This summer, Broadway’s most buzzed-about plays and musicals range from warm-hearted romances to darkly comedic puppet shows. But just because the shows themselves start at 8pm doesn’t mean you need to wait till then to get into the dramatic spirit.
We spoke with J. David Anderson from production company RWS & Associates about his top picks for the season’s best Broadway productions. And for our guests, we’ve included restaurant suggestions to enhance the evening:
American in Paris
The four-time Tony Award-winning new adaptation of Gershwin’s classic film is a delightfully upbeat dance-heavy production set in Paris after World War II.
Eat: French and light.
Nougatine, the bright, more casual counterpart to chef Jean Georges’s haute cuisine flagship at Columbus Circle makes the perfect complement for this light-hearted musical. The celebrated French chef’s delicious food—order the foie gras brûlé with balsamic—without the fuss.
Broadway’s latest craze (in previews now, opening officially August 6), Hamilton tells the dramatic tale of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, set to a raucous mix of hip hop, jazz and R&B from In the Heights’s Lin-Manuel Maranda.
Eat: Hamilton Overload
After visiting Hamilton’s uptown homestead museum, stay in the neighborhood—Hamilton Heights, no less—and dine at The Grange Bar & Eatery. Named for the revolutionary’s former estate, The Grange’s offers New American standards like grass-fed burgers and oyster sliders (and craft cocktails from a knowledgeable team of bartenders—we love the Chubby Jackson, with Black Grouse scotch, vermouth, and apple cider) in a beautiful brick-and-timber, barnhouse-like setting.
Best Musical at the 2015 Tony Awards, Fun Home explores one woman’s relationship with her father over the years. It’s the first Broadway musical with a lesbian protagonist, and audiences and critics alike have raved about its acting and Sondheim-style music.
Eat: It’s a Woman’s World
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s 15-year-old Prune has proved itself a New York favorite thanks to dishes like gazpacho with toast and house-made pork sausage with broccoli rabe. But we love Prune even more because of Hamilton’s commitment to supporting female chefs.
Hand to God
One of the most talked-about new plays centers on a Texan teenager’s struggles with a menacing hand-puppet. But Hand to God is no simple puppet show. The dark comedy earns stellar reviews, and the The New York Times heralds star Steven Boyer’s performance (as both Jason the teenager and Tyrone the evil puppet) as “a true tour de force.”
Eat: Texas-style Barbecue
Fill up before the Texas-set play with a barbecue dinner at Mighty Quinn’s, the wildly popular brick-and-mortar birthed from a popular pop-up at Smorgasburg. Good luck choosing between the spare ribs, briskets and pulled pork: All are showstoppers.
Preludes bills itself as a “musical fantasia set in the hypnotized mind of Sergei Rachmaninoff,” and follows the great composer as he contemplates writer’s block and holds imaginary visits with Russian heavyweights Tolstoy, Chekhov, Tchaikovsky and Tsar Nicholas II, to name a few. From the creators of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, Preludes features lilting, conversational music and elaborate sets, uptown on Broadway at Lincoln Center.
Eat: Pre-Rachmaninoff Stroganoff
New York is not short on Russian restaurants, but Russian Vodka Room stands above the rest by serving the best stroganoff in town. Dark wood paneling and live piano music add to the ambiance—as do the artfully house-infused vodkas (We love the forelle pear and caramelized walnut flavor).
The WestHouse team of concierges can help you with tickets and dinner reservations for each of these. Of course, there's also Jersey Boys, which you can book via an exclusive WestHouse package.