Every day is opening night.


Ladies and gents,
What is theater? I’m not being pretentious, or rhetorical — I’m actually confused. Had you asked me last week to define the art form, I’d certainly
have mentioned some version of “live performance.” Well, that was before I experienced Flight at the McKittrick Hotel. There is no doubt in my mind that Flight is every bit a theatrical experience, and yet there isn’t any live performance at all. No, it’s a story told through a series of still-life dioramas and intricate sound design. But it has such vitality coursing through its veins, that it all feels the furthest thing from “inanimate.”

The story is the harrowing journey of two Afghan brothers — refugees — trying to make their way safely to the West. Directed by Jamie Harrison and Candice Edmunds (the former is credited for creating the much ballyhooed illusions in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Flight was written by Oliver Emanuel (adapted from the novel Hilterland by Caroline Brothers). Without actors, the real stars of the show are the dioramas — designed by Harrison and Rebecca Hamilton. They are incredibly detailed and evocative — so much so that you’d swear you’re watching a live action story unfold before you.

The night I was there, I ran into my buddies Carole Shorenstein Hays and Dr. Jeffrey Hays. As we exited, I said to Carole — the reigning doyenne of California performing arts, “don’t you think San Francisco audiences would go mad for this?” She just smiled, winked, and hopped into a taxi. Hmmmm. Other notables at the McKittrick that night were Hugh Jackman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Neil Patrick Harris. It’s still attracting the A List all these years after Sleep No More first opened there, ushering in a new era of downtown theater. When I couldn’t find my own cab, I journeyed to the underground station at 23rd Street and 8th Avenue, and thus began my own harrowing journey to my own little promised land on the Upper East Side. No dioramas needed!

Tidbits from around town…
Saw Jack Antonoff’s Uncle Lewis nearly do a spit take when Jack name-checked him from the stage at Thursday night’s Pink concert at Madison Square Garden.
Overheard Martha Plimpton give directions to a foreign TV crew trying to get to the St. James Theatre. The crew seemed to have no idea they were talking to a luminary!
Spotted Carly Rae Jepsen leaving Escape to Margaritaville with two bagfuls of merch.
Caught Jesus Christ Superstar Live co-star Jason Tam signing autographs for a couple of overcome tweens outside the W Hotel in Union Square.
As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!

Scoop V.