WhenA you look out the hotel window and the street sign says, “Rodgers and Hammerstein Row,” you know it’s a short walk to more shows than you have time to see on a brief stop near Times Square.

Especially when you arrive on a Monday when many theaters are dark—which may explain the long lines outside the record-running Phantom of the Opera. So we settled for strolling past the bright lights of the Great White Way and renewing acquaintance with one of the famous deli sandwiches.

As often as I’ve sampled the monster stacks of food that pass for sandwiches on Broadway, I still gawk when the order arrives. Until eyeing what seemed to be a foot-high mound, I thought that Carol and I could each manage a half club no matter how generous the chicken, bacon, tomato and lettuce while downing a huge bowl of mushroom and barley soup.

Where was our ravenous dog Max when we needed him? Neither of us came close to making the club disappear from the plates.

After that $26 bargain, we set out to buy discount theater tickets the next day at the TKTS line on Duffy Square. (If you collect Manhattan addresses, our hotel looked out on 44th St. and 8th Avenue, Duffy is a car-free zone at 47th and Broadway.)

The electronic sign by the TKTS line, which starts forming about 1 p.m. for sales starting at 2 p.m., showed seats available for all but the consistently sold-out Book of Mormon and Once, the musical which so recently dominated the Tony awards. (We might have scrambled to find BofM tickets if Omaha’s Andy Rannels hadn’t moved on to a TV sitcom, “The New Normal.”)

We wondered if our first choice, Porgy and Bess, would also be difficult after winning Tonys, including best musical revival. I’d seen the film, but had never caught the great Gershwin classic on stage. But we got the goodnews-badnews word that the actress playing Bess was taking vocal rest: Bad because we wouldn’t hear her sing “I Loves You Porgy,” good because it increased our chance of getting half-price seats.

Hey, big spenders, don’t scoff at saving $150 bucks in the Big Apple. We landed in the second row on the aisle.

The understudy was great, Norm Lewis was breathtaking as Porgy and David Alan Grier was amazing on “There’s a Boat that’s Leaving Soon for New York.” And “Summertime” never sounded better.

                                                            —Warren Francke

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

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