We kicked off school break with yet another trip to Broadway, this time to a matinée (with the accent aigu!) of the precious 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The show, which closes January 20th after a nearly-three-year run, is the story of six young people looking to define themselves through winning a spelling bee, and I’m so glad we finally got to see it. It’s one of those great shows that’s funny at different levels to people of different ages. We were inspired to get tickets after seeing one of the understudies, Maurice Murphy, perform with the Broadway Boys earlier this fall.

The performances were charming and adorable, and the layout of the Circle in the Square theatre had us sitting in the first row along one side of the platform stage. The actors all noticed and interacted with the boys, and one of my greatest joys was looking askance at their faces cracking up with hilarity. We waited afterward outside the theater door for a few of the actors to exit, and each one recognized the boys and spent a few minutes chatting with us and signing autographs. All four boys wanted to take the sweet, dimpled Jenni Barber (Olive Ostrovsky) home with us. And Stanley Bahorek, who played Leaf Coneybear, could not have been kinder and more interactive about the boys’ interest in theater. It’s a treat for the boys to have the opportunity to meet the incredibly talented actors and share a moment with them, and the actors are always tickled by the spectacle of four brothers.

Our special day continued with a wonderful dinner at Il Cantinori, followed by an unforgettable drive through desolate lower Manhattan, spectacularly alighted for the holidays. We saw Lady Liberty from the southern tip of the island, and the boys squealed with delight. And perhaps the most indelible memory of the day for all six of us was the breathtaking sight of midtown Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge as we came around the curve at 16th or 17th Street on the FDR. That sight doesn’t get old no matter how many times you see it. Even though, tragically, a couple of my kids now think it’s called the “Chrysla” Building, thanks to their Dad’s interesting pronunciation!

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