The Glass Menagerie and Má Pêche

This dreamy revival of the almost seventy-year-old The Glass Menagerie starts sad and stays sad, yet manages a sense of catharsis. Most of us know the Tennessee Williams play, but never have we felt so much for all four of the characters: Tom, Laura, Amanda and Jim.
Amanda Wingfield played by the beautiful Cherry Jones

Tom, the reluctant breadwinner for his mother and handicapped sister, dreams of running off to become a writer. Zachary Quinto plays him as a slacker. He hasn’t paid the electric bill, forcing them at one point to use candles. Amanda places her hopes on a gentleman caller for Laura and their eventual marriage. Laura wants only to please her mother. The set of their shabby apartment attached to an accordion of a fire escape is haunting. Sparkly, surreal touches by director John Tiffany and movement director Steven Hoggett heighten the moment.

We’re angry with Tom for abandoning his family, but somehow relieved that he has escaped this desperate situation. Perhaps an autobiographical story, Williams also worked at a dead-end job in St. Louis and left behind an unstable sister and a histrionic mother who lived in the past. 

Jim the gentleman caller, Brian J. Smith, expertly balances boy tenderness and masculine bravado. Cherry Jones as Amanda will not be defeated. Even though the closing lines are so familiar, by Quinto’s Tom, this time caused sobs in the audience.

Momofuku pork bun, you blow my mind
Dishes are simple and on the sparse side at Momofuku Pêche. Stick with noodles, pork buns, and soft drinks. A cocktail or glass of wine will set you back $15. David Chang’s cutting-edge restaurants compete in price with restaurants right up there; lunch cost $120 with tip.

Grilled trout, duck ramen, and the sweet corn salad were perf. The famous pork bun, like his Momofuku cookbook, was so good that we had to deconstruct it to try to figure out why. Hoisin sauce? Swear words? (Momofuku, a made-up Japanese name, was chosen because it sounds a bit like "motherf•••er.")

We didn’t go for the eponymously titled and trademarked Crack PieTM, nor for the suspiciously multicolored Confetti Cookie. Giant cookies, irresistibly low priced at 3 for $5, were delivered to the table in their cellophane wrappers. Two versions with chocolate chips were fine, but the Corn Cookie was the stuff of dreams. Pêche, Momofuku’s midtown location, has a Milk Bar (dessert bakery) attached.

Hell’s Kitchen and Kinky Boots

Hell's Kitchen is a friendly place
Adjacent to the theatre district is the neighborhood real estate refers as “midtown west” and New York knows by its more colorful name, which Hell’s Kitchen restaurant embraces proudly. Star chef Jorge Pareja emigrated from a southern Mexico region that specializes in both farming and fishing. His menu has fresh, confident flavors: boiled pork shank in mixiote (barbeque) sauce, sea bass over plantain purée, grilled half chicken with molé negro. (The chicken is Murray’s, which uses oregano oil in place of antibiotics and tastes much better.) Corn tortillas are made in-house. Hell's Kitchen fish tacos are the best ever.

Staff might take an order for an appetizer-size portion of a main course or main-course size app. There is a weekend brunch including bison eggs benedict with jalapeño hollandaise. Hell’s Kitchen has a clean and modern décor, soft lighting and spectacular food. Any leftovers mysteriously seem to taste better the next day.

Harvey Fierstein and company
Kinky Boots originated with the 2005 film set in Northampton, England, based on a true story. A shoe factory’s economy was revived by Lola (the versatile comedian Billy Porter), a drag queen in ladies’ shoes, observed by the straight junior CEO of the shoe factory, Charlie (Stark Sands, every bit as cute as Justin Timberlake), who recognizes the potential in creating a boot for drag queens that can support a male’s weight and structure. Charlie hires Lola to be his designer.

By the end, Lola and Charlie begin sleeping with one another and make plans for a traditional church wedding – no wait, that’s a different story! By the end, Charlie switches from a rich girlfriend to a poor one (Annaleigh Ashford, sensationally funny). Diva Lola is still fabulous, but alone. The main thing is, everyone male and female, gay and straight, starts wearing high-heeled boots, as though we were in the court of Louis XIV.

Stunning, narrow-hipped drag queens abound, however this production feels too tame by half. Kinky Boots is carried along, mostly, by the want-to-have-fun, guitar heavy music of the great Cyndi Lauper, and by the oft-repeated line, “Ladies and gentlemen, and those who haven’t made their minds up yet.”