Jerry Seinfeld and The Madison Square Garden Company share in a milestone Friday night when the comedian’s hometown residency at the Beacon marks its 50th show.
It turns out, after all, that Seinfeld was a show about something. As Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer were dissecting the trivialities of everyday existence, they were revealing a particular slice of the New York zeitgeist — the rhythms of the Upper West Side.
Theirs was a street level jaunt through Tom’s Diner, H & H Bagels, Gray’s Papaya, and a stream of hole-in-the-wall shoe stores, fruit stands, antique shops and restaurants. The contours of a unique neighborhood came to light.
It feels right then, that tonight Jerry Seinfeld will perform his 50th show in a hometown residency at The Beacon — a cherished part of the city, deeply ingrained as a familiar old friend on the Upper West Side. Two more shows Saturday night will follow in the residency first announced by The Madison Square Garden Company in 2016 and renewed last fall.
Along with Billy Joel and Tedeschi Trucks Band, he is part of a blossoming tradition at MSG’s venues — residencies that bring artists back for repeated shows and engagements, often stretching over an entire year or more. The larger idea is to seize on ties between performers and their fans, organically rooted in one place.
Once a month, Billy Joel and his audience are right at home together at The Garden, each show a celebration. Next Thursday, May 9, Joel, who was born in the Bronx and put down stakes on Long Island, will celebrate his 70th birthday with show No. 109 at MSG. It will be his 63rd since January 2014 when he became MSG’s first-ever music franchise.
As part of a five-year residency, Tedeschi Trucks Band will bring their bluesy rock sound to The Beacon for two shows in September and four more in October. And alongside the residencies, other performers are signed up for a string of shows, including Steely Dan, which had a run of nine shows last year. The legendary band has performed 60 times at The Beacon and is slated for a six-night engagement in October.
A Return To Comedy Roots
There is an intangible element in all this, as MSG seeks to cement ongoing relationships, matching up performers with not just a venue, but to also capture moments in time. It’s Billy at The Garden. It’s Seinfeld at The Beacon.
Since it opened in 1929, The Beacon, a designated landmark on Broadway between West 74th St. and West 75th St., has hosted thousands of shows. With its birdcage-shaped box office under a simple marquee, not far from Zabar’s and down the street from the grand Ansonia building, The Beacon has evolved into a touchstone for an entire community.
The Upper West Side unmistakably fed the cadence and sensibility of Seinfeld. When the show ended, the comedian gravitated back to how his career began, as a standup performer. In a way, The Beacon is an extension of the small comedy clubs around New York, the first testing grounds for his material.
“There are certain theaters that make a performer and an audience feel very connected,” said Seinfeld when the residency was renewed. “For me, The Beacon is just it. That feeling is all I care about. I can’t wait to go back.”
When Seinfeld came to see Steely Dan at The Beacon, he rode over on his bike, parked it by the stage door, then had a cheese burger and a shake at the diner next door. After the show, he hopped back on the bike, another New Yorker on his way home from a night at the theater.
If you’re interested in tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld perform at The Beacon, click here.
About Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp.
Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (MSG Entertainment) is a leader in live entertainment experiences. The Company presents or hosts a broad array of events in its diverse collection of venues: New York’s Madison Square Garden, Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; and The Chicago Theatre. MSG Entertainment is also building a new state-of-the-art venue in Las Vegas, MSG Sphere at The Venetian, and has announced plans to build a second MSG Sphere in London, pending necessary approvals. In addition, the Company features the original production – the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes – and through Boston Calling Events, produces the Boston Calling Music Festival. Also under the MSG Entertainment umbrella is Tao Group Hospitality, with entertainment dining and nightlife brands including Tao, Marquee, Lavo, Avenue, Beauty & Essex and Cathédrale. More information is available at www.msgentertainment.com.