Saturday, January 28, 2012

Airfare Comparison Tools Part 1:

Although my choice of air carrier is American Airlines, this does not mean I immediately purchase an airfare from the airline without still doing some price shopping. I still compare American's fare with other airlines and as long as American's fare is reasonably similar to other airlines, I feel secure about making the purchase knowing I have not overpaid for my ticket. If American's fare is much more expensive than other airlines, I will continue searching for other dates until the fare is similar. Depending how strict my travel dates are, my acceptable range between American's fares and other airlines does widen a bit.

Of course most people do flight comparison shopping as the primary way to find the lowest fare. Regardless if you are finding the best fare within a single airline or among several airlines there are three websites that you should be using. This post is about Kayak. Part two will cover Superfly and part three will cover MileWise.

KAYAK does not sell airline tickets or hotel stays like Orbitz or Expedia. It is a price comparison tool. But besides comparing fares ranked from the lowest to highest between airlines, the website allows the user to also compare fares on Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire and ChaepOair. New browser windows open if you ask Kayak to includes these other websites in your search.

After entering your departure and arrival city and planned flying dates, your search will result in a list of airfares. Users can refine the search by nonstop flights, take-off or landing times, airports, cabin and airlines.

If you find a particular fare of interest, move your mouse over the select button and three buttons appear: details, pin and share. Click the 'details' button to list the flight numbers, type of jet, flight time and estimated number of seats remaining on the flight.

Should you find a great fare to share with others or planning a group trip, click the 'share' button and send emails (or use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) that will include the flight information. If you are doing multiple searches or scrolling through several pages of flights, use the 'pin' button to save the flight info at the top of the search results page so you can compare your selected fares side by side.

By clicking the 'select' button, Kayak will open a new window and direct you to the airline's website to purchase the ticket.

Persons using this website should be warned that airfares are constantly changing so do not be surprised if the actual airfare on the airline's website is not the same. Kayak does include a disclaimer that "we make every attempt to get accurate prices, however, prices are not guaranteed."

The upper left corner of the search results page will list additional tools to set price alerts, calculate the cost of including checked-bags and list airline fees and fare charts. The 'fare charts' track the history of fares for your particular search over the past 90 days.

If you see a 'Hacker Fare', this search looks for better round-trip deals by combining tickets issued by two different airlines for each direction of travel.

The website also helps to manage trip plans by allowing the user to store their searches, set alerts for price changes on specific flights or at certain hotels over a period of time as well as help to track reward points. A window prompts users to enter an email address to create a price alert for travel between certain dates.

Click HERE to get the Kayak mobile app for iPhone and iPad.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spread The Word: New 'The Book of Mormon' Musical Shirt Designs

Show your support for God's Favorite Musical by wearing
God's Favorite T-shirt. The gold tee features 'The Book
of Mormon' logo on the back. (note: online exclusive)
Call them shirts, t-shirts or tees, the marketing masters behind the musical 'The Book of Mormon' is still on roll. A new set of shirts were introduced and most are available only online at the Book of Mormon Broadway Store. Only the "Turn It Off" shirt and previously available shirt designs are available at the Eugene O'Neill theatre on Broadway and online.

Again the designers have taken references from the musical and plastered it on the front of these shirts. For fans of the show, which is still selling out a year later and commanding a premium ticket price of $477, such a variety of souvenir shirts may be hard to resist. All shirts range in price from $30 to $35 (shipping additional).

Click HERE to see the previous post about the other shirts available for 'The Book of Mormon'. Click HERE to purchase these shirts and other souvenirs from the Book of Mormon Broadway Store.
Do you love Orlando? Then you and Elder Price have something
in common. Show your love for not only Orlando, but also 'The
Book of Mormon,' in the Planet Orlando Tee! The black tee features
a gold foil planet outline on the front and Book of Mormon logo
on the back. (note: online exclusive)
Feeling something you shouldn't? Turn it off! Wear this 'Book of
Mormon' Turn It Off Tee as a reminder that you can simply turn
off any feelings that you shouldn't be feeling. 
Become one with the land in Africa. Wear the tee to prove it.
(note: online exclusive).
Are you ready to man up? (note: this long sleeve
shirt is an online exclusive)
Do you believe? Show it with this tee with the
show logo on the back.
(note: online exclusive)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Three Actors, Three Posters, Three Marquees: Casting 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying'

Daniel Radcliffe ended his run in the lead role of J. Pierrepont Finch earlier this month in the Broadway revival of 'How to Succed in Business Without Really Trying'. Though the show was short of a complete sell-out, Radliffe never missed a performance during his 10-month contract, helped to fill the theater to an average of 94% of capacity, and was instrumental in producers recouping their $9 million production cost by December 2011.

Radcliffe's replacement is Nick Jonas (of Jonas Brothers fame). Though he is contracted to star from January 24 to July 1, 2012, producers had the great idea in casting Darren Criss ("Glee") to fill the interim between Radcliffe's departure and the the arrival of Jonas.

With Criss starring only three weeks in the role and his fame cemented by his role of Blaine on the FOX television series and his cover of the Katy Perry song "Teenage Dream" from the show, the box office is currently on fire with grosses coming in at over $1.3 million each week.

With Jonas starring in the role for six months, predictions are that the box office will soften as audiences have a wider window to catch the actor/singer in the role. Other major changes in the cast includes Beau Bridges as J.B. Biggley (replacing Tony Award winner John Larroquette) and Michael Urie ("Ugly Betty") as Bud Frump (replacing Christopher J. Hanke).

Publicity for the show has remained similar with the three young actors gracing adverting, the marquee and playbill cover by wearing a similar grey suit. But it was rather cutesy that each actor would have a signature color bow tie: blue for Radcliffe, purple for Criss and green for Jonas. Souvenir ties in each color were sold at the show. Photos below of the 'How to Succeed' marquee from

(images: BrodwayWorld)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Closing!!! 'Backbeat' Musical in London

Backbeat Marquee at the Duke of York's Theatre.
(image:British Beatles Fan Club)
Another musical adapted from a feature film fails. 'Backbeat' was an unusual choice. It may have had the Beatles as a subject matter but unfortunately the story takes place before they were famous and is actually about the bass guitarist who was not part of what were to become the fab four. Also the 1994 movie "Backbeat" is not a well known title compared to other recent film to stage adaptations. (It's U.S. box office gross was $2.4 million.)

"Backbeat" the film is a dramatization of the Hamburg, Germany phase of the Beatles in the search of luck while playing the seedy clubs of the city. The band at the time was made of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Pete Best, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe falls in love with a German girl and he has to make a choice between a new life in Germany and rock and roll. The film spawned a Soundtrack CD and is available on DVD. (Sutcliffe died in April 1962 of a brain hemorrhage just before the Beatles made their first recordings that would launch their fame.)

The musical 'Backbeat' opened at the Duke of York's Theatre in London's West End on October 10, 2011 (previews from September 24) and will close on February 18, 2012. The production directed by David Leveaux starred Nick Blood as Sutcliffe, Andrew Knott as Lennon, Daniel Healy as McCartney, William Payne as Harrison and Oliver Bennett as Best. Ruta Gedmintas plays Astrid Kircherr, the name of the girl that Sutcliffe falls for. The musical had its world premiere in 2010 at Glasgow's Citizens Theatre. Producers hope to transfer the show to Canada in summer 2012.

From Sam Marlowe's Time Out review: "This is no tacky jukebox musical. Instead, it's a striking absorbing play with music, written by Ian Softley and Stephen Jeffreys and based on Softley's 1994 film of the same name. It does, of course, exploit the mythology of the Beatlres; but it does so imaginatively, with neither wide-eyed adulation nor slavish adherence to historical fact. The results are dark, thrilling and startlingly moving."

Nick Blood as Stuart Sutcliffe
Oliver Bennett as Pete Best
Daniel Healy as Paul McCartney
Andrew Knott as John Lennon
Will Payne as George Harrison
(all production photos: Nobby Clark)

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