Dinner and a show have long defined a quintessential night-on-the-town in any city, but nowhere more so than New York. A full week of work (or a day attending the October 13 Managed Markets seminar) will undoubtedly inspire an evening out and about in the City. Since dining options in NYC's Theatre District are as abundant as the lights on Broadway, here are some popular area restaurants for a pre-show meal to help set the tone for three of this season's most popular productions:
The Book of Mormon
The musical brain-child of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon tells the story of two wide-eyed missionaries who travel to Uganda with the intent of converting locals to the Mormon faith, but instead find a world ridden with poverty, famine, AIDS and war. With the help of Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez, Parker and Stone have the cast singing and dancing along the thin line between comically irreverent and outright offensive in this Tony-winning comedy that lampoons organized religion, traditional musical theater and everything in between.
Best bet before whetting your comedic appetite: Braai
While South African cuisine doesn't tend to fall in the same realm as Ugandan/East African, the restaurant's tribal ambience is reminiscent of The Book of Mormon's own African stereotyping and, like the musical's content, the quality of the food completely makes up for any oversight. Authenticity aside, the location can't be beat less than half a mile from the musical's playhouse. Try the African Road Runner (ostrich) steak, which tastes like beef only more lean and tender, and the malva pudding (apricot sponge cake) for dessert.
Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy
Centering on a lounge singer who comes to live in a convent under the witness protection program, Sister Act follows the same basic premise as its 1992 film counterpart. With an original score by Alan Menken of Disney fame and lyrics by Glenn Slater, the music reflects the show's 1970's Philadelphia setting, evoking soul, Motown, funk and disco, and propelling the otherwise familiar storyline from a slightly restrained and gawky comedy to a full-on Broadway spectacular.
Guaranteed to make you sing the chef's praises: John's Pizzeria
Housed in a converted church within walking distance of the theater, this famous NYC eatery is an obvious choice to prepare you for a night of pseudo-religious revelry. Dine on traditional New York pizza with stained glass, wooden pews and tall domed ceilings as your backdrop.
Anything Goes is a revival of the 1930s Broadway classic by the same name in an adaptation that manages to live up to the original's standards. Following the 1987 Broadway rewrite, the story unfolds on an ocean liner bound for England, where a nightclub singer aids her stowaway friend in his quest to win the heart of an affluent (and engaged) passenger. Wholesome, campy and musically enduring, Anything Goes epitomizes the glory days of musical theater and reinvigorates one of the genre's best-loved classics.
Worth the voyage: PJ Clarke's
PJ Clarke's has been a New York institution since 1884, and this establishment's food, service and charm are a testament to its staying power. The décor heralds back to the earlier half of the 20th century, which helps set the stage for an evening on board the Depression-era S.S. American. Despite being a little farther away than some of the other restaurants, their famous hamburgers more than compensate for the 10-minute cab ride.