Twelfth Night and Rye House

"Love sought is good, but giv'n unsought is better."
The Globe production of Twelfth Night: or What You Will has men playing women’s roles like in Shakespeare’s day. Come early and you’ll find the actors on stage milling about, dancing and applying makeup to splendid live Renaissance music: hurdy gurdy, cittern, recorders, bagpipe, pipe and tabor, and field drum. In imitation of the Globe theatre, there is double-decker audience seating on either side of the stage.

Angus Wright’s Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Paul Chadihi’s Maria give strong performances. All actors perform the Bard with ease, humor and clarity. Stephen Fry is a hoot as a lovesick swain, in yellow tights.

Mark Rylance steals the show as young Olivia, countess in mourning. He is both measured and over the top as a young girl in love. Much has been made of his athleticism. We saw Jerusalem on the West End, in which he played a down-and-out. Rylance entered with a handstand over a water trough, doused his head, and thereafter anything he did seemed incredible. As Olivia, he is comically graceful—and pretty.

Clothing is hand-stitched and a close match to the costumes worn in the 16th-century. As the curtain closes, the six massive chandeliers over the stage are lowered and candles snuffed. Even this was fantastic to watch. Twelfth Night is performed in rep with King Richard the Third. Shakespeare diehards can see both shows in one day.

After Twelfth Night, we felt in the mood to go to a
Paper-thin beef jerky at Rye House
classic pub. What would a British pub be like if reinterpreted here? It might serve truffle popcorn, deep-fried pickles, sloppy joe sliders, fish tacos, and a truly unique version of macaroni and cheese. A juicy steak would be on the menu, and for dessert, molten brownie with vanilla ice cream.

Rye House, in the Flatiron District, turns out all of these dishes and others, including a sizzling pepper steak with extra-crispy fries. It is the classic American pub menu. Their mixologist is famous for the Wake-Up Call and the Perfect Storm. We found the Fall Breeze (house lavender syrup, bitters, cucumber, mint, vodka) to be perfect.

Kale caesar with WI parm
Robert Lombardi and Michael Jannetta have created attractive bars (their other is Sala One Nine) that are crowded every evening. We sat in the woody dining room where music and lighting were pleasantly ambient. Our young critic, Arden, found the deep-fried mac and cheese, served in three baseball-size orbs, “crunchy and creamy” and the medium-rare steak irresistible. Kale caesar salad—a brand new restaurant standby—was topped with Wisconsin parmesan. Made in-house beef jerky is served in sheets in a paper cone. This was a revelation to us: well-seasoned, sweet and salty, and something we haven’t seen anywhere else.

Moonwork and Katz's Delicatessen

After losing their lease and a three-year hiatus, Moonwork is back with $20 evenings of stand-up comedy and musicians and pop-up celebrity guests. You never know who is in town and will appear to try out new material. Moonwork is a well-kept secret quickly gaining momentum. Get there early. They often sell out.

Jim Gaffigan
Jim Gaffigan of The Late Show fame did not disappoint with his fat talk and quiet, clever, edgy delivery. Also noteworthy were Mazz Swift on electric violin, versatile comedians Jeffrey Joseph, Christian Finnegan, and Moonwork's closing act, the epic storyteller Tom Shillue, who took us on a journey back to his college days and paper airplanes, probability theories and haunted stairwells set to music. It was hilarious.

Moonwork is followed by comedy scouts and insiders. Join them on the mailing list to find out when there's a show and who'll be in it. New locale:  Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Education Center, 107 Suffolk Street. Moonwork is Gregory Wolfe, James Manzi, Carol Hartsell, and James Wolfe.

Katz's Delicatessen, established in 1888, was where to find actors from the thriving Yiddish theatre scene on the Lower East Side. More recently, it was the set for Meg Ryan's theatrical orgasm in Nora Ephron's When Harry Met Sally. The restaurant supported the war effort (three Katz sons fought in WWII). Their trademark slogan, posted throughout, "Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army" still holds true. Katz's ships gift packages to the troops in Iraq.

"I'll have what she's having."
Sour pickles, creamy coleslaw, crispy fries, pastrami and corned beef are heaven, but the plain brisket is too. It's casual at Katz's, so expect tea in a paper cup and plates smeared with mustard and catsup to languish until the pick-up cart swings by. Take home cheesecake, chopped liver, and fresh bagels.

Perfect for before or after late-night comedy, Katz's never closes on Fridays and Saturdays. You can stay as long as you like. It's not cheap, for instance, the best pastrami sandwich you'll ever eat is $16.95, but worth it.