When your friends have had their fill of sports bars and dives, get them together for a little culture on a group outing to Broadway. The Belasco Theatre is a great venue to target. This is the home of New York’s hottest shows, making it a thrill just to join the smart crowd that gathers beneath the Belasco’s famous lighted marquee. Step inside and feel classy as you point out the Tiffany lights and lush murals to your friends, details that will help set the mood for the elevated entertainment to come. Show off your knowledge by letting your crew know this is where Marlon Brando got his start, and where John Barrymore took his final Broadway bow. On your way to your seats you’ll pass a pocket bar. Play the hero and order a round—your friends will have no choice but to toast you.
When you settle in, you’ll appreciate that the Belasco is mid-sized. The crowds are big enough to support a major show, but the venue remains intimate, ensuring your sight and sound are excellent. When the lights go down, savor that anticipatory moment, as the entire house pauses before being dazzled. When the curtain rises, it’ll reveal a big-time cast, and a big-time play. Maybe Shakespeare will be on the docket (Richard III and Hamlet have had recent runs here), or maybe it’ll be Henrik Ibsen or August Wilson. Or maybe it will be a musical like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, where Neil Patrick Harris floored audiences with his singing, his wigs, and his high-energy performance. As you leave, inspired by the work on stage and eager to discuss it, make sure to give a quick glimpse up at the balconies. Maybe you’ll see the ghost of David Belasco, the theater’s founder, who is said to still haunt the house.
Photograph by Ralph Daily