I visited Philadelphia last month(February). I braved to pay visit to New York amidst chilly(and to certain extent rainy) weather one of the weekends. This was my second visit to New York. You can never have enough of New York-the true megalopolis which it is. New York is a 2 hour drive away from Philadelphia. I took a bus this time(instead of Amtrak)-MegaBus operated bus. I had booked a roof-top bus tour of New York downtown before hand which ended early in the afternoon.
After the usual roof-top bus tour, I set loose to loiter around Broadway, Times Square, Central Park etc. Initially, I was not planning to watch any Broadway or even Off-Broadway show, due to limited time, though it has been my dream for long. For example, I do want to watch The Phantom of the Opera or War Horse, on one of Broadway theaters. In the Times Square, I was walking past a TKTS Ticket Booth. My attention was caught by electronic board showing list of various plays going on that evening. TKTS Ticket Booth has become popular as they offer same day discounts to many shows. I noticed 4.30 pm show of Sistas the Musical, an off-Broadway show. I quickly bought the ticket for it, as it was not too expensive and also was ending in time for my return journey back to Philadelphia.
Off-Broadway theaters are smaller than those located in Broadway district in New York city. They are also host typically less expensive productions. Sistas the Musical was such a play. It was to take place on St Luke’s Theater on 308 W 46th Street, off Broadway Street, near Times Square. It was still drizzling, and was chilly, cloudy. The Times Square was lit all over. There were so many people moving helter-skelter. Even at TKTS Ticket Booth people were queued up to get hold of show of the evening of their interest. Everyone wanted to make most of their time that evening in New York no matter what.
I started walking down towards St Luke’s Church. The theater was in the basement of the church. It was another 10-15 minutes for the play to start. I took some photographs. I also saw counter having merchandise related to the play. I was expecting a playbill, but they did not have one-not sure why. But I got hold of card about the play. It said it was in its fifth year. The stage was open and setting was simple. An elderly lady came and sat besides me inside. She had some all the way from Connecticut. We chatted generally about the play, wondered how the play would be. Looks like hers was also first experience of an off-Broadway show. Soon the play started and we were immersed into saga which unfolded in front of us.
The play was about Black American and society at large. But it was also about love or shall we call it as infatuation. It was all women play, talking about women issues, their struggles, triumphs. It is musical show, hence almost everyone in the play sings. Many popular songs were used in the play. The play is also a down the memory lane” in a way as old grandma dies in a family, and family members discover old memories through various artifacts which has. This in turn tells history of black women, through 1930s. Their website covers various details history they referred to and also songs they selected for the show.
They play ended at around 6 pm on high note. It left mesmerizing feeling about universality of aspects related to family bond, position of women in society. I started walking towards MegaBus bus-stop far off from the theater. It was indeed a long walk, but was easy as I kept thinking about the experience I had gone just through, and also time I had spent in New York since morning. Philadelphia has similar theater culture, about which I have written here.