I saw "Marie and Rosetta"

What I saw: Marie and Rosetta” at the Linda Gross Theater of the Atlantic Theater Company, off-Broadway in Chelsea at 336 West 20th Street in New York City.

What I wore: striped Façonnable linen  blouse that I bought on sale at Nordstrom in Seattle at least ten years ago, white rag & bone jeans that now have a six inch long, faint brown stain on the right thigh, that new white belt I had made for horse showing, the new glasses that make me look so much like my mother people make fun of me for it, gray Puma sneakers, old tan Coach purse, mascara.


What I did beforehand: tapas, subway ride downtown E to 23rd Street, cappuccino at Grumpy’s.

Who went with me: a grumpy Bacon Provider.
How I got tickets: I subscribed to the Atlantic Theater Company’s new season of shows online.

Why I saw this show: I saw their productions of “Hold On to Me Darling” and “The Purple lights of Joppa Illinois” and both were excellent.

Where I sat: row E seat 8 



Things that were sad: some of you may not have ever heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and you should have. 

Things that were funny: a lot of things made me laugh.

Things that were not funny: sometimes I felt like I was the only person laughing.

What it is: an excellent musical, featuring the songs and life story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, performed without intermission, lasting 90 minutes. 

Who should see it: lovers of gospel music, fans of the blues, students of American popular song, supporters of Black Lives Matter, people who liked “Hamilton,” children of mothers, feminists, squirrels, women.

What I saw on the way home: we tried to catch an uptown C or E train at 23rd Street, but they weren’t running. A pair of signs, one handwritten and the other printed held the confusing news that we should cross the street and take a downtown train to 14th Street and then catch an uptown A, which was running express to 42nd. We instead hailed a dented cab on 8th Avenue. Our manically cheerful driver kept us sitting in stunned and fearful silence as we bucketed up the 22 blocks, snaking westward on West 29th at alarming speed. 

To get back to Bedford Hills, we fetched the car from the garage at the apartment we moved out of this week, an event marking the end of another sad, weird chapter in our bad New York adventure. But anyway we have the garage spot for maybe three more days at the point so we used it. Up the Saw Mill Parkway, we listened to some of Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War memoir, “If I Die in a Combat Zone,” which is peppy and irreverent and darkly funny, and when we got home and into bed we had no choice but to go online and read about Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Both the Bacon Provider and I stayed up way, way past our bedtime, until two or two-thirty, looking at YouTube videos of her, singing and playing guitar in her high heels and church lady dresses. My, oh, my.


I saw "Hamilton"

What I saw: “Hamilton,” a musical at the Richard Rodgers Theater, on West 46th between 7th and 8th Avenue.

What I wore: black Brooks Brothers no-iron cotton blouse with 3/4-length sleeves, stretch denim capri James jeans, black Puma suede sneakers, short black SmartWool socks, gold Victorian earrings I wore in my wedding, gold bead Tiffany necklace, my grandmother’s square face Longines wristwatch, mascara, excited grin.

On the TV, Olympic swimming
What I did beforehand: dropped off my watch for repair, had lunch at Fig & Olive (where I complained they didn’t serve eggs), watched the NYPD herding the excited and disappointed crowd at end of the live lottery in front of the theater, stopped for a pre-theater cocktail at the unexpectedly not inadequate Brasserie Athenée (corner of W 46th and 8th).

Who went with me: the Bacon Provider.

How I got tickets: though I half-heartedly played the Hamilton online lottery a few times, I bought these tickets online, through Ticketmaster’s re-sale option, about a month ago; the  price printed on the tickets is $175 (each) for the seats plus $2 handling. I paid about $1100 (each) for the seats, with a $200 fee for handling the re-sale. 

Why I saw this show: because everyone made such a big deal about it. I even read Ron Chernow’s book about Hamilton, which inspired the show. I found the book a good read, but ultimately depressing, because our founding fathers made terrible choices.

Where I sat: Front Row, Mezzanine, seat A 2. In my opinion the best place to see this show. (One of the reasons I was willing to spend soooo much money on this show was because these seats were available).

Don’t worry about which cast you see.
The performers are all spectacularly talented.

Things that were sad: our founding fathers were petty, egotistical, adulterous nitwits with anger management issues.

Things that were funny: our founding fathers were petty, egotistical, adulterous nitwits with anger management issues.

Things that were not funny: the show is almost three hours, including a fifteen minute intermission. The Richard Rodgers Theater has narrow public areas that become very congested before and after and during intermission and has howlingly inadequate restrooms. People brought small children to this show, some dressed as horrifying, tiny, be-wigged, tricorned, enlightenment-era patriotic props, as if such cos-play might win a door prize.

What it is: the most important and acclaimed American musical of the past twenty-plus years. Yes, it is as good as they say. 

Who should see it: bastards, Americans, students of American history, sisters, fans of American musical theater, rappers, revolutionaries, Federalists, Jeffersonians, duelists. 

They put bee pollen on it.
What I saw on the way home: we got dinner at the Marshal, a tiny and bustling restaurant offering skillfully prepared, locally-sourced, delicious food on 10th Avenue, near West 45th (reservations recommended). Some of the staff consider us regulars, and when they saw the “Hamilton” programs in our hands, I told them we’d seen it to celebrate because, “We’ve been married 30 fucking years,” which they thought was pretty awesome. So awesome, they surprised us with champagne and dessert at the end of our meal. We may have had the last word, though, with the tip. 


I saw “Fun Home”

What I saw: “Fun Home,” a musical based on the graphic novel/memoir by Alison Bechdel, at the Circle in the Square Theater,  a “Broadway” theatre in midtown Manhattan at 235 West 50th Street in the Paramount Plaza building.

What I wore: favorite jeans (slightly dirty) that now have three snags on the left thigh from Schwartz sharpening his claws on me when I go to the bathroom,  limited edition Swash Puma sneakers with short black socks, white Lululemon tank top, collarless white linen Garnet Hill tunic-length blouse that I love despite it having no pockets (and it would be so much better with pockets) that I trot out once a year for a beach vacation or hot summer night which I realized as I put it on and noticed a very old rust stain on the cuff that is from 1997 because it was a gift from my mother-in-law when I was pregnant with my youngest who turned 19 recently.


What I did beforehand: got coffee and showed my friend and her girlfriend the view from our apartment.

Who went with me: a friend who goes back to 1997, her girlfriend, and my oldest child, a.k.a., The Graduate.


How I got tickets: online, full price, when I heard the show was closing at the end of summer.

Why I saw this show: my friend was what we call “straight” from 1997 until fairly recently, when she had an epiphany that she was “fishing from the wrong pond.” We are very happy to see her so happy, and we like her girlfriend, and after we saw another play together I mentioned this play, without saying, “Oh, you know, the lesbian coming-of-age musical?” and neither of them had heard of it. So I thought they needed to see it, and I actually asked them not to read about it and they didn’t. So I got to surprise my lesbian friends with a really great coming-of-age lesbian musical.

Where I sat: Row B, seat 237, behind a woman with short hair who checked in on Facebook beforehand, and her daughter with short hair who did a lot of hugging when it was over. 

Things that were sad: while there are funny moments in the story, there are a lot of sad things, too.


Things that were funny: probably the funniest scene is the kids playing in the Fun Home.

Things that were not funny: it closes September 10. 

What it is: a musical, based on a graphic novel/memoir that it manages to distill the important and complicated good parts without over-simplifying. Iy is one hour and 40 minutes long, without intermission.

Who should see it: mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, men and women, women and women, lesbians, people who know lesbians, people who don’t know any lesbians, people who went to college, people with parents.


What I saw on the way home: the best burger I’ve had in NYC, at Bareburger. We also had onion rings.

I saw "Bright Star"


What I saw: “Bright Star” at the Cort Theater, on W 45th St between 6th and 7th Avenues



What I wore: Dirty jeans. A shirt of my mother’s from the 80s. That Zara cardigan. The noisy boots. 

What I did beforehand:  ate a hamburger and drank a beer.



Who went with me: a lot of white people


How I got tickets: yesterday, using my phone, with special pricing 

Why I saw this show: I was promised bluegrass music

Where I sat: Row H, Seat 9, on the left, behind this woman with like a humungous head and pretty much giant hair that was blonde on the outside and caramel-nougat-colored on the inside and she had like fallen asleep on a train today or something so she had this total sort of bed-head in the back. Actually, it was like she had another face on the back of her head, and it was trying to see, and it was looking at me instead of the show.

Things that were sad: the woman next to me was crying in response to the last song; both of the women behind me were crying, too.

Things that were funny: that I went to a show billed for its sweetness and sentimentality

Things that were not funny: there was an unnecessary banjo joke, and a pretty tasteless joke about the use of “they” as a singular person pronoun.

What it is: a musical in two acts, with an intermission. Smooth, shiny and polished, with masterful staging and seamless transitions. The band is onstage, and the actors voices were amplified to near-perfection, although this night I witnessed three glitches.  

Who should see it: people who like their Broadway musicals flavored with American country music, people who like really, really happy endings, people who reminisce about an imaginary American past where the south was just a string of charming small towns, like precious pearls on a string, full of white, God-fearing people just trying to live respectably.


What I saw on the way home: people, cabs, an ambulance, trash.


I saw "American Psycho"

What I saw: “American Psycho” at the Schoenfeld Theater on W 45th between 8th and 9th Avenues


What I wore: Chinese-made Australian boots, favorite jeans that are not as comfy when they’re clean, purple Eileen Fisher t-shirt and sweater that I usually save to wear on trips but I haven’t really been traveling since last May, yellow striped scarf that seems to have a new snag, black Barbour quilted parka that I did not wear at all this winter because it was in the wrong closet. 

What I did beforehand: wholly unnecessary lost-keys panic 

Who went with me: strangers, including Christian Slater

How I got tickets: online just a couple of days ago

Why I saw this show: because I could see it on a Monday and I thought I wouldn’t like it 


Where I sat: second row, center

Things that were sad: the 80s are now like this cool, funny era of the past that people seek out the fashions of

Things that were funny: the 80s are now like this cool, funny era of the past that people seek out the fashions of

Things that were not funny: The main character is played by Benjamin Walker, who smolders in his underwear and in his 80s suits, performing with such colossal finesse and restraint he punctuates a song with the slow raising of his eyes. I thought I’d seen the best performance from a male lead already this year, in “Prodigal Son,” but this one guy’s performance blew my fucking mind. The second act wasn’t as strong as the first. Whatever. Oh, but there was blood splashed on the ceiling of the set in the first act, and I kept looking at it in the second act, the way your tongue won’t stay away from the gap left by a broken tooth.

It’s there.

What it is: a musical, running two hours and forty minutes with an intermission 

Who should see it: people who can tolerate blood spurting at the audience from behind a taught, clear vinyl curtain; anyone who ever wanted to see anyone killed with a kitchen knife or an axe; underwear aficionados; 80s-music lovers; fans of 80s fashion; those with an appreciation for funny horror movies; the fanatical guy who sat behind me who introduced himself to me by quoting lines from the movie; people who need two or more Donald Trump jokes in their musicals. 


What I saw on the way home: it was windy and there was trash all over the Saw Mill Parkway. Plastic bags. Broken chunks of styrofoam. Cups with lids and straws. I hit something and it stayed under my car for many miles, breaking free and making noise in a startling way.

I saw "The King & I"

What I saw: “The King & I” at the Lincoln Center Theater, on W 65th in NYC

What I wore: favorite dirty jeans, Chinese-made Australian boots, new Brooks Brother floral blouse, tan cardigan, yellow striped scarf that I think I bought at one of those gifty shops at U Village in Seattle a couple of lifetimes ago, black Baker-plaid trimmed quilted jacket

What I did beforehand: disregarded recent filings by the Department of Labor and went to B&H to buy headphones that don’t go in my ears for listening to audiobooks when I vacuum because the in-ear ones from Apple deliver regular shocks from static electricity; walked 31 blocks up 9th Ave from 34th to 65th; stopped and ate hummus with dry pita at American Table at Alice Tully Hall where my three dollar tip was noted with a hearty “Thank you.”


Who went with me: My cousin (the one who requested I see “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time“) texted me a couple of months ago, saying she and her husband would be in town, and that she had gotten tickets to “The King & I” on this night. 

How I got tickets: online, full-price
Why I saw this show: see “Who went with me,” above

I could have vomited into the pit

Where I sat: Row C, seat 403, in the front row on the end. I had a view of the orchestra pit beforehand, and regular eye-contact with the bassoonist. 


Things that were sad: I was an alto in the chorus, starting in junior high school, and we sang a medley of the best songs in this musical. As the exquisitely talented Kelli O’Hara sang the opening phrase of the first song (“Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect, and whistle a happy tune…”), I began to cry. I also cried during “Hello, Young Lovers,” which I thought was a stupid song in 7th grade, and during, “Shall We Dance?” 

Things that were funny: Afterward, I asked my brother about some of the things I was uncomfortable about in this musical, and he said:

There are only three ideas white people have about black and brown people–1) how to get things/labor from them2) how to save them from themselves 3) how to protect us from them 

Things that were not funny: How do I see a show like this and not talk about the “barbaric” King of Siam being rescued by insistent teachings of the spunky and opinionated English woman? Or about the fact that Asia is a huge continent, but any Asian face passes for Thai (or Burmese) on an America stage? Or about the broad and sometimes unintelligible accents? The underwear gags? 

What it is: A Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that gets revived regularly for the Broadway-musical-loving world. It is nicely staged in this venue. The singing and dancing were great. And it was nice to see my cousin and her husband.

Who should see it: men (there was a very long line to the cramped maze that is the women’s restroom before the show, and an even longer line at intermission), people who can hold their pee 

What I saw on the way home: seven mounted NYPD officers, riding up 10th Avenue in formation

The best way to go uptown

And I lost a glove.

I saw "The Wildness"

What I saw: Sky Pony’s “The Wildness” at Ars Nova, on W 54th, off-off-Broadway 

What I wore: favorite jeans, boots, scarf given to me by an old Seattle friend that I’ve lost touch with, long cardigan; you have to check your coat because the venue is small. 

Ars Nova (projected sign on building across W 54th)

What I did beforehand: ate a hotdog  
Who went with me: The Bacon Provider 
How I got tickets: online 

Why I saw this show: I read a review that made it sound a little weird and stupid and like something I needed to see

Where I sat: on a sofa in the section labeled “COAT,” our names written on pieces of tape. If you go, get a “premium” seat on the sofas, and don’t volunteer to be one of the “Brave Ones.”

Things that were sad: the songs were better than the business connecting them
Things that were funny: sequined underwear, lyrics 

Your ticket is a blindfold

Things that were not funny: the Bacon Provider sitting down, looking around accusingly, pulling out his phone and looking up a review of the show and saying, “Oh, God.” This entertaining and somewhat insubstantial show was neither as bad as its bad reviews, nor as good as its good reviews.

What it is: While it is billed as an alt-rock fairy tale, I would say it’s an indy-pop show, with fascinating costumes, candy, blindfolds, cool lighting effects, decent music that wasn’t too loud, and sporadically charming choreography.

Who should see it: fans of Sky Pony


What I saw on the way home: The Food King, with its sign reading, “WE DELIVERY”

Later that night I dreamed Backup Singer/Handmaiden #1 was living in my yard, at the bottom of a steep ravine. I recognized her by her red-blue wig. I gave her some clothes, and promised her food, and climbed a ladder through the shower to get back in my house.