Good afternoon, this is W42ST Lifestyle Editor Sarah Beling with “Make Way For The Weekend” — your curated guide to the best of New York events in one convenient newsletter!
I knew I was going to cry at Signature Theatre’s Letters from Max. Sitting in the dark watching Sarah Ruhl’s heart-wrenching, harrowing and sometimes hilarious meditation on her real-life mentorship and friendship with the late writer Max Ritvo, I not only felt the care and depth of her thoughtfully told tale, but couldn’t help but let my mind wander to this same time last year when I was with another brilliant writer.
We met at Kashkaval Garden for happy hour, sharing good wine and good hummus and great conversation, neither of us having the faintest idea that we would never see each other again. After he shared an encyclopedia’s worth of incredible ideas and projects, he turned to me and asked me what I was working on. Impulsively, I spat out the germ of an idea — the one I hadn’t told anyone yet — and then quickly followed up with my well-practiced series of qualifications and excuses as to why I hadn’t done anything about it. “I think,” he said, taking a sip of his Cabernet, “that you should absolutely write it.”
This isn’t a tidy story where I immediately sprint up 9th Avenue to my computer and sit down to crank out my Great American Play, acutely aware of creative urgency and life’s ephemera. I carried on, as I too often do, with the confidence that I could always start my passion project tomorrow. That life is infinite and unyielding to sickness or death, rather than circumscribed and curtailed for reasons beyond our control.
But sitting in the audience last week, I was reminded not only of all these things — perhaps, the reason we find communion in the shared experience of a dark theater — but also of an important lesson from someone who really understood the urgency of taking that next step. Whatever it is, you should absolutely write it.
🍷 what’s the password
There’s no denying, actors make the best tour guides. Who better to add a little intrigue and flair to your history lesson than a show business veteran? W42ST recently got the chance to tag along with one such tour guide, try new drinks, and learn the history of Prohibition in Hell’s Kitchen with Telltale Tours, a company started by New York actor Rory Lipede and featuring nightly cocktail tours of the area’s speakeasies and historic bars. We recommend it — because isn’t learning a good excuse to drink??? We say yes.
I love a backstage drama, and am therefore mightily intrigued by 59E59 Theater’s According to the Chorus beginning Thursday March 23, which tells the tale of a Broadway battle between 1980s chorus girls and their dressers. It’s also starring Broadway royalty Karen Ziemba, who despite being a Tony Award winner is still a vastly underappreciated treasure, IMO. Let’s go!!
🎭 attend the tale (sorry, i had to)
One could argue that Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the original viral crime show. Featuring a lush, sweeping, romantic score that plays over (not a spoiler) a barber slitting people’s throats, it is somehow gut-achingly funny, heart-wrenchingly-sad and f******* weird — exactly how I like my musicals. Go see the revival playing now on Broadway for all of the above PLUS Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford!!!!!
🎨 beautiful batik
Stop by the Museum of Arts and Design this Sunday March 5 for their all-ages Studio Sunday: Batiking Cloth workshop, where participants will learn the ancient tradition and historical legacy of wax-resist dyeing from resident artist Reade Bryan and make their own designs to take home!
🖼 the outsiders
Make sure to stop by New York’s annual Outsider Art Fair, a yearly celebration of creators working outside the box, showing tonight March 2 through Sunday March 5 in Chelsea. Check out featured exhibits like The Life and Death of Elvis Presley or the eccentric paintings in We Are Birds.
🎭 spring cleaning
“Jet lagged, without warning, Danny is summoned from NYC by his brother Jacob to Florida. Their mother has 24 hours to vacate their childhood home. The problem is, their mother is a hoarder and the house is an indoor trash heap.” Thus begins the world premiere of Matthew McLachlan’s THIS G*D DAMN HOUSE, opening at The Chain Theatre Wednesday March 15 in what is sure to be a revealing drama.
🎶celebrating female writers
It’s frankly fairly depressing how few female musical theater writers receive proper commercial and critical attention — let’s fix that!! Go see Women of the Wings at 54 Below Saturday March 4 for a full evening of tunes from female composers and lyricists, just in time for Women’s History Month.
Dance down to Le Poisson Rouge tonight, March 2 to see TABLAO: An Intimate Flamenco Experience. The social-performance atmosphere takes place on LPR’s dance floor for an up-close look at the performers’ artistry!
🚶♀️the king and you
One of New York’s absolute hidden gems, the ornate and incredibly restored Kings Theatre hosts historic tours Saturday March 11 and Tuesday March 21 for a behind-the-scenes peek at the 3,055-seat auditorium and its baroque Robert Morgan Wonder Organ.
🎤read it and weep (with laughter)
Join comedians and podcast co-hosts Spencer Henry and Madison Reyes as they journey through the strangest (and occasionally scathing) obituaries they’ve encountered from their podcast OBITCHUARY Live! Friday March 3 at The Bell House in Brooklyn.
Fresh off of his Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning A Strange Loop streak, writer Michael R Jackson debuts new musical White Girl in Danger which, contrary to popular belief, is not about the little online shopping problem I had in 2016 but rather a “fever dream mashup of classic daytime and primetime soap operas, Lifetime movies and red-hot melodrama” mixed with sharply accurate social and racial commentary. Check it out beginning Wednesday March 15 at The Vineyard Theatre.
🎤seasoned comics, new material
Stop by Phoebe (Robinson) and Calise (Hawkins) Thot They Were Gonna Be Hella Famous By Now Monday March 13 at Union Hall for an evening of new material from Robinson, Hawkins and friends working out new jokes. They promise it will be “messy AF”, which is exactly how I run my life.
🔥 Hot tip
If you’re looking for a cool new wine bar and jazz club where you feel like you’ve known the owners for years and everyone wants to be friends, The Purple Tongue is your new go-to. We stopped in the other day and immediately made friends with Peter, Marni and Otis — go for a glass of wine and tell them we sent ya!
⚠️ Omg I forgot to tell you
The Actors Studio is hosting a free view into their process this weekend March 3 and March 4
MOMA’s Uniqlo-sponsored Free Friday is back Friday March 3!
Check out a free comedy show at Rockwood Music Hall tonight!
There’s a screening of Singin’ in the Rain Saturday March 11 and Sunday March 12 at the Museum of the Moving Image.
SZA plays Madison Square Garden Sunday March 5
That’s it for now! Call me beep me if you want to reach me! (email@example.com)
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