Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Weekly: Something to Look Forward To.

We are officially heading into October... Time for some great Fall Festivals! Here are my suggestions for this upcoming week/end:

If you're hanging around the boroughs:
The must-see/eat festival for any local foodie is here again, the fourth annual NYC Wine and Food Festival, presented by Food Network, and benefitting (100% of proceeds!) the hunger relief organization, Food Bank for New York City. From September 29 through October 2, take part in culinary, wine and spirits demonstrations and tastings, many featuring celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse and Martha Stewart. Purchase tickets to individual Festival events here. Hurry, as many events are already sold out. Most events are located at venues in the "Meatpacking" district of Manhattan, but others are scattered about the city. Also check out the Festival's online auction for gourmet dinners, get-aways and more--bidding will remain open through October 14.

Another idea: A few days ago, I stumbled upon this yahoo news article, which led me to information about the upcoming New York Musical Theatre Festival. It seems to be a really unique event that showcases new and rising Broadway-style talent and shows. Read the yahoo article and/or peruse NYMF's website for more info.

If you're willing to make a day trip:
If you don't mind a short drive or train ride, the Long Island Fall Festival is happening this weekend, from Friday through Sunday, at Heckscher State Park in East Islip, New York. You can take the Long Island Railroad to Huntington, or even just park your car for free (Saturday and Sunday) at the Huntington train station, and board a festival-sponsored shuttle for a $1 round-trip ride to the park. Once you arrive at the park, general admission is FREE. There will be hundreds of vendors, daily live musical performances, a carnival, a food court with beer and wine, and even a meatball eating contest! If that's not enough for you, try wandering the park's 20+ miles of hiking and biking trails, or taking a dip in the Great South Bay.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday Weekly: Something To Look Forward To.

Is it still Wednesday? Technically, no. But, as I have not gone to sleep yet, it's still Wednesday for me. A little delayed, but here is your Wednesday Weekly:

Calling All Nerds and Nerdettes:
Are you a Jedi or a Dark Lord? If you don't know, you had better decide by Saturday, because Newmindspace, notorious for holding ridiculous events like flash mob-style pillow fights and bubble battles, has another free, massive event coming up in NYC -- a Lightsaber Battle! On Saturday night, from 9pm to 11pm, be prepared to use (or misuse) The Force in what Newmindspace promises will be an "ultimate nocturnal showdown." And while the event IS completely free, you should probably reserve a $5 lightsaber on the event's website, as it is offered at a significant discount from most stores. Plus, if you sign up, you may get an email inviting you to get free ice cream on Battle Day from Van Leeuwen Ice Cream...

Calling All Hipsters:
RADIOHEAD IS FINALLY PLAYING A SHOW IN NYC!! Next week, the epic rock band that came on the scene in the 1980s and forever changed the genre, is returning after a long US touring hiatus to play Roseland Ballroom for two nights only (which, unfortunately for some, happen to fall on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah...), September 28 and 29. Tickets for the shows will be nearly $80 with taxes and fees, but it will be worth it, if you can get tickets. U.K. website W.A.S.T.E. will begin selling tickets on Friday, but tickets will not be on sale at ticketmaster or Roseland's box office until Monday morning, September 26, and there is a two ticket limit per person, pick-up only on the night of the show(s). Britain's The Independent also notes that Radiohead will in fact be touring in 2012.

Calling All Lushes:
Oktoberfest is in full swing in Germany, but you don't have to travel to Deutschland to celebrate, as NYC has recently become practically littered with Bavarian-style (or so these establishments claim...) beer gardens. And if you have an iPhone or iPad, there's even an app for that.
Of the more than 50 beer gardens, I have been to at least 7-- Loreley, Bierhaus, Radegast Hall, Zum Schneider, Berry Park, Studio Square, and the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden, which claims to be the oldest beer garden in NYC.
My favorite, so far, is a toss up between Radegast, in Williamsburg, and Bohemian Hall, in Astoria. Bohemian is great because of its old-school charm and outdoor space (I wonder if they do weddings?...), although the bouncers can be pretentious. Radegast is large and friendly, with a varied beer assortment, but has no outdoor space. Both have very delicious food. Loreley, on the Lower East Side, is also at the top for food, especially soft pretzels. And, as much as I hate to admit it, the spicy fries at Studio Square are fairly addictive, even if the bar feels douchey and soulless. Zum Schneider and Berry Park are decent, although neither stands out as spectacular. Finally, Bierhaus just tries too hard ($10 to anyone who can avoid staring at the chest of the "Wench" serving your beer).

Calling All Festival Lovers:
I should have posted this one last week... Starting September 16, but running through Friday, September 23, Bryant Park is hosting a Fall Festival to kick off the vibrant fall cultural season in New York City. The festival features musical and dance performances, poetry readings, children's theatre and more. A full schedule of events is available here.

The 11th annual Coney Island Film Festival takes place this weekend, from Friday through Sunday. Prices vary based on screenings and parties you decide to attend. The film festival is a non-profit arts project that benefits Coney Island, and will feature some special "made in Coney Island" films. What better excuse to go ride the Cyclone!

UPDATE: Thanks to theskint for reminding me about the annual DUMBO Arts Festival, also taking place this weekend. From the festival's organizers: "Each year the DUMBO Arts Festival seeks to highlight Brooklyn's commitment to and presence in the arts community by presenting the best in local, national, and international art amid the breathtaking backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline." I have been to this one before, and the festival is definitely a gem.

Still Ongoing:
Also, don't forget that there are a few good events that I mentioned last week which are still ongoing!

Happy Wednesday/Thursday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Weekly: In Progress

Don't worry. Don't fear. Your Wednesday Weekly is almost here. WGINY has some great suggestions, but has been otherwise engaged today. Check back later tonight for Something To Look Forward To.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Indoor Rock Climbing Venues in NYC.

As the chill of Fall begins to sweep over the city, opportunities for certain outdoor adventures like hiking and climbing will decidedly dwindle. Not to fear though, you can still seek out some adventurous thrills at the many indoor rock climbing venues in and around New York City.

My favorite place for indoor climbing in NYC is also the newest climbing gym in the five boroughs, Brooklyn Boulders, which recently celebrated its second birthday. With 22,000 square feet of exciting and challenging climbing (lead and top roping) and bouldering routes, Brooklyn Boulders is by far the largest indoor climbing arena in the city. Brooklyn Boulders also offers yoga, pilates and slackline classes, and has better hours than other area climbing gyms, open until 11pm or midnight every day. If you don't have a belay partner, you can leave your contact information on a blackboard at the gym, or you can join this meetup group that gathers at Brooklyn Boulders every Wednesday evening, and benefit from the reduced group peak rate of $18, including gear (usually $22 + $10 for gear, or $18 during off-peak hours with gear). If you are a complete beginner, you can purchase the "Learn the Ropes" package for $75, which comes with two day-passes, a belay class, and a one-day gear kit.

Before I discovered Brooklyn Boulders, I was quite content exploring the Climbing Gym at Manhattan Health Plaza Club, with over 60 changing routes and 5000 square feet for climbing and bouldering. $20 plus equipment to climb. Beginners can purchase an introductory package that includes a one-hour lesson, a one-day pass and gear for $60.

While Chelsea Piers also has a very large climbing "wall," which supposedly offers 11,000 square feet of climbing, and bouldering, frankly, I find their facilities to be boring and expensive, and I just don't have very much to say about this gym.

Finally, if you're willing to make a day-trip out of it, you can take the Long Island Railroad to Plainview, and then cab it to Island Rock, Long Island's "premier" climbing facility. This is the gym where I learned to climb, and which I enjoy returning to when I am visiting friends or family on LI. Island Rock has 9,000 square feet of climbing and bouldering routes for every level. A day pass costs $17, plus $10 for shoes and harness. Newcomers to climbing can purchase a "Quickstart Package," which comes with an introductory lesson, a one-day pass and gear.

If you are not purchasing a lesson package, all of these gyms require that you know how to belay and can demonstrate this. Once you pass the belay certification test once, most gyms will give you a certification card, but it may not be transferable between gyms, so be prepared to show off those belay skills a few times if you wish to try out different climbing venues. Otherwise, you will have to take a class.

All gyms have appropriate routes for beginners to advanced climbers and also offer lessons at various levels. You can always bring your own gear (e.g. shoes, chalk, harness), or rent on the spot. If you plan to climb a lot, consider asking the facility about various membership packages and multi-day passes.

Each gym also offers great group rates and fun activities like children's birthday parties. Happy belaying!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Are You Yearning for Some Learning? Then Visit Course Horse!

Would you like to learn a new skill or improve on an old one? Are you thinking about finding a new hobby? Well a new NYC based website, Course Horse has got the class for you. I recently learned about this great tool for seeking out reasonably priced classes in New York City that fit a wide range of schedules, in anything from yoga to cooking to foreign languages.

How does it work? Course Horse specially researches schools that offer these diverse classes, investigates the programs, and negotiates the best deals for users of their website. More classes are being added everyday, and if you don't find what you're looking for, you can contact the site with suggestions.  The best part? This start-up company is so sure that you'll be satisfied with your classes, that they have a moneyback promise if you're not.

On the website's homepage, you can either type in a keyword, and search by date(s) and time(s) when you are available, or you can browse the many links at the bottom of the page, in a variety of categories including Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Cooking, Professional, Health/Fitness, Technology, Home/Life, Arts and Sciences, Language, and Kids classes.

What are you waiting for? If you yearn to learn, find your passion now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Weekly: Something to Look Forward To.

It's Hump Day again! Funny how Wednesday just continues to happen every week. Too bad there can't be more Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and less other days. Anyway... if you're feeling that mid-week lull and you need something to look forward to, then you've come to the right place, er, blog. This upcoming weekend, and into next week, there are so many cool activities going on around the city that you'll have some tough choices to make. Below are my suggestions.

The Brooklyn Independent Music Festival, runs from Friday, September 16 through Sunday, September 18, at Littlefield in Gowanus. This festival will feature mostly local artists who are expected to (or already do) have a great impact on the NYC music scene. Tickets are $55 for the whole 3-day festival, or $23 daily.

On Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, Washington Square Park will host its first-ever folk festival! The Washington Square Park Folk Festival is a FREE festival, and will include performances from country, blues and old time string bands, among others. Sets begin each day at 2pm.

Sunday, September 18 is the start of "Broadway Week" in New York. Many of Broadway's most popular plays and musicals are offering 2-for-1 tickets through September 30. See the full list of shows here.

For all you bookworms out there, the largest free literary event in New York City, the Brooklyn Book Festival, will be taking place in Brooklyn on Sunday, September 18, and there will be a bunch of correspondingly nerdy activities across Brooklyn leading up to the festival, starting tomorrow, Thursday, September 15. The official Sunday festival schedule can be accessed here. Explore books, literary games, film screenings, and maybe even meet some authors!

For one day only, on Sunday, September 18, renowned yogi, Sri Dharma Mittra, will be on Governor's Island, at Colonel's Row, for his event, Dharma Yoga for the City, which takes place from 10am to 4pm. There are two Dharma Yoga schools in Manhattan, but on Sunday you can learn for FREE some of Sri Dharma Mittra's yoga techniques, including postures and breathing, meditating and chanting. Listen to a lecture, take a free yoga class, or chant Kirtan, and then enjoy some free vegetarian and vegan food. There will also be free children's activities. Bring a yoga mat and towel. Also, you may want to bring your own food and have a picnic on the island. Plan ahead and scope out the Governor's Island ferry schedule before you go. Governor's Island is closed to the public after September 25, until next summer, so it's the perfect time to visit the island if you haven't yet had the opportunity to do so this year.

The 85th Annual San Gennaro Feast will be taking place in Little Italy from Thursday September 15, through Sunday September 25. There will be competitive eating, parades, free musical entertainment, cooking demonstration, children's activities, vendors selling souveniers, and of course, ITALIAN FOOD!!

Starting Friday, September 16 through Sunday September 25, it's Craft Beer Week in New York City. An overwhelming number of bars and restaurants in NYC will be hosting special beer-related events each day, featuring these breweries. If you purchase something called a "Passport," you'll also be privy to specials deals and discounts. And, there's an app for that. You can purchase the Passport by downloading the app to your smartphone, or in-person at any one of the beer venues. Supposedly you can also buy one on-line at Beer Week's website, but the link appears to be broken. Thrillist is offering a special deal for Saturday, Sept 17 only.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Best Gnocchi in New York City??

It is no secret that New York City is a mecca for fine, ethnic and eccentric dining. In fact, there are so many dining establishments in the city, that you never have to eat at the same place twice.

Still, it is rare that I find food that I crave so much I make sure to pencil eating it into my social schedule, and I can't walk by the shop that sells it without stopping in for a bite.  These are the dishes I dream about, the dishes that I dream about dreaming about. They are just that good. Some examples -- the Artichoke Slice at Artichoke Basille's; the Arctica Burger at Arctica Grill; the Reese's Pieces Sundae at Friendly's (okay, okay, there's no Friendly's in NYC, sadly).

As of last night, I have a new addiction to add to that list -- the Gorgonzola Gnocchi at Jules Bistro, on Saint Marks between 1st and 2nd Ave. The fresh, piping hot, al dente pasta dish is full of just the right amount of smooth, silky potato and cooked with a tantalizing blend of cheese and spice. I only wish I had a more learned palate so that I could list out all of the ingredients here. I believe I tasted at least a hint of nutmeg... Whatever is in it, every bite made me swoon with passion for the joy my taste-buds were experiencing. I have always enjoyed gnocchi, but it is not typically my favorite pasta dish. The Gorgonzola Gnocchi at Jules has changed that for me. It is, so far, the best gnocchi I have ever had in New York City.

Surprisingly, the gnocchi at Jules Bistro is only offered as a side dish. The good news is that it only costs $5 but, while it is a generous and filling portion for a side dish, it is probably not enough to substitute for an entire meal. Order two?

Gorgonzola Gnocchi at Jules Bistro
Even if it were not for the gnocchi, Jules Bistro, complete with an ironic French host and items on the menu I cannot pronounce, is a great little bar-bistro that brings some sassy maturity to the college-kid feel of Saint Marks Place. There is also live jazz, every night, and no cover! Make sure to consider order something from the creative drink list, with prices ranging from $7 for a glass of homemade red sangria (fuller than most sangria, contains brandy and some other surprises), to $10 for cocktails made with lychee nut and other interesting concoctions.

Jules Bistro, celebrating its fifteenth year, is part of the Georges Forgeois Group of bar-bistros in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The Bistro accepts only Cash and American Express. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Goodnight Moon. Goodnight Towers of Light So Blue. Goodnight NY, DC, and PA too.

As I was walking around the West Village today, I came across one of the most touching 9/11 displays I have seen, Tiles for America. This array of painted ceramic tiles, which anyone can contribute to, began as a 9/11 memorial by ceramic studios around the world, and has grown to expand to two locations-- one surrounding a chain-link fence at the corner of 7th Ave and 11th Street, and the other at the Tribute WTC Visitors Center at Ground Zero. I am posting some extra-large pictures in the hopes that readers can comprehend this thoughtful tribute and be inspired to visit or even design a tile.

I also have some updates from my previous September 11 post:

As described, this past Saturday morning, Sept 10, Manhattan Community Board 1's "Hand in Hand: Remembering 9/11" participants came together in an extraordinary display of unity, humbleness and resilence in commemorating the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. WGINY was there.

"Hand in Hand" Participants Lining Up

At exactly 8:46a.m. (the time the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, crashed into the North Tower), bells were rung by "Hand in Hand" event volunteers, and the approximately 5000 participants joined hands along the water's edge on the west side of Manhattan to form a human chain that stretched for nearly a mile, beginning near Castle Clinton in Battery Park, and extending all the way north of Chambers Street. As we linked hands, we all observed a moment of silence to reflect and remember 9/11. Listening in silence, I could hear only the rushing water of the Hudson River, the occasional runner, and my own thoughts. This was truly a solemn, yet worthy experience.

Moreover, I was incredibly moved, saddened, and uplifted, all together, by the TIME: VOICES OF 9/11 documentary at the Film Forum. The documentary opened with the survivors' stories, and few moments passed before I was already tearing up. The vivid, firsthand accounts of their struggles to exit the South Tower, the horrors they saw and heard, the people they had to leave behind, grabbed my heart immediately. The black-and-white film scenes featured only each storyteller or commenter, with the eerie photo and video footage of the Towers being hit and then collapsing conspicuously absent. However, that footage was not needed. The poignant descriptions of the attacks, from the various vantage points of the four featured WTC survivors, as well as from businesspeople who happened to be out of the office at the time, from the family of a firefighter who was one of the first-"first responders," as well as from the wife of United Airlines Flight 93 passenger, Jeremy Glick, who spoke with her husband by cellular telephone as he and other passengers determined to form the resistance against the hijackers that brought down Flight 93 in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, created images in my head that will not soon be erased. Manhattan's Fire Battalion 1 Chief at the time, Joseph Pfeifer, now FDNY's Chief of Counterterrorism and Emergency Preparedness, also spoke devastatingly about his decision to order firefighters to ascend the Towers to search and rescue those who remained trapped inside, many of whom courageously responded to his request and never returned, including a Lieutenant who was Pfeifer's brother. Additionally, the film followed a brief but informative timeline of some of the related events unfolding in the days, months, and years after 9/11. There was a clear air of irony as Bush Cabinet Members reiterated that they were justified in invading Iraq, followed by former covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame-Wilson's implication that they were not justified. The juxtaposition of each anecdote in the documentary was phenomenal. I especially loved how the story of two of the South Tower survivors blended together, but I won't give their special bond away. Suffice to say, it was chivalrously heartwarming. In a way, the entire film was chivalrously heartwarming. It chronicled terrible loss, pain and suffering, but it was also a story of bravery, camaraderie, and fortitude. I hope that Time decides to release "VOICES OF 9/11" on DVD, so that those who were unable to attend the free screenings can view it.

And now, the tenth anniversary of the attacks that rocked New York, D.C., Pennsylvania, and the world at large, has come and gone. Of course, we will never forget, but we must also continue to learn from our history. During "VOICES OF 9/11", FDNY Chief Pfeifer noted that, in the wake of 9/11, there was a sense of near-worldwide unity, compassion and support that has steadily diminished as time has carried on, and he suggested that the spirit of remembrance is not just about mourning the victims, but also encouraging the renewed strengthening of these undervalued bonds. They are essential if we are to survive and endure as a nation, as a people, and as a global community.

With that in mind, in the wee hours of September 12, 2011, as a new day will soon dawn, I say Goodnight moon. Goodnight Towers of Light so blue. Goodnight NY, DC, and PA too. Goodnight world. Goodnight moon.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Concert Venue Review: Williamsburg Waterfront

On Thursday eve, I attended my first ticketed concert at the Williamsburg Waterfront, aka East River State Park, in Brooklyn. The Williamsburg Waterfront is a fantastic, beautiful venue for an outdoor concert, with magnificent views of the iconic New York City skyline. Being outdoors in such a large space, the acoustics felt a bit spotty at times, but overall the quality was respectable, the vibe was relaxed, and the bands were enjoyable (Having arrived late, I saw Brooklyn's own indie rock band, TV on the Radio, and just a little bit of the Canadian-based, mega-sized, Broken Social Scene).

I also reveled at the mutli-million dollar condos surrounding the park and wished I could afford to live there...

This summer's concert series at the Waterfront is sponsored by the not-for-profit, community "greening" organization, The Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn. OSA has hosted both free and benefit concerts this summer at the Waterfront, and will continue to host shows through the end of September. You can still purchase tickets for Widespread Panic and Bright Eyes on September 17, and Fleet Foxes and The Walkmen on September 24 at ticketmaster.  Don't forget to become a fan of The Williamsburg Waterfront on facebook.

Concertgoers at The Williamsburg Waterfront take in
the iconic NYC skyline between sets. 
What to know if you go:

  • Bring your ID if you want to purchase alcohol and be prepared to wait on line for a "21+" wristband. Then be prepared to wait on line for a drink ticket. Then be prepared to wait on line for a drink. 
  • While there is a separate section for consuming alcoholic beverages, the view from this area is mostly unobstructed. However, the mainstage area is decidedly better, so drink fast!
  • The food lines are not any more promising, but you can consume food anywhere in the venue, and the food is GOOD. (Although, at least at the most recent show, one of the vendors ran out very, very quickly. We were told they were going to restock, but I do not know whether or not they did.)
  • No pets, bottles/cans/coolers, backpacks, bicycles, skateboards, open umbrellas, or chairs are allowed in the park. 
  • Cameras are okay, but no zoom lenses. 
  • The closest subway is the L train at Bedford. 
  • All events are rain or shine!!
View of TV on the Radio from Mainstage Area

View of TVOTR from alcohol consumption area
Broken Social Scene,
with glimpse of mulit-million dollar condo in background

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday Weekly: September 11

It can not be ignored that the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th is coming up this weekend, and, in response, many New Yorkers will come together, as they did ten years ago in the wake of the attacks, to remember those we lost, and remind the world that we remain bonded together in the face of adversity, as New Yorkers, as Americans, and as human beings.

Readers may be interested in a unity and remembrance event in lower Manhattan, Hand in Hand, sponsored by Manhattan Community Board 1, that will take place at exactly 8:46 a.m. on Saturday morning, September 10. As part of this project, thousands of participants are expected to band together to form a "human chain" along the lower Manhattan waterfront to mark "the spirit of support and unity so valiantly displayed in the wake of 9/11."

Moreover, there will be the annual commemorative events that will take place at Ground Zero, and Timeout New York has also provided this guide to remembrance events around the city.

Another way to commemorate 9/11 is to continue to engage in healthy debate and explore differing viewpoints.  From September 8 through September 14, John Jay College of Criminal Justice will be presenting three provocative plays as part of "The 9/11 Performance Project," which will highlight issues of terrorism, racism, prejudice, nationalism, religion, politics, the collective conscience, and similar themes. See more info and descriptions of each play here.

I have just learned about a very special, one-day exclusive showing of a Time Magazine documentary, "TIME: VOICES OF 9/11". "VOICES OF 9/11" chronicles the stories of men and women whose lives were forever changed on September 11, 2001. You will hear from the only four survivors of the top floors of the World Trade Center's South Tower; from a WTC businessman who had taken the morning off to accompany his son to school, and later learned that every one of his WTC co-workers, including a brother, had perished in the attacks; and from others, including luminaries such as then-President, George W. Bush; NYC's then-mayor, Rudy Giuliani; renowned television journalist, Tom Brokaw, to name a few. The approximately one hour documentary will take place at The Film Forum, located at 209 W. Houston Street. The free screenings, for which tickets will be available at the box office on a first-come, first-serve basis, will play at 1pm, 2:50pm, 4:40pm, 6:30pm, 8:10pm and 9:45pm. This documentary comes highly recommended by WGINY, as it was edited by a good friend of mine, filmmaker Karlyn Michelson. Michelson is an award-winning documentary editor, as well as an avid video journalist and producer. Learn more about Michelson's production company, Pale Runner Productions, and explore some of her other videos here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Quicksilver Pro New York Photos

Enjoy these photos from today's freestyle surfing at Quicksilver Pro in Long Beach, New York:

A bit of a dreary beach-day, but the surfers were still out making (and catching) waves!

With more wind and rain on the way, make sure to check the daily swell forecast here

Friday, September 2, 2011

Last Weekend to Watch "Catch Me If You Can" Before It Flies Away.

Frank Abagnale, Jr., became a household name when Stephen Spielberg directed the 2002 movie, “Catch Me If You Can,” which told the incredible, true story of the young con man who, not yet even 20 years old, had amassed millions of dollars in fraudulent money by passing phony checks and posing as an airline pilot for Pan Am, a doctor, and a state prosecutor, before the FBI finally caught up with him.

In March 2011, Abagnale, Jr., who, ironically, now works for the FBI, was again in the spotlight, as the Broadway musical version of “Catch Me If You Can” debuted at the Neil Simon Theatre. Despite a strong opening and a 2011 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical to Norbert Leo Butz, who plays FBI Agent Carl Hanratty, the show is closing on September 4. WGINY had the opportunity to catch a recent performance, and I am sad to see this show go. 

“Catch me If You Can” is a light, colorful rock-and-roll romp through Abagnale’s cons and Hanratty’s pursuit of him. The show is also full of beautiful young female actresses and dancers with perfect hair and bodies, which is fitting as the character of Abagnale Jr., played by fresh-faced actor, Aaron Tveit, tells us that he first began his life of crime for women. “I like girls!,” Tveit, as Abignale, exclaims. 

Tveit is joined by Tom Wopat, who plays Abagnale’s father, Frank Abagnale, Sr., and the two make a splendid father-son pair on stage.  Both also impress with their classically Broadway voices. 

Of course, the other exquisite pair in the show is Tveit and Butz, who, although they rarely appear on stage together, create a wonderful intrigue in the relationship between the characters they portray. After seeing Butz perform “Don’t Break the Rules,” (third video down) on the Tony Awards in June 2011, I had been highly anticipating the live show, and Butz’s energy, quirkiness and talent did not disappoint. Butz, who creates a commanding character as Agent Hanratty, also comes off as an unintentional comedian. 

In fact, “Don’t Break the Rules” is one of my favorite songs from the show. Although a large part of the rest of the repertoire seems rather forgettable, the songs are light, pop-y and colorful, and you may dance in your seat, just a little bit, even if, subsequently, you don’t remember what you were dancing to. 

The show’s choreography is also spot-on. Choreographer Jerry Mitchell has created sexy, vibrant dance numbers that perfectly complement the show’s upbeat style. You may forget that you are at a Broadway show and think that you are watching The Rockettes. Don’t discount Butz, either. Although he may not have long, lascivious legs, he is a star dancer, and even won the 2011 Astaire Award for best Broadway dancer for his moves in “Catch Me If You Can.” He tends to steal some of the show with his gruff voice and fancy footwork.

Overall, “Catch Me If You Can” is a delightful way to spend a few hours on Broadway, especially if you can find tickets at a discounted price. You can also purchase full-price tickets here, or, if you are a student with ID, you can purchase up to 2 tickets for $27 on the day of a performance (limited quantity available). Be sure to see it before it flies away on September 4.