On: The Plaza Suite’s Opening Night

Hudson Theatre NYC

When I woke up this morning, I fully intended on reviewing Sarah Jessica Parker’s and Matthew Broderick’s performances, or how Neil Simon’s play has dated like milk, or mirror what it seems like every reviewer had to say about the mediocre Plaza Suite. To tear apart the minute details of how quickly the set changed in the brief pause or the wardrobe choice for each vignette. If you want to read something like that, I suggest looking into the New York Times. Sue me.

The night started off with a handful of seat fillers crowded around the lobby of the Millennium Hotel, adjacent to the Hudson Theatre, just happy to be escaping from the unexpected winter day in the middle of spring. We glanced through the window, watching the celebrities walking the red carpet for an hour, along with some pedestrians hoping to get a picture with the mayor. As eight 20 somethings stood there, wondering if we had enough time to use the bathroom before our seat coordinator approached with tickets scattered from the orchestra to the rear balcony, I couldn’t help but feel how insane it was for us to get to sit among them. Kind of sus if you ask me. The seat coordinator was a sweet older man who told us stories of seat-filling days, noting how he had an awkward encounter with Rosie O’Donnell at a Barbara Streisand concert at Madison Square Garden. Spoiler alert: he was sitting in her seat.

As the red carpet died down and 6:30 pm was well past due, we finally got our seat assignments, with a semi-acquaintance of mine sitting rear center orchestra. It was a surreal moment, met with instant regret as the AC unit was directly above us, and I chose to wear a strappy black dress. It didn’t help that the straps were metal. I sucked it up since Anna Wintour was a couple of rows ahead of me, I got complimented in the bathroom at intermission, and (honestly) for the drama of it all. It was ironic that Anna Wintour was also seated a couple of rows before Stanley Tucci; I wonder if she holds a grudge over him, Meryl Streep, or Anne Hathaway. I didn’t get to ask her because I blacked out in the brief seconds she brushed past me.

It made sense for this theatre to host such a show; the divide between the East and the West Broadway houses have different and distinct personalities. Both alike in dignity, in fair (or not so fair) Manhattan where we lay our scene. To the West: the icons of 42nd street and powerhouses of Wicked, Hamilton, Phantom, Chicago, and The Lion King lay to rest. To the East: older and unchanged smaller houses where celebrities can access 6th to escape the Naked Cowboy and depressed Elmos.

Having seen the show previously, I came in with an advantage. I knew when the deliberate pauses were coming up; I knew the show’s pace and when the absurdities of Simon’s writing would ensue. Call it the glamour of opening night, but what made this performance special wasn’t just the star-studded floor plan. It was the fact that they were also close friends, family, and admirers of Jessica Parker and Broderick. People who know them personally can probably attribute some situations to actualities in their lives and laugh at that. And the fact that Broderick broke down a door by accident, probably due to the excitement of the room. But it added a moment of levity to it all. Or maybe it was just because the room was filled with cis-white men who could laugh about affairs, weight gain, and failed marriages. I want to ignore the latter, but hey, that’s the reality of the situation.

I’m not going to say to either see this show or not; I don’t think I have the right to say whether or not you’re going to enjoy it. Says the person who enjoyed sitting through 8 hours of Angels in America more than once. Suppose you are a fan of Sarah Jessica Parker. In that case, you will see her in a new and unexpected light, sort of a cross of energy that she had during Hocus Pocus and the controlled delivery of Carrie. You’re not going to get the same Matthew Broderick of The Producers, well, not the entire time. There are physical moments that come through, especially in the final act. But both of their deliveries complement each other, with neither fighting constantly for the spotlight.

And probably the best part of the night was reconverging with friends in the lobby, as Martin Short conversed with Victor Garber and collectively decided to indulge in BBQ across the street. Giving a red towel as a napkin upon sitting at our round table reeled us back to reality and just how incredible a moment it was to sit for a show, significant or not.

The Plaza Suite is playing at the Hudson Theatre until June 26th, 2022.

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Adding a little bit of chaos to the art we consume. Just some food for thought.

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