Friday, December 30, 2016

Banish the Hangover with a Special New Year's Day Brunch at Little Frog

There’s a new culinary force on the Upper East Side and they’re hoping to make your New Year’s hangover a little sweeter. Little Frog, the new Parisian bistro, is debuting their New Year’s Day Hangover Frogger Platter on Sunday. The platter is a work of art: Rosti Eggs Benedict, boudin sausage, grilled steak, breakfast sausage, Vermont bacon, truffle egg en cocotte, jalapeño grilled cheese sandwich, papas bravas – yes, that’s all on one platter! And it’s only $20.17. Happy New Year!  Add beer for some 'hair of the dog', and the price rises to a whopping $26.17. I know I’ll be there!

If a more moderate hangover remedy is in order, Chef Xavier Monge offers you his Frogger Burger, a creation honed after a decade at Minetta Tavern which, in my opinion, still has one of the best burgers in the city with their dry-aged beef Black Label Burger.

Stayed out too late saying good riddance to 2016? Don’t worry if you’re not up early. Brunch will be served from 11:30-3:30pm. Bring the kids, too. There’s a special menu for them plus an à la carte menu for you so you can sample some of the other bistro fare.




Little Frog Bistro & Bar, 322 East 86th Street, 347-537-5786, www.littlefrognyc.com.  Photos by Paul Wagouicz.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Say Goodbye to 2016 at Good Riddance Day on December 28




I've only done the New Year's Eve "watch the ball drop" thing once in person, and I'll never be that crazy again (although I do love the fireworks celebration in Central Park and the Midnight Run which leaves from Rumsey Playfield). But, if you're determined to include Times Square in your New Year’s itinerary and you’re not just thinking about going to a Broadway show, Good Riddance Day and the Times Square Wishing Wall are two unique celebrations to consider.

On December 28, it will be out with the old, in with the new in Times Square as visitors shred their worst memories from 2016 by disposing of them in a giant shredder. After letting go of 2016 and the less-than-jolly news of this year, guests can record a wish for 2017 on a piece of paper that will be added to the confetti that accompanies the New Year's Eve Ball Drop. Think Wishfetti!

Just stop by Duffy Square (47th Street and 7th Avenue, Manhattan) between 11am and 8pm to post your wish on the wall. You can also contribute online to the Virtual Wishing Wall. All online wishes will be turned into confetti as well.  Use the hashtag #confettiwish if you’re writing your wishes on Twitter or Instagram.

Feel free to toast early with a nice glass of Blanc de Blanc or a hot apple cider (spiked with rum)!




Saturday, December 24, 2016

5 Current Broadway Shows Offering Something for Everyone

After the December frenzy winds down, you might actually be able to fit some shows into your schedule.  Here are two don’t-miss shows for you, two for the family, and one that everyone can enjoy. Theater tickets also make great stocking stuffers!



Dear Evan Hansen – Treating a serious subject with an innovative set, production and score, Dear Evan Hansen is important viewing for adults and teenagers. From the brilliant director of Rent, Grey Gardens and Next to Normal, Michael Greif, the play, score and subject matter might seem familiar, but the production is anything but. Starring Ben Platt, a serious contender for a Tony Award, this musical deals with feelings of not mattering, of not fitting in, and other angst, particularly relevant today. How do you feel about promulgating lies and deception? This musical tugs at every emotion. www.dearevanhansen.com.  Longacre Theatre, 220 West 48th Street. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.
(Photo credit: Matthew Murphy)


Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 – Based loosely on a portion of Tolstoy’s masterpiece War and Peace, the Great Comet is a revelation on Broadway. Sit on the stage, next to a runway where characters and musicians frequently travel, or in a perch in the mezzanine, and you’ll be privy to an experience akin to being in a Russian salon. The music is part-Russian, part-club, part-folk, part a-lot-of-styles, and it’s magnificent as is the talent. Breakout star Denée Benton is brilliant as Natasha, the countess engaged to Andrey (Nicholas Belton)  but seduced by Anatole (Lucas Steele). Josh Groban’s acting debut is as amazing as his tenor (or baritone), with a presence that is magnified with each statement and each song. The other leads are every bit as wonderful and you’ll find yourself wishing they could all sing even more, despite the fact that the musical is virtually an opera with minimal spoken dialogue. Prepare yourself for a boisterous and wondrous ride, special effects included. www.greatcometbroadway.com. Imperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.
(Photo credit: Chad Batka)

Wicked – One of the longest-running musicals on Broadway, Wicked has a charm that appeals to all ages, to anyone who has ever loved The Wizard of Oz. Glinda, the lovely and bubbly “Good Witch,” is a perfect foil to green-skinned Elphaba, her schoolmate and the eventual Wicked Witch of the West.  Bring the kids, come early, don an authentic Wicked costume, and have your photo taken in the Photo Booth. This pre-quel to the Oz story will be around for a long time.  http://wickedthemusical.com. Gershwin Theatre, 222 West 51st Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or 877.250.2929.
(Photo Credit: Joan Marcus



Cats – Now in its second life on Broadway, this smaller-set Cats is a great musical to introduce your family to Broadway. Try to sit in the orchestra, where the Jellicle Cats routinely slither down the aisle, making eye contact and feline gestures as they move. The play, based on the poems of T. S. Eliot with music by legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber, doesn’t have much a story. It’s pretty much a succession of profiles about each of the cats. But the music, dance, and energy of the show make for a fun afternoon or evening. And Mamie Parris’s version of “Memory,” the song that helped win Betty Buckley a Tony in 1983, will make your own hairs stand on end. www.catsbroadway.com.  Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or 877.250.2929.
(Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy)




Cirque du Soleil Paramour – Part Cirque du Soleil, part musical, completely theatrical, Paramour is a creative take on the Golden Age of Hollywood.  Watch for the breathtaking aerial pas de deux that flies over the audience in this first Cirque du Soleil musical spectacle, specially created for Broadway.  Actors and singers mix seamlessly with Cirque du Soleil performers in 15 different circus acts. www.paramouronbroadway.com Lyric Theatre, 213 West 42nd Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or 877.250.2929.
(Photo Credit: Joan Marcus)



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Perfect Holiday Gift: Theater Tickets and Dinner - See These Shows Closing Soon!

If you’re thinking about something to give the theater lover in your family this holiday season, tickets to one of these shows about to end their runs are the perfect gift.  Add dinner before or after the show, with easy reservations here. Some favorites for pre- or post-theater dining? Joe Allen, Orso, Toloache,The Perfect Pint, Bar Americain and Natsumi. Book well in advance.

Hurry now to get tickets to these seven gems:

The Color Purple – The musical version of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel closes its Tony-winning revival on January 8. The powerful story of an abused African-American woman in the American South won Cynthia Erivo a Tony Award. The show also features Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black) and Tony and Grammy-winner Jennifer Holliday. The gospel, blues and ragtime tunes are brilliant.  www.colorpurple.com.  Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.2600.



The Encounter – Unlike anything you’ve ever experienced on Broadway, this smash from London surrounds you in immersive sensory brilliance.  Told by actor Simon McBurney and using 3D audio, it is the startling story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre who was lost among the people of the remote Javari Valley in the Amazon rainforest. Be prepared, there’s no intermission and you can’t leave your seat as you’re tethered to it by your headphones. Closes January 8 as well. John Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th Street.  www.theencounterbroadway.com. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.


Fiddler on the Roof – The 50th anniversary revival of this wondrous show ends its run on December 31. Danny Burstein plays Tevye, a character larger than life, in this musical about a Jewish community on the eve of the Russian Revolution. The show revolves around the marriage of Tevye’s three daughters and includes songs that have become part of Broadway legend like “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” and “Tradition.” www.fiddlermusical.com. Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.
(Photo credit: Joan Marcus)



Jersey Boys – The boys from New Jersey will play their final show on January 15. The story of the rise of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will have you on your feet as you join the quartet in singing “December 1963 (Oh What a Night).” You know all the songs (“Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,”) but even if you don’t, you’ll still be humming and tapping along to the story behind those wondrous voices that took the radio waves by storm in the latter part of the 20th century. www.JerseyBoysBroadway.com. August Wilson Theatre, 24t5 West 52nd Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com or 877-250-2929.



Matilda the Musical – This brilliant, Tony-Award winning show about the children in Roald Dahl’s book, will no longer be “a little bit naughty” after January 1. Another West End transplant, the musical tracks the life of precocious Matilda, her abusive parents, her disheartening school experiences and how she decides to change her destiny. The music is catchy and the kids are fantastic. www.matildathemusical.com.  Shubert Theatre, 225 West 44th Street. Tickets:  www.telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.


Oh, Hello on Broadway – In this season of less-than-funny news and change, Oh, Hello has brought welcome laughs to Broadway audiences. John Mulaney and Nick Kroll of Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central fame play two crusty Upper West Side bachelors who have a flair for the theatrical. You’ll have to pay attention to catch all the lines and fabulous zingers, which can sometimes get lost under the audience laughter. Each night’s performance features a surprise performer. For New Yorkers, this is a must-see. Closes January 22. www.ohhellobroadway.com. Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45th Street. Tickets: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.




Something Rotten – Shakespeare was never as cool as in this wonderful musical about the creation of the world’s first musical. Adam Pascal from the original production of Rent plays the Bard. But all good things must come to an end, and so must the Renaissance: Something Rotten closes on January1. Broadway musical fans should pay attention to all the shows mentioned in the opening number. Something Rotten is a tribute to every musical that ever was and is. www.rottenbroadway.com.  St. James Theatre, 246 West 44th Street. Tickets: www.ticketmaster.com



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