Today’s Fab 5 > MONDAY / MAY 16, 2016
“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.
(click on links for more complete event info.)
Have time for only one event today? Do This:
We Love Her: A Celebration of Laura Benanti
54 Below, 254 W54th St./ 9:30PM, $55+
“Center On The Aisle (#COTA) presents “We Love Her,” a celebration of one of Broadway’s foremost – and its funniest – leading ladies, Tony winner Laura Benanti (currently starring in the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of She Loves Me).
Conceived and hosted by #COTA’s editor-in-chief, and frequent guest on NBC Weekend Today in New York, Steve Schonberg, the night will feature a cast of Benanti’s friends and fellow stars who will celebrate this incredible talent with songs and stories from her career (Into the Woods, Gypsy, The Wedding Singer, ABC’s Nashville, and more) – and of course, her most “favorited” Tweets.
Benanti will also co-star, and be presented with Center On The Aisle’s 2016 “Our Leading Lady Award.” The 2015 award was presented to Kelli O’Hara in honor of her 15-year career on Broadway. Benanti is being honored for her return to Broadway, many memorable, starring roles, and for serving as a positive ambassador between the stage and the screen.” ((broadwayworld.com)
Music, Dance, Performing Arts
Cage the Elephant
Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, mid-Park at 69th St./ 5PM, $45
“This year’s SummerStage concert series kicks off with a set from these Kentucky rockers, who’ve taken many shapes. Since its start, in 2007, Cage the Elephant has jumped between jazz-punk funk and loud-quiet-loud shredding, before “Come a Little Closer,” off of its Grammy-nominated album, “Melophobia,” took on the noblest cause in rock: embarrassing honesty.
The group’s latest release, “Tell Me I’m Pretty,” takes the best of its disparate sounds and molds them into perfect pop forms. The excellent single “Trouble” lands somewhere between dewy surf punk and whiskey-stained rockabilly. “You know what they say, the wicked get no rest,” Matthew Shultz sings, in winking reference to a Cage jam from 2008. There will be little downtime at this opener for a long summer of events on the Great Lawn.” (NewYorker)
Laura Michelle Kelly
54 Below, 254 W54th St./ 7PM, $55+
“In a personal, revealing evening of song and stories, Broadway leading lady Laura Michelle Kelly (Finding Neverland, Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof) shares her journey of coming to New York City and making it her home. You’ll hear some of her most favorite songs, ranging from musical theatre classics like “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, to current pop hits by artists such as Sara Bareilles.
There will even be tunes from her favorite shows written by Jason Robert Brown, Stephen Sondheim, and Gary Barlow & Eliot Kennedy… who wrote her current Broadway venture, Finding Neverland. Laura Michelle Kelly invites you to experience her heart and a taste of what makes her feel at home. Be ready for some fun surprises and a big hearted welcome!” (broadwayworld.com)
Dearly Beloved: A Concert Tribute to Purple Rain
42West, 514 W42nd St./ 8PM, $20+
“Lena Hall, Robin De Jesus and E. Clayton Cornelious are among the stars going crazy at this encore presentation of the hit 2014 Broadway the Hardway concert tribute to Prince. Proceeds benefit the charitable efforts of Arts for All.” (TONY)
Stars Tony Award Nominee, Drama Desk Winner and film star Robin De Jesus (In The Heights, La Cage Aux Folles, Camp) alongside Grammy nominee and Tony Award winner, Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Kinky Boots), E. Clayton Cornelious (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Kinky Boots, A Chorus Line) and Ariel Bellvalaire.
Victoria Shaw: “Under the Covers”
Birdland, 315 W44th St./ 7PM, $30
“The Broadway at Birdland concert series it proud to announce the return of singer/songwriter Victoria Shaw in “Under The Covers.” Victoria’s special guests will be Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, of the multi-platinum selling band, Nelson.
Hosted by award winning songwriter Victoria Shaw, Under The Covers has become a favorite recurring highlight at Birdland, featuring a wide variety of top-selling songwriters and musical acts from across the pop,rock and country worlds, and offering intimate acoustic performances of huge hit songs – along with the little-known stories behind them.” (broadwayworld.com)
Bonus – Jazz Venues:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. Here are my favorite Jazz clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who is playing tonight:
Greenwich Village (all six are within walking distance of each other):
Village Vanguard – 178 7th Ave. South, villagevanguard.com, 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. bluenotejazz.com, 212-475-8592
55 Bar – 55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319
Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com / 212-864-6662
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — caffevivaldi.com / 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening enjoyment and discovery.
♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of 8.5 million, had a record 58 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2016. Quality shows draw crowds.
Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
A PremierPub / Tribeca
B-Flat / 277 Church St. (btw Franklin/White St))
There are some places that are tough to find, then add a layer of mystery when you do find them. B-Flat has a nondescript, almost unmarked door at street level – today’s speakeasy vibe. Open this door and you face a dimly lit stairway down to their basement location. It almost takes a leap of faith to follow the stairs down to their interior door.
But open that door and a pleasant surprise awaits you.
It’s a basement jazz spot all right, but not like any traditional jazz joint you may have been to before. This place looks as fresh as today, probably because it’s only been open for 6 years. Even though it hasn’t had a chance to age gracefully, the cherry wood accents and low lighting make this small space very inviting.
There is always jazz, often progressive jazz, playing over their very discrete, stylish bose speakers, setting just the right tone as you find a seat at the bar, or one of the small tables. There is wine and beer available, but this place has some expert mixologists making some very creative cocktails, which I’m told change seasonally, a nice touch.
Come at happy hour and tasty cocktails like the el Diablo or the lychee martini are $8 – not bad. I am a sucker for any drink made with lychee and how can you not try a tequila drink named el Diablo. There is also nice selection of small bites available at happy hour and a food menu that is as innovative as the cocktail menu, so this does not have to be a happy hour only stop.
It wasn’t surprising to find a tasty prosciutto and arugula salad with yuzu dressing, but I did not expect to find such a good version of fried chicken breast on the apps menu. Here it’s called “Tatsuta.” Best bet is to sample happy hour, then dinner on a Monday or Wednesday night, when you can finish with no cover live jazz that starts around 8.
This place is tough to find (look for a small slate sandwich board on the sidewalk out front advertising happy hour) and on some nights when there is no live music iot may be a little too quiet for some. But I think it’s worth searching out if you want a place with good music, food, and especially drinks, away from the maddening crowd.
Phone #: 212-219-2970
Hours: Mo-Wed 5pm-2am; Th-Sat 5pm-3am; no Sun
Happy Hour: 5-7pm every day; $8 cocktails + special prices on apps
Music: Mon/Wed 8pm
Subway: #1 to Franklin; walk E 1 blk to Church; N 1 blk to bFlat
“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.
This week’s fave and FREE NYCity AppS:
An enormous base of NYCity user reviews (2.1 million) provides the widest coverage of hotels (468), restaurants (12,645) and things to do (yes, 3,246). Have a specific question? Then try one of Trip Advisor’s forums. Just remember that with all those reviews you have to try to find the consistency among the comments, and ignore the outliers.
Instantly locate restaurants near you with open reservations and then place a reservation right from your iOS device. A great interface and the ability to see a menu from the restaurant you’re interested in makes this my go to restaurant reservation app.
Need to catch your #1,2,3 subway to attend an event? Use the Subway Time app from the MTA to find out when the next train arrives at your station. The MTA also has Bus Time info available on their mobile website.