The myth and allure of Broadway are alive and well in our family, so when we made our maiden voyage to New York City this winter, seeing some shows was at the top of the itinerary.
We love a big-name show as much as the next person, and knowing that the new musical adaptation of Tina Fey's "Mean Girls" would be in previews during our visit, we purchased tickets ahead of our trip. The show was sleek and fun and we had an amazing Stage Door experience where one of my kids got to chat with their beloved Ben Cook. It was a priceless, but when you consider the cost of our tickets, shockingly expensive experience.
The second, "afterthought", show we saw during our visit - the Broadway revival of the musical "Once on This Island" - was not only freaking fantastic, the tickets were as cheap as cheap can get for Broadway. It was the sleeper highlight of the entire trip.
"Once on This Island" is a colorful fable of love, social class and the will of the gods set in the French Antilles. Although it earned a number of Tony nominations, it lacks the name recognition and cult-status of shows like "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hanson." This works in theatergoers' favor. We showed up on a Tuesday evening for the "Once on This Island" in-person lottery, and easily scored 4 tickets for $39.50 each. The handful of lottery "losers" that evening could purchase tickets for $49.50.
The show plays at the Circle in the Square Theater, a small venue where everyone is just feet from the action. During the pre-show, in-character actors roam around the sandy, clothesline strewn set, picking up beach debris, bantering with each other, and setting the intimate tone of the evening. Live chickens and a pair of leashed goats (goats!) accompany the actors on stage during the pre-show, and lucky audience members have the chance to feed the goats, Sparky and Peapod, a treat. We even caught a bonus glimpse of these cuties on the street prior to the show.
The musical itself is lively, beautiful and heartbreaking. I'll leave in-depth reviews to the professionals, but for a Broadway experience that will leave you (and your pocketbook) feeling full, my money is on "Once on This Island."