Once I went to see a musical with my friend Ricky. Afterwards, we were looking for a place in the theater district to have coffee and dessert and I suggested Joe Allen.
“Oh Adam,” he said, “What are you? An old man? Nobody eats at Joe Allen.”
But I persisted and we sat and had coffee and dessert and who walks in? CHITA RIVERA. Ricky was stunned. (Ok, this story is really gay.) I felt vindicated.
Then, this past Friday, I went with Jason and Lisa to see an adorable musical: “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” A musical about a spelling bee—and it was a riot. Book by William Finn, Directed by James Lapine. Oh, and who was there that night? William Finn and James Lapine. (We saw them sitting in the back row). (My first stage appearance in college was in William Finn’s “Falsettos”: I played Jason, a precocious Jewish boy about to get Bar Mitzvahed. I think I was typecast).
Afterwards, Jason, Lisa and I settled on Joe Allen’s, of course.
Now, I’m not going to lie—Joe Allen’s is good for one thing and one thing only: Broadway star gazing.
So go after a show, preferably on a Friday or Saturday night. (This was Friday night).
See, because the host was a little snippety. We told him we only wanted dessert and he was like: “Well we don’t NORMALLY seat for dessert only, but we’ll make an exception.”
And the dessert itself was pretty crummy. We shared chocolate bread pudding (which tasted like a soulless brownie) and apple crumb cake which was a depressing affair. Here’s Lisa and Jason presenting their failed desserts: (posing, incidentally, in front of a wall filled with posters of failed musicals):
Seems disspiriting, no?
But look over Jason’s shoulder. What’s that? You can’t see over Jason’s shoulder? Oh, because if you could you would see William Finn (who came in straight from his show, which we saw) sitting next to Wendy Wasserstein! Oh, and two tables over is Bruce Vilanch (of Hollywood Squres and “Get Bruce” and “Hairspray”) beaming around the room.
So there you have it. If you’re into Broadway shows (and who isn’t? 90% of America? Psssh.) now you know where to stargaze after. It’s a guranteed success..or my name isn’t Chita Rivera. (If you have to ask “Who’s Chita Rivera?” definitely don’t go there.)