The Steppenwolf Theatre Company has humble beginnings; a group of friends started practicing their craft in a spare room, and it grew from there to eventually a National Medal of Arts, nine Tony Awards and a large number of Joseph Jefferson commendations. Notable names in the group include John Mahoney of Frasier fame, John Malkovich (Con Air, Burn After Reading), amongst many others. One thing you can be sure of is that the Steppenwolf will never pander to its audience; the storylines are not handed to you gently but rather one is slapped in the face with them. It may not always be comfortable, but it will certainly leave you thinking about what you just experienced.
The Goodman Theatre has the distinction of having hosted a number of productions that have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Every play performed here has something special about it; who says the cast members have to be on stage? They could just as well be sitting in front of, behind or beside you. It is this extra layer of unpredictability that makes these productions memorable. For the past three decades, the Theatre has staged A Christmas Carol and each time it has managed to do something new and inventive with it. You may think you’ve seen and know a play, but you can’t properly say that until you’ve experienced it at the Goodman.
New York has the distinction of being the city with more pieces of art than anywhere else. On the face of it, this may seem to be a great thing; but how do you locate it all and decide what you want to see most from the plethora of offerings? This is where ArtMuse comes in. Natasha Schlesinger, who established the company and is also a working tour guide, will do all the hard work for you. ArtMuse offers a range of tours focussing on one out of over 25 galleries, exhibitions and museums. She offers a synopsis of the exhibits, gives the basic information about collections and links artworks together so you can see the themes and patterns or the story they are telling. This is a far more interactive approach than merely looking at a lot of painting that one does not know the history of, and hence is a lot more enjoyable. ArtMuse also arranges tours for children so they can have fun too, rather than the conventionally stuffy environment of your average gallery or museum where it is hands off everything.
The most famous pictures of New York, such as its skyline, Statue of Liberty etc., are known to everyone – either from a postcard sent back by a friend, or a photograph taken by someone who has already been there. The perpetual noise of the city that never sleeps is also familiar thanks to the many films that have been shot on its streets. However, what of the unique tastes and culinary aromas of the five boroughs? When it comes to New York food, to know it is to have tasted it yourself. Enthusiastic Gourmet tours, led by Susan Rosenbaum, show lovers of food around the eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes and stalls in vibrant areas such as Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Specialties like pickles, cheeses, bagels, antipasto and dumplings are just some of what’s on offer – a sense of adventure and a good appetite are essentials.