Oh my. We’re nearing the shortest and coldest day of the year. Rather than sink into permafrost, I channel a recent Indian Summer weekend of blue skies and warm temps.
Theater Boy is working on some splendid stuff in New York City. The lure of his very fine work is irresistible, and as always, he has a colorful theatrical journey planned.
First up is Elizabeth McGovern in “Time and the Conways,” about the diminished fortunes of a British family in 1937. McGovern’s performance is bright and perky, occasionally over the top, and a joy to watch. Directed by Rebecca Taichman at Roundabout Theater Company.
More intergenerational drama with “On the Shore of the Wide World,” the story of a working-class family whose drama is buried deep. The gentle reveal is softer and stays with me longer than “Conways” — magical. Directed by Neil Pepe at Atlantic Theater Company.
Between plays, we enjoy a mini-reunion with treasured friend, Dan Scheffey. We meet at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria in the East Village, a convivial spot. The beet and plum salad is a luscious work of art — pasta cacio pepe is perfect comfort food. We amble through several courses of gloriously simple fare in the glow of magical company. We agree that mini-reunions are best.
Way off Broadway, we meet college pals Rex Morgan and Dan Gurskis for “The Merchant of Venice” at Montclair State. Director Karin Coonrod adds a nifty twist: her Shylock is played by five very different actors. The piece is surprising and dignified — a good thing since we share the audience with the venerable and birdlike Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Rex whispers, “You could fit ten of her into Clarence Thomas.” Oh Rex. Ba-dum ching.
A gritty change of scene is definitely in order. We spend our last day on Coney Island. Theater Boy and I savor Mr. Softee for breakfast and a few Mermaid Beers at lunch.We spend the afternoon at the Freak Show, with “Bird Girl,” scantily clad in blue feathers. She writhes and chirps while extruding unidentifiable objects from her backside — leering lewdly, right at us. We are charmed. Unforgettable. Check out original “Bird Girl,” Minnie Woolsey, in 1924 (4th left, top row).
We scout for the rabbits that originally inhabited this wild isle. We see roller coasters, tilt-a-whirls, fortune tellers and tattoo artists. We find a rumpled, grungy bunny at the ring toss – our one and only Coney – under the brilliant blue Indian Summer sky. We love Coney Island and Coney Island loves us back. At dusk, we head back to steamy Manhattan where Times Square presents its own feathered girlie show.