Actor Matthew Broderick’s Guide to Broadway

I was born in Manhattan and first lived on Ninth Street at Fifth Avenue before moving a few blocks to Washington Square North. My wife [Sarah Jessica Parker] and I shared our first apartment in Soho, but we now live in Greenwich Village where I started, so I’ve hardly left a six-block radius in my entire life. I love it here: the buildings are low to see the sky and it’s steps from the Hudson River, which is now an extremely pleasant place to walk. Although the neighborhood has gentrified, it retains a sense of weirdness and quirkiness, and I still love seeing older people carrying their groceries to small local stores. The neighborhood has kept its history, the brownstone and tree-lined streets are the same, my friends are still there and my children go to the same school as me.

Matthew Broderick backstage at the Hudson Theater Broadway, where Plaza Suite will take place © Timothy O’Connell

A big part of my life is centered on Broadway. The ripple effect of shutting it down for 18 months has been enormous: from trucks powering the lights, to makeup artists, to out-of-work decorators, and so on. Midtown still seems quiet but it’s coming back. I just saw my first play in two years, The Lehman Trilogy, which I loved; it was amazing to be back watching a live performance with an enthusiastic audience.

Broderick and his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, star in Neil Simon's Plaza Suite through June

Broderick and his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, star in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite through June © Courtesy of Plaza Suite on Broadway

Three Lives Bookstore in the West Village

Three Lives Bookstore in the West Village

With Square Suite run, I think more of the theater and Times Square in general. I look forward to so many pieces – Six, The music man and carolina, Or Change, like everyone else – but also the routine of rehearsals, and just standing around eating Sweetgreen salad with our stage manager and lighting crew. I’m also happy to return to old favorites, especially the Algonquin Hotel, which is so much part of the old world of theater and, it’s not easy, but after-show drinks at Bar Centrale, or a larger meal at the famous Joe Allen. I like Glass House Tavern for a casual burger and after-show drink, or Café Un Deux Trois, which is an institution. José is the head waiter and I love him – the French cuisine is excellent too.

The Algonquin Hotel photographed in 1895:
The Algonquin Hotel photographed in 1895: “such a part of the old theater world” © Geo P Hall & Son/The New York Historical Society/Getty Images

When people come to New York, I tend to recommend boutique hotels or old classics that have a real sense of place and history. The Mercer in Soho is great for getting together over drinks, while The Jane is an iconic West Village spot with small rooms but excellent river views. For old-school glamour, it’s The Carlyle uptown: quintessential New York of a certain era and it’s right next to Central Park. A drink and live music at Bemelmans Bar here is a must.

Down at the J Mueser men's clothing store
Below the J Mueser menswear store © Zeph Colombatto
Cigar Village:
Village Cigars: “an iconic store that everyone should see once” © Alamy

Closer to home, I’m a big fan of Three Lives bookstore in the West Village because I’m always in need of books, and J Mueser is a great menswear store that has more funky indie labels. Here you will find suits and sports jackets in unusual colors and with a little bit of daring, either on rack or made to measure. The salespeople are endlessly helpful and always tell you what’s next. Then just down the street is Casa Magazines – New York’s ultimate newsstand – and also Village Cigars on Sheridan Square, an iconic store that everyone should see once. For an after bite, I highly recommend Mary’s Fish Camp for classic New England seafood, but a bit more refined. It’s local and cozy and the perfect place for a lobster roll.

Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle
Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle © Don Riddle

I’m really looking forward to being with a live audience again and working with this group of actors – one of whom, my wife, who I see every day – and our director, John Benjamin Hickey. Part of the theatrical tradition is its “the show must go on” mentality. It’s about being adaptable, and we had to be. Theater is all about togetherness and we all appreciate how important that is now. I hope we can “build back better,” as President Biden puts it, and that theater becomes more affordable, inclusive, and accessible. If, out of that time, we can improve the theater for everyone, I think that’s a good thing.

Plaza Suite is presented at the Hudson Theater Broadway until June 12;

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