Portrait of William Shakespeare
There is no question that New York is full of surprises, but this is one it would be hard to imagine all on one’s own.
Known as “Drunk Shakespeare,” the premise is that one actor begins his evening with five shots of whiskey, and then, with presumably no time to sober up, begins to perform in a real Shakespearean play.
I imagine that for purists this might smack of sacrilege, but for the rest of us with senses of humor, this could turn out to be a pretty fun evening. Among the other strange elements patrons can expect are a hidden library on the 4th floor of a building on 43rd and 8th Avenue which has more than 15,000 books; a mysterious bartender who serves his drinks through and opening in a 10-foot high bookcase which is made completely of black books; one-hundred valuable novels buried for all time in an amber fluid in front of a king’s throne; and more…
The troupe of actors bringing this fascinating premise to life is known as the “Drunk Shakespeare Society.” They perform nightly at the Roy Arias Stages in Midtown Manhattan, a performance space made to look very much like a library. When the cocktails have been served out the actual “Drunk Shakespeare” performance begins, in close proximity to the audience. A somewhat truncated version of Macbeth ensues. Each evening a different actor, playing a different role, is required to become inebriated and then perform his lines as convincingly as possible.
Due to the drinking atmosphere, the audience is less inhibited, and easily become part of the action. There are two audience members who get special attention, as they have spent extra for the privilege of sitting on royal thrones. These special patrons have purchased the rights to champagne, caviar, and the right to tell the drinker to drink some more, why don’t you?
The show opened in November, 2014, and does not show signs of abating. Performances take place every night of the week but Tuesday. Friday nights have two shows, and Saturday evenings there are three to choose from.
Founder Edith O'Hara
Are you ready for something really different, and uniquely New York? Try the 13th Street Repertory Company, located at 50 West 13th Street between Fifth and the Avenue of the Americas. At this bastion of contemporary theater new artists are welcome to come and find their individual voices.
The company performs as many as seven shows each week, including theater for children in addition to its trademark “New Works Reading” series.
Especially enduring has been the play “Line,” written by Israel Horovitz and first performed at the 13th Street Repertory 32 years ago. The show is still performed weekly, making “Line” the longest running off-off-Broadway play in history.
For more information follow the link to the 13th Street Repertory Theater’s web site, or call (212) 675-6677.
New York is known for its supreme walk-ability, but when is the last time you went for a walk just for the walk’s sake and not to get from where you are to where you’re going?
Here are some fabulous ideas to get out and see the city like it was meant to be seen.
• Discover the history around the building of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. In just 30 minutes, beginning at the stairway at Cadman Plaza East near Prospect Street in Brooklyn Heights, you will finish at Broadway and Chambers Street. The Brooklyn Bridge is one mile long, and every day about 6,600 pedestrians either walk or bike over this glorious suspension bridge. When it was built in 1883 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. If you are lucky you might see young men proposing marriage to their beloveds on the bridge, a traditional place for that magic moment. But if there is no actual engagements going on when you are there, do not fret, there will be evidence of such an occurrence, a padlock attached to the fence there, whose keys have been tossed into the river. How romantic!
• If you have a bit more time on your hands, but less time than you would need to really go to Los Angeles, you can spend a bit less than three hours experiencing some of the fun that goes along with a trip to Southern California. Start at Elizabeth Street between East Houston and Prince Streets, and finish at 246 Spring Street between Sixth Avenue and Varick Street. Begin with a fish taco served from an old vintage Volkswagen van which is parked inside a comfortable, plant-filled, sunny garage at Tacombi at Fonda Nolita, 267 Elizabeth St. For some cult shopping, wander over to ‘Creatures of Comfort,’ (205 Mulberry St) which is the original LA boutique which impressed Angelinos first with its supply of elusive indie designers such as Rachel Comey, Wood Wood and Suno. If surfing is your thing, you can find what you need right in lower Manhattan at ‘Saturday’s Surf’ (31 Crosby St.) At additional places along the route you can get a tan at ‘Brazil Bronze Glow Bar,’ (580 Broadway); check out some fine street art at 110 Greene Street where you can see “Subway Map Floating on a New York Street’; get a cocktail reminiscent of Hollywood kitsch at Bar d’Eau (246 Spring St.)
Al Hirschfeld Theatre
• What would New York walks be without a stroll down Broadway? Begin at 302 West 45th Street between 8th and 9th, and continue for 1.2 miles to finish at 234 42nd St. between 7th and 8th Avenues. On this route you should be sure to see the Al Hirschfeld Theatre; Café Edison; Times Square and the TKTS ticket booth for discounts at first-rate Broadway shows; Lyceum Theatre built in 1903, it is Broadway’s oldest continually running theater; Jimmy’s Corner, one of the last vestiges of the gritty, Koch-era Times Square before the facelift. Get a fancy beer here, a Sam Adams, the best on the menu. Heading south you will come across the New Amsterdam Theatre where the girls of Ziegfeld Follies used to entertain. Last stop, the AMC Empire 25. This mega movie house used to be the Eltinge Theatre. Named after the most famous female impersonator of the 1900s, Julian Eltinge. Check out the ceiling in the lobby to see murals of women that were modeled after the actor.
You may not think of Brooklyn as a cultural capital. But in fact, the borough south of Manhattan has many delightful cultural attractions, often with fewer crowds and lower prices than their counterparts across the bridge.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music, or BAM as it is usually known, is a flourishing urban arts center that offers a wide-ranging repertoire of theater, opera, dance, music, literature, film, and the visual arts to Brooklyn. BAM’s current programming can be seen on their website: www.bam.org