A Bite of the Big Apple
Join actor, writer and director Jonathan Biggins to experience one of the world’s greatest art and theatre destinations, New York City, with its expansive art collections and celebrated theatre stages.
Over ten days, enjoy nights of musical and drama theatre plus performances by the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet.
Between performances, explore iconic sites in the Big Apple such as Times Square and Central Park and take private, guided visits to iconic museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA, as well as the newly-opened Museum of Broadway and Fotografiska New York.
Enhance your experience with exclusive pre-performance discussions with your tour leader, theatre and art enthusiast Jonathan Biggins, and savour gourmet meals and wine during New York City’s prime theatre season.
This tour is part of the World Art Tours program organised by the Art Gallery Society of NSW in partnership with Renaissance Tours.
Arrive in New York on suggested flights and make your way to the hotel. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including travel insurance (a condition of travel), private hotel transfer, accommodation before or after the tour and a room category upgrade.
After breakfast, join your tour leader Jonathan Biggins and fellow travellers for a welcome briefing. Your introduction to New York’s musical theatre starts at the newly-opened Museum of Broadway – the first permanent museum dedicated to documenting the history and experience of Broadway theatre and its profound influence upon shaping Midtown Manhattan and Times Square.
The afternoon is at leisure.
Later, transfer to The Grand Tier restaurant at The Metropolitan Opera for dinner and attend a performance of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, with Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak tackling the demanding role of Cio-Cio San. Acclaimed maestro Xian Zhang makes her Met debut conducting Anthony Minghella’s vivid production.
In the morning enjoy a guided tour of the Whitney Museum of American Art, which contains a full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art in a cantilevered building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
Return to the hotel after lunch and enjoy a free afternoon.
Tonight enjoy your first theatre experience with Merrily We Roll Along, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez. The inventive, cult-classic ahead of its time features some of Stephen Sondheim’s most celebrated and personal songs. Spanning three decades in the entertainment business, Merrily We Roll Along charts the turbulent relationship between composer Franklin Shepard and his two lifelong friends — writer Mary and lyricist and playwright Charley.
Today, explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which features extraordinary holdings of Egyptian and Greco-Roman antiquities, impressive Asian collections, European masterpieces representing the foremost artistic traditions from 1500 to 1900s (Titian, El Greco, Rembrandt, Vermeer and Ingres) and important works by innovators of the modern era (Manet, Rodin, Renoir, Cezanne and Gauguin). After a guided tour, there is time to remain in the museum to explore the dazzling art collections, including the special exhibition ‘Vertigo of Color: Matisse, Derain, and the Origins of Fauvism’.
In the late-afternoon, join Jonathan for a talk about the performances of the next few days.
Enjoy an early dinner at a local restaurant prior to the performance of Harmony. The musical tells the true story of a sextet that ran afoul of the Nazi regime because the group featured both Jewish and non-Jewish members – the ensemble was called the Comedian Harmonists. Harmony features music by the legendary Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Barry Manilow, book and lyrics by Bruce Sussman, and direction and choreography by Tony Award-winner Warren Carlyle.
In the morning, explore the turn-of-the-century Morgan Library & Museum, home to the collection of steel magnate JP Morgan. Designed by renowned architect Charles McKim and completed in 1906, the Italian Renaissance palazzo-style library holds a staggering collection of illuminated books, historical manuscripts and old masters’ drawings, as well as Morgan’s personal study.
The afternoon is at leisure to further explore the Big Apple at your own pace.
Tonight, attend the explosive and darkly comic American family drama Appropriate by Pulitzer Prize finalist Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, starring Sarah Paulson. It is summer, the cicadas are singing, and the Lafayette family has returned to their late patriarch’s Arkansas home to deal with the remains of his estate. Toni, the eldest daughter, hopes they will spend the weekend remembering and reconnecting over their beloved father. Bo, her brother, wants to recoup some of the funds he spent caring for Dad at the end of his life. But things take a turn when their estranged brother, Franz, appears late one night, and mysterious objects are discovered among the clutter. Suddenly, long-hidden secrets and buried resentments can’t be contained, and the family is forced to face the ghosts of their past.
After a leisurely breakfast, transfer to the Flatiron District for a private tour of the vibrant Fotografiska New York museum, opened at the end of 2019 in a beautiful, late nineteenth-century neo-Renaissance building. More than a museum, this cultural destination is entirely dedicated to photography and offers an eclectic programming and surprising new perspectives.
In the afternoon, enjoy Stephen Sondheim’s macabre musical Sweeney Todd, directed by Tony winner Thomas Kail and starring Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford. The 2023 revival is the first to feature Jonathan Tunick’s original orchestrations, written for a 26-piece band, since the premiere on Broadway in 1979. After 15 years in exile, Sweeney Todd, an unsettling man with a mysterious past, arrives in a dark and gritty London, hungry for vengeance against the judge who destroyed his life. Todd joins forces with Mrs. Lovett, the unhinged proprietress of a failing pie shop, and together they develop a spinetingling plot to exact revenge.
Embark on a morning tour of the Upper West Side and Harlem. The area has been associated for a long period with the American Black community, crime and poverty, but Harlem is now experiencing an economic and social gentrification.
Continue to The Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, located in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park. This building incorporates elements from five medieval French cloisters. Discover the collection, which comprises approximately five thousand works of art from medieval Europe, dating from about the ninth to the fifteenth century.
In the afternoon, visit the magnificent Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum located on Fifth Avenue. The Guggenheim is home to one of the world’s most integrated collections of modern and contemporary art in one of the greatest modern architectural icons of the twentieth century.
In the morning, visit Radio City Music Hall, where America’s most popular entertainers have thrilled audiences since 1932. Discover Art Deco masterpieces, learn the secrets of the iconic Great Stage and enjoy a complete view of Radio City’s secret apartment, the Roxy Suite.
In the afternoon, join Jonathan for a pre-performance talk.
Enjoy an early dinner at a local restaurant before tonight’s performance of Kimberly Akimbo, a musical about growing up and growing old. The winner of five Tony Awards – more than any other show in 2023 – Kimberly Akimbo features a book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winner David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Jeanine Tesori, choreography by Danny Mefford and direction by Jessica Stone.
Start the day with a private ‘before-hours’ tour of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), often identified as the most influential museums of modern art in the world. The museum’s collections offer an overview of modern and contemporary art, including works of architecture and design, drawing, painting, sculpture and photography.
The afternoon is at leisure to visit a favourite store, museum, gallery or sight, before joining Jonathan and fellow travellers for a special farewell dinner at the Lincoln Center.
Then, attend a ballet at the David H. Koch Theater, home of the New York City Ballet within the Lincoln Center. Tonight’s performance features three works that showcase Jerome Robbins’ versatility and continuous ingenuity: Fancy Free, his first ballet, a classic comedy in dance depicting three sailors on a wild and woolly night of shore leave; In the Night, a spellbinding ballet danced to nocturnes from Chopin; and The Four Seasons, an exuberantly playful ballet that leaps nimbly between styles to suit the changing cycles of the year.
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.
For those returning home today, make your way to the airport for suggested flights to Australia or New Zealand. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements, including private airport transfers, additional nights’ accommodation either before or after the tour and travel insurance (a condition of travel).
Per person, twin-share
Deposit per person (at time of booking)
Final payment due
17 November 2023
Room category upgrade available on request; please enquire with us.
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in a centrally-located 4-star hotel with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner), including wines with meals
- Category 1 tickets to all performances included in the itinerary
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches as per itinerary
- Lectures and talks by your tour leader, Jonathan Biggins
- Gratuities for local guides, drivers and wait staff
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Airport porterage
- Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
- Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, room service, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
New York – New York Marriott Marquis****
Perfectly situated in the heart of Times Square, the newly-renovated New York Marriott Marquis is a fixture of the city and offers easy access to the Theater District, Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. The hotel features several redesigned restaurants, including the city’s only revolving dining room with 360-degree views. The spacious Deluxe rooms are equipped with modern amenities and offer stunning views of Broadway, Times Square and the iconic Manhattan skyline.
N.B. A hotel of a similar standard may be substituted.
Tour code: AG2402
Fitness level: Moderate
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness level definitions here.
Suggested airline: Qantas
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.
In order to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, all Australian and New Zealand passport holders require an ESTA pre-authorisation application (to be completed online in advance of travel).
Download booking form here.