Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Finding Disney Magic on Broadway with Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service!

With three Disney musicals currently playing on Broadway, the question is not whether to go see one of the amazing Disney theatrical productions, but which one to choose. The Lion King, Mary Poppins or The Little Mermaid? So the decision comes down to what the best deal would be for tickets. Well, no worries. We have great deals on all three shows!

Plan Ahead . . .
Seeing live theater in New York, particularly Broadway blockbusters, can be an expensive proposition. Securing discounted tickets for Broadway shows is where good planning (or not) comes into play. If you have only one date or time that you will be able to see a show, you should plan as far in advance as possible, and buy tickets ahead of time. The Applause website has information on all of the shows, and how to purchase tickets. There are many discounts available, and by calling an Applause Sales Expert you will be able to find them. Many deals below the normal face value of the ticket price!

Or Don’t!
If you cannot plan ahead because your dates are not certain, you can always call us last minute or visit us in New York on the day of the show, we are right in Times Square.

Seeing Mary Poppins and Disney's premier Theater;
The New Amsterdam Theatre ( West 42nd Street), along with the New Victory, Lyceum and Hudson theaters, are some of the oldest surviving legitimate theaters on Broadway. The theatre opened in 1903 with a production of Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights’ Dream. Florenz Ziegfeld staged his Follies at the New Amsterdam from 1913 through 1927 (there are stories that the theater is still haunted by one of the Ziegfield dancers). In 1937 the New Amsterdam was converted to a movie house, and then it fell into disuse. The theater was purchased by the Nederlander Organization 1982, which planned to reconvert it back to its original use, piggybacking on the proposed redevelopment of the Times Square area. However, major structural problems, combined with the uncertainty of the City's economic health repeatedly delayed the reconstruction. New York State purchased the New Amsterdam in 1992 and subsequently resold it to the Walt Disney Co. for $29 million when Michael Eisner saw the theater’s potential. The complete reconstruction of the theater between 1995 and 1997 signaled Disney's confidence in Times Square and anchored the further redevelopment of the area.

The Show!
The theater is absolutely gorgeous. The 42nd Street Beaux-Arts entrance opens into one of the finest Art Nouveau theater interiors in New York. Carved and painted plaster, carved stone, carved wood, murals and tiles—all combine to evoke what it was like going to the theater at the turn of the century. Mary Poppins is a collaboration between Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of The Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Les Miserables. This production (the book for the play was written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes) is based both on the Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers and the classic 1964 Walt Disney film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. As a result, the play is quite different from what Disney fans might remember from the film, although there are some tributes to the movie hidden in plain sight (like penguins riding in baby carriages in a park scene in the play—remember the penguins from the sidewalk chalk scene in the film?).

A review in The New Yorker magazine called the musical: “. . . a strange and beautiful thing, containing an astonishing variety of moods and distinguished by a faithful rendering of the books’ brisk and sophisticated comic sensibility.” Indeed, the production has maintained many of the elements of the film version, including beloved songs by Robert and Richard Sherman, like “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and “Feed the Birds.” New songs by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles blend seamlessly with the classic songs, and bring additional depth to the stage version. “Practically Perfect” was an amazingly catchy tune that my girls sang over and over on the drive home. I thought that the “new” Mary Poppins was a bit more prickly and distant than Julie Andrews played her, but I also thought that Mr. and Mrs. Banks characters were more developed and more sympathetic. There is a wonderful touching scene where Mrs. Banks is preparing for a dinner party ("A Spoon Full of Sugar”), but the event is a disaster because no guests arrive. In addition, there is a fantastic and whimsical scene set in Mrs. Corry’s shop, where people can buy words as well as gingerbread ("Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious”). There is also a new character, the evil Miss Andrew, Mr. Banks’ old nanny, who he calls upon to step in when Mary Poppins leaves. Miss Andrew is a very harsh nanny, and believes that children should be subjected on a regular basis to a horrible medicine that tastes like cod liver oil (“Brimstone and Treacle”). The sets were gorgeous, the costumes lush, and the voice talents of the actors superb. Mary Poppins is currently played by Scarlett Strallen, who played the role in London’s West End production (it is no longer playing there), and Bert is played by Adam Fiorentino.

The Side Trip
Disney fans who happen to be in New York for a show, or for any other reason, should not overlook the World of Disney Store on 5th Avenue at 55th Street. The store is huge, with three floors of Disney merchandise, including pins (you can do pin trading with cast members and there are monthly pin-trading events), a make-your-own crown station, Disney candy, Mr. Potato Head and an Art of Disney Gallery. We were lucky enough to happen onto the store a few minutes before a scheduled character meet and greet with Chip and Dale and Donald Duck. A Disney’s Photopass photographer was on hand to capture the magic on film. Not to miss merchandise included a very cute (but, unfortunately, not available in my size) “I (Mickey Ears) NY” t-shirt.

Call Applause now to get the best deals on all 3 of these fabulous shows as well as all Broadway shows! 800-451-9930

Thank you,
Erik Swanson
Applause Theatre & Entertainment Service Inc.
311 West 43rd Street, Ste 601
New York, NY 10036
fax: 212-397-3729

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