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Sanctuary Hotel Bartender Gives the Verdict on Fall's Broadway Shows

By Heidi Patalano | November 4, 2013 7:00am
 Bartender and concierge Brandon McMillen tells DNAinfo New York about the new plays and musicals audiences are loving and ones about which they're less enthusiastic.
Sanctuary Hotel Bartender on 'Big Fish,' 'A Night With Janis Joplin' and More
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TIMES SQUARE — Broadway is getting back into action.

After a sleepy summer, new musicals and plays are opening in the Theater District, and the best way to decide which production to see is to ask a local bartender.

Brandon McMillen, 30, is a concierge and bartender at the Sanctuary Hotel on West 47th Street who regularly dispenses advice to guests on which shows to see and which to avoid — and he's also the first person to hear about what they loved and what they hated on the Great White Way.

DNAinfo New York asked McMillen, an Astoria resident, about Broadway’s new offerings for fall.

What have you heard about some of the new plays and musicals coming out now?
Well, “First Date” — people love it, like it’s cute, it’s fun. It’s one of those feel-good shows that people go to to have a good time. They’re not going to see anything groundbreaking.

What have you heard about “Big Fish”?
I’m hearing mixed things — nothing specific. People are just like, "eh, it was good." They wish they would’ve seen something else. We get TKTS people, so they’re going to the TKTS booth just to simply see what they can get for half price. “Big Fish” is one of those that’s over there. It’s not like it sells out. People don’t realize that and they see it and say it’s just OK.

When people ask you what they should see, what do you suggest?
The biggest one for me is “Jersey Boys” because you can find available seats and you’re not paying $500 a piece for them. People have been raving about “Motown.” Oh! “A Night With Janis Joplin” — apparently there’s other big women singers that come on stage and do a trio and a quartet with Janis Joplin. [Some patrons] said it was phenomenal.

What about some of these star-vehicle plays and musicals?
With “The Trip to Bountiful” I had some people come in and ask if I’d heard anything good about it. I said not really. They were hesitant because of a lot of things; When they get big stars in the show, it tends to flop.

I haven’t heard anything about “Romeo and Juliet” and Orlando Bloom is in it. I would assume that everybody would want to see that show but nobody cares, it seems like. I’ve had no one ask about it. I’ve had no one telling me about it.