Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

What are you going to do in NYC? Go see Chicago.

One of my favourite things about our NYC trip was Chicago

lol so the above conversation happened more than once with a very puzzled look each time.  Of course the clarification is "go see the musical Chicago", but that's not nearly as amusing.   I *really* wanted to go to a Broadway show while we were in NYC.  Billy Joel was C's bday gift; broadway was my Xmas one (thanks Mum and Dad!).   I debated for a long time about one I'd seen before (Wicked is a favourite of mine) or seeing something new, and on brand, I went with new.  There was one playing when I started planning all this called Bad Cinderella -- it was Andrew Lloyd Webber (think Phantom of the Opera or Evita) and obviously a fairy-tale retelling, which has always been a thing of mine (at one point I wrote a thesis on variations of Beauty and the Beast lol -- I don't even remember anymore what the point was, but the art of retelling a known story in a new way has always fascinated me).

Anyways - unfortunately (or maybe not), the show closed in June.   My awesome tickets were refunded but now I was Broadway-less :(.  Boooo.   I waited a while partially cause I was very disappointed and partially cause I was super-busy.  But eventually I decided I needed to pick something new.  I seriously considered Wicked again, but both A - I'd still already seen it, and B - I really didn't think C would like it (not that he would've liked BC either, but I had decided something I really wanted for my gift might be worth him sucking up, but if I wasn't passionate about it, I should prob target something we would both enjoy).  So anyways - in the end I decided on Chicago.  I was super excited to go to the theatre, but ambivalent about the actual musical.  I'd never seen it live, only the movie version, and was kinda meh on it.

Well let me tell you -- not meh anymore!   The show was absolutely amazing.  I'm not convinced I can explain in words just how good it was, but I'll try to give some of the highlights:

- all costumes were all black.  There was almost no set decoration (ladders on either side and a door).  No extras.  Which meant everything was reliant on the performer's skill. And they nailed it!

- the orchestra was onstage (arguably they were the set decoration?). One violinist and the piano player were below the conductor; the piano player could still see him, but the violinist definitely could not.  The violinist interacted/reacted/added some colour to the performers' performance, but if the leads hadn't been SUPER strong, the conductor would've stolen the show.   He was a riot and often interacted directly with the woman who was playing Roxy.

No photos during the show obviously,
but before and after were fair game :)

- Roxy definitely felt free to break the fourth wall occasionally and also to interact with the conductor.  Until she engaged the audience, I would've assumed all the conductor portions were scripted, but now - while I still suspect they mostly are, I'm not 100% convinced.   The audience portion in one case involved pausing a highly sexual song to acknowledge a child in the 3rd row who was potentially too young to be listening to this ;-P.  When they figured out he was 12, she deemed it acceptable and moved on lol.   She had also invited him onstage though -- part of me wonders what would've happened if he'd accepted!   Given that anywhere she chose to play were either parts with no song or parts with an easily repeatable phrase, my guess is they give her some leeway to play as long as it doesn't disrupt the rest of the show.  She was also the only one doing it -- the other performers were very much in their story as one would expect.

- the other lead, Val, stayed more on script but was super impressive with it.  And side note: omg am I ever envious of her muscle tone.  Wow - shoulders and arms to dream of - fitness goals.  I know it shouldn't matter, but wow.  More importantly, I loved how the two women played off each other; parallel routines vs partner routines depending on where we were in the story and whether or not they theoretically knew each other.   And facial expressions - our seats were close enough to see clearly and wow, they nailed every nuance of every reaction.   And when it was appropriate, made it seem like they were having a blast out there.   Real or good acting?  If you can't tell, does it matter?

- as you probably ascertained from above, our seats were *amazing*.   Fourth row from the stage, reasonably close to centre.  And luckily nobody super tall in front!  It was an older theatre so no such thing as stadium seating and the seats were definitely packed in, but the view was good, the AC effective, so all good.  

View from our seats before the performance started

It was So. Much. Fun.  So much more than the film version.  Am super energized now :)

After Chicago we hit up an open late restaurant with ridiculously giant sized deserts just cause we could :)

*edited after to add:* so apparently our giant desert place is a pretty standard tourist thing 😂. When we went to NY NY later, there were signs for how to get there from other theatres ;)

Giant and tasty post-show deserts


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