Theater Listings

Written by Staff on . Posted in Posts, Theater.


Boeing-Boeing

Broadway has traditionally been unfriendly to farce, but with director Matthew Warchus’ new, pure-genius revival of Boeing-Boeing transferred from the West End, a sea change in attitude is in order. The subtitle—“a nonstop comedy”—may be a bit misleading, but the play is a caterwauling scream of insanity. I wish it a first-class, smooth flight. (Leonard Jacobs)

Open run. Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$99.50.



Brits Off Broadway

The festival presents some of the U.K.’s most innovative and provocative theater and the final three plays—The Hired Man about a young married couple living from the land as war breaks out in Europe; Vincent River about a woman visited by a teenager who has some connection with the death of her son; and Some Kind Of Bliss about Rachel, and how her life is turned upside-down, starring Lucy Briers—continue through June 29.

59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves.), 212-279-4200: $27.50-$50. visit www.britsoffbroadway.com for complete schedule.



Cry-Baby


The latest John Waters film-to-stage adaptation feels like Bye-Bye Birdie with tongue or, perhaps, a really well-lubed Grease patch too slippery to rip off. The Squares and the Drapes (aka the Baltimore baddies) face off after their leader, bad boy Cry-Baby, woos good-girl Allison. The male dancers show enough braggadocio and skin to keep most everyone enthusiastic through their strenuously sexy choreography, reminding many of a naughty, naughty high school musical with a hottie, hottie cast, it is sure to please quite a few visitors looking for (only somewhat) racy entertainment. (Jerry Portwood)

Open run. Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway (third floor of Marriot Marquis Hotel), 212-307-4100; $35-$120.



Ensemble Studio Theatre Marathon of One-Acts

Series C of the 30th annual event includes Michael Feingold’s “Japanoir,” “Piscary,” by Frank D. Gilroy, “In Between Songs” by comedian Lewis Black, José Rivera’s “Flowers” and, the best of the bunch, Jacquelyn Reingold’s triumphant “A Very Very Short Play,” a satyr play. (LJ)

Through June 28. Ensemble Studio Theater, 549 W. 52nd St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.), 212-352-3101; $18.



Jollyship the Whiz-Bang

“A pirate puppet rock odyssey,” which includes a multitude of genres sexing each other up to phenomenal results. (LJ)

Through June 28. Ars Nova Theater, 511 W. 54th St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.), 212-868-4444; $25.



Gypsy

Patti LuPone is the greatest living performer in the American musical theater. And in the Broadway revival of Gypsy, I feel LuPone has synthesized what was salient (or said to be) about the famous performer’s interpretations of the titular character: Merman’s brass tacks and bombast; Lansbury’s vulnerability; Daly’s cool ambisexuality; Peters’ sensuousness. In addition to an airtight production by book writer Arthur Laurents—and once again being delighted by Jerome Robbins’ original choreography—Gypsy is LuPone’s purest triumph. (LJ)

Open run. St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $42-$117.



In the Heights

Set in Washington Heights, the play focuses on local bodega owner Usnavi (Miranda), who loves saucy Vanessa (played by the fetching Karen Olivo) even as his young, streetwise cousin Sonny (a crackling Robin de Jesús) woos her with lame teenage moves. Running perpendicular to this comic tale is the story Usnavi’s beloved abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz, better than ever), the show’s emotional anchor. Her big number, “Paciencia y Fe” (“Patience and Faith”) is Miranda’s best work, a resonant anthem of longing and hope for all new American arrivals, Latino or not. (LJ)

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Oph3lia

A deconstructed view of the Hamlet character extrapolated into three scenarios: a Japanese woman who becomes mute while living in New York City, a young Korean girl on her first day at a school for foreign girls in China and a Spanish translator who gets caught in the crossfire of a type-A Broadway producer and an Argentinean playwright who has a new Hamlet adaptation. It may take a lit degree to decipher the Ophelias—or just enjoy it for the beautiful images and well-executed choreography. (JP)

Through July 2. HERE Arts Center, 145 6th Ave. (near Spring St.), 212-352-3101; Wed.-Sat. 7:30; Additional performances June 22 at 3; June 30-July 2 7:30.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Saved

The new musical based on the 2004 movie (which included an exclamation point in its title to get its point across), doesn’t make a strong case for its new life as a musical, but nor does it offer up an evening of ass-numbing boredom. In a way, its flashes of wit and zingers make the rest of the evening even more frustrating: The potential is obviously there, but the execution is off. (Mark Peikert)

Through June 22. Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St. (betw. 9th & 10th Aves.), 212-279-4200; $70.



Single Black Female

Colman Domingo (currently starring in Passing Strange) directs Riddick Marie and Soara-Joye Ross in this two-woman comedy routine with sketches based on Lisa B. Thompson’s real-life experiences and stories she’s collected from friends. It’s reminiscent of what comedy duo Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney did with their Off-Broadway show before it became an HBO special, except Marie and Ross are far sexier and have broader appeal. (JP)

Through June 29. The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 646-223-3010; Tues.-Sat. 8; Sat. & Sun. 2, $30.



Thurgood

George Stevens Jr.’s biographical melodrama isn’t much of a play, but that doesn’t mean it lacks drama. It’s more of a history lesson, a majestic and commanding set piece for Laurence Fishburne to reincarnate the spirit and physicality of the late and legendary Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Fishburne transcends all of Thurgood’s textual deficiencies with apparent ease. From his first entrance—leaning on a cane, shuffling on—to the character’s head-held-high exit 90 minutes later, we’re firmly in the palm of his hands all the way through. (LJ)

Through July 20. Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $71.50-$96.50.



Top Girls

Manhattan Theatre Club’s choice to revive Churchill’s feminist play, which ran at the Public back in 1982, is still a surprise—and maybe that’s why the production is both solid and sluggish. After all, MTC is known for hewing to domestic dramas like barnacles to a boat, whereas Churchill’s work generally—and Act 1 of Top Girls in particular—spurns naturalism like a discarded lover. (LJ)

Through June 22. Biltmore Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. 212-239-6200; $46.50-$91.50.

Theater Listings

Written by Staff on . Posted in Posts, Theater.


Boeing-Boeing

Broadway has traditionally been unfriendly to farce, but with director Matthew Warchus’ new, pure-genius revival of Boeing-Boeing transferred from the West End, a sea change in attitude is in order. The subtitle—“a nonstop comedy”—may be a bit misleading, but the play is a caterwauling scream of insanity. I wish it a first-class, smooth flight. (Leonard Jacobs)

Open run. Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$99.50.



Brits Off Broadway

The festival presents some of the U.K.’s most innovative and provocative theater and the final three plays—The Hired Man about a young married couple living from the land as war breaks out in Europe; Vincent River about a woman visited by a teenager who has some connection with the death of her son; and Some Kind Of Bliss about Rachel, and how her life is turned upside-down, starring Lucy Briers—continue through June 29.

59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves.), 212-279-4200: $27.50-$50. visit www.britsoffbroadway.com for complete schedule.



Cry-Baby

The latest John Waters film-to-stage adaptation feels like Bye-Bye Birdie with tongue or, perhaps, a really well-lubed Grease patch too slippery to rip off. The Squares and the Drapes (aka the Baltimore baddies) face off after their leader, bad boy Cry-Baby, woos good-girl Allison. The male dancers show enough braggadocio and skin to keep most everyone enthusiastic through their strenuously sexy choreography, and the pastiche of ‘50s-style songs and costumes can’t help but feel derivative—without enough of that John Waters naughty kitsch. But since it will remind so many of a naughty, naughty high school musical with a hottie, hottie cast, it is sure to please quite a few visitors looking for (only somewhat) racy entertainment. (JP)

Open run. Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway (third floor of Marriot Marquis Hotel), 212-307-4100; $35-$120.



Gypsy

Patti LuPone is the greatest living performer in the American musical theater. And in the Broadway revival of Gypsy, I feel LuPone has synthesized what was salient (or said to be) about the famous performer’s interpretations of the titular character: Merman’s brass tacks and bombast; Lansbury’s vulnerability; Daly’s cool ambisexuality; Peters’ sensuousness. In addition to an airtight production by book writer Arthur Laurents—and once again being delighted by Jerome Robbins’ original choreography—Gypsy is LuPone’s purest triumph. (LJ)

Open run. St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $42-$117.



In the Heights

Set in Washington Heights, the play focuses on local bodega owner Usnavi (Miranda), who loves saucy Vanessa (played by the fetching Karen Olivo) even as his young, streetwise cousin Sonny (a crackling Robin de Jesús) woos her with lame teenage moves. Running perpendicular to this comic tale is the story Usnavi’s beloved abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz, better than ever), the show’s emotional anchor. Her big number, “Paciencia y Fe” (“Patience and Faith”) is Miranda’s best work, a resonant anthem of longing and hope for all new American arrivals, Latino or not. (LJ)

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Saved

The new musical based on the 2004 movie (which included an exclamation point in its title to get its point across), doesn’t make a strong case for its new life as a musical, but nor does it offer up an evening of ass-numbing boredom. In a way, its flashes of wit and zingers make the rest of the evening even more frustrating: The potential is obviously there, but the execution is off. (Mark Peikert)

Through June 22. Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St. (betw. 9th & 10th Aves.), 212-279-4200; $70.



Standing Clear

Throughout the play, we hear subway passengers’ internal monologues as they scan their companions and scrutinize them, judge them, creating stories and making assumptions. Five performers jump in and out of a variety of characters to an assorted iPod playlist. (Ashna Ali)

Through June 21. The Access Theater, 380 Broadway, 4th flr., (at White St.), 212-868-4444; Thurs.-Sat. 8; Sun. 3 & 7, $15/$20.



Sunday in the Park with George

The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the music, lyrics and book are still impressive. Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation—instead of cutouts and fly-ins, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear—also transforms a second act that I never much cared for into something relevant and real—at last. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.



Thurgood

George Stevens Jr.’s biographical melodrama isn’t much of a play, but that doesn’t mean it lacks drama. It’s more of a history lesson, a majestic and commanding set piece for Laurence Fishburne to reincarnate the spirit and physicality of the late and legendary Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. From his first entrance—leaning on a cane, shuffling on—to the character’s head-held-high exit 90 minutes later, we’re firmly in the palm of his hands all the way through. (LJ)

Through July 20. Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $71.50-$96.50.



Top Girls

Manhattan Theatre Club’s choice to revive Churchill’s feminist play, which ran at the Public back in 1982, is still a surprise—and maybe that’s why the production is both solid and sluggish. After all, MTC is known for hewing to domestic dramas like barnacles to a boat, whereas Churchill’s work generally—and Act 1 of Top Girls in particular—spurns naturalism like a discarded lover. (LJ)

Through June 22. Biltmore Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. 212-239-6200; $46.50-$91.50.

Theater Listings

Written by Staff on . Posted in Posts, Theater.


Boeing-Boeing

Broadway has traditionally been unfriendly to farce, but with director Matthew Warchus’ new, pure-genius revival of Boeing-Boeing transferred from the West End, a sea change in attitude is in order. The subtitle—“a nonstop comedy”—may be a bit misleading, but the play is a caterwauling scream of insanity. I wish it a first-class, smooth flight. (Leonard Jacobs)

Open run. Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$99.50.



Brits Off Broadway

The festival presents some of the U.K.’s most innovative and provocative theater. Mike Bartlett’s Artefacts follows a young woman who discovers her long-lost father is Iraqi and then navigates the conflict of cultures. It’s a must-see. (Jerry Portwood)

Artefacts through June 8. Program through June 29. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves.), 212-279-4200: $27.50-$50. visit www.britsoffbroadway.com for complete schedule.



Cry-Baby

The latest John Waters film-to-stage adaptation feels like Bye-Bye Birdie with tongue or, perhaps, a really well-lubed Grease patch too slippery to rip off. The Squares and the Drapes (aka the Baltimore baddies) face off after their leader, bad boy Cry-Baby, woos good-girl Allison. The male dancers show enough braggadocio and skin to keep most everyone enthusiastic through their strenuously sexy choreography, and the pastiche of ‘50s-style songs and costumes can’t help but feel derivative—without enough of that John Waters naughty kitsch. But since it will remind so many of a naughty, naughty high school musical with a hottie, hottie cast, it is sure to please quite a few visitors looking for (only somewhat) racy entertainment. (JP)

Open run. Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway (third floor of Marriot Marquis Hotel), 212-307-4100; $35-$120.



Gypsy


Patti LuPone is the greatest living performer in the American musical theater. And in the Broadway revival of Gypsy, I feel LuPone has synthesized what was salient (or said to be) about the famous performer’s interpretations of the titular character: Merman’s brass tacks and bombast; Lansbury’s vulnerability; Daly’s cool ambisexuality; Peters’ sensuousness. In addition to an airtight production by book writer Arthur Laurents—and once again being delighted by Jerome Robbins’ original choreography—Gypsy is LuPone’s purest triumph. (LJ)

Open run. St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $42-$117.



In the Heights

Set in Washington Heights, the play focuses on local bodega owner Usnavi (Miranda), who loves saucy Vanessa (played by the fetching Karen Olivo) even as his young, streetwise cousin Sonny (a crackling Robin de Jesús) woos her with lame teenage moves. Running perpendicular to this comic tale is the story Usnavi’s beloved abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz, better than ever), the show’s emotional anchor. Her big number, “Paciencia y Fe” (“Patience and Faith”) is Miranda’s best work, a resonant anthem of longing and hope for all new American arrivals, Latino or not. (LJ)

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Passing Strange


A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Port Authority

Conor McPherson’s new play has three generations of Irishmen—Kevin, Dermot and Joe—set in contemporary Dublin. As with the playwright’s other work (The Seafarer, The Weir, Shining City), it’s a depressing and deeply funny dissection of the common man’s plight.

Through June 22. Atlantic Theater Company, 336 W. 20th St. (); 212-279-4200; Tue.-Fri. 8; Sat. 2 & 8; Sun. 3, $55.



Reasons to be Pretty

Neil LaBute writes a “coming of age” story in which a young man comments about a coworker’s pretty face and how it doesn’t measure up to his girlfriends’—repercussions ensue. LaBute’s talent for everyday language is on display as well as his skill at crafting incredible streams of curse words.

Through July 5. Lucille Lortel Theater, 121 Christopher St. (betw. Hudson & Bleecker Sts.), 212-279-4200; Tues. & Wed. 7; Thurs.-Sat. 8; Sat. 2; Sun. 3, $59.



Sunday in the Park with George


The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the music, lyrics and book are still impressive. The most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. Instead of cutouts and fly-ins, as in the original production, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear. It transforms a second act that I never much cared for into something relevant and real—at last. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.



Thurgood

George Stevens Jr.’s biographical melodrama isn’t much of a play, but that doesn’t mean it lacks drama. It’s more of a history lesson, a majestic and commanding set piece for Laurence Fishburne to reincarnate the spirit and physicality of the late and legendary Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Fishburne transcends all of Thurgood’s textual deficiencies with apparent ease. From his first entrance—leaning on a cane, shuffling on—to the character’s head-held-high exit 90 minutes later, we’re firmly in the palm of his hands all the way through. (LJ)

Through July 20. Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $71.50-$96.50.



Top Girls


Manhattan Theatre Club’s choice to revive Churchill’s feminist play, which ran at the Public back in 1982, is still a surprise—and maybe that’s why the production is both solid and sluggish. After all, MTC is known for hewing to domestic dramas like barnacles to a boat, whereas Churchill’s work generally—and Act 1 of Top Girls in particular—spurns naturalism like a discarded lover. (LJ)

Through June 22. Biltmore Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. 212-239-6200; $46.50-$91.50.

Theater Listings

Written by Staff on . Posted in Posts, Theater.


Boeing-Boeing

Broadway has traditionally been unfriendly to farce, but with director Matthew Warchus’ new, pure-genius revival of Boeing-Boeing transferred from the West End, a sea change in attitude is in order. The subtitle—“a nonstop comedy”—may be a bit misleading, but the play is a caterwauling scream of insanity. I wish it a first-class, smooth flight. (Leonard Jacobs)

Open run. Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$99.50.



Brits Off Broadway

The festival presents some of the U.K.’s most innovative and provocative theater. Includes Damascus, Artefacts, Blink, The Hired Man, Vincent River and Some Kind of Bliss.

Through June 29. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves.), 212-279-4200: $27.50-$50. visit www.britsoffbroadway.com for complete schedule.



Cry-Baby


The latest John Waters film-to-stage adaptation feels like Bye-Bye Birdie with tongue or, perhaps, a really well-lubed Grease patch too slippery to rip off. The Squares and the Drapes face off after their leader, bad boy Cry-Baby, woos good-girl Allison. The male dancers show enough braggadocio and skin to keep most everyone enthusiastic through their strenuously sexy choreography, and the pastiche of ‘50s-style songs and costumes can’t help but feel derivative—without enough of that John Waters naughty kitsch. (Jerry Portwood)

Open run. Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway (third floor of Marriot Marquis Hotel), 212-307-4100; $35-$120.



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the play’s first appearance on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (LJ)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



Gypsy

Patti LuPone is the greatest living performer in the American musical theater. And in the Broadway revival of Gypsy, I feel LuPone has synthesized what was salient (or said to be) about the famous performer’s interpretations of the titular character: Merman’s brass tacks and bombast; Lansbury’s vulnerability; Daly’s cool ambisexuality; Peters’ sensuousness. In addition to an airtight production by book writer Arthur Laurents—and once again being delighted by Jerome Robbins’ original choreography—Gypsy is LuPone’s purest triumph. (LJ)

Open run. St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $42-$117.



The Hey You Monster

Derek Ahonen’s two-part, two-play dissection of the modern American family includes Pokin’ the Bears in a Zoo, about a Queens family trying to survive emotional confusion after the murder of their matriarch and Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter, about a lesbian couple and their daughter who cannibalizing the housewives of America (literally). The dysfunctional, abusive families are also centers of tenderness, support and unconditional love, ultimately questioning whether we’re worse off because of our biological burdens or the better for it. (JP)

Through May 31. Gene Frankel Theater, 24 Bond St. (near Bowery), 212-868-4444, in repertory Mon.-Sun., $18.



In the Heights

Set in Washington Heights, the play focuses on local bodega owner Usnavi, who loves saucy Vanessa even as his young, streetwise cousin Sonny woos her with lame teenage moves. Running perpendicular to this comic tale is the story Usnavi’s beloved abuela Claudia, the show’s emotional anchor. Her big number, “Paciencia y Fe” (“Patience and Faith”) is a resonant anthem of longing and hope for all new American arrivals, Latino or not. (LJ)

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



The Sound and the Fury

The Elevator Response Service’s theatrical interpretation of William Faulkner’s modernist classic is less about witnessing a piece of entertainment and more about transcending a typical theater experience for something that feels closer to a work of Art. They adapt the first chapter of the hallowed modernist text told from the perspective of “idiot” Benjy by acting out every line and piece of dialogue with actors of both sexes and various ethnicities playing the same roles. (JP)

Through June 1. New York Theater Workshop, 79 E. 4th St. (betw. 2nd Ave. & Bowery), 212-239-6200; Tues. 7; Wed.-Sat. 8; Sun. 2 & 7, $65 (special $45 tickets Memorial Day weekend).



Sunday in the Park with George

The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the music, lyrics and book are still impressive. The most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. Instead of cutouts and fly-ins, as in the original production, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear. It transforms a second act that I never much cared for into something relevant and real—at last. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.



Thurgood

George Stevens Jr.’s biographical melodrama isn’t much of a play, but that doesn’t mean it lacks drama. It’s more of a history lesson, a majestic and commanding set piece for Laurence Fishburne to reincarnate the spirit and physicality of the late and legendary Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Fishburne transcends all of Thurgood’s textual deficiencies with apparent ease. From his first entrance—leaning on a cane, shuffling on—to the character’s head-held-high exit 90 minutes later, we’re firmly in the palm of his hands all the way through. (LJ)

Through July 20. Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $71.50-$96.50.



Top Girls

Manhattan Theatre Club’s choice to revive Churchill’s feminist play, which ran at the Public back in 1982, is still a surprise—and maybe that’s why the production is both solid and sluggish. After all, MTC is known for hewing to domestic dramas like barnacles to a boat, whereas Churchill’s work generally—and Act 1 of Top Girls in particular—spurns naturalism like a discarded lover. (LJ)

Through June 22. Biltmore Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. 212-239-6200; $46.50-$91.50.

Theater Listings

Written by Staff on . Posted in Posts, Theater.


Boeing-Boeing

Broadway has traditionally been unfriendly to farce, but with director Matthew Warchus’ new, pure-genius revival of this West End, a sea change in attitude is in order. The subtitle—“a nonstop comedy”—may be a bit misleading, but the play is a caterwauling scream of insanity. I wish it a first-class, smooth flight. (Leonard Jacobs)

Open run. Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$99.50.




Brits Off Broadway


The festival presents some of the U.K.’s most innovative and provocative theater. This week Yellow Moon The Ballad of Leila and Lee, a modern Bonnie and Clyde tale that follows the fortunes of two teenagers on the run, and The Unconquered, one girls struggle against the state, continue. Next up are Damascus, Artefacts, Blink, The Hired Man, Vincent River and Some Kind of Bliss.

Through June 29. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves.), 212-279-4200: $27.50-$50. visit www.britsoffbroadway.com for complete schedule.



Cherry Docs


David Gow’s play about a neo-Nazi skinhead and the Jewish lawyer assigned to defend him is an emotional tour de force as the two both battling with their beliefs and responsibility for their actions. Although sympathy is created for the skinhead (played by Maximilian Osinksi), Gow is never overindulgent and doesn’t forgive him outright, leaving the resolution ambiguous but ultimately forwarding a lesson of love, not tolerance. (Jerry Portwood)

Through May 18. WorkShop Theater, 312 W. 36th St., 4th floor (betw. 8th & 9th Aves.), 212-352-3101; Wed.-Sat. 8; Sun. 2, $11.



Cry-Baby

The latest John Waters film-to-stage adaptation feels like Bye-Bye Birdie with tongue or, perhaps, a really well-lubed Grease patch too slippery to rip off. The Squares and the Drapes (aka the Baltimore baddies) face off after their leader, bad boy Cry-Baby, woos good-girl Allison. The male dancers show enough braggadocio and skin to keep most everyone enthusiastic through their strenuously sexy choreography. The pastiche of 50s-style songs and costumes can’t help but feel derivative—without enough of that John Waters naughty kitsch. (JP)

Open run. Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway (third floor of Marriot Marquis Hotel), 212-307-4100; $35-$120.



The Hey You Monster

Derek Ahonen’s two-part, two-play dissection of the modern American family includes Pokin’ the Bears in a Zoo, about a Queens family trying to survive emotional confusion after the murder of their matriarch and Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter, about a lesbian couple and their daughter who cannibalizing the housewives of America (literally). The dysfunctional, abusive families are also centers of tenderness, support and unconditional love, ultimately questioning whether we’re worse off because of our biological burdens or the better for it. (JP)

Through May 31. Gene Frankel Theater, 24 Bond St. (near Bowery), 212-868-4444, in repertory Mon.-Sun., $18.



In the Heights

Set in Washington Heights, the play focuses on local bodega owner Usnavi (Miranda), who loves saucy Vanessa even as his young, streetwise cousin Sonny woos her with lame teenage moves. Abuela Claudia’s big number, “Paciencia y Fe” is Miranda’s best work, a resonant anthem of longing and hope for all new American arrivals, Latino or not. (LJ)

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Sunday in the Park with George

The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.



Thurgood

George Stevens Jr.’s biographical melodrama isn’t much of a play, but that doesn’t mean it lacks drama. It’s more of a history lesson, a majestic and commanding set piece for Laurence Fishburne to reincarnate the spirit and physicality of the late and legendary Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. (LJ)

Through July 20. Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $71.50-$96.50.

Theater Listings

Written by Staff on . Posted in Posts, Theater.


The Caucasian Chalk Circle

The Hipgnosis Theatre Company revives Bertolt Brecht’s parable about a young servant girl who raises a noblewoman’s son, only to have him snatched from her. The multi-ethnic cast of talented male and female actors cleverly highlight issues of wealth, class and property, but it’s John Kevin Jones as the wily Azdak who steals the show with his spot-on comic timing and characterization as the “corrupt” judge who supports the poor over the rich. (Jerry Portwood)

Through May 11. Theatres at 45 Bleecker, 45 Bleecker St. (at Lafayette), 212-239-6200; Wed.-Sun. 7; additional performance Sun. May 10 at 2, $18.



Cherry Docs

David Gow’s play about a neo-Nazi skinhead and the Jewish lawyer assigned to defend him is an emotional tour de force as the two both battle with their beliefs and responsibility for their actions. Although sympathy is created for the skinhead, Gow is never overindulgent and doesn’t forgive him outright, leaving the resolution ambiguous but ultimately forwarding a lesson of love, not tolerance. (JP)

Through May 18. WorkShop Theater, 312 W. 36th St., 4th floor (betw. 8th & 9th Aves.), 212-352-3101; Wed.-Sat. 8; Sun. 2, $11.



Cry-Baby

The latest John Waters film-to-stage adaptation feels like Bye-Bye Birdie with tongue or, perhaps, a really well-lubed Grease patch too slippery to rip off. The Squares and the Drapes  face off after their leader, bad boy Cry-Baby, woos good-girl Allison. The male dancers show enough braggadocio and skin to keep most everyone enthusiastic through their strenuously sexy choreography. The pastiche of 50s-style songs and costumes can’t help but feel derivative—without enough of that John Waters naughty kitsch. But since it will remind so many of a naughty, naughty high school musical with a hottie, hottie cast, it is sure to please quite a few visitors looking for (only somewhat) racy entertainment. (JP)

Open run. Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway (third floor of Marriot Marquis Hotel), 212-307-4100; $35-$120.



The Four of Us

A narrative about envy between two seemingly tight friends—novelist Benjamin and playwright David—the play is loosely based on a friendship between the playwright Itamar Moses and Jonathan Safran Foer. The dynamic is illuminating at times but doesn’t go far enough in its analysis of the arch-nemesis status between the two.

Through May 11. New York City Center Stage II, 131 W. 55th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-581-1212; Tues.-Sat. 7:30; Wed., Sat. & Sun. 2:30, $50.



Gypsy

Patti LuPone is the greatest living performer in the American musical theater. And in the Broadway revival of Gypsy, I feel LuPone has synthesized what was salient (or said to be) about the famous performer’s interpretations of the titular character: Merman’s brass tacks and bombast; Lansbury’s vulnerability; Daly’s cool ambisexuality; Peters’ sensuousness. In addition to an airtight production by book writer Arthur Laurents—and once again being delighted by Jerome Robbins’ original choreography—Gypsy is LuPone’s purest triumph. (LJ)

Open run. St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $42-$117.



The Hey You Monster

Derek Ahonen’s two-part, two-play dissection of the modern American family includes Pokin’ the Bears in a Zoo, about a Queens family trying to survive emotional confusion after the murder of their matriarch and Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter, about a lesbian couple and their daughter who cannibalizing the housewives of America (literally). The dysfunctional, abusive families are also centers of tenderness, support and unconditional love, ultimately questioning whether we’re worse off because of our biological burdens or the better for it. (JP)

Through May 31. Gene Frankel Theater, 24 Bond St. (near Bowery), 212-868-4444, in repertory Mon.-Sun., $18.



In the Heights


Set in Washington Heights, the play focuses on local bodega owner Usnavi (Miranda), who loves saucy Vanessa (played by the fetching Karen Olivo) even as his young, streetwise cousin Sonny (a crackling Robin de Jesús) woos her with lame teenage moves. Running perpendicular to this comic tale is the story Usnavi’s beloved abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz, better than ever), the show’s emotional anchor. Her big number, “Paciencia y Fe” (“Patience and Faith”) is Miranda’s best work, a resonant anthem of longing and hope for all new American arrivals, Latino or not. (LJ)

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Sunday in the Park with George

The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the music, lyrics and book are still impressive. The most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. Instead of cutouts and fly-ins, as in the original production, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear. It transforms a second act that I never much cared for into something relevant and real—at last. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.



Thurgood

George Stevens Jr.’s biographical melodrama isn’t much of a play, but that doesn’t mean it lacks drama. It’s more of a history lesson, a majestic and commanding set piece for Laurence Fishburne to reincarnate the spirit and physicality of the late and legendary Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. Fishburne transcends all of Thurgood’s textual deficiencies with apparent ease. From his first entrance—leaning on a cane, shuffling on—to the character’s head-held-high exit 90 minutes later, we’re firmly in the palm of his hands all the way through. (LJ)

Through July 20. Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $71.50-$96.50.



The Walworth Farce

Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce is well worth your time. Produced by the acclaimed Irish company Druid, it’s a superb example of how to grip a creaky genre by the lapels and massage it until it resembles one so different, so transformed, it can only be characterized as the opposite of the one you started with. In this case, Walsh turns farce—a mechanical, wildly entertaining dramatic vehicle—into an engrossing family drama. Under Mikel Murfi’s masterful staging, there’s enough bloodshed for even the most fervent fans of Martin McDonough’s plays to leave with fiendish, satisfied grins. (LJ)

Through May 4. St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water St., Brooklyn; 718-254-8779; $37.50-$47.50.

Theater Listings

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts.


The Caucasian Chalk Circle

The Hipgnosis Theatre Company revives Bertolt Brecht’s parable about a young servant girl who raises a noblewoman’s son, only to have him snatched from her. The multi-ethnic cast of talented male and female actors cleverly highlight issues of wealth, class and property, but it’s John Kevin Jones as the wily Azdak who steals the show with his spot-on comic timing and characterization as the “corrupt” judge who supports the poor over the rich. (Jerry Portwood)

Through May 11. Theatres at 45 Bleecker, 45 Bleecker St. (at Lafayette), 212-239-6200; Wed.-Sun. 7; additional performance April 29 at 7, Sun. May 10 at 2, $18.



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the play’s first appearance on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (LJ)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



Fire Island

3-Legged Dog’s production of Charles Mee’s latest fractured narrative, for all of its flimsiness and faults, has the virtue of being the kind of play in which you never feel like you’ll miss something crucial if you have to answer nature’s call. Mee’s patchwork of vignettes—largely a meditation on the vagaries of heterosexual love on a spit of land world-famous for its historic relationship to the gay community—is as blissfully unstructured as a Sunday in July.

Through May 3. 3LD Art & Technology Center, 80 Greenwich St. (below Rector St.), 212-352-3101; $30.



The Four of Us

A narrative about envy between two seemingly tight friends—novelist Benjamin and playwright David—the play is loosely based on a friendship between the playwright Itamar Moses and Jonathan Safran Foer. The dynamic is illuminating at times but doesn’t go far enough in its analysis of the arch-nemesis status between the two.

Through May 11. New York City Center Stage II, 131 W. 55th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-581-1212; Tues.-Sat. 7:30; Wed., Sat. & Sun. 2:30, $50.



Gypsy

Patti LuPone is the greatest living performer in the American musical theater. And in the Broadway revival of Gypsy, I feel LuPone has synthesized what was salient (or said to be) about the famous performer’s interpretations of the titular character: Merman’s brass tacks and bombast; Lansbury’s vulnerability; Daly’s cool ambisexuality; Peters’ sensuousness. In addition to an airtight production by book writer Arthur Laurents—and once again being delighted by Jerome Robbins’ original choreography—Gypsy is LuPone’s purest triumph.

Open run. St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $42-$117.



In the Heights

Set in Washington Heights, the play focuses on local bodega owner Usnavi (Miranda), who loves saucy Vanessa (played by the fetching Karen Olivo) even as his young, streetwise cousin Sonny (a crackling Robin de Jesús) woos her with lame teenage moves. Running perpendicular to this comic tale is the story Usnavi’s beloved abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz, better than ever), the show’s emotional anchor. Her big number, “Paciencia y Fe” (“Patience and Faith”) is Miranda’s best work, a resonant anthem of longing and hope for all new American arrivals, Latino or not.

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



The Sound and the Fury

Elevator Repair Service takes on the ambtious task of presenting Part 1 of Faulkner’s famous work told from the point of view of Benjy Compson, the 33-year-old disabled narrator who can’t tell the difference between past and present.

Through May 18. NY Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & Second Ave.), 212-460-5475; Tues. 7; Wed.-Sat. 8; Sun. 2 & 7, $20-$55.



Sunday in the Park with George

The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the music, lyrics and book are still impressive. The most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. Instead of cutouts and fly-ins, as in the original production, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear. It transforms a second act that I never much cared for into something relevant and real—at last. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.



The Walworth Farce

Enda Walsh’s The Walworth Farce is well worth your time. Produced by the acclaimed Irish company Druid, it’s a superb example of how to grip a creaky genre by the lapels and massage it until it resembles one so different, so transformed, it can only be characterized as the opposite of the one you started with. In this case, Walsh turns farce—a mechanical, wildly entertaining dramatic vehicle—into an engrossing family drama. Under Mikel Murfi’s masterful staging, there’s enough bloodshed for even the most fervent fans of Martin McDonough’s plays to leave with fiendish, satisfied grins.

Through May 4. St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water St., Brooklyn; 718-254-8779; $37.50-$47.50.

Theater Listings

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts.


The American Dream / The Sandbox

Edward Albee directs his two early one-acts, the first about a dysfunctional family waiting for someone to “give us satisfaction.” The absurdist play is completed by the second, which continues the story of the perverse Mommy and Daddy and Grandma. The 80-year-old Albee seems more interested in the hot young men who play the bit roles on the fringes of the play—one a clean-cut “type” who personifies the “American Dream,” the other an oiled-up Adonis who functions as Grandma’s Angel of Death. (Jerry Portwood)

Opens March 25, runs through April 19, Cherry Lane Theatre 38 Commerce St. (betw. Barrow & Bedford Sts.), 212-239-6200; $10-$60.



Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Loved America Too Much

Pippin Parker stages George Packer’s play like a chess game in which any pawn may be beheaded at any moment—this approach delivering an astonishing emotional intensity. More than a morality play about well-educated, democracy-enamored Iraqis and the politicians and diplomats living bubble-like existences in the Green Zone: It’s also about our government’s betrayal of sense. (Leonard Jacobs)

Through April 13. Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), 212-352-3101; $25-$60.



Boom

In Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s black comedy, a comet is headed for Earth, and it’s unclear if anyone will survive. But then again, that’s not really what the play’s about at all: We discover it’s an artful way of presenting the creation vs. evolution debate for a witty, artsy audience who would be bored by anything mustier. (JP)

Through April 13. Ars Nova, 511 W. 54th St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.), 212-868-4444; Thu.-Sat. 8; Sun. 7, $25.



The Break-Up and The Happy Sad

Two short plays, by Tommy Smith and Ken Urban respectively, on a double-bill that explores the botched dreams and impotent aspirations of a series of characters in Brooklyn. The fact that Urban has his characters speak in cryptic prose and inexplicably break into song only adds to the confusion and numbness of the urban limbo. (JP)

Through April 7. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-352-3101; Sun. & Mon. 7; Fri. & Sat. 9, $20.



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the play’s first appearance on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (LJ)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



The Four of Us

A narrative about envy between two seemingly tight friends—novelist Benjamin and playwright David—the play is loosely based on a friendship between the playwright Itamar Moses and Jonathan Safran Foer. The dynamic is illuminating at times but doesn’t go far enough in its analysis of the arch-nemesis status between the two. 

Through May 11. New York City Center Stage II, 131 W. 55th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-581-1212; Tues.-Sat. 7:30; Wed., Sat. & Sun. 2:30, $50.



In the Heights

Set in Washington Heights, the play focuses on local bodega owner Usnavi (Miranda), who loves saucy Vanessa (played by the fetching Karen Olivo) even as his young, streetwise cousin Sonny (a crackling Robin de Jesús) woos her with lame teenage moves. Running perpendicular to this comic tale is the story Usnavi’s beloved abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz, better than ever), the show’s emotional anchor. Her big number, “Paciencia y Fe” (“Patience and Faith”) is Miranda’s best work, a resonant anthem of longing and hope for all new American arrivals, Latino or not.

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Lower Ninth

Beau Willimon’s play never mentions Hurricane Katrina, but it leaves two men stranded on the roof of a flooded house—with a dead body. The all-star TV actor cast does an excellent job, but Willimon doesn’t challenge himself to get at meaty social issues: He’s too busy skimming the surface. Friday Night Lights’ Gaius Charles, NYPD Blue’s James McDaniel and The Wire’s Gbenga Akkinagbe are the stars. (JP)

Through April 5. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-352-3101; $40-$45.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



The Seagull

Despite a language barrier between the Russian-speaking director and his American actors, Viacheslav Dolgachev has nevertheless elicited some of the most intricately textured acting of The Seagull that I’ve ever seen. Dianne Wiest is riveting, empathetic, adorable, infuriating, divine—and also terrifying. (LJ)

Through April 13. Classic Stage Company, 136 E. 13th St. (betw. 3rd & 4th Aves.), 212-352-3101; $70-$75.



Sunday in the Park with George

The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the music, lyrics and book are still impressive. The most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. Instead of cutouts and fly-ins, as in the original production, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear. It transforms a second act that I never much cared for into something relevant and real—at last. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.

Theater Listings

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts.


The American Dream / The Sandbox

Edward Albee directs his two early one-acts, the first about a dysfunctional family, the second continues the story of the perverse Mommy and Daddy.

Opens March 25, runs through April 19, Cherry Lane Theatre 38 Commerce St. (betw. Barrow & Bedford Sts.), 212-239-6200; $10-$60.



Beebo Brinker Chronicles

Beth and Laura were secret lovers in college, but they split up when Beth decided to commit to a boyfriend. Laura headed to New York, where she met the fearless Beebo Brinker. But Beth and Laura still have feelings for each other. Based on the groundbreaking lesbian fiction of Ann Bannon, this play tells the story of four friends as they navigate the restrictions of 1950s society and the freedoms of Greenwich Village’s underground bars and clubs. (Jenny Fisher)

Through April 2. 37 Arts, 450 W. 37th St. (betw 9th & 10th Aves.), 212-307-4100; $46.25-$76.25.



Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Loved America Too Much

Pippin Parker stages George Packer’s play like a chess game in which any pawn may be beheaded at any moment—this approach delivering an astonishing emotional intensity. More than a morality play about well-educated, democracy-enamored Iraqis and the politicians and diplomats living bubble-like existences in the Green Zone: It’s also about our government’s betrayal of sense. (Leonard Jacobs)

Through April 13. Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), 212-352-3101; $25-$60.



Boom

In Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s black comedy, a comet is headed for Earth, and it’s unclear if anyone will survive. But then again, that’s not really what the play’s about at all, when we discover it’s an artful way of presenting the creation vs. evolution debate for a witty, artsy audience who would be bored by anything so musty.

Through April 13. Ars Nova, 511 W. 54th St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.), 212-868-4444; Thu.-Sat. 8; Sun. 7, $25.



The Break-Up and The Happy Sad

Two short plays, by Tommy Smith and Ken Urban respectively, on a double-bill that explore the botched dreams and impotent aspirations of a series of characters in Brooklyn. The fact that Urban has his characters speak in cryptic prose and inexplicably break into song only adds to the confusion and numbness of the urban limbo. (Jerry Portwood)

The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-352-3101; Sun. & Mon. 7; Fri. & Sat. 9, $20.



Bride

Kevin Augustine showcases his incredibly detailed puppets, all of them with the darkly sensuous touch of the artist, in a psychological mind fuck that will have you rethinking all you thought you knew about puppetry. Through March 30, P.S. 122, 150 1st Ave. (at E. 9th St.),212-352-3101; Wed-Sat. 8; Sun. 7, $10-$20.



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the first on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (LJ)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



In the Heights

Set in Washington Heights, the play focuses on local bodega owner Usnavi (Miranda), who loves saucy Vanessa (fetching Karen Olivo) even as his young, streetwise cousin Sonny (a crackling Robin de Jesús) woos her with lame teenage moves. Running perpendicular to this comic tale is the story Usnavi’s beloved abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz, better than ever), the show’s emotional anchor. Her big number, “Paciencia y Fe” (“Patience and Faith”) is Miranda’s best work, a resonant anthem of longing and hope for all new American arrivals, Latino or not.

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Lower Ninth

Beau Willimon’s play never mentions Hurricane Katrina, but it leaves two men stranded on the roof of a flooded house—with a dead body. The all-star TV actor cast do an excellent job, but Willimon doesn’t challenge himself to get at meaty social issues, he’s too busy skimming the surface. (JP) Friday Night Lights’ Gaius Charles, NYPD Blue’s James McDaniel and The Wire’s Gbenga Akkinagbe are the stars.

Through April 5. The Flea Theater, 41 White St., 212-352-3101; $40-$45.



Medea

Theodora Skipitares returns to the experimental theater with her latest puppet adaptation of a Greek classic, featuring 5-foot Bunraku-style puppets, masks, live music and video projections.

Through March 30, La MaMa, 74A E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.) 212-475-7710; $25.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Sunday in the Park with George

The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the music, lyrics and book are still impressive. The most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. Instead of cutouts and fly-ins, as in the original production, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear, transforming the second act into something relevant and real. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.

Theater Listings

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts.


Previews/Openings



The American Dream / The Sandbox

Edward Albee directs his two early one-acts, the first about a dysfunctional family, the second continues the story of the perverse Mommy and Daddy.

Opens March 25, runs through April 19, Cherry Lane Theatre 38 Commerce St. (betw. Barrow & Bedford Sts.), 212-239-6200; $10-$60.



Ongoing



Beebo Brinker Chronicles

Beth and Laura were secret lovers in college, but they split up when Beth decided to commit to a boyfriend. Laura headed to New York, where she met the fearless Beebo Brinker. But Beth and Laura still have feelings for each other. Based on the groundbreaking lesbian pulp fiction of Ann Bannon, this play tells the story of four friends as they navigate the restrictions of 1950s society and the freedoms of Greenwich Village’s underground bars and clubs. (Jenny Fisher)

Through April 2. 37 Arts, 450 W. 37th St. (betw 9th & 10th Aves.), 212-307-4100; $46.25-$76.25.



Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Loved America Too Much

Pippin Parker stages George Packer’s play like a chess game in which any pawn may be beheaded at any moment—this approach delivering an astonishing emotional intensity. More than a morality play about well-educated, democracy-enamored Iraqis and the politicians and diplomats living bubble-like existences in the Green Zone: It’s also about our government’s betrayal of sense. (Leonard Jacobs)

Through April 13. Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), 212-352-3101; $25-$60.



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the first on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (LJ)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



Dead Man’s Cell Phone

In Sarah Ruhl’s new play, mousy Jean (Mary Louise Parker) is unnerved by a man’s cell phone ringing nearby. She doesn’t know he’s dead, but she answers the phone anyway. Once she sees the guy is a goner, she keeps answering the phone, slowly trapping her in the residue of the deceased.

Through March 25. Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St. (betw. 10th & 11th Aves.), 212-420-8000 or 212-279-4200. $70.



Hello Failure

In the disorienting but affecting world created by playwright Kristen Kosmas, seven submariner’s wives, a hairdresser, a ghost, and a potted plant attempt to make it through the day. When the wives meet in a support group, one locks herself in the bathroom and conjures up the ghost of Horace Hunley, an infamous submarine maker whose creations always sank.

Through March 22. P.S. 122, 150 1st Ave. (at E. 9th St.), 212-477-5288; $10-$18.



Lower Ninth

Beau Willimon’s play never mentions Hurricane Katrina, but it leaves two men stranded on the roof of a flooded house—with a dead body. The all-star TV actor cast do an excellent job, but Willimon doesn’t challenge himself to get at meaty social issues, he’s too busy skimming the surface. (JP)

Friday Night Lights’ Gaius Charles, NYPD Blue’s James McDaniel and The Wire’s Gbenga Akkinagbe are the stars. Through April 5. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-352-3101; $40-$45.



Macbeth


Director Rupert Goold is on to something, setting the play in a totalitarian Stalinist state at the height of the Cold War, mostly in and around an industrial kitchen. From the mimed ladling out of soup to the pouring of wine, from the emergence of an oversized chocolate cake to Patrick Stewart meticulously preparing and wolfing down a sandwich as the grim Thane of Cawdor, this is the most indulgently epicurean Scottish play we’re likely to see. This Macbeth is innovative and mesmerizing; but ultimately, it tickles the brain far more than it touches the heart. (LJ)

Through March 22. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St., B’klyn, (betw. Rockland Pl. & Ashland Pl.), 718-636-4182; $30-$90 [SOLD OUT].



Medea

Theodora Skipitares returns to the experimental theater with her latest puppet adaptation of a Greek classic, featuring 5-foot Bunraku-style puppets, masks, live music and video projections.

La MaMa, 74A E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.) Through March 30 212-475-7710; $25.



Open House

Brooklyn playwright Aaron Landsman’s fourth site-specific production is staged in 24 different people’s couches. The play interweaves the story of a real estate agent and his sales pitch with the story of a young couple trying to start a family and sustain a relationship in a city where everything is in flux. It’s an interesting conceit, but the play doesn’t really go anywhere; it relies too much on real estate envy and apartment- swapping angst. (Jerry Portwood)

Through March 16. Various locations, 866-811-4111; $15.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Sunday in the Park with George

The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the music, lyrics and book are still impressive. The most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. Instead of cutouts and fly-ins, as in the original production, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear. It transforms a second act that I never much cared for into something relevant and real—at last. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.



The 39 Steps

It’s raison d’être is, at first blush, delicious: A send-up of Alfred Hitchcock’s oeuvre as seen through the lens of one of his great early films from 1935, all in the name of turning Hitch’s horror-loving sensibility on its head. The hoary plot is tailor-made for a lot of goofy spoofing, especially with two actors—Arnie Burton and Cliff Saunders—playing dozens of subsidiary roles. But no matter how much laughter one derives from The 39 Steps, there’s no denying it overflows with comic shtick we’ve seen countless times before. (LJ)

Through Mar. 23. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $51.25-$96.25.

Theater Listings

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts.


Previews/Openings



The American Dream / The Sandbox

Edward Albee directs his two early one-acts, the first about a dysfunctional family, the second continues the story of the perverse Mommy and Daddy. Starts March 11 (opens March 25), runs through April 19,Cherry Lane Theatre 38 Commerce St. (betw. Barrow & Bedford Sts.), 212-239-6200; $10-$60.



Medea

Theodora Skipitares returns to the experimental theater with her latest puppet adaptation of a Greek classic, featuring 5-foot Bunraku-style puppets, masks, live music and video projections.

La MaMa, 74A E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.) March 13-30 212-475-7710; $25.



Ongoing



3800 Elizabeth

A staged sitcom about a trio of thirtysomethings—a hypochondriac named Sonja, her Germanophile bartender roommate, AJ and AJ’s childhood friend Mike—living in Brooklyn. Like a typical sitcom, it opens in medias res before cutting to a theme song and opening credits, which are projected onto a white wall as the title sequence is acted out.

Through March 16. The Battle Ranch, 111 Conselyea St. (betw. Skillman & Metropolitan Aves.), B’klyn; 8, free.



Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Loved America Too Much

Pippin Parker stages George Packer’s play like a chess game in which any pawn may be beheaded at any moment—this approach delivering an astonishing emotional intensity. Betrayed is more than a morality play about well-educated, democracy-enamored Iraqis and the politicians and diplomats living bubble-like existences in the Green Zone: It’s also about our government’s betrayal of sense. (Leonard Jacobs)

Through April 13. Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), 212-352-3101; $25-$60.



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the first on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (LJ)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



Hello Failure

In the disorienting but affecting world created by playwright Kristen Kosmas, seven submariner’s wives, a hairdresser, a ghost, and a potted plant attempt to make it through the day. When the wives meet in a support group, one locks herself in the bathroom and conjures up the ghost of Horace Hunley, an infamous submarine maker whose creations always sank.

Through March 22. P.S. 122, 150 1st Ave. (at E. 9th St.), 212-477-5288; $10-$18.



In the Heights


This musical was born during Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sophomore year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, when he broke box-office records at the university’s theater with this musical inspired by the people and music of his childhood in northern Manhattan. Nine years later, hip-hop freestyling, salsa and merengue meet Broadway. Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Liberty City

Playwright (along with Jessica Blank) and sole cast member April Yvette Thompson drew from her imagination and from the history of this neighborhood in Miami where she grew up as the daughter of a Cuban and Bahamian father and African-American mother. The 1960s optimism and radicalism of her parents conflicted with grim realities when riots broke out in 1980 after five white police officers were acquitted in the trial of a black motorist who was beaten to death.

Through March 16. New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.), 212-239-6200; $20, $45.



Lower Ninth

Beau Willimon’s play never mentions Hurricane Katrina, but it leaves two men stranded on the roof of a flooded house—with a dead body. The all-star TV actor cast do an excellent job, but Willimon doesn’t challenge himself to get at meaty social issues, he’s too busy skimming the surface. (JP)

Through April 5. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-352-3101; $40-$45.



Macbeth

Director Rupert Goold sets the play in a totalitarian Stalinist state at the height of the Cold War, mostly in and around an industrial kitchen. From the mimed ladling out of soup to the pouring of wine, from the emergence of an oversized chocolate cake to Patrick Stewart meticulously preparing and wolfing down a sandwich as the grim Thane of Cawdor, this is the most indulgently epicurean Scottish play we’re likely to see. (LJ)

Through March 22. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St., B’klyn, (betw. Rockland Pl. & Ashland Pl.), 718-636-4182; $30-$90 [SOLD OUT].



Open House

Brooklyn playwright Aaron Landsman’s fourth site-specific production is staged in 24 different people’s couches. The play interweaves the story of a real estate agent and his sales pitch with the story of a young couple trying to start a family and sustain a relationship in a city where everything is in flux. It’s an interesting conceit, but the play doesn’t really go anywhere; it relies too much on real estate envy and apartment- swapping angst. (Jerry Portwood)

Through March 16. Various locations, 866-811-4111; $15.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Sunday in the Park w/ George

The current production of Sondheim’s play about George Seurat is just as rousing as the original; the music, lyrics and book are still impressive. The most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. Instead of cutouts and fly-ins, as in the original production, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear. It transforms a second act that I never much cared for into something relevant and real—at last. (JP) Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25-$121.25.



The 39 Steps

A send-up of Alfred Hitchcock’s oeuvre as seen through the lens of one of his great early films from 1935, all in the name of turning Hitch’s horror-loving sensibility on its head. The hoary plot is tailor-made for a lot of goofy spoofing, especially with two actors playing dozens of subsidiary roles. But no matter how much laughter one derives from The 39 Steps, there’s no denying it overflows with comic shtick we’ve seen countless times before. (LJ)

Through Mar. 23. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $51.25-$96.25.

Theater Listings

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts.


Previews/Openings



Hello Failure

In the disorienting but affecting world created by playwright Kristen Kosmas, seven submariner’s wives, a hairdresser, a ghost, and a potted plant attempt to make it through the day. When the wives meet in a support group, one locks herself in the bathroom and conjures up the ghost of Horace Hunley, an infamous submarine maker whose creations always sank.

Opens March 6. Runs through March 22. Performance Space 122, 150 First Ave. (at E. 9th St.), 212-477-5288; $10-$18.



Ongoing



3800 Elizabeth

A staged “sitcom” about a trio of thirtysomethings living in Brooklyn, it opens in medias res before cutting to a theme song and opening credits, which are projected onto a white wall as the title sequence is acted out. There are even faux commercials—like an advertisement for a fake energy drink called Shabang, and a facetious “Find Religion” PSA—and cast bloopers at the end. 

Through March 16. The Battle Ranch, 111 Conselyea St. (betw. Skillman & Metropolitan Aves.), B’klyn; 8, free.



Beebo Brinker Chronicles

Beth and Laura were secret lovers in college, but they split up when Beth decided to commit to a boyfriend. Laura headed to New York, where she met the fearless Beebo Brinker. But Beth and Laura still have feelings for each other. Based on the groundbreaking lesbian pulp fiction of Ann Bannon, this play tells the story of four friends as they navigate the restrictions of 1950s society and the freedoms of Greenwich Village’s underground bars and clubs. (Jenny Fisher)

March 5-April 2. 37 Arts, 450 W. 37th St. (betw 9th & 10th Aves.), 212-307-4100; $46.25-$76.25.



Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Loved America Too Much

Pippin Parker stages George Packer’s play like a chess game in which any pawn may be beheaded at any moment—this approach delivering an astonishing emotional intensity. It’s also astonishing how faithful Packer is to his source material and how the play’s title resonates beyond its gently intertwining story lines. Betrayed is more than a morality play about well-educated, democracy-enamored Iraqis and the politicians and diplomats living bubble-like existences in the Green Zone: It’s also about our government’s betrayal of sense. (Leonard Jacobs)

Through April 13. Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), 212-352-3101; $25-$60.



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the first on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (LJ)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



In the Heights

This musical was born during Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sophomore year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, when he broke box-office records at the university’s theater with this musical inspired by the people and music of his childhood in northern Manhattan. Nine years later, hip-hop free-styling, salsa, and merengue meet Broadway.

Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Liberty City

Playwright (along with Jessica Blank) and sole cast member April Yvette Thompson drew from her imagination and from the history of this neighborhood in Miami where she grew up as the daughter of a Cuban and Bahamian father and African-American mother. The 1960s optimism and radicalism of her parents came in conflict with grim realities when riots broke out in 1980 after five white police officers were acquitted in the trial of a black motorist who was beaten to death.

March 4-16. New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.), 212-239-6200; $20, $45.



Lower Ninth

Beau Willimon’s play never mentions Hurricane Katrina, but it leaves two men stranded on the roof of a flooded house—with a dead body. The all-star TV-actor cast does an excellent job, but Willimon doesn’t challenge himself to get at meaty social issues, he’s too busy skimming the surface. (JP) 

Through April 5. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-352-3101; $40-$45.



Macbeth

Director Rupert Goold is on to something, setting the play in a totalitarian Stalinist state at the height of the Cold War, mostly in and around an industrial kitchen. From the mimed ladling out of soup to the pouring of wine, from the emergence of an oversized chocolate cake to Patrick Stewart meticulously preparing and wolfing down a sandwich as the grim Thane of Cawdor, this is the most indulgently epicurean Scottish play we’re likely to see. This Macbeth is innovative and mesmerizing; but ultimately it tickles the brain far more than it touches the heart. (LJ)

Through March 22. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St., B’klyn, (betw. Rockland Pl. & Ashland Pl.), 718-636-4182; $30-$90 [SOLD OUT].



Open House

Brooklyn playwright Aaron Landsman’s fourth site-specific production is staged in 24 different people’s couches. The play interweaves the story of a real estate agent and his sales pitch with the story of a young couple trying to start a family and sustain a relationship in a city where everything is in flux. It’s an interesting conceit, but the play doesn’t really go anywhere; instead, it relies on real estate envy and apartment swapping angst. (Jerry Portwood)

Through March 16. Various locations, 866-811-4111; $15.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates the story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (JP)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212-239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Sunday in the Park with George

This was the musical that converted me to musicals. I was amazed that Stephen Sondheim could make a musical that sounded like a painting—particularly pointillism— and have us understand a great artist through a completely disparate medium. The current production is equally rousing; the music, lyrics and book remain just as impressive. The most obvious difference is director Sam Buntrock’s imaginative use of animation. Instead of cutouts and fly-ins, as in the original production, the stage is now a blank, white canvas on which digital projections of drawings and the famous A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of the Grande Jatte appear. It transforms a second act that I never much cared for into something relevant and real—at last. (JP)

Through June 15. Studio 54, 254 W 54th St, (betw. 7th and 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $36.25 – $121.25.



The 39 Steps

It’s raison d’être is, at first blush, delicious: a send-up of Alfred Hitchcock’s oeuvre as seen through the lens of one of his great early films from 1935, all in the name of turning Hitch’s horror-loving sensibility on its head. The hoary plot is tailor-made for a lot of goofy spoofing, especially with two actors, Arnie Burton and Cliff Saunders, playing dozens of subsidiary roles. But no matter how much laughter one derives from The 39 Steps, there’s no denying it overflows with comic shtick we’ve seen countless times before. (LJ)

Through Mar. 23. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $51.25-$96.25.

Theater Listings

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts.


Previews/Openings



Beebo Brinker Chronicles


Beth and Laura were secret lovers in college, but they split up when Beth decided to commit to a boyfriend. Laura headed to New York, where she met the fearless Beebo Brinker. But Beth and Laura still have feelings for each other. Based on the groundbreaking lesbian pulp fiction of Ann Bannon, this play tells the story of four friends as they navigate the restrictions of 1950s society and the freedoms of Greenwich Village’s underground bars and clubs. Opens March 5, 37 Arts, 450 W. 37th St. (betw 9th & 10th Aves.), 212-307-4100; $46.25-$76.25.



Liberty City


Along with Jessica Blank, playwright and sole cast member April Yvette Thompson drew from her imagination and from the history of this neighborhood in Miami where she grew up as the daughter of a Cuban and Bahamian father and African-American mother. The 1960s optimism and radicalism of her parents came in conflict with grim realities when riots broke out in 1980 after five white police officers were acquitted in the trial of a black motorist who was beaten to death. Previews through March 2. Runs March 4-16. New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.), 212-239-6200; $20, $45.



Lower Ninth

A devastating hurricane puts some things into sharp focus: who your friends are, where your home is and how close death always is. This makes it a good setting for a play—like Beau Willimon’s, in which two men stranded on a roof must battle heat, hunger and inner demons. Friday Night Lights’ Gaius Charles, NYPD Blue’s James McDaniel and The Wire’s Gbenga Akkinagbe are the stars.

Opens Feb. 28. Runs through April 5. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-352-3101; $40-$45.



No Strangers Here Today

“No strangers here today” are the words of Quaker farmwoman Elizabeth Edwards, who filled her diary with coded allusions to the Underground Railroad. Edwards’s great-great granddaughter Susan Banyas and jazz composer David Ornette Cherry teamed up to create a movement based monologue with live music. Feb. 29-Mar. 2. La MaMa E.T.C., 74A E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.), 212-475-7710; $15.



Ongoing



Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Loved America Too Much

For George Packer’s Betrayed, Pippin Parker stages the play like a chess game in which any pawn may be beheaded at any moment—this approach delivering an astonishing emotional intensity. Betrayed is more than a morality play about well-educated, democracy-enamored Iraqis and the politicians and diplomats living bubble-like existences in the Green Zone: It’s also about our government’s betrayal of sense. (Leonard Jacobs) Through April 13. Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), 212-352-3101; $25-$60.



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the first on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (LJ) Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



In the Heights

This musical was born during Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sophomore year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, when he broke box-office records at the university’s theater with this musical inspired by the people and music of his childhood in northern Manhattan. Nine years later, hip-hop freestyling, salsa, and merengue meet Broadway.  Open run. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Looking Up

The idea of combining theater with trapeze—as playwright and actress Carla Cantrelle attempts to do in Looking Up—sounded intriguing. But for the most part, the trapeze was used literally, like any other prop, and the story line fell flat. In the final scene, the main character emphasizes that happy endings do exist. And they do. But in order to appreciate them, there must be tension and uncertainty, two things this play lacks. (Jenny Fisher) Through March 2. Theater for the New City, 155 1st Ave. (betw. 9th & 10th Sts.); 212-352-3101; Thurs.-Sat. 8; Sun. 2, $10-$18.



Macbeth

Director Rupert Goold is on to something, setting the play in a totalitarian Stalinist state at the height of the Cold War, mostly in and around an industrial kitchen. From the mimed ladling out of soup to the pouring of wine, from the emergence of an oversized chocolate cake to Patrick Stewart meticulously preparing and wolfing down a sandwich as the grim Thane of Cawdor, this is the most indulgently epicurean Scottish play we’re likely to see. This Macbeth is innovative and mesmerizing, but ultimately, it tickles the brain far more than it touches the heart. (LJ) Through March 22. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St., B’klyn, (betw. Rockland Pl. & Ashland Pl.), 718-636-4182; $30-$90 [SOLD OUT].



November

Nathan Lane stars as a lame-duck president in David Mamet’s first new work on Broadway in 20 years. The playwright who made his reputation painting hucksters and hustlers as inexorably human fatally errs this time: November packs only the firepower to nick the skin, not to assassinate. Mamet has stated that the play isn’t about George W. Bush, but shouldn’t satire sear? Why does this one itch? (LJ) Open run. Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-$99.50.



Open House

Coming soon to a living room near you: Brooklyn playwright Aaron Landsman’s fourth site-specific production will be staged on 24 different people’s couches. The play interweaves the story of a real estate agent and his sales pitch with the story of a young couple trying to start a family and sustain a relationship in a city where everything is in flux.  Through March 16. Various locations, 866-811-4111; $15.



The 39 Steps

It’s raison d’être is, at first blush, delicious: A send-up of Alfred Hitchcock’s oeuvre as seen through the lens of one of his great early films from 1935, all in the name of turning Hitch’s horror-loving sensibility on its head. The hoary plot is tailor-made for a lot of goofy spoofing, especially with two actors—Arnie Burton and Cliff Saunders—playing dozens of subsidiary roles. But no matter how much laughter one derives from The 39 Steps, there’s no denying it overflows with comic shtick we’ve seen countless times before. (LJ) Through Mar. 23. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $51.25-$96.25.



The Jazz Age

Playwright Allan Knee takes on the realm of literary creators again—this time it’s heavyweights F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Sayre and Ernest Hemingway. Knee was inspired by A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s account of his life in 1920s Paris. Expect passion, jealousy and betrayal. Through Mar. 2. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves), 212-279-4200; $35.

Theater Listings

Written by None - Do not Delete on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts.


Previews/Openings



Beebo Brinker Chronicles

Beth and Laura were secret lovers in college, but split up when Beth decided to commit to a boyfriend. Laura headed to NYC, where she met the fearless Beebo Brinker. Based on the groundbreaking lesbian pulp fiction of Ann Bannon, this play tells the story of four friends as they navigate the restrictions of 1950s society and the freedoms of Greenwich Village’s underground bars and clubs. Through March 4. 37 Arts, 450 W. 37th St. (betw 9th & 10th Aves.), 212-307-4100; $46.25-$76.25.



In the Heights

This musical was born during Lin-Manuel Miranda’s sophomore year at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, when he broke box-office records at the university’s theater with this musical inspired by the people and music of his childhood in northern Manhattan. Nine years later, hip-hop freestyling, salsa, and merengue meet Broadway. Richard Rodgers Theatre (betw. 8th & Broadway), 212-307-4100; $20-$110.



Liberty City

Playwright (along with Jessica Blank) and sole cast member April Yvette Thompson drew from her imagination and from the history of this neighborhood in Miami where she grew up as the daughter of a Cuban and Bahamian father and African-American mother. The 1960s optimism and radicalism of her parents came in conflict with grim realities when riots broke out in 1980 after five white police officers were acquitted in the trial of a black motorist who was beaten to death. Previews Feb. 15-March 3. New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.), 212-239-6200; $20, $45.



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (Jerry Portwood)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Ongoing



Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Loved America Too Much

Pippin Parker stages George Packer’s play like a chess game in which any pawn may be beheaded at any moment—this approach delivering an astonishing emotional intensity. It’s also astonishing how faithful Packer is to his source material and how the play’s title resonates beyond its gently intertwining story lines. Betrayed is more than a morality play about well-educated, democracy-enamored Iraqis and the politicians and diplomats living bubble-like existences in the Green Zone: It’s also about our government’s betrayal of sense. (Leonard Jacobs)

Through March 16. Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.),  212-352-3101; $25-$60.



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the first on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (LJ)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



Life in a Marital Institution

James Braly has spent 20 years researching the material for this monologue. Look forward to hearing about the risky home birth of his second child, the worst dinner party imaginable, an affair, marriage counseling and more. His stories are funny, sincere, probing and sad, but they’re always heartfelt. Through March 16. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves.), 212-279-4200; $17.50, $25.



Looking Up

What do you get when you combine a trapeze, a disillusioned bartender and a woman who ran away from the circus? A love story that literally takes to the air. After learning how to be an aerialist at the Big Apple Circus, actress and playwright Carla Cantrelle transformed a monologue she often performed into Looking Up, adding the part of the bartender and as much trapeze as possible. Feb. 16-March 2. Theater for the New City, 155 1st Ave. (betw. 9th & 10th Sts.); 212-352-3101; Thurs.-Sat. 8; Sun. 2, $10-$18.



Lower Ninth

A devastating hurricane puts some things into sharp focus: who your friends are, where your home is and how close death always is. This makes it a good setting for a play—like Beau Willimon’s, in which two men stranded on a roof must battle heat, hunger and inner demons. Friday Night Lights’ Gaius Charles, NYPD Blue’s James McDaniel and The Wire’s Gbenga Akkinagbe are the stars. Through April 5. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-352-3101; $40-$45. 



November

Nathan Lane stars as a lame-duck president in David Mamet’s first new work on Broadway in 20 years. The playwright who made his reputation painting hucksters and hustlers as inexorably human fatally errs this time: November packs only the firepower to nick the skin, not to assassinate. Mamet has stated that the play isn’t about George W. Bush, but shouldn’t satire sear? Why does this one itch? (LJ) Open run. Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-$99.50.



Offending the Audience

Playwright Peter Handke’s theme is negation—the revenge of players upon those who pay to watch the players play. Virtually the entire text consists of statements asserting everything the play is not. The security of being an observer vanishes as the text, distributed evenly to the cast, comes at you like arrows, each line in another tone. Artistic director Jim Simpson balances his actors like a maestro, having them leaven angry lines with irony, fiery lines with compassion. (LJ) Through Feb. 23. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-226-2407; $10.



Open House


Coming soon to a living room near you: Brooklyn playwright Aaron Landsman’s fourth site-specific production will be staged on 24 different people’s couches. The play interweaves the story of a real estate agent and his sales pitch with the story of a young couple trying to start a family and sustain a relationship in the city. Each performance will be tailored to the lives of the hosts and the particulars of their neighborhood: from Wall Street to Williamsburg to Kingsbridge in the Bronx. Through March 16. Various locations, 866-811-4111; $15.



The 39 Steps

A send-up of Alfred Hitchcock’s oeuvre as seen through the lens of one of his great early films from 1935, all in the name of turning Hitch’s horror-loving sensibility on its head. The hoary plot is tailor-made for a lot of goofy spoofing, especially with two actors—Arnie Burton and Cliff Saunders—playing dozens of subsidiary roles. But no matter how much laughter one derives from The 39 Steps, there’s no denying it overflows with comic shtick we’ve seen countless times before. (LJ) Through Mar. 23. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $51.25-$96.25.



The Cenci

The infamous play about an even more infamous 16th-century roman patriarch who is murdered by his family (after raping his daughter). All the young, chiseled guys can’t seem to keep their shirts on and are pleasing eye candy during a play that’s still overwritten, overwrought and pretty pretentious despite John Jahnke’s creative direction. (JP) Through Feb. 23. Ohio Theatre, 66 Wooster Street (betw. W. Broadway & Greene St.), 212-352-3101; 8, $18.

Theater Listings

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Previews/Openings

Beebo Brinker Chronicles

Beth and Laura were secret lovers in college, but split up when Beth decided to commit to a boyfriend. Laura headed to New York, where she met the fearless Beebo Brinker. But Beth and Laura still have feelings for each other. Based on the groundbreaking lesbian pulp fiction of Ann Bannon, this play tells the story of four friends as they navigate the restrictions of 1950s society and the freedoms of Greenwich Village’s underground bars and clubs.

Previews begin Feb. 19. 37 Arts, 450 W. 37th St. (betw 9th and 10th Aves.), 212-307-4100; $46.25-$76.25.



Liberty City


Playwright (along with Jessica Blank) and sole cast member April Yvette Thompson drew from her imagination and from the history of this neighborhood in Miami where she grew up as the daughter of a Cuban and Bahamian father and African-American mother. The 1960s optimism and radicalism of her parents came in conflict with grim realities when riots broke out in 1980 after five white police officers were acquitted in the trial of a black motorist who was beaten to death.

Previews begin Feb. 15. New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St. (betw. Bowery & 2nd Ave.), 212-239-6200; $20, $45.



Life in a Marital Institution

James Braly has spent 20 years researching the material for this monologue. Look forward to hearing about the risky home birth of his second child, the worst dinner party imaginable, an affair, marriage counseling and more. His stories are funny, sincere, probing and sad, but they’re always heartfelt.

Feb. 19-March 16. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves.), 212-279-4200; $17.50, $25.



Looking Up

What do you get when you combine a trapeze, a disillusioned bartender and a woman who ran away from the circus? A love story that literally takes to the air. After learning how to be an aerialist at the Big Apple Circus, actress and playwright Carla Cantrelle transformed a monologue she often performed into Looking Up, adding the part of the bartender and as much trapeze as possible.

Feb. 16-March 2. Theater for the New City, 155 1st Ave. (betw. 9th & 10th Sts.); 212-352-3101; Thurs.-Sat. 8; Sun. 2, $10-$18.



Lower Ninth

A devastating hurricane puts some things into sharp focus: who your friends are, where your home is and how close death always is. This makes it a good setting for a play—like Beau Willimon’s, in which two men stranded on a roof must battle heat, hunger and inner demons. Friday Night Lights’ Gaius Charles, NYPD Blue’s James McDaniel and The Wire’s Gbenga Akkinagbe are the stars.

Feb. 14-April 5. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-352-3101; $40-$45. 



Passing Strange

A rock ’n’ roll/cabaret/theater hybrid, this play is one of the most experimental pieces to come to Broadway in some time. Stew narrates a story of a black teenager who leaves his family in L.A. to travel to Amsterdam and Berlin for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The sort of music you’d expect in a bar, not on the stage, drives the narrative until the ultimate, poignant conclusion. (Jerry Portwood)

Open run. Belasco Theatre, 111 44th St. (betw. 6th & 7th Aves.), 212239-6200; $26.50-$111.50.



Ongoing

Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the first on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (Leonard Jacobs)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



November

Nathan Lane stars as a lame-duck president in David Mamet’s first new work on Broadway in 20 years. The playwright who made his reputation painting hucksters and hustlers as inexorably human fatally errs this time: November packs only the firepower to nick the skin, not to assassinate. Mamet has stated that the play isn’t about George W. Bush, but shouldn’t satire sear? Why does this one itch? (LJ)

Open run. Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-$99.50.



Offending the Audience

Playwright Peter Handke’s theme is negation—the revenge of players upon those who pay to watch the players play. Virtually the entire text consists of statements asserting everything the play is not. The security of being an observer vanishes as the text, distributed evenly to the cast, comes at you like arrows, each line in another tone. Artistic director Jim Simpson balances his actors like a maestro, having them leaven angry lines with irony, fiery lines with compassion. (LJ)

Through Feb. 23. The Flea Theater, 41 White St. (betw. Church St. & Broadway), 212-226-2407; $10.



Open House

Coming soon to a living room near you: Brooklyn playwright Aaron Landsman’s fourth site-specific production will be staged on 24 different people’s couches. The play interweaves the story of a real estate agent and his sales pitch with the story of a young couple trying to start a family and sustain a relationship in a city where everything is in flux. Each performance will be tailored to the lives of the hosts and the particulars of their neighborhood—from Wall Street to Williamsburg to Kingsbridge in the Bronx.

Through March 16. Various locations, 866-811-4111; $15.



Rum & Coke

Carmen Peláez’s one-woman show, which first premiered during the Fringe Festival, tells the story of her family history during a trip from Miami to Havana.

Through March 2. Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, 312 W. 36th St., First floor (betw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), 212-868-4444;



So She Said

One director has combined material from 12 New York playwrights. Six actresses will perform two dozen characters just beginning to find their voices.

Through Feb. 16. Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, 312 W. 36th St., First floor (betw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), (212)868-4444; $20.



The 39 Steps

It’s raison d’être is, at first blush, delicious: A send-up of Alfred Hitchcock’s oeuvre as seen through the lens of one of his great early films from 1935, all in the name of turning Hitch’s horror-loving sensibility on its head. The hoary plot is tailor-made for a lot of goofy spoofing, especially with two actors—Arnie Burton and Cliff Saunders—playing dozens of subsidiary roles. But no matter how much laughter one derives from The 39 Steps, there’s no denying it overflows with comic shtick we’ve seen countless times before. (LJ)

Through Mar. 23. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $51.25-$96.25.



The Jazz Age

Playwright Allan Knee, whose last work, The Man Who Wrote Peter Pan, was adapted to the 2004 movie Finding Neverland, takes on the realm of literary creators again—this time it’s heavyweights F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Sayre and Ernest Hemingway. Knee was inspired by A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s account of his life in 1920s Paris. Expect passion, jealousy and betrayal.

Through Mar. 2. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves), 212-279-4200; $35.

Theater Listings

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Opening



Adding Machine

Mr. Zero worked for his company loyally for 25 years. Then he was replaced by a mechanical adding machine. Ouch.

Naturally, he was furious and murdered his boss. This musical adaptation of Elmer Rice’s 1923 play follows Mr. Zero all the way to afterlife in the Elysian Fields. The score by composer Joshua Schmidt ranges from gospel to contemporary classical.

Previews begin Feb. 7. Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane (betw. Sixth Ave. & MacDougal St.), 212.420.8000; $45-$65.



Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Loved America Too Much


First, New Yorker staff writer George Packer turned to 20,000 words in the magazine to describe the relationships between Americans and their Iraqi interpreters, who risked death with little help from the United States. Now he’s written his first play, which further explores the situation through the story of three Iraqi interpreters and their American supervisor. The subtitle says it all.

Feb. 6-Mar. 16. Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.),  212-352-3101; $25-$60.



Open House

Coming soon to a living room near you: Brooklyn playwright Aaron Landsman’s fourth site-specific production will be staged on 24 different people’s couches. The play interweaves the story of a real estate agent and his sales pitch with the story of a young couple trying to start a family and sustain a relationship in a city where everything is in flux.

Each performance will be tailored to the lives of the hosts and the particulars of their neighborhood—from Wall Street to Williamsburg to Kingsbridge in the Bronx.

Feb. 9-Mar. 16. Various locations, 866-811-4111; $15.



So She Said

One director has combined material from 13 New York playwrights. Six actresses will perform two dozen characters just beginning to find their voices. The play loosely follows the form of Jane Martin’s “Sez She,” but the group putting on “So She Said” was denied rights to perform “Sez She” in New York. Enter the 13 New York playwrights. (Jenny Fischer)

Feb. 7-16. Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, 312 W. 36th St., First floor (betw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), (212)868-4444; $20.



The Jazz Age

Playwright Allan Knee, whose last work, The Man Who Wrote Peter Pan, was adapted to the 2004 movie Finding Neverland, takes on the realm of literary creators again—this time it’s heavyweights F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Sayre and Ernest Hemingway. Knee was inspired by A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s account of his life in 1920s Paris. Expect passion, jealousy and betrayal. (JF)

Feb. 8-Mar. 2. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves), 212-279-4200; $35.





Ongoing



Come Back, Little Sheba

Director Michael Pressman’s production, the first on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (Leonard Jacobs)

Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.



Conjur Woman

This one-woman “folk opera” stars the captivating Sheila Dabney as a 19th-century American slave who tries to save her lover by turning him into a tree (but ultimately fails to protect him). The blues seems like an appropriate choice, but the story lacks originality; it all rests on the dynamic performance of Dabney, who doesn’t disappoint in the 50-minute tour de force, but we need more to feel we’ve experienced something beyond a stellar soundtrack performed live. (Jerry Portwood)

Through  Feb. 10. La MaMa, 74 E. 4th St. (betw. 2nd Ave. & Bowery), 212-475-7710; Thurs.-Sat. 7:30; Sun. 3 & 7:30, $20-$25.



November

Nathan Lane stars as a lame-duck president in David Mamet’s first new work on Broadway in 20 years. The playwright who made his reputation painting hucksters and hustlers as inexorably human fatally errs this time: November packs only the firepower to nick the skin, not to assassinate. Mamet has stated that the play isn’t about George W. Bush, but shouldn’t satire sear? Why does this one itch? (LJ)

Open run. Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-$99.50.



Tender

In an attempt to get twentysomethings interested in theater, this is a play about 20- to 30-year-olds and their pursuit of love (and sex). Unfortunately Abi Morgan’s script is intended for TV more than the stage, having too many rapid scene changes and plot points for an effective live performance. The writing is successful at times, but the young cast has a hard time keeping up and matching its wit.  (JP)

Through Feb. 9. Michael Weller Theatre, 311 W.43rd St., 6th floor (betw. 8th & 9th Aves.), 212-868-4444; Wed.-Sat. 8, $18.



The 39 Steps


It’s raison d’être is, at first blush, delicious: A send-up of Alfred Hitchcock’s oeuvre as seen through the lens of one of his great early films from 1935, all in the name of turning Hitch’s horror-loving sensibility on its head. The hoary plot is tailor-made for a lot of goofy spoofing, especially with two actors—Arnie Burton and Cliff Saunders—playing dozens of subsidiary roles. But no matter how much laughter one derives from The 39 Steps, there’s no denying it overflows with comic shtick we’ve seen countless times before. (LJ)

Through March 23. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $51.25-$96.25.

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