The ending isn’t tragic at all, and in it, Nathan Lane is at his most riveting. There’s an authentic period feel to the costumes and to a masterful set by John Lee Beatty that revolves to show the burlesque theatre stage, back stage and Chauncey’s arty apartment. The Automat set is very Edward Hopper.
Portions aren’t huge at the three-course pre-theatre menu at the Leopard at des Artistes. But it’s incredible that you can now afford to eat at all in this art-filled palace on Central Park West! Be willing to eat very early or very late for the $35 pre- and post-theatre prix fixe, and make reservations.
Formerly bohemian hangout Café des Artistes, and once French, it became Italian when it changed hands and serves a specialty of grilled fish deboned at your table with waiterly flare. Risotto and ravioli were too al dente for our tastes, but that can be prevented next time by a word to the kitchen to overcook them.
The new back bar has a homey feel, with stacks of books and objets d’art and flattering lighting. We miss the murkier old L-shaped bar that served complimentary snacks of hard-boiled eggs, Ritz crackers and Liptauer cheeseball. The people who took over (Il Gattopardo is their other restaurant) made some improvements, such as a strategic mirror to better reflect the 1920s murals out front by Howard Chandler Christy. Surely a few of the models who posed without a stitch for Christy were stage soubrettes back in the day of The Nance.