Owning and running a restaurant can be a complicated, challenging and, hopefully, rewarding career. Everything from the name to the napkins, the wine to the wait staff, the menu to the marketing must be perfect. Today issues like cross-contamination, allergies to nuts and gluten-free items, vegetarians and vegans, health inspections and bad reviews can be troublesome. But for chef David Kaplan who owns TABLE in a desirable corner of Union Square in New York City, the life is perfection. He is surrounded by his wife Claire, his loving kids Bix and Kate and neighbors, Phoebe and Gloria, who run a green grocery market that supports his concepts of organic and farm to table freshness. What could go wrong with this picture?
Enter David's idyllic world with Long Wharf Theatre's new world premiere musical about food and family, "The Most Beautiful Room in New York," crafted by Adam Gopnik with music by David Shire on the Main Stage until Sunday, May 28. Come sit down, your table is waiting.
David and Claire's world is turned topsy-turvy when the landlord issues a steep rent increase to $35,000 a month. Even if the tables are occupied every day, there is no way the couple can meet the new demands. They need a plan, a great plan, and quickly. David, a dedicated and hard working Matt Bogart, decides to call in old favors. Years before he had partnered with an avant garde speculator Sergio, a dipped in olive oil Constantine Maroulis, who talks a good game but can't be trusted to deal honestly in any negotiations. David looks to wife Claire, a fully involved Anastasia Barzee, for the future. When he discovers she and Sergio share a romantic past, David is unable to understand or forgive either of them.
The kids Bix, a good natured Tyler Jones, has plans of his own that industriously involved Anna, a sweet Krystina Alabado, and his sister Kate, a helpful Sawyer Niehaus. Bix and Anna use the pizza place owned and operated by her dad Carlo, a cynically witty Mark Nelson, to create a good tasting business that just may solve everybody's problems. Thanks to Sergio and master plans with his cohorts Natasha (Anne Horak) and Gabe (Allan K. Washington), even the outdoor market run by Phoebe (Darlesia Cearcy) and Gloria (Danielle Ferland) is in danger of closing. David Shire's tuneful music carries the action until a satisfying "Slice of Life" is firmly established for all. Gordon Edelstein directs this delicious combination platter of spicy and savory, sure to please the palate. Michael Yeargan's set design spotlights all the places of interest beautifully.
For tickets ($34.50-89.50), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or go online to www.longwharftheatre.org.
Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The next time you dine, whether in a pizzeria on Wooster Street or a four star establishment on Chapel, you will have a new respect for all the ingredients that go into creating a good tasting recipe for success.