TUESDAY, AUGUST 18 (cont’d) As soon as I retrieved my wandering suitcase and returned from the Hartford airport, Mrs. T and I collected our nephew Ian and his friend Max and drove down to New York. Ian recently graduated from high school and starts college this month, so we decided to mark the occasion by taking him to a Broadway show.
After much thought, I concluded that Hand to God was the best possible choice. Not only did I give the show a rave review in The Wall Street Journal, but its X-rated humor struck me as more than sufficiently scabrous to satisfy a pair of bright teenage boys. Mrs. T hadn’t accompanied me when I reviewed it in April, and I knew she’d like it, too, so I bought four orchestra tickets (incontrovertible proof of how much I’d liked the play) and took to Twitter to congratulate myself in advance on my keen understanding of the adolescent mind. No sooner did I trumpet our plans than I received a message from one of the publicists for Hand to God asking if the four of us might possibly like to go backstage after the performance to meet the cast. I accepted with alacrity.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19 Ian and Max spent the day barnstorming around Manhattan while Mrs. T got her hair done and I undertook various back-in-town-for-two-days-so-better-get-it-done-now chores. We met for dinner at Blue Fin, then went to the Booth Theatre to see Hand to God, at which our guests and Mrs. T laughed so hard that I briefly wondered whether they might rupture themselves. We made our way to the stage door afterward and spent the better part of an hour chatting with Geneva Carr, Marc Kudisch, and Steven Boyer, all of whom couldn’t possibly have been nicer. Steven went so far as to don one of the hand puppets used in the show and pose for a selfie taken by Ian.
(If you think I’m a jaded theater professional, by the way, think again. The truth is that I’m every bit as star-struck as the most avid of fans, and I had to pinch myself a couple of times to make sure I was really backstage at a Broadway show.)
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20 Ian and Max returned to Connecticut by train in the afternoon. As soon as they left, Mrs. T and I collected the rental car, drove to Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania, and checked into the superlatively cozy Bridgeton House on the Delaware, one of our two favorite B&Bs, which happens to be within easy driving distance of the Bucks County Playhouse, whose production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee I was set to review the following night. Talk about convenient!
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21 We drove to New Hope and ate a stupendously good dinner at Italian Cucina, then walked two blocks to the playhouse and saw Putnam County, which proved to be every bit as good as I’d hoped.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 22 This being a working trip, I got up first thing in the morning and wrote my Wall Street Journal reviews of Putnam County and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival revival of Guys and Dolls before breakfast.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 23 We left Bridgeton House after breakfast (fresh figs!) and drove north through the Delaware Water Gap to Ecce Bed and Breakfast, our other favorite B&B, which we love so much that we spent our honeymoon there.
I’ve written about Ecce more than once in this space since I first went there in 2005, so I won’t belabor its virtues yet again save to say that the view (Ecce is situated on a wooded bluff three hundred feet above the Delaware River) is spectacular, the breakfasts are sumptuous, and the owners (who have long since become good friends) are kind and considerate to a fault. On top of all that, the upstairs hall is decorated with a gorgeous pair of pencil-signed Al Hirschfeld lithographs of Lucille Ball and Carol Channing. I mean, what’s not to like?
No shows or deadlines—we came to Ecce to unwind, and did so successfully.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26 Back home to Connecticut, where I checked my e-mail and learned that Dramatists Play Service had sent the first finished copies of the acting edition of Satchmo at the Waldorf to our New York apartment. It was a perfect finish to my busman’s semi-holiday.
(Last of four parts)
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A scene from the Broadway production of Robert Atkins’ Hand to God, starring Steven Boyer:
A scene from the Broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, performed by the original cast at the 2005 Tony Awards ceremony: