The Official Blog of the
Williamstown Theatre Festival

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What’s your Knickerbocker?

Jonathan Marc Sherman’s KNICKERBOCKER tells the story of Jerry, a soon-to-be father. From his favorite booth at his favorite restaurant, he’s visited by friends and family who each have some advice to share. Recently, we asked WTF staff to tell us about a restaurant that became, for better or for worse, a home away from home.

Adam Knight [KNICKERBOCKER Assistant Director]

When I was living near Columbus Circle in Manhattan, there was a cheese market across the street with a wine and tappas bar in the back. I’d go there once or twice a week, usually after seeing theatre with a date. I’d always have a different woman (friend) with me, so the wait staff and the owner (a large, 70 year-old Turkish man) thought me some kind of ladies' man. Once, on Christmas Eve, I met two friends there for brunch: three bottles of champagne later, they had missed their matinee and I’d missed my flight home.

A turning point came when I adopted a cat from the owner. After that, I always got a table and my wine glass was constantly refilled. I became friends with the wait staff and would sometimes schlep an hour on the J/Z train to party with them in Bushwick. I’d go to the restaurant five or six times a week. It was my home, my kitchen, the center of my social life. It was a wonderful time.

Julia Isenberg [Publicity Intern]

My “kitchen away from home” is Linda’s in North Adams. When I worked at MASS MoCA, my friends and I would be motivated to roll out of bed early before work for a Linda’s breakfast. We all had our usual order (which Linda always remembered): mine being the most delicious banana pancakes (by far too big and too many so Linda would let us order just half for half the price). We’d also have an ugly mug contest: a fun game considering the random assortment of thrift store worthy mugs there. If you ever go to see the Sol LeWitt Retrospective, all that art on Wednesdays was powered by Linda’s.

Matthew Meier [Graphics Assistant]

The R&R Casino—it’s four great places in one. At least that’s what the radio ads in the ’90s said. Really, it’s more like a trashy casino, a trashy steak house, and a trashy diner (and a now non-existent “Kids Room” where parents could thoughtfully drop their kids off in order to gamble). The diner itself was subtitled “Goodtime Charlies” and I think that says it all. In high school, late night rehearsals and opening nights would always lead us to the 24-hour diner for cokes and cheese fries. Michelle the Waitress watched us grow up in forty-five minute stints since the age of fifteen. Leaving stolen quarters from Dad as a tip, I evolved from the fifteen-year-old-with-nowhere-to-go to the twenty-one-year-old-with-nowhere-to-go… and Michelle’s still working the late night shift. Opening nights of theatre became nights of closing down the bars, and the cheese fries tasted even better. At the R&R, the food’s not spectacular, the service is slow and the townies are out in full force. But at 3:00am in North Central Montana, there is no place I’d rather be.

[photo] Sam Hough for © WTF ’09. Pictured: Reg Rogers and Brooks Ashmanskas in KNICKERBOCKER, Dir. Nicholas Martin

© [Scenic Design | Alexander Dodge, Costume Design | Gabriel Berry, Lighting Design | Philip Rosenberg] 2009

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