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The Best of Theater in New York: Behind the Velvet Curtain

Program Number: 11921RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/13/2013 - 5/17/2013; 2/15/2016 - 2/19/2016; 3/21/2016 - 3/25/2016; 4/4/2016 - 4/8/2016; 4/25/2016 - 4/29/2016; 5/16/2016 - 5/20/2016; 6/6/2016 - 6/10/2016; 6/20/2016 - 6/24/2016; 7/18/2016 - 7/22/2016; 8/22/2016 - 8/26/2016; 9/19/2016 - 9/23/2016; 10/3/2016 - 10/7/2016; 10/17/2016 - 10/21/2016; 11/7/2016 - 11/11/2016; 12/5/2016 - 12/9/2016;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: New York City, New York
Price starting at: $1,299.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Theater; History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 9; 4 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners    

Hit the streets of the Great White Way and discover the excitement of New York’s incredible theater scene, from Broadway events to the adventurous Off-Broadway stage and beyond. Get an inside look at a world ordinary members of the audience never see as you spend five days immersed in New York theater and in personal encounters with those who help create it.


• Attend a Broadway musical, a dramatic production, and an Off-Broadway show.
• Go backstage at a Broadway theater and explore Times Square’s theatrical history.
• Enjoy a behind-the-scenes discussion of the page-to-stage process with key staff such as a producer, director, or theater manager.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles per day with lots of stairs. Public transportation used exclusively throughout program.

Performances are decided about six weeks in advance, when we purchase the tickets. We strive for a well balanced program incorporating the newest productions. We seldom attend shows that have been on Broadway more than a year or are traveling.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Explore New York, Corp.

New York City

The City That Never Sleeps, The Capital of the World, The Big Apple: Whatever you call New York, it is undoubtedly one of the world’s great centers for culture, food, finance, style and entertainment, from Broadway to the Bronx.

Midtown hotel within walking distance of Times Square and the Theater District.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Stephen Cole

Stephen Cole is an internationally produced, published and recorded writer. As librettist and lyricist, Mr. Cole has had his musicals produced Off-Broadway and in London. Besides writing 10 years of Drama League tributes — honoring Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera, among others — Stephen has written for such stars as Tyne Daly and Valerie Harper. Stephen has published three books, including “That Book About That Girl,” the unofficial companion to the Marlo Thomas sitcom from the 1960s.
Daniel Egan

Daniel Egan has degrees in music theory from St. Olaf, the Eastman School of Music and Yale, where he is on faculty. He has appeared as soloist or ensemble singer with the New York Philharmonic, Opera Orchestra of New York, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and was in the permanent ensemble at New York City Opera. His recordings include “Sweeney Todd” with the New York Philharmonic and backup vocals for Patti Page’s "Live at Carnegie Hall: The 50th Anniversary Concert.” Both earned Grammy nominations.
Meals and Lodgings
   New Yorker Hotel
  New York, NY 4 nights
 New Yorker Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: This Art Deco masterpiece opened in 1930. All of New York is at your doorstep, across from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, Macy's and the Empire State Building are just down the street with the Theater District a few minutes walk. The hotel features a business and fitness center.
  Contact info: 481 Eighth Avenue
at 34th Street
New York, NY 10001 USA
phone: 212-971-0101
  Room amenities: Cable TV, Telephone
  Facility amenities: 24-hour front desk, exercise gym, ice machines, 24-hour room service, safety deposit boxes, 24-hour security, temperature control, vending machines, wake-up service, 24-hour diner plus fine restaurant, air-conditioned.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Market rate. Call hotel reservations at 212 971-0101
  Check in time: 3:30 PM
  Additional nights after: Market rate. Call hotel reservations at 212 971-0101
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check-in at the hotel is 3 p.m. Road Scholar registration begins at 4 in hotel meeting room. You will be staying at New Yorker Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast on Day 5. Hotel check-out is by 12:00 p.m. You will be staying at New Yorker Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Photo ID. The enclosed Health and Safety Questionnaire must be returned to the Program Provider at least 3 weeks prior to the program.
  Parking availability:
Hotel parking begins at $35. per 24 hours.
To Start of Program
  Location:  New York, NY
  Nearest airport:  La Guardia, JFK, Newark
  From End of Program
  Location: New York, NY
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

New Jersey-Newark


From Airport




Public Transportation
NJ Transit


Per Person/One Way:


$15 adults, $11.25 seniors
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:






Newark 16.25 miles


From Newark Airport Follow signs from baggage claim area to monorail direct to Newark Penn Station Take NJ Transit to New York Penn Station (across the street from the Hotel)




From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
phone: 877-599-8200


Per Person/One Way:


See Comments
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


~1 1/2 hours 




JFK 17 miles; LaGuardia 9.75 miles; Newark 16.25 miles


JFK & Newark: $19 from, $20 to airport LaGuardia: $15 from, $18 to airport tax, toll and tip not included.




From Airport




NYC Taxi


Per Person/One Way:


See Comments
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


~1 hour 




JFK 17 miles; LaGuardia 9.75 miles


Rates JFK: from airport flat rate $52 plus toll and tip LaGuardia: to/from airport, metered fare, $35 and up plus toll and tip Unless noted otherwise Taxi FARE DEPENDS ON TRAFFIC!

Driving Directions
  FROM NEW JERSEY Take the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan. Follow the signs to 34th Street. Turn left on 34th Street. Turn left on Eighth Avenue.
  FROM THE EAST I-495 to Midtown Tunnel Exit East 34th Street Right onto 34th Street proceed to 8th Avenue
  FROM THE NORTHEAST I-95 to I-278 West Exit 6B toward Triboro Bridge Exit toward "RANDALLS-WARDS ISLANDS/MANHATTAN/FDR DRIVE" Merge onto Triboro Bridge Merge onto FDR Drive Exit #8 toward I495/MIDTOWN TUNNEL/East 34th Street Right onto 34th Street proceed to 8th Avenue
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrivals and Program Orientation
(Monday, May 13)
 Afternoon: 4:00pm: After checking in at the hotel front desk, come to the designated meeting room (it will be posted) to register with your Program Coordinator and pick up your arrival packet. Programs are planned far in advance, so local circumstances may require changes from time to time. We will notify you as quickly as possible should there be any changes and appreciate your understanding.
 Dinner: 5:00pm: Enjoy your first meal at the colorful Tick Tock Diner, located just off the hotel lobby. This 24-hour diner features classic American cooking. White and black checkered floors and shiny chrome columns enhance the all-American ambiance. Dinner in the diner is available and included even if you arrive late. Our meal is scheduled for 5:00pm so that we can get through orientation and have some time to explore on your own. If your arrival is delayed, please attend orientation and then eat afterwards.
 Evening: 6:15pm: We begin our orientation to the program and introduce staff and members of the group. We’ll review the schedule and any updates and answer any questions you may have. Following orientation we will familiarize you with the neighborhood by walking to the Empire State Building.
Accommodations: New Yorker Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: A guided walk through Times Square and a Broadway Performance
(Tuesday, May 14)
 Breakfast: Continental Breakfast in the Meeting Room
 Morning: Take a behind the scenes tour of a Broadway theater and a guided walk around the theater district
 Lunch: In the Meeting Room
 Afternoon: Meet people in the theater world
 Dinner: in a neighborhood restaurant
 Evening: Attend a production of "Basilica" at the Cherry Lane Theater
Accommodations: New Yorker Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: See an off Broadway production TBA.
(Wednesday, May 15)
 Breakfast: American breakfast provided in the hotel diner
 Morning: Meet people from the theater world and learn its history
 Lunch: In a special restaurant
 Afternoon: Performance of Nora Ephron's play "Lucky Guy"
 Dinner: Your choice to explore local fare.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: New Yorker Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Broadway Performance TBA
(Thursday, May 16)
 Breakfast: In the Meeting Room
 Morning: Meet more people involved in the Theater
 Lunch: On your own
 Afternoon: Free Time
 Dinner: In a neighborhood restaurant
 Evening: Attend a final Broadway musical production of "Matilda" with the group
Accommodations: New Yorker Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Departures
(Friday, May 17)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Discussion of week's activities
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  New York, NY In and around 42nd Street
Along 42nd Street are the New York Public Library, Bryant Park, Grand Central Terminal, and several multi-plex movie theaters. Central Park is a fifteen-block walk to the north, and the Empire State building is an eight-block walk to the south. In addition, the shops and boutiques of Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue are easily accessible, as are the more affordable wares of Macy's Herald Square. Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and St. Patrick's Cathedral are all within a ten-fifteen minute walk.
  In and around the Financial District
Explore the Wall Street area, South Street Seaport Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, or Trinity Church. For additional information, visit
  Transportation in New York
For additional information, visit
  Visitor Information
For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

AIA Guide to New York City

Author: Noval White, Elliot Willensky

Description: A quirky, digressive guide to the architecture of New York City, organized by neighborhood and bloated to 1,000 pages in this edition, last revised in 1987.

Before and After, Stories from New York

Author: Tom Beller (Editor)

Description: A beguiling collection of contemporary essays in two sections: before September 11, and after. Quite a few of New York's most distinctive voices are represented here, including Michael Cunningham and Luc Sante.

Blue Guide New York

Author: Carol Von Pressentin Wright

Description: An excellent, comprehensive guide to New York sights, includiung walking tours and a focus on art and architecture.

Downtown, My Manhattan

Author: Pete Hamill

Description: Native son Pete Hammil's tribute, history and memoir of New York, mostly below 42nd Street.

Eyewitness Guide New York

Author: Eleanor Berman (Contributor)

Description: There are hundreds of guides, of course, but we like this one the best. We see more visitors in our West Village neighborhood carrying it around than any other, and they all seem to love it.

Fodor's New York City's 25 Best

Author: Fodor's

Description: A shirt-pocket guide to New York City, featuring a detailed, fold-out map centered on Midtown. With suggested itineraries, walks and top 25 sights.

Gone to New York, Adventures in the City

Author: Ian Frazier, Jamaica Kincaid (Introduction)

Description: Frazier writes with humor and warmth about his New York City in this collection of essays originally published in periodicals like The New Yorker and The Atlantic.

Gotham, A History of New York up to 1898

Author: Mike Wallace, Edwin G. Burrows

Description: This 1998 Pulitzer Prize winner for history is a vast volume that traces the Dutch colonization to 1898. Jam-packed with tales of crime, violence, corruption, riots and ethnic struggles, it is anything but dull. Highly recommended.

Great Fortune, The Epic of Rockefeller Center

Author: Daniel Okrent

Description: In this grand social history Okrent illuminates the remarkable cast of characters, the ambitions, and mind-bending complexity in creating the beloved New York City landmark.

Here is New York

Author: E.B. White

Description: Written in a hotel room over two hot days in the summer of 1948, White's timeless love letter (it's easily read in an hour) captures the spirit of New York. It's a swift, lyrical portrait of the city that moves from Broadway to Central Park and the Hudson River to favorite haunts on 3rd Avenue.

Lost New York

Author: Nathan Silver

Description: This classic, published in 1967, was the urban preservationists' bible. It's a magnificent survey of the history and architectural development of the city, including many of the great buildings lost to the wrecking ball.

Manhattan '45

Author: Jan Morris

Description: A portrait of the era when New York City was at its apogee, blending history, memoir and meditation.

New York City Map (NY Unfolds)

Author: VanDam

Description: This convenient map of New York (1:25,00 scale) has a clever "origami" fold to prevent fussing with unwieldy re-folding.

New York City, A Cultural and Literary Companion

Author: Eric Homberger

Description: An illuminating guide to the city, its history and geography, as the inspiration for writers, artists, musicians and intellectuals. With chapters on Broadway, Greenwich Village, parks, Harlem, Brooklyn, immigration and Manahatta.

Picturing New York, The City from its Beginnings to the Present

Author: Gloria Deak

Description: An illustrated chronicle of New York from its origins as a ragtag seaport to trading center and cultural capital. An entire, wonderful chapter is devoted to Broadway.

Sleepless Nights

Author: Elizabeth Hardwick

Description: Harwick's luminous 1979 novel of longing, desolation, New York City and Billie Holiday, thankfully returned to print. Read it for the extraordinary language, the flavor of 1940s New York.

The Encyclopedia of New York City

Author: Kenneth T. Jackson, New York Historical Society

Description: A massive reference manual with entries on everything you've ever wanted to know about NYC, ranging from biographies to "New Yorkiana".

The Island at the Center of the World, The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America

Author: Russell Shorto

Description: Shorto's popular history of New Amsterdam tells in colorful detail how the short-lived Dutch colony established the principles of tolerance, multiculturalism and modern capitalism

The Power Broker, Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

Author: Robert Caro

Description: A much-hailed biography of Robert Moses, the politician who left an indelible mark on physical New York. David Halberstam called this biography "surely the greatest book ever written about a city."

The WPA Guide to New York City

Author: William H. Whyte (Introduction)

Description: Here is New York before the Dodgers departed, when the Empire State Building was a newly built marvel and the World's Fair was a major event -- the vintage 1939 guide to New York by participants in the Federal Writers' Project.

Time and Again

Author: Jack Finney

Description: In this altogether wonderful novel, Simon Morley -- an illustrator and secret government operative, native to 1970 New York -- is transported back in time to the Manhattan of the 1880s.

Twin Towers Remembered

Author: Camilo Jose Vergara (Photographer)

Description: A small, mesmerizing collection of photos illustrating the life of the twin towers. The book ends with some harrowing shots of the towers' destruction, but its focus is on the life of the towers, not their death.

Unearthing Gotham, The Archaeology of New York City

Author: Diana Dizerega Wall, Anne-Marie E. Cantwell

Description: An illustrated survey and analysis of archaeological discoveries in the five boroughs.

Up in the Old Hotel and Other Stories

Author: Joseph Mitchell

Description: Mitchell's collection of loving, extraordinarily vivid, short pieces, depicting New York in the 40's and 50's He was a master at painting character, and place, in swift strokes.

Waterfront, A Journey Around Manhattan

Author: Philip Lopate

Description: Essayist and consummate New Yorker, Philip Lopate pulls in history, ecology, archaeology, literature and urban planning in this delightful, discursive account of his rambles along the water's edge of Manhattan.

Wonderful Town, New York Stories from the The New Yorker

Author: Susan Choi (Editor), David Remnick (Editor)

Description: Collection of 43 stories taken from the past seven decades of short stories published in The New Yorker. Featuring John Updike, Dorothy Parker, Saul Bellow, J.D. Salinger, Vladimir Nabokov and John Cheever.

Writing New York, A Literary Anthology

Author: Philip Lopate (Editor)

Description: A massive, satisfying collection of good writing about New York over the centuries. Represented are Whitman, Edith Wharton, Henry Miller and many more.

Zagat Survey New York City Restaurants

Author: Zagat Survey (Editor)

Description: The slim annual guide to New York City's restaurants that launched the Zagat empire.

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