In addition to meeting up with a couple of great friends, the primary purpose of my little New York getaway was to catch up on a few Broadway shows. I planned my trip around seeing King Kong – as I am a huge fan of the big guy and had read that the stagecraft was phenomenal. I also wanted to check out how Broadway treated one of my top ten film favorites of all time, Tootsie, which has also been turned into a musical. And finally, yeah, three Broadway shows in three days, I was dying to check out the brand new musical, Moulin Rouge, yep, also based on the movie of the same name. I sense a trend.

About King Kong on Broadway:

“The epic modern myth of King Kong is brought roaring to life on Broadway through an innovative mix of robotics, puppetry, music and stagecraft. In the grip of the Great Depression, New York City is a place of pressure, of desperation, but also of hope. Enter Ann Darrow, a fearless young actor with a will of steel and dreams that reach as high as the just-completed Empire State Building. After a brutal struggle just to stay on her feet, Ann finds her big break in the form of Carl Denham, a fast-talking filmmaker who promises to make her the star of his next big adventure movie. Throwing caution to the wind, she joins Carl on a voyage to the mysterious Skull Island. There, they encounter a wonder more astonishing than they could have possibly imagined: a 20-foot-tall, 2,000-pound ape known only as Kong. To her surprise, Ann finds an unexpected kindred spirit in this magnificent, untameable creature.”

Hurry, King Kong ends its run on August 18th at the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway at W. 53rd St. in New York, NY.

About Tootsie on Broadway:

“2019 Tony Award winner Santino Fontana delivers ‘one of the best performances ever seen on a musical stage’ (Rolling Stone) in the show critics are calling ‘the most uproariously funny new musical comedy to hit Broadway in years!’ (The Hollywood Reporter). This New York Times Critic’s Pick tells the story of Michael Dorsey, an out-of-work actor willing to do anything for a job — even if it means playing way against type. When he disguises himself as an outspoken actress named Dorothy Michaels, he defies all odds to become a Broadway sensation. But as audiences fall for Dorothy and Michael starts to fall for the woman of his dreams, he’s learning that the hardest part of show business isn’t getting to the top… it’s keeping up the act. With a Tony-winning book by Robert Horn, a score by 2018 Tony winner David Yazbek (The Band’s Visit, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), choreography by Denis Jones and direction by Scott Ellis, TOOTSIE is “a triumphant comedy, as outlandishly successful as The Producers” (Chicago Tribune). Don’t miss ‘the winner Broadway has been waiting for!’ (The Washington Post).”

Tootsie is enjoying an open run at the Marquis Theatre, 210 W 46th St, on New York’s Great White Way.

About Moulin Rouge on Broadway:

“Freedom! Beauty! Truth! Love! Broadway! Baz Luhrmann’s beloved 2001 film Moulin Rouge! comes to Broadway, with a cast including Tony winner Karen Olivo, Aaron Tveit, and six-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein. Directed by two-time Tony nominee Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge! has a book by Tony winner John Logan (Red), choreography by Sonya Tayeh (Kung Fu), and music supervision, orchestrations, and arrangements by Justin Levine (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson). Set in Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France at the turn of the century, a world of indulgent beauty and unparalleled extravagance, of bohemians and aristocrats, of boulevardiers and mademoiselles, Moulin Rouge! The Musical tells the fictional story of an ambitious, lovesick writer, Christian, and a dazzling, entrancing chanteuse, Satine. Their lives collide at the Moulin Rouge with its many characters including the host of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler, the brilliant and starving artist Toulouse-Lautrec, the greatest tango dancer – and gigolo – in all of Paris, Santiago, the tempting Nini, and The Duke of Monroth, the wealthy and entitled patron of the club who thinks he can buy anything he wants, including love.”

Moulin Rouge just started what promises to be a long open at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W 45th St, New York, NY.

My two cents:

King Kong: The critics were right – spectacular effects and stagecraft, but weak book and forgettable songs. But, and a very big but, seeing Kong come alive on stage was worth the trip and the ticket.

Tootsie: If you can park the classic film and view the play for what it is and the art form, then you are in for a delightful evening at the theater. The original cast is first rate and the book is so funny I think it may have been better to make it a straight play.

Moulin Rouge: Unlike Kong and Tootsie, Moulin Rouge improves upon the source material, reinventing it for a new generation. From the moment you walk into the theater you are immersed in the setting and when the show starts you are swept away to 19th century Paris. For sure the best of the three shows I saw on this visit.