• Broadway Beat

Broadway to Reopen with Union Stagehands Playing Poker in the Back, You Want In?

by Brendan Leonard. @brennylen.

NEW YORK, NY - With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in New York City, Broadway is set to return this fall with a game of five-card stud backstage at the New Amsterdam Theatre. The ante is $200, a decidedly cheap tag considering normal ticket prices. You in?


“Don’t worry, there will be cold cuts,” noted union stagehand Sal Ritziano, who couldn’t even take off his sunglasses if he tried. “I’m the guy you want to talk to. Don’t go to the box office, or we’ll have a real pickle on our hands. This is going to be a real classy affair, lots of Broadway pizzaz and all that. Like, I bought a pack of cards with nudie pictures on them.”


While there is excitement that experimental, site-specific theater will come to Broadway, there is speculation that Governor Andrew Cuomo authorized this initial performance for personal reasons, rather than give the go-ahead to proper productions.


“Did you mention my name to Sal?” the governor asked us when we reached him at the outskirts of a New Jersey salt marsh. “Did he look angry? Did you tell him I’m going to call him? Heck, I’ve been busy!” Before dispelling the controversy, Cuomo, wearing just his underwear, sprinted into the brush.


Ritziano and his co-organizers of the game, who are “none of [this journalist’s] business,” will welcome audiences in through the back and they ask them to bring a carton of cigarettes and to not be a “wiseguy.” The game will open next week and is expected to run through the wee hours of the next morning. The opening night reception will be co-hosted by Sardi’s and the East River.


“It was definitely an experience,” said 16-year-old Jessica Volk, a Broadway superfan who attended a recent preview. “I lost my college fund, my mother’s pearl necklace, and a lot of blood, but at least it was better than Percy Jackson.”


There is talk that a musical adaptation is already in the works, which will be a game the following week featuring an old Frank Sinatra CD Sal has “somewhere his truck.”