April 2014 Openings Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

A Raisin in the Sun with Denzel Washington, Velocity of Autumn with Estelle Parsons, The Cripple of Inishmaan with Daniel Radcliffe, all opening in April.

A Raisin in the Sun with Denzel Washington, Velocity of Autumn with Estelle Parsons, The Cripple of Inishmaan with Daniel Radcliffe, all opening in April.

In April, there are more than 30 shows opening on Broadway,  Off-Broadway or Off-Off Broadway, at least one for each day of the month, although the schedule is more chaotic than that. (Get a load of all the openings on April 21st!) Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions of some that look promising or have gotten attention – but nothing can be guaranteed in advance (which is why I review.)
* Asterisks are next to those shows to which I have been invited (and plan) to review as of this writing.

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.

 A revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s drama about the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the African-American Younger family, starring Denzel Washington.

Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Marisa Tomei, and Tracy Letts star in a comedy by Will Eno making his Broadway debut about two couples both named Jones who are neighbors in a suburb.

The Threepenny Opera. Atlantic Theater Company. Opening April 7.
The Most Deserving.  Women’s Project at City Center. Opening April 8.
The Heir Apparent. Classic Stage Company. Opening April 9.
The Library. The Public Theater. Opening April 15.
James Franco and Chris O’Dowd make their Broadway debuts in this revival of John Steinbeck’s Depression-era tragedy.
Tony Shalhoub, Santino Fontana and Andrea Martin star in James Lapine’s theatrical adaptation of Moss Hart’s classic theater memoir.
The Mystery of Irma Vep. Red Bull Theater Company at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Opening April 17.
*The Mysteries. The Flea. Opening April 20
A six-hour marathon presenting new theatrical adaptations of some 50 stories from the Bible, by playwrights including Lucas Hnath, David Henry Hwang, Jeff Whitty, Craig Lucas, Madeleine George.
Daniel Radcliffe stars in a revival of Martin McDonagh’s play.
Sutton Foster stars in this revival
 Estelle Parsons plays a women who barricades herself in her Brooklyn brownstone armed with Molotov cocktails against her family.
*Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra.  Playwrights Horizons. Opening April 21.
Kirk Lynn’s “tough love comedy” about a couple who reenact their individual sexual histories with one another, a decision that has repercussions years later.
Annapurna. The New Group. Opening April 21.
Neil Patrick Harris stars in the revival of this musical about a transgender East German rocker living under the shadow of a former protege.
Fuerza Bruta Wayra.  the Daryl Roth Theatre. Opening April 22.
Harvey Fierstein’s play about a group of cross-dressing straight men in a Catskills resort.
Cabaret (Studio 54) Opening April 24
A revival of the Kander and Ebb musical starring Alan Cumming.
The Great Immensity.  The Public Theater. Opening April 24.
The Civilians present a play about climate change.
The Substance of Fire.  Second Stage. Opening April 27.
Inventing Mary Martin. The York Theatre Company. Opening April 27
Red-Eye to Havre de Grace. New York Theatre Workshop. Opening April 30.
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Broadway, Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway Openings in March, 2014

March Theater OpeningsIn March, it’s possible to attend a Broadway,  Off-Broadway or Off-Off Broadway opening nearly every single day; many days, there are two; occasionally three! Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions of the most promising – but nothing can be guaranteed in advance (which is why I review.)
* Asterisks are next to those shows to which I have been invited (and plan) to review as of this writing.

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.

Arlington (Vineyard Theatre), March 2

*Stage Kiss (Playwrights Horizons), March 2. Jessica Hecht, who created one of my favorite magical stage moments of 2013 in The Assembled Parties, stars with Dominic Fumusa in Sarah Ruehl’s new play about two actors with a history thrown together as romantic leads in a forgotten 1930s melodrama.

The Open House (Signature Theatre),March 3. A new play by Will Eno that hints at being about a family.

The Happiest Song Plays Last (Second Stage), March 3

Middle of The Night (Keen Company at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row), March 4

*Satchmo at the Waldorf (Westside Theatre), March 4.  Play about Louis Armstrong starring John Douglas Thompson

Character Man (Urban Stages), March 5

*Antony and Cleopatra (The Public Theater), March 5. William Shakespeare’s play edited and directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company transposes the action to 18th century Saint-Domingue on the eve of revolution.

allthewaylogo*All the Way (The Neil Simon Theatre), March 6. Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) plays LBJ, from 1963, when an assassin’s bullet catapults him into the presidency through the his first year of office, handling civil rights legislation and the beginning of the Vietnam War. Playwright Schenkkan won the Pulitzer Prize for The Kentucky Cycle, a marathon set of plays which took a grim view of the violent founding of the American West.

The Architecture of Becoming (Women’s Project Theater at New York City Center Stage II), March 6

No Exit (Pearl Theatre Company), March 9

Hand to God (MCC Theater at the Lortel), March 10

Stockholm (One Year Lease Theater Company at 59E59 Theaters), March 12

50 Shades! The Musical (Elektra Theater), March 12

Rocky*Rocky (Winter Garden), March 13. The new stage production based on the Academy Award-winning film of the same name.

Sir Patient Fancy (The Wild Project), March 15

Appropriate (Signature Theatre), March 16. This new play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins focuses on family confrontation in an old Arkansas plantation after the death of the patriarch and the discovery of a gruesome relic and a surprise visitor.

Alone in Triptych (Concrete Temple Theatre at HERE), March 16

Dark Water (MTWorks at The Theater at the 14th Street Y), March 17

Tales From Red Vienna (MTC at City Center) , March 18

aladdinlogo*Aladdin (New Amsterdam), March 20. Based on the 1992 Disney animated movie, Aladdin tell the story of a poor street kid who falls in love with a princess, is imprisoned but discovers the secrets of a magic lamp.

Hounds of War (Dorothy Strelsin Theatre), March 21

*Les Miserables (Imperial Theatre) March 23. Cameron Mackintosh returns to Broadway with the 25th-anniversary production of Les Misérables, with new orchestrations.

And Baby Makes Seven (New Ohio Theatre), March 23

lesmislogo*Mothers and Sons (John Golden Theatre), March 24. Tyne Daly stars in Terrence McNally’s play about a mother who pays a surprise visit to the New York apartment of her late son’s ex-partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son.

Beyond Therapy (TACT at The Beckett), March 25, A revival of the Christopher Durang farce about lovelorn singles and their wigged-out shrinks.

Hellman vs. McCarthy (Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex’s June Havoc Theatre), March 26

MothersandSonslogoJasper in Deadland (Prospect Theater Company at the West End Theatre in the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew), March 26

King Lear (Theatre for a New Audience), March 27

If/Then (Richard Rodgers Theatre), March 30. On the verge of turning 40, Elizabeth (Idina Menzel) moves to New York City, the ultimate city of possibility, intent on a fresh start – new home, new friends, and hopes for a resurgent career.

IfThenlogoI Remember Mama (Transport Group at the Gym at Judson), March 30

A Second Chance (Public Theater), March 30

Heathers: The Musical (New World Stages), March 31

Off-Broadway Openings in February, 2014

February2014OffBroadwayFebruary a fallow month for theater? Feh.

While it’s true there are only two plays scheduled to open in February on Broadway, there are far more Off-Broadway, part of a vibrant Off-Broadway Spring 2014 season. Below are promising shows Off-Broadway, organized chronologically by opening dates. You can attend many of these shows, and many others Off-Broadway, for just $20,  through the 20at20 promotion, if you purchase tickets to the shows anytime up to February 9th.

*Almost, Maine, by John Cariani. Produced by Transport Group at the Gym at Judson. Opening February 4.
Salty waitresses, lost tourists, tough and not-so-tough women and men crack open some beer, start their snowmobiles, pitch a tent, and gather under the northern lights to try to make sense of this strange thing called love. Since its short-lived New York debut, Almost, Maine has become one of the most produced plays around the world.

Riding the Midnight Train with Billy Hayes. Produced by Barbara Ligeti at St. Luke’s Theatre. Opening February 5.

*The Tribute Artist, by Charles BuschProduced by Primary Stages at 59E59. Opening February 9.
Charles Busch is an out-of-work female impersonator who, when his elderly landlady dies in her sleep, takes on her identity in order to hang on to her valuable Greenwich Village townhouse.

Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Produced by Matt Murphy Productions at The 777 Theatre. Opening February 9.

* Dinner with Friends, by Donald Margulies, a revival. Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company at the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center for the Performing Arts. Opening February 13.

A revival of the Pulitzer Prize winning play about two couples who have been inseparable. But when one marriage unexpectedly crumbles, the couples’ lives begin to veer in opposite directions.

The Chocolate Show! A Tasty New Musical. Produced by Golly Gee Productions at the 47th Street Theatre. Opening February 14.

*Transport. Produced by Irish Rep. Opening February 16.
With a book by  Thomas Keneally (Schindler’s List) and music and lyrics by Larry Kirwan (New York City band Black 47), this musical follows the uneasy ocean voyage of Irish women who were sentenced and then exiled to the relatively uninhabited south coast of Australia in the mid-19th Century.

Bikeman: The 9/11 Theatrical Experience. Produced by Marc Agger at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. OpeningFebruary 18.

*Love and Information by Caryll Churchill. Produced by New York Theatre Workshop at the Minetta Lane. Opening February 19.
Caryl Churchill returns for her seventh American premiere at New York Theatre Workshop with a theatrical kaleidoscope exploring more than a hundred characters as they try to make sense of what they find out,

My Mother Has 4 Noses, by Jonatha BrookeProduced by Patrick Rains at The Duke on 42nd Street. Opening February 20.

Kung Fu. Produced by Signature Theatre. Opening February 24;
Cole Horibe (So You Think You Can Dance) stars as Bruce Lee in David Henry Hwang’s new theater piece blending dance, Chinese opera, martial arts and drama to depict Lee’s journey from troubled Hong Kong youth to martial arts legend.

*London Wall. Produced by Mint Theatre. Opening February 24.
In this 1931 play, John Van Druten explores the tumultuous lives and love affairs of the women employed as shorthand typists in a busy solicitor’s office in 1930’s London

Ode to Joy. Produced by Rattlestick Productions at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Opening February 27.
This play written and directed by Craig Lucas (Prelude to a Kiss, The Dying Gaul) tells the story of love, heartbreak, addiction, and illness through the eyes of Adele, an audacious painter and her destructive relations with Mala and Bill, her two lovers.

This list is provided by The League of Off Broadway Theatres and Producers.  20at20 is a promotion by the Off-Broadway Theater Alliance. The descriptions of the shows come from the shows themselves; nothing is guaranteed in advance of course, which is why I review.

* Asterisks are next to those shows to which I have been invited (and plan) to review as of this writing.

Winter Theater Festivals in New York City 2014

Winter theater festivals in New York: COIL, Under the Radar, American Realness, Frigid Festival

Winter theater festivals in New York: COIL, Under the Radar, American Realness, Frigid Festival

January is the month for theater festivals in New York – more than at any time other than the summer - and the stars are out this year in them: Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson, Star Trek’s Captain William Kirk, and Rodney King (“Can we get along”) 

These are characters in some of the many offerings, which tend toward the avant-garde and the international. Where else can you attend a show in a taxicab? (See “Take Me Home” in the Other Forces Festival, below.)

Many of the productions are more reliably classified as performance art, often incorporating more dance and music and….noodling around… than anything resembling traditional theater. The ticket prices are also a lot cheaper than traditional theater.

APAP2014The reason for these festivals, which have arisen within the last decade to fill what was previously a fallow period, is the presence of the thousands of attendees from throughout the nation at the annual convention of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, or, as it’s known this year, APAP/NYC 2014, running from January 10th-14th.

There are several changes this year. The Public Theater’s new Festival Lounge at 425 Lafayette St. will serve as the official late-night “hub” for four of these festivals. Many of the venues are, for the first time, in Brooklyn.

Special Effects

Jan 9 – 12

The Wild Project

195 East 3rd Street

NickLehaneChimpanzeeI put this first because it’s new this year, and it only runs for four days. It has a listed Twitter feed – @pform — but as of this writing no Tweets. My favorite of the shows, based on descriptions on this festival’s website, is Chimpanzee, in which puppeteer Nick Lehane presents an aging, isolated chimpanzee who “pieces together the fragments of her childhood raised with humans.”

 

COIL


Performance Space 122
Friday, Jan 3 – Sun, Jan 19

Twitter feed: @PS122

In the words of the festival organizers” full of contemporary, textured, global, local, contemplative, grounded, rigorous, and always very live performance.”

Of the  offerings this year, seven are explicitly labeled theater (although sometimes “performance” or “theater, dance, performance”:

Tyson v AliTyson vs. Ali
With the help of “new-media stagecraft”, the boxers (both video footage and flesh-and-blood performers) spar with one another for nine rounds.
3LD Art & Technology Center
80 Greenwich Street

Muazzez
Steve Mellor performs show by Mac Wellman based on his short stories, A Chronicle Of The Madness Of Small Worlds.
The Chocolate Factory
5-49 49th Ave
Long Island City, Queens

ShatnerAsteriskAn Evening with William Shatner Asterisk
Remixing video of William Shatner as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, and mixing it with live performance.
New Ohio Theatre
154 Christopher St.

House of Dance
Tina Satter’s highly stylized theatrical take on a dance competition.
Abrons Arts Center
486 Grand Street

Bronx Gothic
In Okwui Okpokwasili’s “partially true” solo show, two 11-year old girls pass secret notes in the sex-saturated 1980′s.
Danspace Project
131 E. 10th Street

The Angola Project
Solo performances by Jeremy Xido about his journey attempting to finance a film, while constructing a movie in real time from fragments of film
The Invisible Dog Art Center
51 Bergen Street
Brooklyn

Have I No Mouth
From Dublin’s Brokentalkers theater,  actual mother and son Ann Cannon and Feidlim Cannon attempt to piece together the truth in the aftermath of a family tragedy.
 Baryshnikov Arts Center
450 W 37th Street

UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL

Public Theater

Wed, Jan 9 – Sun, Jan 20

Twitter: @UTRFestival

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, which makes it the Grandaddy of New York’s January theater festivals, this year UTR offers 16 works of cutting-edge theater. Performances, unless otherwise indicated, are at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street.

The Record

In this piece by Brooklyn’s 600 Highwaymen theater company, 45 strangers come together for 61 minutes to show us who they are.

El Año en Que Nací

Argentinian Lola Arias tells the story of eleven Chileans born under Pinochet’s dictatorship who take to the stage to reconcile Chile’s troubled past. In Spanish with English supertitles.
La MaMa
74 E 4th Street

JohnHodgman

I Stole Your Dad

John Hodgman of The Daily Show with John Stewart  offers what sounds like a stand-up routine – - observations on “how to dress like a young and relevant person, fax machines and other obsolete technology, marihuana and Downton Abbey” etc. etc.

The Room Nobody Knows

Kuro Tanino (formerly a psychiatrist), offers a dreamlike world of two brothers hidden deep within Tokyo’s metropolis. In Japanese with English supertitles.
Japan Society
333 E 47th Street

Helen & Edgar

Edgar Oliver, a regular storyteller at The Moth, tells the story of his strange childhood in Savannah, Georgia and his mother’s struggle with madness.

FEAST

Andrew Ondrejcak presents the last meal prepared and consumed by the King and his concubines during the collapse of Babylon.

Sacred Stories

Toshi Reagon performs four concerts at Joe’s Pub. Sheand BIGLovely are doing one performance of The Temptation of St. Anthony and Zinnias, an opera by her mother Bernice Johnson Reagon  and Robert Wilson, on Sunday, January 19.

Black Out

BlackoutUTRPhilippe Saire’s multimedia dance performance that “contemplates the randomness of mortality in a world of genocide, disease, epidemics, and senseless violence.”
La MaMa
74 East 4th Street

BigMouth

Valentijn Dhaenens pays tribute to “2,500 years of oration,” which I hope means making speeches.  In Dutch, French, German, and English with English supertitles.

Rodney King

Roger Guenveur Smith, who previously presented a solo show of Black Panther Huey Newton, now presents the life of Rodney King, the man whose beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, captured on video, sparked the Los Angeles riots.

JDX – a public enemy

An update on Ibsen’s An Enemy of The People from Belgian theater company tg STAN. In Dutch with English supertitles

Blessing the boats: the remix

Rhodessa Jones reimagines the late Sekou Sundiata’s blessing the boats, a multimedia show telling the story of “a man wrestling with illness and mortality.”

Brand New Ancients

Kate Tempest celebrates the divine in ordinary people in a performance that “blurs the lines between poetry, theater and live music” and is infused with the rhythm of hip-hop.
St. Ann’s Warehouse
29 Jay Street
DUMBO, Brooklyn

The Baroness Is The Future

Incantation and dance are used to explore the life of  poet and sculptor Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, whom Dadaist Marcel Duchamp called “the future.”

Eternal

A looping video of a live performance of the re-enactment of the final scene from the film Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. (Warhol for the 21st Century?)

Frankenstein

“Mary Shelley’s monster has a mate and they are pissed!”

The Freeman Space
181 Freeman Street
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

PROTOTYPE FESTIVAL

Jan 8 – 19

Twitter: @Prototypefest

Bills itself as the “premiere festival of opera-theatre and music-theatre,” it is now in its second year. It includes seven works for this year

Thumbprint

Influenced by traditional Hindustani and Western classical music, this opera tells the story of a woman in Pakistan who is raped and brings her attackers to justice.

Baruch Performing 
Arts Center
55 Lexington Ave.

Have A Good Day!

10 cashiers at a shopping center.

HERE Art Center
145 6th Avenue

Paul's Case, an opera adapted from a Willa Cather short story

Paul’s Case, an opera adapted from a Willa Cather short story

Paul’s Case

An opera adapted from Willa Cather’s short story about a boy’s journey from Pittsburgh to New York.

HERE Art Center
145 6th Avenue

Visitations: “Theotokia” and “The War Reporter”

In Theotokia, the mother of God taunts and seduces a man taunted. In The War Reporter, journalist Paul Watson struggles to rid himself of nightmares.

Roulette Theatre
509 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn

Angel’s Bone

Two fallen angels are held captive by a cunning couple hungry for wealth and fame.

Trinity Church
74 Trinity Place

Sky-Pony

Indie pop rock band Sky-Pony presents four themed performances inspired by the FOUR HUMORS of the Classical World.

HERE Arts Center

Elizaveta

For one performance only Elizaveta performs her fusion of opera, pop, jazz, and soul.

Joe’s Pub

OTHER FORCES

Jan 10 – 26

@incubatorarts

The Incubator Project
St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery
131 East 10th Street

All performances are at The Incubator Project, or at 440 Studios.

Take Me Home

TakeMeHome

Three audience members take a taxi through the streets of New York.

Performed in a taxi

I Am An Opera

 Joseph Keckle mixes opera arias with storytelling.

She Is King

Laryssa Husiak reenacts three interviews with tennis legend Billie Jean King.

Blue Wizard/Black Wizard

Dave Malloy, creator of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, is behind this “philosophical musical fantasia” masquerading as “ritualistic sporting event.”

AMERICAN REALNESS FESTIVAL

Abrons Arts Center

466 Grand Street
Jan 9 – 19

Twitter: @AmericanRealnes

Some 20 works, primarily dance, although theater is certainly an accent in some of these works.

FRIGID FESTIVAL

Kraine Theater

February 20 – March 3

Twitter: @FrigidNewYork

30 shows! A festival of indie theater “where artists are chosen by lottery, and 100% of ticket sales are returned to artists!”

Off-Broadway Spring 2014 Guide

Kung Fu, a new play by David Henry Hwang about Bruce Lee, at Signature Theater

Kung Fu, a new play by David Henry Hwang about Bruce Lee, at Signature Theater

Off Broadway this season, David Henry Hwang is telling the story of Bruce Lee in Kung Fu. Frank Langella plays King Lear. Actress  Linda Lavin and playwright Nicky Silver pair up again, as they did hilariously in The Lyons, for a new comedy, Too Much Sun.  Caryl Churchill offers 57 scenes in 110 minutes with 16 actors playing more than 100 characters in Love and Information, her play critiquing modern society’s information overload.

Starring Off-Broadway Spring 2014: (left to right, top to bottom) Jessica Hecht, Cherry Jones, Linda Lavin, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Nina Arianda, Charles Busch

Starring Off-Broadway Spring 2014: (left to right, top to bottom) Jessica Hecht (Stage Kiss), Cherry Jones (When We Were Young And Afraid), Linda Lavin (Too Much Sun), Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Village Bike), Nina Arianda (Tales from Red Vienna), Charles Busch (The Tribute Artist)

Churchill’s play is especially apt for Off-Broadway. Every season, there’s always an overload of choices Off-Broadway. In the next few months, we can choose between musicals about middle-aged sex and about climate change, plays about war and a family falling apart and about a Satanic sock puppet, new works of theater starring Cherry Jones, Jessica Hecht, Nina Arianda, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Charles Busch, two new plays by the last two recipients of the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, Quiara Alegría Hudes and Ayad Akhtar.

Are there must-sees? I’ll tell you — once I see them.

Broadway is much easier – 40 theaters, about 40 new shows a year with clear-cut opening dates, mostly in November and April, striking logos, high-powered publicists and marketers, and usually a familiar or a familiar story, or both.

Off-Broadway is more chaotic, more spread out, more numerous (some 200 theaters/theater companies, depending on how you count) less publicized – and, most serious theatergoers will tell you,  Off Broadway has far richer and more diverse offerings.It is also less expensive. (48 shows Off-Broadway will charge just $20 from January 21 to February 9 as part of the annual 20at20 promotion.)

One thing Off-Broadway offers that Broadway does not* are residential theaters that nurture theater artists and new work. The best way I can think of to preview shows opening Off-Broadway this season is to present the offerings within each of these theaters, starting with the ones I like the most, have the best track record lately, and treat theatergoers well. One advantage of these theaters is that you can become a member/subscribe.

Of course, there is never a guarantee, and some terrific shows pop up in unlikely places.

playwrights_01 PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS

416 W. 42nd St.

Twitter: @PHNYC

Stage Kiss

February 7 – March 23

Jessica Hecht, who created one of my favorite magical stage moments of 2013 in The Assembled Parties, stars with Dominic Fumusa in Sarah Ruehl’s new play about two actors with a history thrown together as romantic leads in a forgotten 1930s melodrama.

Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra

March 28 – May 11

In Kirk Lynn’s new play directed by Ann Kauffman, Carla agrees to marry Reggie on one condition: to break down any walls between them, they’ll reenact their individual sexual histories with one another

Fly By Night: A New Musical

May 16 – June 29

Set during the blackout of 1965, a melancholy sandwich-maker encounters two entrancing sisters in this darkly comic rock fable.

SIGNATURE

signature_01480 West 42nd Street

Twitter: @signaturetheatr

Begun with a focus on the work of a single playwright each season, Signature has expanded , thanks to its new building. And thanks to corporate underwriting, all tickets for the initial runs are $25.

Kung Fu

DavidHenryHwangFebruary 4 to March 16

Cole Horibe (So You Think You Can Dance) stars as Bruce Lee in David Henry Hwang’s new theater piece blending dance, Chinese opera, martial arts and drama to depict Lee’s journey from troubled Hong Kong youth to martial arts legend.

The Open House

February 11 – March 23

A new play by Will Eno that hints at being about a family.

Appropriate

February – March

This new play by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins focuses on family confrontation in an old Arkansas plantation after the death of the patriarch and the discovery of a gruesome relic and a surprise visitor.

THE PUBLIC THEATER

The theater had a stellar fall season, with Fun Home, The Good Person of Szechuan and the Apple Family Plays.

public_01Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY

Under The Radar

January 8-19

Taking advantage of the relatively fallow period right after the holidays, the Public has presented this festival of new, mostly experimental theater from around the world for ten years. This year’s 16 offerings include shows performed (with English super-titles) in Spanish, Japanese, Dutch (two!), French, and German, but mostly English.  Roger Guenveur Smith, who previously had a one-man show about Huey Newton, now presents Rodney King (remember: “Can we all get along?)

Antony and Cleopatra

February 18-March 17

William Shakespeare’s play edited and directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company transposes the action to 18th century Saint-Domingue on the eve of revolution.

Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 and 3)

March 14-March 23

Suzan-Lori Parks presents a three-part play about a slave during the Civil War. PART 1 introduces us to Hero, a slave who must choose whether or not to join his master on the Confederate battlefield. In PART 2, a band of rebel soldiers test Hero’s loyalty as the cannons approach. PART 3 finds Hero’s loved ones anxiously awaiting his return

 A Second Chance

March 18-April 13

A musical about a recent widower and a divorcée who meet in mid-life, not trusting that they can find love again.

The Civilians’ The Great Immensity 

TheGreatImmensity1April 8-April 27, 2013

A musical about climate change might sound…well-meaning…if it were in hands other than among the most exciting theater artists in town — writer and director Steve Cosson and Michael Friedman (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson), the leading lights of The Civilians theater company, which has a track record of socially-conscious, theatrically thrilling “investigations.” Phyllis uncovers a mysterious plot surrounding the upcoming international climate summit in Auckland. As the days count down to the Auckland Summit, Phyllis must decipher the plan and possibly stop it in time.

LINCOLN CENTER THEATER*

Claire Tow Theater is Lincoln Center’s cutting-edge venue, where tickets are routinely $20.

LincolnCenterlogoTwitter: @LCTheater

Stop Hitting Yourself

January 15 to February 23

The Austin-based theater collective Rude Mechs describes its show as part Pygmalion, part Busby Berkley, part self-help lexicon, borrowing from the plots of 1930′s musicals to dig deep into the contemporary conservative dilemma.

 The City of Conversation

April 10 – June 22

Anthony Giardina’s play, directed by Douglas Hughes, follows a political hostess from the Carter Administration up through the Obama Presidency. This is at the larger (but still Off-Broadway) Mitzi Newhouse.

AyadAkhtarThe Who and The What

May 31- July 13

Ayad Akhtar, who won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his first play Disgraced, returns to Lincoln Center’s  Clare Tow Center for this play about Zarina, an outspoken writer who clashes with her traditional father and sister over her book about women and Islam.

NEW YORK THEATER WORKSHOP

new_york_01Twitter: @NYTW79

 Love and Information

LoveandInformationlogoFebruary 4 – March 23

Caryl Churchill returns for her seventh American premiere at New York Theatre Workshop with a theatrical kaleidoscope exploring more than a hundred characters as they try to make sense of what they find out, in this play that was first produced at the Royal Court Theatre in 2012.

Cinderella/Cendrillon

Spring

A grim adult-take on the classic fairy tale, by French heater-maker Joël Pommerat

THE VINEYARD THEATER

vineyard_01108 East 15th Street

Twitter: @VineyardTheatre

Arlington

Feb 12 – March 23

Alexandra Silber

Alexandra Silber

Alexandra Silber, whom I loved in She Loves Me and may wind up being the “discovery” of the season, will star in Victor Lodato and Polly Pen’s musical about a women whose husband is away at war.

Too Much Sun

May – June

Linda Lavin stars in this play by Nicky Silver directed by Mark Brokaw (the same team that created The Lyons), about Audrey Langham – a celebrated actress – who unravels completely while preparing for a new production of Medea, and descends on her married daughter, who is not happy to see her.

ROUNDABOUT* LAURA PELS THEATER

roundabout_01111 West 46th Street

Dinner With Friends

January 17 – April 13

A revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Donald Margulies, directed by Pam MacKinnon (…Virginia Woolf?, Clybourne Park), about two couples drifting apart. Heather Burns,Marin Hinkle, Darren Pettie and Jeremy Shamos star.

Cutie and Bear

“available only to subscribers and donors”

Bekah Brunstetter’s new play about the relationship between a married man and a broke young woman

SECOND STAGE

second_01Twitter: @2STNYC 


The Happiest Song Plays Last  

HappiestsongsPlayLastLogoFebruary 11 – March 23

This is the concluding play in the trilogy written by Quiara Alegría Hudes, who received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the second in the series, Water by the Spoonful. Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Happiest Song focuses again on cousins Elliot and Yaz,  who have long searched for their place in the community, and now discover the joy in coming home again and the comfort of family, both by blood and by love. It features the music of Nelson Gonzalez.

Sex With Strangers

(dates unclear)

Written by Linda Eason and directed by David Schwimmer, the play follows star sex blogger and memoirist Ethan as he tracks down his idol, the gifted but obscure novelist Olivia, discovering they both crave what the other possesses.

CSC (CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY)

csc_01136 East 13th Street

Twitter: @ClassicStage


A Man’s A Man

AMansAManlogoJanuary 10 – February 16

Justin Vivian Bond stars in this anti-just-about-everything farce by Bertolt Brecht as innocent dockworker Galy Gay in British Colonial India who is enlisted into Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, “dismantled like a car” and reassembled into the ultimate fighting machine.

The Heir Apparent

David Ives (Venus in Fur) adapts Jean-François Regnard‘s comedy about Eraste, who stands to inherit his uncle’s vast fortune, but his uncle refuses to die, and indeed plans to wed Eraste’s fiance! Eraste enlists a servant Crispin for help.

 RATTLESTICK PLAYWRIGHTS THEATER

rattle_01Address: 224 Waverly Place, although many of its shows are now presented at the Cherry Lane Theater.

Twitter: @RattlestickNY

RattlestickplaywrightsSpring2014The Correspondent

January 29 – March 16

Ken Urban’s play focuses on a husband grieving the loss of his wife who hires a dying woman to deliver a message to her in the afterlife. Soon after, sure enough, he begins receiving letters from his dead spouse.

Ode to Joy

February 12 – March 30

This play written and directed by Craig Lucas (Prelude to a KissThe Dying Gaul) tells the story of love, heartbreak, addiction, and illness through the eyes of Adele, an audacious painter and her destructive relations with Mala and Bill, her two lover

The Few

April 16 – May 31

In this play by Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale),  Bryan returns to the newspaper he started but abandoned four years ago, and things have changed.  His former lover is filled with rage, his new coworker is filled with incessant adoration, and his paper is filled with personal ads.

MCC THEATER

MCCTheaterLogoat The Lucille Lortel Theatre
121 Christopher St

Twitter: @MCCTheater

Hand to God

February 19 – March 20

In Robert Askins’ comedy, a foul-mouthed sock puppet named Tyrone teaches the students at the Christian Puppet Ministry about dark urges. This was a hit at Ensemble Studio Theatre several seasons ago.

The Village Bike

May 21 – June 28

Maggie Gyllenhaal will start in this play by Penelope Skinner, directed by Sam Gold, about a pregnant woman whose husband is ignoring her needs. So she buys a used bike that takes her further than she ever expected she’d go.

MTC THEATER* At City Center

mtc_01131 West 55th Street

Twitter: @MTC_NYC

Tales From Red Vienna

February 26 – April 27

Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur) and Kathleen Chalfant (Wit) star in this play by David Grimm, directed by Kate Whoriskey, about a woman who has lost her husband in World War I, and with him, her financial security, so she turns to the oldest profession

When We Were Young and Unafraid

May 22 – August 10

Cherry Jones stars in this play by Sarah Treem, directed by Pam MacKinnon, as a woman who has founded an underground women’s shelter in the early 1970s, with unintended consequences.

THE NEW GROUP

@TheNewGroupNYC

410 West 42nd St.

This is a theater company that resides in Theatre Row, the non-profit building that normally rents out to commercial Off-Broadway productions. Scott Elliott is the founding artistic director.

Intimacy

IntimacyJanuary 14 – March 8

Thomas Bradshaw’s new play presents three families in a well-manicured, multi-racial American town when secrets and sexual desires suddenly explode.

Annapurna

April 13 – June 1

Sharr White (The Other Place, Snow Geese has written a new play about Emma (Megan Mullally) who 20 years ago walked out on her husband, cowboy-poet Ulysses (Nick Offerman), in the middle of the night. Now, hearing he’s in dire straits, she tracks him down in the wilds of Colorado

OTHER (POTENTIAL) HIGHLIGHTS

The Tribute Artist (Primary Stages at 59E59, January 21 – March 16, 2014) In his new play, Charles Busch portrays an out-of-work female impersonator who takes on the identity of the landlady of his Greenwich Village townhouse when she dies in her sleep.

Sartre’s No Exit at the Pearl Theatre Company from Feb. 25

Between Riverside and Crazy… by Stephen Adly Guirgis is about an ex-cop and recent widower and his ex-con son’s struggle to hold on to their rent-stabilized apartment. (May, Atlantic Theater Company)

*THE ASTERISK: Off-Broadway AND Broadway

*Just to complicate matters, several of the resident theaters also present shows on Broadway –  Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Company (MTC), and the Roundabout Theater Company. Their Broadway offerings are listed in my Broadway Spring 2014 Preview Guide

What Is Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway?

Off-Broadway theaters, by definition, have anywhere from 99 to 499 seats. If a theater has more seats than that, it’s a Broadway house. If it has fewer, it’s Off-Off Broadway.

There are some terrific Off-Off Broadway theaters, sometimes confused for Off-Broadway. These include (but are not limited to) The Flea, Labyrinth Theater, and LaMaMa ETC

NEW YORK THEATER CALENDAR BY OPENING DATES

 New York Theatre Opening Night Calendar

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information about Off-Broadway, go to OffBroadway.com, which is put together by The League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers.  This should not be confused with the Off-Broadway Alliance, which is a separate organization (though they should probably merge, no?)

Broadway Spring 2014 Season Guide

BroadwaySpring2014logosActOnelogo“Theater is not so much a profession as a disease, and my first look at Broadway was the beginning of a lifelong infection,” Moss Hart wrote in his memoir Act One, which has been adapted for the Broadway stage 55 years after it was published, 52 years after Hart’s death. He is only one of the theatrical luminaries making a return engagement on Broadway in the Spring of 2014.

 NeilPatrickHarrisasTonyhostIt has been about decade since Neil Patrick Harris — Mr. Broadway to millions because of his hosting duties for the Tony Awards — has actually starred in a Broadway show, 11 years for Idina Menzel, and 30 for Diahann Carroll. All three return in Spring 2014 — along with Denzel Washington and Alan Cumming, Sutton Foster and Estelle Parsons.

BryanCranstoninallthewayposter

All The Way

There are also many familiar names making their Broadway debuts, from Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” fame to pop star Carly Lee Jepson of “Call Me, Maybe,” as well as  Fran Drescher, James Franco, Zach Braff, Michelle Williams, and Debra Messing, who, thanks to her role in Smash, many already consider a Broadway baby.

Familiar names making their Broadway debuts are not limited to people:  the films Aladdin, Rocky, The Bridges of Madison County, and Bullets

Adam Jacobs

Aladdin

Over Broadway are all being adapted for Broadway this season, and several favorites are returning, including Les Miserables and Cabaret. Act One will star Tony Shalhoub and Santino Fontana.

Below are details about the 20 plays and musicals that have opening dates and theaters in Spring, 2014, listed chronologically by their opening dates.  You know the drill: There is no guarantee that any of these will actually happen. Indeed, the only guarantee is that the schedule will change — many additions, some subtractions. I  will update periodically. 

JANUARY, 2014

beautifullogoBEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL

Stephen Sondheim Theater

@beautifulonbway

First Preview: November 21, 2013

Opening: January 12, 2014

Music and Lyrics by: Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil

Book by: Douglas McGrath

Director: Marc Bruni

Cast: Jessie Mueller, Jake Epstein, Anika Larsen, Jarrod Spector

Beautiful tells the true story of Carole King’s stellar songwriting career, beginning as a teenage hitmaker, her partnership with her first husband Gerry Goffin, her relationship with Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, her rise as a singer/songwriter.

My review of Beautiful

machinallogoMACHINAL

American Airlines Theatre

@rtc_nyc

First Preview: December 20, 2013

Opening: January 16, 2014

Written by Sophie Treadwell

Director: Lyndsey Turner

Cast: Rebecca Hall

“Inspired by the infamous 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, Machinal is a gripping drama by American journalist and playwright Sophie Treadwell. For Young Woman (Hall), a stenographer in the industrial, male-dominated world of the 1920s, life is nothing like she hoped it would be. Restless and unfulfilled in a passionless marriage and unwanted motherhood, she finds her only joy in the form of an illicit love affair. But when reality sets in and she must return to her routine existence, she’ll go to any lengths to regain her freedom.”

My review of Machinal

outsidemullingarlogoOUTSIDE MULLINGAR

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

@mtc_NYC

First preview: January 2, 2014

Opening: January 23, 2014

Closing: March 16, 2014

Cast: Debra Messing, Brian F. O’Byrne

Debra Messing plays an eccentric Irishwoman who is trying to make a romantic connection with her shy neighbor (Brían F. O’Byrne). Written by John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, Moonstruck).

FEBRUARY, 2014

bronxbomberslogoBRONX BOMBERS

Circle in the Square

@bxbombersplay

First Preview: January 10, 2014

Opening: February 6, 2014

Written and directed by Eric Simonson

Cast: Peter Scolari, Tracy Shayne, C.J. Wilson, Christopher Jackson, Francois Battiste, Chris Henry Coffey, Bill Dawes, Keith Nobbs, John Wernke

The third in a series of sports plays, this one is about the Yankees. My review of The Bronx Bombers, with a slightly different cast, when it was Off Broadway.

My review of Bronx Bombers on Broadway

THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY

BridgesofMadisonCountylogoGerald Schoenfeld Theatre

@BridgesBroadway

First preview: January 13, 2014

Opening: February 20

Director: Bartlett Sher

Cast: Kelli O’Hara, Steven Pasquale

Twitter: @BridgesBroadway

Francesca Johnson, a small-town 1960s Iowa housewife who has a brief but intense affair with Robert Kincaid, a photographer from National Geographic. Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood played the lead roles in the 1995 film.

My review of the Bridges of Madison County

MARCH, 2014

allthewaylogoALL THE WAY

Neil Simon Theater

@allthewaybway

First Preview: February 10, 2014

Opening: March 6, 2014

By Robert Schenkkan

Director: Bill Rauch

Cast: Bryan Cranston, Michael McKean, Brandon J. Dirden

Cranston (Breaking Bad) plays LBJ, from 1963, when an assassin’s bullet catapults him into the presidency through the his first year of office, handling civil rights legislation and the beginning of the Vietnam War. Playwright Schenkkan won the Pulitzer Prize for The Kentucky Cycle, a marathon set of plays which took a grim view of the violent founding of the American West.

My review of All The Way

ROCKY

rockylogoWinter Garden

Opening: March 13 2014

Written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (score), Thomas Meehan (book)

Director: Alex Timbers

Cast: Andy Karl and Margo Seibert

Twitter: @RockyonBroadway

The new stage production based on the Academy Award-winning film of the same name.

My review of Rocky

ALADDIN

aladdinlogoNew Amsterdam

Twitter: @Aladdin

First Preview: February 26, 2014

Opening: March 20,2014

Based on the 1992 Disney animated movie, Aladdin tell the story of a poor street kid who falls in love with a princess, is imprisoned but discovers the secrets of a magic lamp.

My review of Aladdin

LES MISERABLES

lesmislogoImperial Theater

@LesMisBway

First Preview: March 1, 2014

Opening: March 23, 2014

Written by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer

Director: Laurence Connor and James Powell

Cast: Ramin Karimloo, Will Swenson, Nikki M. James, Caissie Levy, Andy Mientus

Cameron Mackintosh returns to Broadway with the 25th-anniversary production of Les Misérables, with new orchestrations.

My review of Les Miserables

MOTHERS AND SONS

MothersandSonslogoJohn Golden Theater

First Preview: February 23, 2014

Opening: March 24, 2014

Written by Terrence McNally

Director: Sheryl Kaller

Cast: Tyne Daly:

The play is about a mother who pays a surprise visit to the New York apartment of her late son’s ex-partner, who is now married to another man and has a young son.

My review of Mothers and Sons

IF/THEN

IfThenlogoFirst Preview: March 4, 2014

Opening: March 27, 2014

Written by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey

Director: Michael Greif

Cast: Idina Menzel

On the verge of turning 40, Elizabeth moves to New York City, the ultimate city of possibility, intent on a fresh start – new home, new friends, and hopes for a resurgent career.

My review of If/Then

APRIL, 2014

A RAISIN IN THE SUN

raisininthesunlogoEthel Barrymore Theatre

First preview: March 8, 2014

Opening: April 3, 2014

Closing: June 15, 2014

Director: Kenny Leon

Cast: Denzel Washington, Diahann Carroll, Anika Noni Rose

A revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s drama about the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the African-American Younger family.

My review of A Raisin in the Sun

THE REALISTIC JONESES

RealisticJoneseslogoLyceum Theater

Twitter: @RealisticBway

First Preview: March 13, 2014

Opening: April 6,2014

Director: Sam Gold

Cast: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Marisa Tomei, Tracy Letts

Playwright Will Eno  (Middletown; Title and Deed; Thom Pain (based on nothing)) makes his Broadway debut in this comedy about two suburban couples who have become new neighbors and discover they share more than a surname.

 My review of The Realistic Joneses

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY

bulletsoverBroadwaylogoSt. James Theater

Twitter: @bulletsoverbway

First Preview:March 11, 2014

Opening: April 10, 2014

Director: Susan Stroman

Cast: Zach Braff, Vincent Pastore, Helene Yorke, Betsy Wolfe

A musical adaptation of Woody Allen’s Academy Award-nominated film, about a playwright whose first taste of success comes with mobsters and a domineering diva attached.

ACT ONE

ActOnelogoLincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater

@LCTheater

First preview: March 20, 2014

Opening: April 17, 2014

James Lapine directs his own adaptation of Moss Hart’s classic autobiography that chronicles his struggle to escape poverty and forge a career in the theater, which led to his collaboration with George S. Kaufman and culminated in his first great success, Once in a Lifetime.

OF MICE AND MEN

Theatre: Longacre Theatre

@miceandmenbway

First Preview: March 22, 2014

Opening: April 17, 2014

Written by John Steinbeck

Director: Anna D. Shapiro

Cast: James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Leighton Meester

A Broadway revival of John Steinbeck’s classic novel/play.

VIOLET

American Airlines Theatre

@Rtc_nyc

First Preview: March 28, 2014

Opening: April 20, 2014

Written by Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley

Director: Leigh Silverman

Cast: Sutton Foster

Violet tells the story of a young woman’s quest for beauty amidst the image-obsessed landscape of the 1960s.” This revival was part of the new Encores Off-Center series.

THE VELOCITY OF AUTUMN

VelocityofAutumnlogoBooth Theater

First Preview: April 1, 2014

Opening: April 21, 2014

Written by Eric Coble

Director: Molly Smith

Cast: Estelle Parsons, Stephen Spinella

“The Velocity of Autumn swirls around Alexandra, a 79-year-old artist in a showdown with her family over where she’ll spend her remaining years. She’s barricaded herself in her Brooklyn brownstone with enough Molotov cocktails to take out the block. Her youngest son manages to work his way into the place.

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH

hedwigandtheangryinchlogoBelasco Theatre

@HedwigOnBway

First preview: March 29, 2014

Opening: April 22, 2014

Neil Patrick Harris stars in this rock musical about a transgender singer’s quest to find her other half.

CASA VALENTINA

Samuel J. Friedman Theater

@mtc_NYC

First preview: April 1, 2014

Opening: April 23, 2014

Written by Harvey Fierstein

Directed by Joe Montello

Based on actual events and set in 1962, Casa Valentina focuses on a Catskills resort which caters to a very special clientele—heterosexual men whose favorite pastime is dressing and living as women.

CABARET

caberetlogoStudio 54

@rtc_nyc

First preview: March 21, 2014

Opening April 24, 2014

Closing: August 31, 2014

Cast: Alan Cumming, Michelle Williams

Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s Tony Award-winning production (Best Revival, 1998) returns, starring Alan Cumming in his Tony-winning role as Emcee opposite Michelle Williams, making her Broadway debut as Sally Bowles, the clueless American singer in Berlin before World War II.

New Year’s Eve in New York 2014 Last Minute Plans

TimesSquareonNewYearsEveA list of shows, parties, concerts, intimate dinners, cruises and outdoor events you can still do on New Year’s Eve 2014 in New York City.

More than a billion people watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, which is another way of saying that much of the world celebrates by watching TV.But more than a million souls are standing in the streets of New York City’s theater district.  I used to think the New Year wouldn’t arrive unless I was there to watch it. One New Year’s Eve, I was actually invited to the roof of the tower, and even got one of the light bulbs that made up the ball. I still have that bulb; here’s a picture of it:

NewYearsEvelightbulb

Special, right?

Times have changed. The ball this year, we’re told, is made up of 2,688 Waterford crystal panels and, instead of being lowered by hand, they now use electricity. However, the electricity this year will be supplied by six volunteers pedaling Citi bikes. Only in New York.

This year, Justice Sonia Sotomayor will serve as the “special guest” to drop the New Year’s Eve ball at midnight.

2014 New Year's Eve Waterford Crystal Installation

Most people celebrate at home or at the home of a friend or family member, according to a survey by the AP. Only eight percent say they plan to go out.

“It’s so much more fun to stay home,” Anderson Cooper, the New Year’s Eve host on CNN, said recently. “I don’t know anybody who has a fun time at a party at New Year’s Eve. That’s why I work on New Year’s Eve.”

For the eight percent who haven’t made plans yet, here are some ideas:

TIMES SQUARE

The New Year’s Eve tradition in Times Square began in 1904 with a rooftop celebration to greet the New Year. Three years later, they started lowering a ball.

From the  the organizers comes this overview of New Year’s Eve in Times Square, so you know what is in store for you if you decide to stand at the Crossroads of the World for New Year’s Eve

3 p.m. Revelers start arriving late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve. By approximately 3:00 PM., the Bowtie of Times Square (42nd to 47th Sts. between Broadway & 7th Ave.) is fully closed to traffic.

6:00 PM to 6:03 PM
 Lighting and Raising the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball

6:03 PM to 6:13 PM 
Opening Ceremonies – Chinese Cultural Performance, Panda Dance

6:20 p.m. Times Square 2013 Hats, Balloons and Scarves
The Times Square Alliance sanitation crew clad in bright red uniforms begins to distribute tens of thousands of fun handouts to the Times Square revelers

The schedule goes on like this in ten-minute increments and includes Countdowns by hosts including Anderson Cooper, performances by Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Blondie, Icona Pop, Jencarlos Canela, El Dasa and Rodney AtkinsMelissa Etheridge sings both Uprising of Love and John Lennon’s Imagine. There is also a trailer of The Amazing Spider-Man 2™, featuring Times Square footage.

11:15 PM to 11:18 PM
 The Associated Press Presents 2013 News Reel Highlights

11:59 The Sixty-Second Countdown

DINING OUT ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

Open Table lists 497 restaurants in Manhattan alone with “New Year’s Eve offers” Most of them offer a choice of seatings – either earlier in the evening, so that you can make it in time elsewhere for the stroke of midnight, or party-hat-equipped seatings that lead up to midnight, where you can often turn on a TV so that you can watch the ball drop in Times Square. Open Table enables you to look for one in your neighborhood.

 THEATER ON NEW YEAR’S WEEK

Only eight of the 32 shows currently on Broadway will be offering performances on New Year’s Eve — and seven of those eight will be matinees. (The lone show at night is Macbeth, which is at Lincoln Center and thus away from the madness that is Times Square and the theater district on New Year’s Eve.)

But, as you can see in the schedule below, almost every show has performances on Monday (a day when almost all shows are usually dark), and 11 have added matinees on Monday. There are also shows on New Year’s Day, and a heavy schedule for the rest of the week.

Keep in mind it will be the last chance to see several of these shows.  Forthcoming closings:

Closing 1/2/2014: 700 Sundays

Closing 1/4: Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

Closing 1/5: Annie; First Date;

Closing 2/16: Twelfth Night, Richard III

Closing 2/23: The Glass Menagerie

 

Monday

Tuesday

Show Running Time Theatre

12/30

12/31

After Midnight 90min Brooks Atkinson

2:00 & 7:30

Annie 2h 15min Palace

2:00

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 2h 15min Stephen Sondheim

8:00

Betrayal 90min Barrymore

8:00

2:00

Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays 2h 15min Imperial

7:00

The Book of Mormon 2h 30min Eugene O’Neill

7:00

2:00

Chicago 2h 30min Ambassador

2:30 & 8:00

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella 2h 20min Broadway

1:30 & 7:00

First Date 90min Longacre

7:00

2:00

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 2h 20min Walter Kerr

7:00

2:00

The Glass Menagerie 2h 15min Booth

8:00

Jersey Boys 2h 30min August Wilson

7:00

2:00

Kinky Boots 2h 25min Hirschfeld

8:00

The Lion King 2h 30min Minskoff

7:00

Macbeth 2h 45min Vivian Beaumont

7:00

Mamma Mia! 2h 30min Broadhurst

8:00

Matilda The Musical 2h 40min Shubert

2:00 & 8:00

2:00

Motown the Musical 2h 45min Lunt-Fontanne

2:00 & 7:30

Newsies 2h 15min Nederlander

7:30

2:00

A Night with Janis Joplin 2h 15min Lyceum

2:00 & 7:00

No Man’s Land 2h 0min Cort
Once 2h 30min Jacobs

7:00

Outside Mullingar Samuel J. Friedman
The Phantom of the Opera 2h 30min Majestic

2:00 & 8:00

Pippin 2h 35min Music Box

2:30 & 8:00

Richard III 2h 50min Belasco
Rock of Ages 2h 15min Helen Hayes

8:00

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark 2h 45min Foxwoods

2:00 & 8:00

Twelfth Night 3h 0min Belasco

7:00

Waiting for Godot 2h 15min Cort

7:00

Wicked 2h 45min Gershwin

2:00 & 8:00

 

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Show Running Time Theatre

01/01

01/02

01/03

01/04

01/05

After Midnight 90min Brooks Atkinson

7:30

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Annie 2h 15min Palace

2:00

6:30

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

1:00 & 6:30

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 2h 15min Stephen Sondheim

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Betrayal 90min Barrymore

2:00 & 8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 7:00

Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays 2h 15min Imperial

7:00

8:00

3:00

3:00

The Book of Mormon 2h 30min Eugene O’Neill

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 7:00

Chicago 2h 30min Ambassador

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:30 & 8:00

7:00

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella 2h 20min Broadway

3:00

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

First Date 90min Longacre

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 2h 20min Walter Kerr

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

The Glass Menagerie 2h 15min Booth

7:00

2:00 & 7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Jersey Boys 2h 30min August Wilson

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 7:00

Kinky Boots 2h 25min Hirschfeld

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

The Lion King 2h 30min Minskoff

2:00 & 8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

1:00 & 6:30

Macbeth 2h 45min Vivian Beaumont

2:00 & 8:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Mamma Mia! 2h 30min Broadhurst

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

7:00

Matilda The Musical 2h 40min Shubert

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Motown the Musical 2h 45min Lunt-Fontanne

7:30

7:30

7:30

2:00 & 7:30

3:00

Newsies 2h 15min Nederlander

7:30

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

A Night with Janis Joplin 2h 15min Lyceum

7:00

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

No Man’s Land 2h 0min Cort

8:00

8:00

2:00

Once 2h 30min Jacobs

8:00

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

Outside Mullingar Samuel J. Friedman

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 7:00

The Phantom of the Opera 2h 30min Majestic

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

Pippin 2h 35min Music Box

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:30 & 8:00

3:00

Richard III 2h 50min Belasco

8:00

2:00

Rock of Ages 2h 15min Helen Hayes

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00 & 7:30

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark 2h 45min Foxwoods

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

Twelfth Night 3h 0min Belasco

7:00

2:00

8:00

8:00

3:00

Waiting for Godot 2h 15min Cort

8:00

2:00

8:00

3:00

Wicked 2h 45min Gershwin

7:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

I focus on Broadway because it’s the easiest to present — the schedule is put together by the Broadway League.

However, there are plenty of shows Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway with performances on New Year’s Eve, and certainly during the week. Some examples:

Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 — which to my mind is the perfect theater piece to see on New Year’s Eve (the only disadvantage being that it is located in the theater district.) On many top ten lists, including my own. My review (when it was in a different venue)

Buyer & Cellar — on many top ten lists, and it’s in the Village, so you avoid the crowds. My review (when it was in a different theater)

What’s It All About: Bacharach Reconsidered, at New York Theatre Workshop

(A show that is sold out for New Year’s Eve and for most of its run, but is unique enough to be worth a mention: Queen of the Night, loosely based on Mozart’s “Magic Flute,”  will open New Year’s Eve for six weeks in the Diamond Horseshoe, a new theater created by Randy Weiner (who put together the immersive Macbeth “Sleep No More”) in the basement of the Paramount hotel, in the very space that had a thriving night spot of the same in the 1890s, billing itself as “a fusion of theater, music, circus, cuisine, design, and nightlife that welcomes guests into a wholly interactive entertainment experience.”)

NEW YEAR’S EVE NIGHTCLUB PARTIES

New Year’s Eve Central website lists more than 100 New Year’s Eve parties at New York nightclubs 

CONCERTS AND COMEDY

The New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at The Cathedral Church of St. John, a tradition begun by Leonard Bernstein. A limited number of seats are available to the public for free.

Chita Rivera at 54 Below – $300 to $400 cover charge, but how can we not mention this?

Wynton Marsalis Septet at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Famed jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and his band offer two performances on New Year’s Eve.

The Fela! band at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Cast members from the Broadway production of “Fela!” continue to perform the music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Punch Brothers at Bowery Ballroom
“Progressive bluegrass” group

Gogol Bordello at Terminal 5

Andrew W.K. at Irving Plaza

Billy Joel and Ben Folds Five at Barclays Center

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at The Stand
Funny people Judah Friedlander (30 Rock), Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show), Dan St. Germain (Conan), Sherrod Small (Best Week Ever) and others make mirth, with a prix-fixe dinner.  th

New Year’s Eve Spectacular at Carolines on Broadway

Ring in the Swing at The Allen Room, Lincoln Center
The Pedrito Martinez Group and the Dominick Farinacci Swing Dance Octet. Open bar.

Roy Wood Jr. at Gotham Comedy Club
Stand-up comic Roy Wood Jr. (Roy on the TBS series Sullivan and Son) 


HARBOR CRUISES

Big selling point of all these cruises — a close-up of the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the water. Most include a buffet, open bar, and dancing with a dj.

Circle Line Sightseeing New Year’s Eve Cruise

 $169, leaves from Pier 83, off West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue.
$250, leaves from South Street Seaport

Paddle Wheel Queen New Year’s Eve Cruise

 Boarding at Skyport Marina (23rd/FDR) at 9:45 p.m. for $165 per person

New York Water Taxi’s New Year’s Eve Cruise

 $120 include hor d’oeuvres, open bar, champagne toast, and music. Tickets are $120

Affairs Afloat New Year’s Eve Cruise

$162 for dancing and snacks  (early bird discounts available).

World Yacht New Year’s Eve Cruise

$350 for 3-hour cruise including a five-course sit-down dinner, champagne toast, premium open bar, party favors and music for dancing.

New Year’s Eve Family Cruise

$250 family packages ($90/adult, $45/kids 3-12) include sweets, treats and snacks, as well as soft drinks. Cash bar available.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise on Yacht Manhattan

 $350 to join just 39 other people  aboard a 1920s style yacht where formal-wear is encouraged.
A MEDITATIVE ALTERNATIVE
The Kadampa Meditation Center in Chelsea, for just $25 for non-members, provides a way for you to “ring in the New Year “with compassion and beneficial intentions!” — hors d’oeuvres, meditation, and no alcohol.

WALKING AND RUNNING

RoadRunners

New York Road Runners’  Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park

Shorewalkers Happy New Year’s Day Hike

Hike through the parks and shoreline in Upper Manhattan. Meet 12 noon at 178th street and Broadway at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. This might be the ultimately nebbishy thing to do — I actually did it once — but it’s a perfect excuse to go to sleep early on New Year’s Eve.

Know of anything else worth doing on New Year’s Eve? Let us know in the comments below.

Christmas Theater in New York 2013

The Rockettes in the "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" in the RadiChristmas cheer is a cut-throat business, something I learned from the composer of Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, Johnny Marks, who pointed out to me that the success of his little ditty and others such as Jingle Bells filled the airwaves every December, making it nearly impossible to get airtime for new Christmas songs, including his own.

Does this work the same for Christmas theater?

If it does, it doesn’t seem to stop annual additions to a crowded tradition that includes The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, the 800-pound reindeer, now celebrating its 80th year with a 90-minute show with more than 140 performers, including of course the Rockettes.

Taking baby steps towards such perennial status is a show that is more clearly actual theater: A Christmas Story. I reviewed the musical positively when it debuted in 2012 at Lunt-Fontanne Theater on Broadway (A Christmas Story: Review: More Dogs Than Annie, More Elves Than Elf; A Minimum of Treacle.” It is now in New York for the third December, at The Theater of Madison Square Garden.

HolidaySeasononStage

Now, there’s nothing stopping anybody from seeing a New York stage show in December that has nothing to do with Christmas — and indeed many do, despite an increase in ticket prices during the holiday season. But shows explicitly connected to Christmas — or at least with “Christmas” in the title — continue to proliferate, for reasons I don’t quite grasp.

Here’s a list of those in 2013, which I’ll be adding to in the days (and maybe weeks) ahead:

‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’ UP THE WAZOO

A Christmas Carol

This year there are (at least) FOUR professional stage productions in New York of Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic story, A Christmas Carol, enough to turn any Scrooge into a serial killer.

A Christmas Carol at St. Clement’s has a new adaptation by Patrick Barlow, who previously worked his magic on Hitchcock with The 39 Steps, but while there is sarcasm in Barlow’s version, there is little parody.

Summoners Ensemble Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol is a solo show by John Kevin Jones performed at the landmark Merchant’s House Museum, (29 East 4th Street, Manhattan),

Brooklyn’s Smith Street Stage presents its “Christmas Carol” as a 1940s radio show.

BlessedUnrestBlessed Unrest is an adaptation of Dickens’ familiar tale directed and choreographed by Jessica Burr,  Here is how Matt Opatrny, who wrote the adaptation, describes it:  1843, Charles Dickens planned to publish a political pamphlet entitled “An Appeal to the People of England on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child,” but instead wrote AChristmas Carol. This adaptation returns to the story’s original intent as an examination of an unjust socioeconomic system that benefits a few at the top while the masses struggle to meet their basic needs.

CHRISTMAS THEATER=CHRISTMAS SONGS

In Shea: Prince of Christmas, singer Shea Arender takes audiences on a “Christmas musical journey,”  singing old yuletide favorites and more recent ones that have made the cut, and explaining their history.

‘ALTERNATIVE’ HOLIDAY SHOWS

NakedHolidaysThe greatest number of Christmas shows may be the ones that make fun of the idea of Christmas shows, one way or another. Several have become perennials themselves, such as Naked Holidays, at The Cutting Room (44 East 32 Street at Park Avenue), now through December 30. This is the 7th annual production of this show. This year’s highlights include:
Christmas Village of the Damned: One infected elf spreads a zombie plague through Santa’s workshop, threatening all the beloved characters of Christmas Village)
A Very Paula Deen Hannukah: As part of her sensitivity training, Ms. Deen bakes latkas under the guidance of Rabbi Hirschfeld
Total Eclipse of the Heart: While Santa is
away delivering toys, a lonely and frustrated Mrs. Claus indulges her
darkest fantasies.

Laurie Beechman Theater (at 407 West 42nd) is offering an entire schedule of wacked-out Christmas shows in December. Roughly chronologically:
Distorted Krissmess (featuring the ladies of the drag hit Distorted Diznee and the Port Authority Cockettes, a downscale version of Rockettes);
Jinkx Monsoon and Major Scales: Unwrapped (creators of Off-Broadway’s the Vaudevillians offer original songs, covers and comedy);
A Very Cougar Christmas with Pandora Boxx and Sherry Vine (includes parodies of carols and saucy Santa jokes);
Happy Birthday Jesus: The Alaska Christmas Show (Alaska as in the name of drag performer, not the state)
Jackie Beat: O Holy Hell – her 15th annual holiday show
 Christmas Smackdown
It’s safe to say these shows are probably not ideal for children, nowhere near as wholesome as, say, Kinky Boots.

Know of a show that fits? Let me know in the comments below.

Off-Broadway Fall 2013 Guide

Killers and Other Family, one of the five plays by Lucy Thurber presented simultaneously in five Off-Broadway theaters in the Village.

Killers and Other Family, one of the five plays by Lucy Thurber presented simultaneously in five Off-Broadway theaters in the Village.

New plays by both August Wilson and Horton Foote, both of whom have been dead for years? The return of Sarah Jessica Parker and Betty Buckley — and Mandy Patinkin — to the stage? The first full-length play by filmmaker Ethan Coen? ” The true stories of a Supreme Court case brought by exotic dancers, and the friendship between Muhammad Ali and Stepin Fetchit?

All of this is happening Off-Broadway. And more.

Much more:

How will we behave after the Apocalypse? Will we sit around the campfire recalling episodes of “The Simpsons” or will we sing and dance a la vaudeville? There is a new play this season Off-Broadway for each of these visions.

Five plays by the same playwright being presented in five different theaters simultaneously.

Twenty-nine new plays in twenty-nine nights by the same performer.

Too much more. It’s impossible to get a firm handle on Off-Broadway. This is its glory and its frustration.

Once again, I found the best way to preview the offerings is to focus on my favorite producing theaters. They  have a track record that recommends any future work, and they all offer season subscriptions or memberships. Of course, there is never a guarantee, and some terrific shows pop up in unlikely places.

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS playwrights horizons logo

416 W. 42nd St. Twitter: @PHNYC

Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play
MrBurnsAugust 23 – October 6, 2013
What will endure after the fall of Civilization? Perhaps “The Simpsons.” Anne Washburn’s animated exploration of how the pop culture of one era might evolve into the mythology of another

The Patron Saints of Sea Monsters 
October 18 – December 1
In Marlene Meyer’s play, Aubrey, a very determined romantic, believes she’s met her soul-mate in Calvin, a boozing womanizer.

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
November 17 – December 29
Madeleine George’s time-jumping play is dedicated to the people and machines on which we all depend. Watson: trusty sidekick to Sherlock Holmes; loyal engineer who built Bell’s first telephone; unstoppable super-computer that became reigning Jeopardy! champ; amiable techno-dweeb who, in the present day, is just looking for love.

In Spring 2014:

Stage Kiss (Feb 7 to March 23) by Sarah Ruhl

Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra (March 28 – May 11, 2013) by Kirk Lynn

Fly By Night A New Musical, (May 16 – June 29)

signature_01SIGNATURE

480 West 42nd Street. Twitter: @signaturetheatr

The Old Friends
TheOldFriendsAugust 20 – October 6, 2013
A world premiere of a play by Horton Foote (who died four years ago,) The Old Friends features some of my favorite stage performers, including Betty Buckley, Hallie Foote, Lois Smith, and Veanne Cox.   Two Texas farming families hear alarming news, forcing old friends on opposing sides to confront the issues surrounding legacy, loyalty, and the meaning of happiness that have hounded them for generations

Stop. Reset.
August 20  - September 29
Written and directed by Regina Taylor, the play focuses on the owner of Chicago’s oldest African American book publishing company who is forced to consider just how far he will go to keep his business alive.

How I Learned What I Learned
“November-December”
A one-man play by August Wilson performed by his frequent interpreter, Ruben Santiago-Hudson,  the playwright shares stories about his first few jobs, a stint in jail, an early relationship, his first kiss, his foray into cinema, and the friends he has had his entire life

Cheri
“November-December”
Inspired by Colette’s novella about tragic forbidden love between a young man and an older woman, this work conceived, directed and choreographed by Martha Clark with a text by Tina Howe combines theater, music and dance.

Spring 2014:

Kung Fu by David Henry Hwang (Feb – March 2014)

 Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Feb-March 2014)

publictheaterlogoTHE PUBLIC THEATER

425 Lafayette Street. Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY

fall2013_facesofthemoon_330x400_4All The Faces of the Moon
September 5 – October 3, 2013
Mike Daisey presents a new monologue every night for 29 nights, in 29 unique consecutive performances, based on the theme: the secret history of New York City.

Arguendo
September 10 – October 6, 2013
Created and performed by the theater company Elevator Repair Service (Gatz), the play uses verbatim transcripts to re-create the the 1991 Supreme Court case Barnes v. Glen Theatre, in which a group of exotic dancers, citing the First Amendment, challenged a ban on public nudity.

Fun Home
September 30 – November 3, 2013
Based on a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, directed by Sam Gold, this new musical with music by Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change), presents a graphic novelist’s attempt to tell the story of her volatile father after his unexpected death.

Grasses of a Thousand Colors
October 7 – November 10, 2013
This play written by (and featuring) Wallace Shawn and directed by Andre Gregory tells the story of a doctor who believes he has solved world hunger when he figures out how to rejigger the metabolisms of animals to tolerate eating their own kind.

The Foundry Theatre’s Good Person of Szechuan
October 18 – November 24, 2013
This revival of Bertolt Brecht’s play stars Taylor Mac

The Apple Family 
Scenes From Life In The Country
 

October 22 – December 15, 2013
The three previous plays about the Apple family written and directed by Richard Nelson will be performed in repertory, and new one, Regular Singing, will open on November 22, 2013, the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination.

Spring 2014

 Under the Radar Festival January 7 – 19, 2014 
Antony and Cleoptra edited and directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney (February 18 – March 23, 2014)
Father Comes Home from the Wars by Suzan-Lori Parks (March 11 – March 30, 2014)
A Second Chance, book, music and lyrics by Ted Shen (March 18 – April 13)
The Civilians’ The Great Immensity (April 8 – 27, 2014)

new_york_01NEW YORK THEATER WORKSHOP

79 East 4th Street. Twitter: @NYTW79

Fetch Clay, Make Man

FetchClaypicAugust 23 – October 13, 2013

Will Power’s play about the unlikely friendship between the heavyweight boxing champion Cassius Clay (as Muhammad Ali was originally named)  and the controversial Hollywood star Stepin Fetchit

What’s it All About? Bacharach Reimagined

November 19, 2013 – January 5, 2014

Kyle Riabko (Spring Awakening, Hair), 25, performs his unique, soulful arrangements of the Bacharach songbook backed by an eclectic group of young performers.

In Spring 2014

Love and Information February 4 – April 6, 2014 by Caryl Churchill

Cinderella/Cendrillion by Joel Pommerat

vineyard_01VINEYARD THEATER

108 East 15th Street Twitter: @VineyardTheatre

The Landing

PierceandKanderOctober 3 – November 10

Legendary theater composer John Kander (Chicago, Cabaret) and gifted playwright Greg Pierce’s (Slowgirl) collaborate in a musical about three thematically-connected tales of desire, love and loss.  David Hyde Pierce, Julia Murney  and Paul Anthony Stewart star. Walter Bobbie directs.

Spring 2014

Arlington (Feb-March 2014)

Too Much Sun by Nicky Silver (May-June 2014)

CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY (CSC)


csc_01
136 East 13th Street Twitter: @ClassicStage

New Romeo Julian Cihi

New Romeo Julian Cihi

Romeo and Juliet

The Shakespearean tragedy has shifted its casting, and now stars newcomer Julian Cihi, with Elizabeth Olsen, as well as T.R. Knight and Daphne Rubin-Vega.

September 27 – November 3, 2013

The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville

December 14 -

Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac star as two end-of-the-world survivors communicate through song-and-dance.

Spring 2014

A Man’s A Man by Bertolt Brecht

The Heir Apparent by David Ives

SECOND STAGEsecond_01

305 West 43rd Street. Twitter: @2STNYC

LittleMissSunshineLittle Miss Sunshine

October 15 – ?

A musical adaptation by James Lapine and William Finn of the 2006 film about the cross-country trip of a quirky family, including a father who is unsuccessful in selling his motivational success program and a young daughter who wants to win a beauty contest.

In Spring 2014:

The Happiest Song Plays Last  by Quiara Alegría Hudes

Sex With Strangers

RATTLESTICK PLAYWRIGHTS THEATER


rattle_01
Address: 224 Waverly Place (though frequenly also at the Cherry Lane)

Twitter: @rpt224 also: @RattlestickNY

 

Scarcity1The Hill Town Plays 
August 14-September 28

Five plays by Lucy Thurber about the life of one woman, presented in five different theaters in the West Village, as the first annual Theater: Village Festival.

One Night…
October 16 – December 7

Charles Fuller (A Soldiers Play) takes an unflinching look at what has happened to women in the US Armed Forces.

How to Make Friends and then Kill Them

October 23-December 14, 2013

A play by Halley Feiffer about three long-time friends faced with change because of a horrible accident.

Spring 2014

The Correspondent by Ken Urban (February 5 – March 23)

Ode to Joy, written and directed by Craig Lucas (February 12 – April 12)

The Few by Samuel D. Hunter (April 16 – May 31)

OTHER (POTENTIAL) HIGHLIGHTS

Here are shows that sound promising, in theaters I do not attend regularly enough to list as my favorites.

Women or Nothing: Filmmaker Ethan Coen’s first full-length play, directed by David Cromer, follows two women who are so desperate to have a child, one of them is willing to sleep with a man, August 28 – October 6, Atlantic Theater Company @AtlanticTheater

The Jacksonians:  The dark comedy by Beth Henley (“Crimes of the Heart”) is set in 1964 in her hometown, Jackson, Miss. Directed by Robert Falls, the production will feature Ed Harris, Glenne Headly, Amy Madigan and Bill Pullman, Oct. 25 – Dec. 15 , The New Group  @TheNewGroupNYC

The Commons of Pensacola: Blythe Danner and Sarah Jessica Parker star as a mother whose husband’s Wall Street scam became headline news, and the daughter who visits her in her straitened circumstances in Pensacola, Florida, in this playwriting debut for actress Amanda Peet. October 22 – January 12, Manhattan Theatre Club @MTC_NYC

SarahJessicaParker

The Bronx BombersEric Simonson‘s new play about the New York Yankees, September 17 – October 19, Primary Stages @PrimaryStages

And Away We Go.  A world premiere play by Terrence McNally (I’m surprised it hasn’t gotten more attention) that brings us  backstage in ancient Athens;  at the Globe during Shakespeare’s time; at the first reading of a new play by Chekhov; at the American premiere of Waiting for Godot, and several other important moments in theatrical history along the way. November 12 – December 15  The Pearl Theatre Company @PearlTheatreCo

NWF_2013_Water_613x463Always worth checking out: Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival which focuses on avant-garde experimental and European works that are sometimes hard to categorize. One of the nearly dozen New Wave Festival entries this year is entitled Water, and described as a “theatrical reverie,” intertwining two personal dramas cast in the shadow of the struggle against climate change: “how we can reach beyond ourselves and bond, like water, with those around us?”

Several of the resident theaters offer shows in both Broadway and Off-Broadway houses –  Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theatre  Club (MTC), and the Roundabout Theater Company. Their Broadway offerings are listed in my Broadway Fall 2013 guide

For a more comprehensive list of current Off-Broadway fare, check out the websites of the Off-Broadway League and the Off-Broadway Alliance

Off-Broadway theaters, by definition, have anywhere from 99 to 499 seats. If a theater has more seats than that, it’s a Broadway house. If it has fewer, it’s Off-Off Broadway.

Hollywood Movie to Broadway Musical 2013

BigFishfilmandmusical

Big Fish, the movie (top), with Alison Lohman and Ewan McGregor; the Broadway musical (bottom) with Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin

The director of “Amelie,”  Jean-Pierre Jeunet said he was “disgusted” by the plans to turn his film into a Broadway musical, selling his rights only because he wanted to give the money to a charity he supported.   “I hate Broadway. I think it is the very incarnation of tackiness,” he said in a radio interview (surely this sounded better in the original French.)

Hollywood feels differently.

The 2013-2014 Broadway theater season so far includes six shows – five of them musicals, one a play – that were movies. Here they are in the order of their planned openings on Broadway, with a summaries from the original films:

 Big Fish

(2003 film directed by Tim Burton)

Opening at Neil Simon Theater October 6, 2013.

A son tries to learn more about his dying father by reliving stories and myths he told about his life.

@BigFishBroadway

A Time To Kill

(1996 film directed by Joel Schumacher, based on a 1989 John Grisham legal thriller)

Opening  at John Golden Theater October 20, 2013. The only non-musical play in this season’s group of movie adaptations.

A young lawyer defends a black man accused of murdering two men who raped his 10-year-old daughter, sparking a rebirth of the KKK.

@ATimeToKillBway

The Bridges of Madison County

(1995 film directed by Clint Eastwood, based on a 1992 novel by Robert James Waller)

Opening at Gerald Schoenfeld February 27, 2014

Photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson, for four days in the 1960s.

@BridgesBroadway

Rocky

(a 1976 film directed by John G. Avildsen , written by and starring Sylvester Stallone)

Opening at Winter Garden March 13, 2014

A small-time boxer gets a supremely rare chance to fight the heavy-weight champion in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

@RockyonBroadway

Aladdin

(a 1992 Disney animated musical film directed by Ron Clements and John Musker

Opening at New Amsterdam March 20, 2014

Aladdin, a street urchin, accidentally meets Princess Jasmine, who is in the city undercover. They love each other, but she can only marry a prince.

@Aladdin

Bullets Over Broadway

(a 1994 film directed and co-written by Woody Allen), Opening at St. James April 10, 2014

In 1920s New York, a struggling playwright is forced to cast a mobster’s talentless girlfriend in his latest drama in order to get it produced.

@BulletsOverBway

The Hollywood/Broadway relationship began with the beginning of film, but it was largely in one direction. The earliest Hollywood movie made into a Broadway musical  seems to be the 1942 film My Sister Eileen with Rosalind Russell, which became the 1953 Broadway musical ‘Wonderful Town”…with Rosalind Russell
Other examples:
The Apartment (1960) became Promises, Promises (1968, recently revived.)
All About Eve (1950) became Applause (1970), which was the first musical based on a movie to win the Tony for Best Musical.
42nd Street (1933) became the 1980 musical of the same name.
Woman of the Year (1942) became the 1981 musical of the same name.

But it is arguably only in the past 20 years, and especially in the past decade, that the dominant direction has been from Hollywood to Broadway. Many of the most popular shows currently on Broadway started as movies: Newsies, Once, Kinky Boots, and of course The Lion King.

In the past, Hollywood studios simply sold their rights to a film to a Broadway producer, who would do the heavy lifting. Now the studios themselves are getting into the act. Every major Hollywood studio is planning to make a Broadway show – mostly musicals, an occasional play – out of their movies. A sampling of the plans:

Fox: Mrs. Doubtfire, The Devil Wears Prada

Sony: Tootsie

Universal: Animal House, Back to the Future, The Sting

Warner Brothers: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (currently in London), Magic Mike

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