The Post-Gazette's 97th Show Plane heads to Broadway, May 1-5. It features four musicals mixing old and new, fictional and true, hearty, sweet and (slightly) blue. All four are opening fresh this spring.
• "Matilda" arrives as a huge hit from London, where it was developed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Don't be misled by its origin in Roald Dahl's book for children -- in his review from London, senior theater critic Chris Rawson called it a "deliciously edgy musical comedy noir of repression and escape" for adults, full of zesty energy.
• "Kinky Boots" is a brand-new musical adaptation of a 2005 film comedy, based on the real story of a small English shoe factory, by Cyndi Lauper (score, lyrics) and Harvey Fierstein (book). The juicy, flamboyant lead role is played by Pittsburgh native and CMU grad Billy Porter.
• "Pippin" is the first revival in 40 years of the whimsical story of a medieval king by another CMU grad, Stephen Schwartz ("Godspell," "Wicked"), whose score includes such favorites as "Magic to Do," "Glory" and "Corner of the Sky."
• "Motown" is a new chronicle of the popular music that took off in the early '60s, featuring the classics of stars Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and others.
The Show Plane group stays at the Millennium Broadway Hotel, just off Times Square. Included is a welcoming dinner and a later discussion of the plays over post-show drinks with Mr. Rawson, who will be reviewing as he goes.
There is also an optional farewell dinner and a private tour of the United Nations, complete with professional guide and lunch. Experienced escorts from Pittsburgh accompany the group and offer suggestions for additional theater, dining and touring.
Included in the package are the four shows, four nights at the hotel, dinner, discussion, round-trip airfare from Pittsburgh, transfers between the New York airport and hotel, gratuities and taxes. The basic tour price is $2,103 per person based on two people sharing a double room. The single supplement is $647.
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 musicals, call Mr. Rawson at 412-216-1944.
First Published February 3, 2013 5:00 AM