An Act of God Review: Is it Appropriate for Kids?

An Act of God with Sean Hayes. Photo copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
An Act of God with Sean Hayes.

If you’re not familiar with the premise of An Act of God, the show is basically a monologue with God coming to you through the physical body of an actor (in this case Sean Hayes). God riffs on a whole lot of things, including misconceptions about God and the 10 Commandments. And then he introduces a new set of 10 Commandments because he’s pretty sick of the old ones and never intended those to be his greatest hits.

Continue reading “An Act of God Review: Is it Appropriate for Kids?”

How to get tickets to Hamilton on Broadway

hamilton logoGiven all the kudos and (deserved) attention Hamilton on Broadway has received in the past six months alone (never mind the build-up to the Broadway opening), the big question is how to get tickets to Hamilton. I’m so glad I got mine already – I saw the show in September. My husband was horrified that I paid $120/seat for tickets in the second to last row of the balcony for a show he’d not yet heard of. I know, you’re shaking your head about how cheap $120 a ticket seems, even though the face value of the tickets was something like $46. No complaints. I’d love to see it again.

So to answer the question of how to get tickets to Hamilton for all my readers, here’s the scoop: Continue reading “How to get tickets to Hamilton on Broadway”

Review: Mad Libs Live with Kids

Our family is a big fan of Mad Libs. We play them a lot – on car trips, on plane trips, on line at the amusement park…But a Mad Libs Live show off-Broadway? How would that work? Well, we got to find out. Here’s our review of Mad Libs Live with kids!

Outside the theater, you can take pictures behind this oversized cut-out, and fill in the blanks. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Outside the theater, you can take pictures behind this oversized cut-out, and fill in the blanks. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The story:

Mad Libs Live features four stereotypical high school students: Continue reading “Review: Mad Libs Live with Kids”

Review: Behind the Magic Tour – Disney on Broadway

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll see I’m a big Broadway fan (see our reviews of Broadway shows and our family friendly Broadway show pageBroadway for kids). So I was super psyched at a recent Disney Social Media Moms On the Road conference to get the “Behind the Magic” tour at the New Amsterdam Theater.

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The New Amsterdam Theater is the oldest Broadway theater in NYC. It’s owned by the city of New York, but operated by the Disney Theatrical Productions. Photo by Deborah Abrams Kaplan

This tour is open to the public to those with or without Disney Broadway tickets Continue reading “Review: Behind the Magic Tour – Disney on Broadway”

Review: Is A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder Appropriate for Kids?

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder won the 2014 Tony award for best musical. So I had super high hopes. Overall I really enjoyed the show. The downside was that I only understood 75% of it, and I wasn’t alone.  My two theater companions also had difficulty understanding either the accents and the lyrics to many of the songs. We did get the gist of it, though.

Gentlemans-Guide

The plot

Monty Navarro is mourning the loss of his mother when a stranger tells him that his mother was a D’Ysquith (pronounced dies-quith), a well-known upper class family. If true (it is), that makes him ninth in line to become the earl of Highhurst, with all the money and prestige associated with that. While Monty doesn’t start out to off the other heirs, that’s exactly what happens, and this my friends, adds up to humor in the play. The drama comes from not knowing it he’ll succeed, and also whether he’ll get away with it (early and at the end we see Monty in prison). Continue reading “Review: Is A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder Appropriate for Kids?”

Review: Finding Neverland – is Finding Neverland Appropriate for Kids?

I’ll be honest that Finding Neverland on Broadway was initially not a show I wanted to see. Why? It’s about JM Barrie’s journey in writing Peter Pan. And I’m not a fan of Peter Pan. But I wanted to see one of the boys who plays a Davies brother (Alex Dreier) as I’m friends with his parents from our college days. And I went to see Billy Elliot when Alex was cast in the show, but he wasn’t performing that night (the kid actors take turns and you’re never quite sure who will on stage that night). The other reason was that I was doing an annual theater night with my writer friends during a conference. We took a vote as to what show to see, and Finding Neverland was at the top of everyone’s list.

finding neverland log

I’m so glad I went. The 20 or so in our group walked away raving about it. And we were all shocked that Finding Neverland didn’t get a single Tony nomination, because it was fabulous. It did win several audience choice awards from Broadway.com, including favorite new musical, favorite leading actor, favorite onstage pair and favorite new song. Continue reading “Review: Finding Neverland – is Finding Neverland Appropriate for Kids?”

Review: Hand to God – is Hand to God Appropriate for Kids?

Hand to God was one f-ed up bizarre play. Yet it was hilarious. This is not a show for children (please, please don’t bring your kids, not even your teens). In fact, I’d say this is not a show for many adults. It’s truly disturbing, and I say that even though I enjoyed it.

In a nutshell, this is a show about mother and son grieving the loss of their husband and dad, trying to get through the process partly by working on a church hand puppet show (“Christketeers”). While doing so, the teen son’s puppet (or is it the teen?) becomes possessed by the devil (or not). And the mom isn’t doing so well either. And herein lies the tension…and the jokes.

hand to god
Jason and Tyrone in Hand to God

 

The cast of five includes Steven Boyer who plays the grieving teen Jason, and his puppet Tyrone. There were no puppeteering gigs listed in Boyer’s bio. You would never know he wasn’t born doing this. Not only do you forget at many points that there’s only one person playing both roles (even though his mouth moves when the puppet talks), that puppet moved/acted so well that when the puppet came off, I fully expected it to get up and start moving and talking some more. Continue reading “Review: Hand to God – is Hand to God Appropriate for Kids?”

Review: It’s Only a Play – Appropriate for Kids?

My daughter and I continued our Superbowl Sunday tradition – of going to a Broadway show. This year it was It’s Only a Play, and I fretted a little over whether it was going to be appropriate for my 13 year old. My Zumba, instructor who saw it the weekend before (but after I got tickets) shook her head no and said, “language!” Well if that was it, then I was hopefully okay. More on that later.

its only a play

The plot: A group involved with a Broadway play production gather at the producer’s house for an opening night party, awaiting reviews. The group includes the wealthy producer, the playwright, the playwright’s male best friend who turned down the lead role, the female lead, the director, a critic and the hired coat boy. The play is set in the producer’s upstairs bedroom, while the party goes on behind the scenes.

While you don’t have to be a frequent theater goer to enjoy the play, it really helps a lot if Continue reading “Review: It’s Only a Play – Appropriate for Kids?”

Luggage storage in New York City

We spent a few days in New York City over Thanksgiving. On our last day, we would be finishing up in the Times Square area, taking either the bus or the train back to New Jersey. It made no sense to leave our luggage at the borrowed apartment across town. We weren’t going to lug it around with us all day, and we didn’t think a hotel (given all the security issues these days) would randomly take someone’s luggage for the day, if they’re not a guest.

I did some research and it turns out there are plenty of luggage storage options outside of hotels, in the New York City area. My sister pointed me to Penn Station, where she usually keeps her bags when going into the city for fun time, before heading to the airport. And that’s where we went.

Amtrak has a luggage storage area (see photo below), in the main waiting area between gates 5 and 6. Technically it’s for Amtrak customers only, but they didn’t ask me for a ticket or proof that I was going on Amtrak, nor did they ask my sister the four times she stashed luggage there. Continue reading “Luggage storage in New York City”

Review: The Ride in New York City

I really thought my family was going to leave me when they saw The Ride bus. I saw this “experience” advertised on Goldstar for a very low amount, and thought I should review it for my loyal readers. While I’d seen this bus in Manhattan, apparently no one else in my family had, which is probably a very good thing or they would not have agreed to go.  As a blogger and travel journalist, they’ve done a lot with me in the name of a review (including a fabulous ziplining experience at Mountain Creek, I reminded them). They gave me the benefit of the doubt, and boarded the bus, in spite of having to catch it by Chevy’s on 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, yes the middle of the Tourist Zone, and a block from Times Square.

This state-of-the-art bus has three rows of seats facing out the side of the bus. The almost floor to ceiling windows allow people outside to see you, and you them.
This state-of-the-art bus has three rows of seats facing out the side of the bus. The almost floor to ceiling windows allow people outside to see you, and you them.

Let’s start with a good question: What is The Ride? It’s part New York City tour, part performance art, part improv comedy act and part technology entertainment. Huh? I’ll be including some spoilers here, so if you don’t want to know any more, you probably should stop reading. I’ll explain as we go.

They seat you with your group on The Ride.
They seat you with your group on The Ride. You all face sideways.

The bus is like the inside of a really tacky limo (without the booze), Continue reading “Review: The Ride in New York City”