Dinner and a Musical with “Ruthless!” and Joe Allen Restaurant

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One of my favorite birthday treats this year was a classic New York City night out with one of my writing clients, Tracy from Tracy’s New York Life. And nothing is more classically “NYC” than a Thursday night out at a musical, followed by dinner at an iconic restaurant.

Last fall, Tracy took me to my first Broadway musical, On Your Feet!, which blew my mind. This time, we ventured off-Broadway to see a cult classic that many theater buffs have been buzzing about lately – Ruthless!, playing at St. Luke’s Theatre. I’m not that well-versed in current off-Broadway shows, so all I knew about the musical was that it’s a comedy; but holy crap, I was not AT ALL prepared to laugh so hard that night.

The plot is centered around Tina, a talented 8-year-old who will do anything (“…and I mean ANYTHING…”) to get the lead role in the school play and make it to the big leagues. Everyone also questions who Tina inherited her star quality from, leading to a mystery surrounding her family – particularly, her mother Judy. And the whole delivery is pretty much a mockery of Broadway musicals, as well as the stereotypical “Broadway star” attitude.

Ruthless! turned out to be so much more hilarious, clever, dark, and edgy than I ever expected, and the entire cast was amazing. Kim Maresca (Judy) and Paul Pecorino (Sylvia St. Croix) have perfect comedic timing, and 10-year-old Tori Murray (Tina) is an absolute superstar. When I was her age, I was still playing with Barbies.

Tracy and I were sitting in the front row, and there was even a moment when I was laughing so hard that Paul paused for a second, pointed to me, and said “You liked that one, didn’t you?” before continuing on. The level of energy from the cast was consistently high throughout the entire night, and the random interactions with the crowd almost made it feel like a stand-up comedy show.

If you’re in New York City and love a good musical comedy, you must must MUST see Ruthless! Visit the website here for ticket information.

After the show, Tracy and I walked over to the classic Theater District restaurant, Joe Allen. As per tradition, I ordered the chicken Caesar salad and several glasses of sparkling rose. I normally wouldn’t order a boring-sounding salad during a night out, but seriously – the chicken Caesar salad at Joe Allen is the best I’ve ever had in the city. And since it was my b-day, our waiter was sweet enough to bring over an enormous slice of Joe Allen’s famous banana cream pie, which is also the best I’ve ever tasted. It had a flaky crust, thick and custardy banana filling, and the bombest whipped cream ever (seriously, I can’t figure out what they did to make it that good).

Aaaaaannnnddd I’m done talking about the food, because I’m starting to get all sorts of cravings. Anyways, Ruthless! + Joe Allen = the perfect midweek birthday celebration.

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