Spring is in the wings (we promise!), so it's time to anticipate the Post-Gazette's 98th Show Plane. Heading to Broadway May 13-18, it features three new musicals, leaving extra time for theater junkies to add shows of their own choosing, or whatever else the Big Apple has to offer. Included are:
• "Bullets Over Broadway" is Woody Allen's adaptation of his own movie script, using songs from the '20s and '30s. Zach Braff plays the playwright who gets involved with a mobster who wants to produce a show to star his girlfriend. Directed by five Tony-winner Susan Stroman ("The Producers," "Young Frankenstein").
• "The Bridges of Madison County" has a score by Jason Robert Brown ("Parade") and book adapted by Marsha Norman ("The Color Purple," "'Night Mother") from James Waller's 1992 novel. Bartlett Sher directs Steven Pasquale and the wonderful Kelli O'Hara in the roles played on film by Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep.
• "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," which opened in November, is a witty, melodic musical hall version of the play that also gave us the classic Alec Guinness film comedy, "Kind Hearts and Coronets." Jefferson Mays is a joy playing all eight relatives whom the black sheep of the family has to dispatch on his way to the dukedom.
Those three musicals leave two open theater slots on Saturday. Gulliver's Travels will help you secure tickets, or you can make your choices at the last minute, perhaps using the half-price booth in Times Square.
The Show Plane is accompanied by senior theater critic Christopher Rawson. It stays just off Times Square at the Millennium Broadway Hotel, in the heart of the theater district. Included is a welcoming dinner Wednesday and a later discussion of the plays with Mr. Rawson (and perhaps an actor) over post-show drinks at Sardi's.
There is also an optional farewell dinner and a private tour of a special corner of Manhattan, complete with professional guide and lunch. Experienced escorts from Pittsburgh accompany the group and offer suggestions for additional theater, dining and touring.
The package includes three shows, four nights at the hotel, dinner, discussion and drink, round-trip airfare from Pittsburgh, transfers between the New York airport and hotel, gratuities and taxes. The basic price is $2,096 per person based on two people sharing a double room. The single supplement is $ $688.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to hold your reservation; status will be confirmed upon receipt of deposit and reservation request form. All payments are to be made to Gulliver's Travels Inc., 460 S. Graham St., Pittsburgh PA 15232-1210.
For information on the trip, call Gulliver's Travels at 412-441-3131. For information on the shows, call Mr. Rawson at 412-216-1944.