I love a party and love to celebrate life, and when birthdays come it’s a time to do just that! Since we are a family of multiple March birthdays, parties abound. But I planned mine months ago.
As soon as I heard that there was a revival of my old musical favorite, “Annie,” coming to Broadway, I bought tickets for Blake, Morgan, Samantha and myself for my birthday. Ironically, it was so long ago, that when we left for Manhattan I forgot them at home and had to turn around!
Sunday was a picture-perfect day with not a cloud in the sky. Even the traffic cooperated as we made our way over the Ed Koch, 59th Street, Queensborough Bridge (pick your name for the majestic crossing). As we drove over the bridge I was in awe of the changing skyline of Long Island City.
There is even a movement to give the area “sex appeal” by renaming it “LIC.” The new buildings springing up literally on every corner are bringing a new crop of residents of every age with many “yuppies” in the high-rise rental buildings along the waterfront. And happily, soon, up to 5,000 people will be living in affordable housing being built on the site that was to be the Olympic Village. Sadly, that project died.
Ironically, the number of new businesses in LIC is fewer than in neighboring Astoria. Maybe because it’s a much older community. Regardless, an exciting, bustling future awaits Long Island City along the waterfront and west of Queens Boulevard.
Our destination for the birthday celebration was Blue Fin, a restaurant perfectly located in the heart of the Theatre District. The brunch menu was a good choice before our 3 p.m. show time. But what really made it special was that I was joined in the second- floor dining room by my beloved son, daughter and step-daughter with their children. There’s no better gift than seeing all of them.
Blue Fin makes its brunch celebratory by offering choices of champagne, Bellini cocktails or bloody Marys. I chose from a very eclectic menu a tuna burger, while Josh had a platter of oysters, Samantha had California rolls and Stu enjoyed Eggs Benedict. All the portions were plentiful and perfectly and beautifully prepared. But the piece de resistance was the dessert. We ordered an assortment so we could all share. My favorite was the molten chocolate lava but Josh loved the multiple profiteroles (cream puffs). The unusual and unique sorbets were also a treat.
If you are seeing a play, Blue Fin is a great place in the heart of Times Square. Visit them at www.bluefinnyc.com.
The Palace Theatre showing “Annie” was across the street from the restaurant. A “mall” created on Broadway between 47th and 49th Street was filled with mobs of people. Many were lined up to get reduced- price theatre tickets at the TDF Booth. I tightly held Blake’s little hand and Samantha squeezed Morgan’s hand as we made our way to the theater.
We walked down the aisle to our front-row seats and looked behind us to see every seat taken in the orchestra, balcony and the second balcony as well. This was a sold-out house and for good reason. The revival is great entertainment and even with two understudies in place the show was enchanting. Three-year-old Morgan sat with her mouth open as Annie sang the classic “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” and “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”
I got a bigger treat from watching her enjoy the songs and performers than from watching them myself!
“Annie” originally opened on Broadway 1977 with lyrics by Martin Charnin, who bought the rights from the Chicago Tribune’s comic strip of the same name. The music, by brilliant Charles Strouse, and the fast-moving book by Thomas Meehan (also known for “The Producers” and “Hairspray”) are all genius!
I am a person who likes theatre with a message, and the optimism of “Annie” is perfect. So powerful! What a treat to leave the theater singing the songs. They don’t make musicals like that anymore. Try it, you’ll love it too!
For tickets or more information, visit www.anniethemusical.com.
Samantha, Morgan and Blake joined me in seeing “Annie” on Broadway, which is as powerful now in its revival as it was when I saw it decades ago.