I should start by noting that theater has never much been my thing. I’ve seen Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Avenue Q etc. etc. and I enjoyed them to be sure, but not enough to pay the exorbitant price tag that inevitably goes with them. Here, in New York, I have discovered the masterpiece of theater for those of us whose goal is to drink and have a good time; Flanagan’s Wake.Flanagan has just died and the citizens of his hometown (and you, as a great deal of the play is improv and interactive) have come to speak of the man’s life and mourn his death. The set is simple and comfortable with a pea green paint job and grainy old pictures circling the casket which is conspicuously upside-down. The actors are never without a bottle of Guinness in hand and the bar boasts Guinness on tap. The Guinness is a little steep at $8 a pint, but is a great addition to the atmosphere; they keep the prices simple and no matter what you order it’ll be between $7 and $12.

The actors are required to take audience suggestions as to Flanagan’s favorite song, his life dream, his favorite story and how he died. They do so with excellent good humor and more than once I nearly laughed myself out of my chair. The participation aspect is incorporated well and does not encumber the play with embarrassment or discomfort on the part of the audience members. Suggestions and participations are quick and often simply shouted one word answers to actor’s questions.

If you happen to be in Times Square on a Friday or a Saturday between 5:45 and 6:30 the play is running a bagpiper followed by Flanagan’s casket through the neon madness. I managed to capture a video of it; the man dressed in the priest outfit in front of the casket is Father Murphy, by FAR my favorite character! The fellow at the front of the casket is the play’s producer.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ck2Zmc17-WY[/youtube]

They are currently running promotional tickets for $25, though I do not know how long this will last; regular priced tickets are $49.95. I would inquire through the website directly. http://www.flanaganswakenyc.com/

All in all, this is a brilliant beginning to a drinking night out on the NYC; the show ends around 9:15pm with a bellyful of beer and laughs and there are at least a dozen Irish bars within 2 blocks so if you want to continue with similar thematic elements you will not have any trouble.