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.


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, 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”

Review: If/Then on Broadway – Appropriate for Kids?

I will admit that the main draw to me getting If/Then on Broadway tickets was to see/hear Idina Menzel perform. And the concept of the show interested me too – a look at one woman’s life depending on which choices she made. Like in the movie Sliding Doors.

if then logo

The gist is that 38 year old Elizabeth moves back to New York City from Phoenix (my hometown – they had a few jokes at the city’s expense). She’s out of a relationship and looking for work. The show goes back and forth between two different scenarios: she takes a job as an urban planner or she takes a job as a professor. She hooks up with a stranger/soldier she meets in the park and gets married and has kids. Or she hooks up with her former best friend, has an abortion, loses him and lives a spinster life for a few years. Continue reading “Review: If/Then on Broadway – Appropriate for Kids?”

Review: Avengers at Discovery Times Square with Kids

We love going to the shows at Discovery Times Square, and were excited about the world premier of Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., because it involves superheroes and was high tech.


In case you’re wondering (because I was), S.T.A.T.I.O.N. stands for Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network. I won’t be typing it out that way in the future. Too much!

The first thing you’ll do when you get there (aside from getting your tickets and checking your bags) is to go to a computer kiosk and print out an identification card. Don’t think too hard about this, because I’m not sure they actually use any of the information, other than pulling up your name once or twice in the exhibit (more later). My husband chose the name Thunderbutt Jones, just because. Also, while I put in my email address, I didn’t get any emails within one week – so not sure what that’s about. It’s good I’m not getting spam, but I thought I’d get some kind of results emailed to me.


Continue reading “Review: Avengers at Discovery Times Square with Kids”

Review: Newsies – good for kids?

We were kicking ourselves for not seeing Newsies the musical, when it made its pre-Broadway debut at the Paper Mill Playhouse. And it was the one Broadway show my son wanted to see (not sure why – he doesn’t know the story). I heard good things about it – from adults who went sans children – and was excited to take the kids to a show where boys were the lead. Last time we went to a show, we saw Annie, with all girls. And Billy Elliot – which was mostly girls.

newsies stage

Bottom line: We enjoyed the show, but it didn’t blow us away. The show is high energy with some great dancing and good musical numbers (it won 2012 Tony awards for choreography and musical score).

The story line is a good one for kids. Continue reading “Review: Newsies – good for kids?”

Review: Big Fish on Broadway – appropriate for kids?

big fish 2

When my parents were coming in town, we wanted to find a Broadway show that they would like (my parents don’t always like the same theater), along with my 10 and 12 year old  kids. It was a tough thing to find something that would appeal to everyone. Fortunately for us, Big Fish the musical was beginning its previews, and we went to its second show not knowing virtually anything about it aside from the synopsis we read online (we hadn’t seen the Tim Burton movie).  The show officially opens October 5.

big fish 3

The plot: The Broadway musical stars Norbert Leo Butz as Edward Bloom (who I last saw in Catch Me if You Can), a father whose big stories border on fantasy and frustrate his son, a realist who wants to understand who his father is. Bobby Steggert stars as his adult son Will Bloom, and Kate Baldwin stars as Edward’s wife Sandra. The show focuses on Edward, and bounces back and forth between his aging self (dying of cancer), and his life leading up to it. He was a big-man-on-campus (or rather a big fish in a small pond – to go with the Big Fish title) growing up in small town Alabama. Everything he did was grand, though not always successful. He made a life for himself, befriending giants, hunting witches, working for the circus, luring fish from the rivers, and living larger than life. Continue reading “Review: Big Fish on Broadway – appropriate for kids?”