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New York Through The Eyes Of Broa

New York Through The Eyes Of Broadway Star David Harris

Actor David Harris is currently playing the role of the Duke of Monroth in the long-running Broadway hit Moulin Rouge.

An Australian native, who is also a an acclaimed singer, Harris now calls New York City home.

Below, he shares his favorite diversions and spots around town.

Where do you live in the city?

My spouse and I bought a top floor “renovators delight” apartment in Chelsea seven years ago in while we managed to renovate during the pandemic. With a large central skylight in the living area, it is our quiet, sunny haven amid the bustle of New York City.

What is your favorite neighborhood in New York and why?

I really enjoy living in Chelsea as it is close enough to the buzz of midtown and is an easy bike ride to and from work on Broadway. Chelsea is surprisingly very quiet, has a varied mix of residents, is close to many art galleries, the Hudson River parkway, the Highline, the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Markets and sporting and recreation facilities at Chelsea Piers. There are many great cafes and restaurants like Citizens of Chelsea which serves up Aussie-style brekkies and great espresso.

Can you share some of your favorite spots in the Theater District and what makes them so great?

Being Australian, I am very fussy with the quality of espresso I drink, so I go to the Aussie-owned St Kilda Coffee and Bird and Branch which is close to our Moulin Rouge theater on 45th Street. Frisson is also great for a strong pick me up. One of my favorite spots for a cheap eat is a tiny hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint called El Rancho Mexican on 45th. It is a family run small business with traditional burritos, perfect for in-between performances on double show days.

Where is the best place for a pre-or post-theater meal and why? What are go-to dishes at each?

I like to take visiting friends and family to a pre-show dinner at Rosevale Kitchen which is on street level of The Civilian Hotel on 48th street. It has casual but chic décor with a clean, fresh menu which doesn’t weigh you down ahead of watching or performing a show. I am fond of the burrata for starters, and either fish or a steak for entre whilst sipping a champagne or two, (when I don’t have a show to perform, of course). The flutes they are served in makes it taste even nicer. They also have a great cocktail bar on the second floor and rooftop bar with great views.

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What is the best Theater District watering hole and the drink to get?

When I am not hosting post-show drinks in my dressing room, called The Duke’s Den, I enjoy heading to Bar Centrale above Joe Allen’s on 46th Street. It is an intimate supper club where you will most likely run into other Broadway actor friends and creatives doing the same thing. Go for the Old Fashioned when there.

Please share your insider tips for enjoying a Broadway show. Anything to make the experience better as an audience member?

We all go to the theater to be transported to another world for a couple of hours, so my advice to truly shut off from the outside world is to turn your phone off, or at least on silent for those hours. It allows for everyone in that shared community of a darkened theater – actors included – to go fully immersed into the world that gets created.

Turn up to the theater with time to spare to relax or in the case of Moulin Rouge, soak up the pre-show entertainment as you enter the world of Paris at the turn of the century. Be mindful of making noise that is not appropriate during the show as it is not only distracting to the actors, but to audience members around that want to be swept up into the story being told. And hang out at stage door after the performance to say hi to any cast that want to come and say hi. You never know what memory you may create when at the theater so remain open and present before returning to the real world.

What’s the New York City theater you love to go to and why?

I don’t think I can single one theater out. The history that each theater holds, the stories told within them, the actors that have graced the stages of each theater is remarkable when you really stop to think about. Who has passed through each stage door and transported themselves into character on stage throughout Broadway’s rich history? The time periods of the audiences and what they would have worn, the social changes that have occurred – the history held and presented in the walls of any New York theater is astounding to me. I recently saw at show at Studio 54 and was again fascinated sitting in my seat thinking, “If only these walls could talk”!

What other Broadway shows are on your radar right now?

There are many shows currently on or about to start I would love to see. The downside of being in a Broadway show is that most shows have the same schedule, so it is rare to be able to see another show. On my list however is Days of Wine and Roses with Broadway heavyweights, Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James, Mother Play with Jessica Lange, An Enemy of the People with Jeremy Strong and The Great Gatsby.

Share your insider New York gems.

For me it is the CitiBike system. Being able to jump on a CitiBike from anywhere in the city and ride the many bike paths to wherever you need to go gives me a new perspective on living in the city. The Hudson River Parkway has a bike path the entire length of the west side of Manhattan, not only providing great outdoor exercise but opportunities to stop at many of the interesting destinations along the way. Bikes help getting around the city faster than cars and oftentimes the subway.

Can you share your favorite theaters around the world and why?

I have been very fortunate to perform at The Sydney Opera House on numerous occasions in my career. It is a remarkable building home to different size theatres and a concert hall set on one of the most stunning harbors in the world. Seeing a show at Radio City Music Hall or Carnegie Hall is a must along with Albert Hall in London. I also love performing and seeing shows in intimate settings of 100 seats or so, enabling the audience and actors to share the energy and hear and see every detail.