Patty & Emily at Broadway Up Close!

In case you didn’t know, we love to talk and learn about theatre. So, when we found out about Broadway Up Close walking tours, we were like, “Sign us up!” and they did! One of the great things about these tours is that they are given by theatre professionals and lovers. Our fantastic guide was Theresa, a stage manager. (She just happened to work on Under My Skin, which we obviously told her we loved!) Our tourmates were Emily’s cousin and a mother/daughter pair from the Midwest. The group had varying degrees of theatre knowledge, but we all couldn’t wait to learn more!

Broadway Up Close offers three tours, starting with the Act 1, which is what we took. There are no set tour times, so you can request a time that works best for you! Act 1 starts at the Nederlander and covers the history of 42nd street, and the Broadway houses on the east side up to 45th street. There was such a wide range of information, history, and stories that everyone can get something out of it. We don’t want to give it all away, but we’ll share this one tidbit: Jujamcyn got its name from the first names of the children of the original owners, Judith, James, and Cynthia. It all makes sense now! The tour was about two hours, and even though you’re walking, it’s pretty stop and start, so there’s lots of resting. We had a great time, learned a lot, and got to spend a morning talking Broadway!

These tours are great if you’re visiting New York, but also if you live here! They’re great for theatre lovers, and also anyone interested in the rich history of New York City. For more information on booking your tour, visit

Here’s a photo of us and our tour group!

7_11 Group

Patty & Emily at A Little Night Music in the Berkshires

Connecticut. DC. And now Massachusetts. These are the places we’ve gone to see Kate Baldwin in shows. The most recent was our trip to Pittsfield, MA to see A Little Night Music in the Berkshires. We brought along our friends Robbie and Alex and had a musical theatre sing-along all the way (some CD selections: Side ShowLegally BlondeAndrea McArdle: On Broadway). We chose to make the trip in one day. It’s a beautiful and pretty easy drive through the Hudson Valley from New York to Pittsfield. If you have a chance, you should definitely head out there and maybe make a weekend of it! Pittsfield is a cute little town with old buildings, coffee shops, and a lot of theatres.

This production of A Little Night Music is presented by The Berkshire Theatre Group. We saw the most recent Broadway revival (both casts). Emily barely remembered it, and Patty remembered it being slow and long. This production, however, was much lighter and moved quickly. Kate (serving Mother-in-Ragtime Realness) was both hilarious and heartbreaking as Charlotte. A feat made more impressive given she had to play against her talented husband Graham Rowat, here playing the awful rogue Count. The rest of the cast was fantastic, especially Matt Dengler as Henrick and the great Penny Fuller as Madam Armfeldt. Her last scene was beautiful and highlighted the great direction of Ethan Heard. Night Music may not be our favorite Steven Sondhiem show, but it has a beautiful score, and we would travel pretty much anywhere to hear Kate Baldwin sing it.

A Little Night Music only runs through July 19th, so get your tickets now! It’s a great reason to get out of the city, breathe in some mountain air, and watch some fantastic musical theatre. If you can’t make it out, check out all the other shows The Berkshire Theatre Group is producing, including a children’s production of Suessical. We just may have another mountain road trip in our future. For tickets and information, visit

Love Never Dies: Patty & Emily at The Phantom of the Opera Again!

When the Angel of Music calls you, you follow. Seriously. If you don’t, he’ll hypnotize you and murder people around you. So, we certainly weren’t about to say no to seeing Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess again in Phantom. What if something happened to Beth Leavel?! But luckily, nothing went wrong, and the show moved along like a well-oiled, slow-moving chandelier. Norm and Sierra were in great voice, and still playing up the camp factor to great effect. The audience was super into it, as usual. A woman near by whispered, “Wow!” after Norm’s Music of the Night and was moved to tears by the end. Not like our tears of laughter, but the important thing is that everyone had a good time.

Before the show, as an added bonus to the Phantom experience, there was a reception at NYY Steak, a Yankees themed restaurant. We were excited to see that they even offer Broadway themed cocktails, like the Bronx Bomber! Then someone reminded us that’s a nickname for the Yankees, not just a play from last season starring Chris Jackson. The next time you have sports loving relatives in town, take them to NYY Steak. It’ll ease the transition into the glitz of Broadway. Plus, they had delicious sliders and cheese empanadas.

See Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess in The Phantom of the Opera! Get tickets here!

And before the show, get dinner at NYY Steak. Don’t forget to sing the score to Damn Yankees!

For Tonight at NYMF

The New York Musical Theatre Festival is in full swing, and while it’s impossible to see everything, you should definitely check some of the shows out. Don’t forget, this is where [title of show]Yank!, and Next to Normal began! One of the shows we’re seeing is For Tonight. We talked to Shanelle Williams, the co-composer and co-lyrist, about the show and its journey to New York.

Shanelle’s collaborator on the music and lyrics is actually her husband Spencer Williams. They met in college and starting writing music together, and people would comment on how their sound would work well in musical theatre. As theatre lovers themselves, they thought they’d try their hand at it. The idea for For Tonight actually came from Spencer’s own great-great-great grandfather. Teaming up with book writer Whitney Rhodes, the show follows the lives of siblings in Wales after the loss of their parents. The music of the show does have Welsh influence, including a Welsh folksong “Suo Gan,” but Shanelle describes the overall sound as “somewhere between musical theatre and Nickel Creek and Coldplay.”

NYMF will be the show’s public debut, having only presented one private reading about a year ago. After editing, they submitted show to NYMF. When they received the call that they had been accepted, Shanelle was almost nine months pregnant. And while the prospect of coming out to New York, doing more rewrites, and putting on your show may seem daunting enough without a new baby, Shanelle says it has been a great experience. Only a few the actors have been with project since the beginning, but working with a New York director Joe Barros and musical director Drew Wutke who knew the mostly New York cast helped everyone smoothly collaborate on this fantastic production. We can’t wait to see this new work from these up-and-coming writers!

And of course the best way for us to get to know Shanelle was to give her our questionnaire. Here’s what she had to say!

Patty & Emily: Do you know Beth Leavel?

Shanelle Williams: No.

P&E: Which show do you most want revived?

SW: Oh, that’s a tough one because there’s been a lot revivals lately of things I have wanted revived and now they’re all coming true. Spencer’s in the room here. He likes to pitch in. He’s excited about On the Town right now. And I haven’t seen that one, so I guess I’m excited about that one was well. Oh, Side Show is another. Put down Side Show.

P&E: Have you ever fallen asleep on stage while pretending to be asleep or dead on stage?

SW: Uh, no but one time I did fall asleep in the orchestra pit. Fortunately it was only tech rehearsal though.

P&E: What’s your favorite Broadway house?

SW: Oh, I really liked…where did Pippin play?

P&E: The Music Box.

SW: I like that one.

P&E: Do you have a monologue?

SW: No. Heavens no. In fact, I botched an audition, like, three years ago. It had been a long time since I had performed. And I went into this audition; I picked up a monologue the night before, and I totally botched it. So, I definitely don’t have a monologue prepared right now.

P&E: What’s the show you’ve seen the most time?

SW: I think Next to Normal was the show I saw the most.

P&E: Who would you fangirl over?

SW: I’m kind of having a fangirl experience over our leading man in our show. He’s pretty sexy, and he sings amazing. His name’s Brandon Kalm.

P&E: On a scale of 1-10, how bad is the Broadway World message board?

SW: It’s so bad that I never go there.

P&E: Comps and a time machine.

SW: Hmm. I would really like to see the original production of Cabaret.

For Tonight has three performances at NYMF: Wednesday, July 9th at 4pm and 8pm and Saturday, July 12th at 4pm. We’ll be there, and we hope to see you there as well! You can get tickets here.