TIMES SQUARE — That classic rule about avoiding the discussion of religion and politics holds true for family, but even more so for bartenders on Broadway.
Matt Gerber, a 25 year-old drink-slinger at Hurley’s, already knows this quite well. When the recently shuttered “The Testament of Mary” production opened directly across the street, he was hit with a wide range of passionate opinions on the play, which is a re-telling of the crucifixion of Jesus from the perspective of his mother.
He kept mum with those customers, but told DNAinfo New York everything — particularly about the major flop of one revival.
Q: Being right across the street from the theater, you must’ve gotten a lot of people from “Testament of Mary.”
A: We did. You get the mix. We get a before crowd and an after crowd for most of the shows around here. For “Testament of Mary” I heard people that hated it. They said it was too much. But then it’s like, why are you going to see that show? You know what I mean? What did you think it was going to be? And then some people loved it, like “it was groundbreaking, pushing the edge.” So, you hear both.
Q: Anything about actress Fiona Shaw appearing naked on stage?
A: I didn’t even know she was naked. Maybe I would’ve checked it out. Some of the other bartenders went to it, but it’s just not something I’m trying to see.
Q: Don’t you guys get free tickets?
A: We get a lot of stagehands and electricians that come in here. They have tickets, and if you really want to go see it, they can hook you up unless it’s like “Book of Mormon,” when they can’t get you anything because it’s sold out for decades.
Q: Have you gotten people in here after seeing “Matilda”?
A: People love “Matilda.” The review that I get the most from “Matilda” is that it’s more mature than you think it would be, older. It was a Disney, little-kids movie, but from what I got from people it’s a more adult show than that. I’ve heard a few people saying, “I don’t know if I’d bring my kids to that.”
Q: What else is popular these days?
A. The big one now is “Motown.” That is huge. Everyone loves that.
Q: Is it just because the music is so familiar?
A: The people that go to see it, that’s their time frame. They loved it. A couple I just had in here raved about it.
Q: Is anyone trashing any productions?
A: “Cinderella.” Not good. They changed it up a little bit from the regular story, you know, the timeless tale of "Cinderella." I mean, I haven’t seen it so I wouldn’t know exactly. They do a little modern update on it. When you go see “Cinderella” you want to see f—kin’ “Cinderella.” When you go see “Beauty and the Beast,” I want to see “Beauty and the Beast.” I don’t want to see somebody’s interpretation of it. So, that’s the only thing.
The other thing in terms of bashing “Testament of Mary” — some people just didn’t like it at all. But that’s getting into religion. At the bar, I’m never trying to bring that up with people. Religion and politics, you don’t bring up at a bar. I’m not trying to stir the pot with people.