Forbidden Broadway, Menier Chocolate Factory

“Gerard Alessandrini (creator, writer and director) and Philip George (director) bring their multi-award winning satirical musical, Forbidden Broadway to the Menier Chocolate Factory for a limited run only, until 30 August. The show, which recently finished its record-breaking 27-year run in New York makes its first visit to London in 10 years.

The London cast is Anna-Jane Casey, Sophie-Louise Dann, Alasdair Harvey and Steven Kynman. Set designs are by Morgan Large, with costumes designs by Alvin Colt, lighting by David Howe and musical direction by Joel Fram. Forbidden Broadway is presented in association with John Freedson and Harriet Yellin.

The cabaret musical revue, Forbidden Broadway, presents an informal and entertaining look at the history of the American musical theatre, lampooning and spoofing some of the current and contemporary musicals as well as targeting actors, directors, composers and writers. Last seen on our shores 10 years ago, this updated version created especially for the Menier Chocolate Factory, features numbers from some of the best theatre productions seen both on Broadway and in the West End in recent years, including old favourites: The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, they also have their sights set on Hairspray, Avenue Q, Wicked, Jersey Boys, La Cage Aux Folles, Sunday in the Park with George and many more…

Forbidden Broadway was first seen at Palsson’s Supper Club in New York January 1982. Unemployed actor Gerard Alessandrini wanted a showcase for his talents and put together as a nightclub act, a selection of some of the musical parodies of Broadway shows he had written. Lauded by critics and audiences alike Forbidden Broadway has since become New York’s longest running musical comedy revue, winning Drama Desk, Obie and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and recently receiving a Tony Honor.

Forbidden Broadway was last seen in London in 1999 at the Jermyn Street Theatre and later that year the production transferred to the West End to the Albery Theatre, where it enjoyed a sell –out run.

Under the direction of Artistic Director David Babani, and having recently celebrating its fifth birthday, the Menier Chocolate Factory, as well as producing in SE1 at its home theatre, has transferred seven productions to the West End – most recently Maria Friedman Re-Arranged, La Cage aux Folles which is currently playing at the Playhouse Theatre and A Little Night Music which opened at the Garrick Theatre earlier this month. As well as the theatre space, the multi award-winning Menier Chocolate Factory has a restaurant serving pre-theatre and a la carte menus.”

More information and book tickets to see this farcical hit here.

Library Hotel, New York

The Library Hotel Collection features four characterful hotels in Manhattan. Last year I was lucky to visit Giraffe, Elysee and Casablanca, and on this trip I stayed at the Library Hotel, completing my experience of the whole group! Located in Midtown, this hotel concept is inspired by the Dewey Decimal system, the ten floors honour the ten categories of the system and the corresponding rooms are filled with books exploring their allocated theme. Here are a few books I found in my room: The Book of Prophecy, Tutankhamen, Great Stone Circles, can you guess the topic?

Despite the busy area of town, guests are encouraged to relax and unwind whilst staying at The Library Hotel. One can take time out from the urban adventure and enjoy the 6,000 books on offer. Literary inspiration features throughout the rooms and communal areas of the hotel, adorning every shelf and decorating the windowsills.

Our room, though it felt a little dated, was luxuriously large (especially by New York standards!) and very comfortable. A huge bed dominated the bedroom, surrounded by pictures on the walls and books on the furniture. At the foot of the bed a cushion read, ‘Book lovers never go to bed alone’ accompanied by a big red book ‘Sacred Places of a Lifetime’. A cute little box of Leonidas chocolates were labelled for me with a welcoming card. The bathroom was spacious too, with a bath-shower and marble clad sink plus a collection of Gilchrist & Soames toiletries ready for use. It was the ideal stayover for a weekend break in the big city.

More information and book here:

Many thanks to NYC GO for their help with this trip and organising the CityPass (a necessity for any NYC tourist), and Virgin Atlantic for flight assistance.

A New York Itinerary

My itinerary for this year’s trip to New York was packed as tightly as my suitcase. With the winter season underway I set out to check out the top new places to go in this marvellous metropolis.


The Nolitan – for downtown hipster accommodation, this hotel ticks every box. With cool design and detailing, I fell in love with everything about this place.

60 Thompson – classically understated, this luxury-driven lifestyle hotel in SoHo offers stylish rooms, the exclusive A60 rooftop bar and an elegantly exotic Thai restaurant, Kittichai.


Il Buco – A charming Italian restaurant where locals eat in the NoHo area. The homemade pasta is simple but irresistible.

Momofuku Noodle Bar – David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants are a revelation. The must-try Noodle Bar is Chang’s first venture, where the famous pork buns were once created. It is walk-in only, but the food is worth queuing for.

Minetta Tavern – Opened in Greenwich Village in 1937, this long established eatery serves up the most prestigious Black Label burger. The pampered patty is perfected and placed in a bespoke bun with caramelised onions, it is like no other, served with the finest homemade skinny fries.

Dominique Ansel –  Imitation cronuts are appearing in bakeries all over the world… and we have pastry chef Dominique Ansel to thank for this genius donut and croissant hybrid. On my first morning in NYC I awoke at 5.30 am to queue for the unique trademarked treat, I can understand why Ansel has been named “the Willy Wonka of NYC”!


Apotheke – Inspired by the history of apothecaries in Europe and influenced by Paris’ Absinthe dens, Apotheke is really special. Hidden down a damp and dingy street in Chinatown, this magical cocktail bar serves up creative concoctions in this eclectic emporium.

Bowery Coffee – This café is the epitome of the cool coffee culture in New York. Strong and creamy espresso is pulled from a Marzocco Strada and served to your specification. A must for caffeine lovers.


Madewell – An all American shop for casual comfortable clothes. It started out as a jean company in 1937 and has now expanded, offering anything and everything a NYC girl could need from boots to bags, accessories, dresses and cashmere jumpers, of which I was particularly fond.

Kiosk – A frenzy of fabulous objects carefully selected for their aesthetically pleasing designs from all over the globe. Enter through a graffiti-ridden doorway and make your way up the stairs to discover the world of Kiosk.

Creatures of Comfort – Showcasing a collection of cutting-edge, innovative, independent designer clothing from around the World. I spotted quite a few of my favourite brands including Acne, Repetto and Isabel Marant.


Kinky Boots – The hottest ticket in NYC, this flamboyant show will brighten up your day with its upbeat songs and unexpected storyline. With music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, it is based on the 2005 film itself inspired by a true story. Glitz, glamour and gorgeous shoes!

The Met Opera – This grand theatre produces magnificent productions of promising new work as well as the operatic classics. Tosca was beautifully interpreted and presented, a spectacular rendition of this popular Puccini tragedy.

Glasslands – See a band at this hip Brooklyn venue. We witnessed the quirky and shambolic Beets who produce a passionate, dramatic sound.

Basketball – Invest in a foam finger and head to the Barclays Center to support the local team, Brooklyn Nets. Be prepared to clap, shout and stamp your feet as the giant athletes roam the court.


Whitney Museum – This museum has a focus on 20th and 21st century American art. The contemporary and trendy building is currently home to the bold and patriotic artist, Robert Indiana. His dazzling pop art pictures address those fundamental issues: love, death, sin and forgiveness.

Empire State Building – Climb this edifice to see the best views of the city. Terrifyingly high and amazingly exhilarating,  I recommend visiting at sunset as the queues decrease.

Jin Soon Nails – Renowned as one of NYC’s best nail salons, Jin Soon now resides at three different locations. I visited the West Village spa and was impressed with the selection of colours on offer, the efficient and kind service and the speedy and thorough mani-pedi I received. Slump in a sofa chair and sip your fruit tea while your hands and feet are simultaneously pampered, total bliss.

Brooklyn Flea Market – Found at two venues each weekend, in Williamsburg and at Fort Greene, this popular market satisfies the keen vintage scroungers of New York. Pick up some retro clothes, a one-off trinket or just wander and observe the intriguing collections. Foodies will delight in the scrumptious offerings like coconut chunky bonbons and Porchetta chicory salad with garlic dressing.

On Location Tours – Those interested in seeing New York’s most familiar film and TV locations will love the On Location bus tours. Join the bus for a three hour trip round the city with a fun informative guide and feel like your favourite screen star for a day.

Many thanks to NYC GO for their help with this trip and organising the CityPass (a necessity for any NYC tourist), and Virgin Atlantic for flight assistance.