater was…you guessed it, eight blocks again. (How did I manage that twice in one day?) With the sting of the rain in my face and the sidewalks becoming increasingly slick, I was glad I’d brought my gloves, boots and winter scarf.
At the Winter Garden Theater, the curtain was about to go up on Mamma Mia! While I’ve seen this show many times, I love the music and I don’t care if it’s the corniest story since Oklahoma…it works. It still works, nearly a decade after it moved into the Winter Garden after Cats! finished its record-setting run. The songs of Abba, the story of a young girl trying to discover which of three men is her father before her wedding is light and fun. The audience still loves the show, after it’s been in every theater and on every screen in the country. Because it’s Broadway. It’s spectacular. It’s the best of the best. And I love it all.
When they threw open the doors after the show, a winter wonderland appeared. It had snowed several inches while we were inside, and now, New Yorkers were presented with an interesting challenge. No taxi cabs were in sight. The look of panic on many faces was unmistakable. I made my way back home on foot, through Times Square, dusted with a fresh blast of white powder. It was so beautiful the eight blocks flew past. New York has never looked better.
God, I love Broadway.
For more on my Broadway doubleheader, and my thoughts on the controversial Spiderman show I saw Thursday evening, listen to The Travel Guys, Sunday at 2pm on KFBK 1530AM. Visit The Travel Guys online at www.travelguysradio.com!