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February 2015 New York Theater Openings

Nothing is opening on Broadway in February, which gives center stage to some very exciting Off-Broadway shows, including:

Hamilton at the Public, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop take on Alexander Hamilton

The Iceman Cometh at BAM with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy

Rasheeda Speaking, the New Group at Signature Theater Center, Cynthia Nixon’s directorial debut, starring Tonya Pinkins and Dianne Wiest.

And I finally am getting to see Between Riverside and Crazy, which I tried unsuccessfully four times to see at the Atlantic Theater. It is now opening in the more welcoming Second Stage.

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Nothing, of course, is guaranteed about any of these shows, even those that seem the most promising. (This is why I write reviews.) There are always surprises.

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

*Asterisk – Shows I plan to review as of this writing.

February 5, 2015

Texas In Paris (York Theatre Company)

Tony-winning powerhouse performer Lillias White stars in this story (based on a true one) of two Americans, one white, one black, brought together in France, who find a common bond through their songs.

February 8, 2015

Snow Orchid (Theatre Row – Lion)

Robert Cuccioli and Angelina Fiordellisi star in this play by Joe Pintauro about a stressed-out family in 1964 Brooklyn.

Pretty Filthy (The Playhouse, Abrons Arts Center)

The investigative theater company The Civilians this time look at the San Fernando Valley, world capital of porn

*The Lion (Lynn Redgrave Theater)

Benjamin Scheuer returns with his much-praised solo musical that tells his coming-of-age story.
The animation has helped promote the show (but is not part of it.)

February 9, 2015

LOVE/SICK (Royal Family Performing Arts Space)

John Cariani, the playwright of Almost, Maine,  has written “a one act, nine-play cycle about love and loss – but mostly loss. Each play has its own arc and tells the story of a couple at a crossroads in their relationship.” Together they chronicle “the lifecycle of a typical relationship.”

Brian Dykstra $elling Out (The Playroom Theatre)

A solo comedy by the HBO Def Poet,  playwright and actor.

February 10, 2015

ApplicationPending0285-150x150*Application Pending (Westside Theatre – Downstairs)

“A new comedy about the cutthroat world of kindergarten admissions at a New York private school. One actress portrays rookie admissions officer Christine and over forty other roles, including all the wild personalities that she has to deal with on her first day on the job.”

February 11, 2015

*Rasheeda Speaking (The New Group at The Pershing Square Signature Center)

Cynthia Nixon makes her directorial debut with this tense workplace thriller starring Dianne Wiest and Tonya Pinkins as once-friendly co-workers who are driven apart by their white boss. Written by Joel Drake Johnson, the play “examines the realities of so-called “post-racial” America.

*Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage)

BetweenRiverside2“For ex-cop and recent widower Walter “Pops” Washington and his recently paroled son Junior, the struggle to hold on to one of the last great rent stabilized apartments on Riverside Drive collides with old wounds, sketchy new houseguests, and a final ultimatum.” The terrific talent connected to this play includes the playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (The MotherF–er With The Hat), the director Austin Pendleton, and the star Stephen McKinley Henderson, who is, among other things, one of the foremost interpreters of the work of August Wilson.

February 12, 2015

*The Iceman Cometh (Brooklyn Academy of Music)

The production or the play by Eugene O’Neill with Nathan Lane and Bryan Denne originally appeared to extreme acclaim at the Goodman in Chicago. It is an event — almost five hours long, with three intermissions.  will be at the Brooklyn Academy of Music February 5 to March 15, 2015

The Events (New York Theater Workshop)

A hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this play by David Greig tells the story of a survivor’s search for compassion, peace and understanding in the wake of unthinkable violence.

Animals Out of Paper (McAlphin Hall At West Park Presbyterian Church)

A new production of an early play by Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo) “When a world-renowned origami artist opens her studio to a teenage prodigy and his school teacher, she discovers that life and love can’t be arranged neatly.”

 Everything You Touch (Rattlestick at Cherry Lane)

EverythingYouTouch2Sheila Callaghan’s look at fashion and the fashion industry in two different time periods, “a ruthless fashion designer in the 1970s” and then “a generation later, a woman grappling with a healthy dose of self-loathing must wrestle her own family demons to find her way through the world of fashion that won’t give a woman her size a second look

 February 13, 2015

You On The Moors Now (HERE)

“a grand theatrical examination of four well-known literary heroines of the 19th-century and their shocking rejection of the men who so ardently loved them”

February 14, 2015

Five Times in One Night (Ensemble Studio Theatre)

Chiara Atik’s “comic survey of sexual relations throughout human history, features actors Dylan Dawson and Darcy Fowler playing five different couples in five different time periods.”

 February 15, 2015

*The Subtle Body (59 E 59 – B)

The Subtle Body“In 1702, an eccentric English doctor travels to China with hopes that traditional Chinese medicine holds the key to unlocking the mechanics of the human pulse. But it’s his wife who makes a momentous discovery when she falls for their translator and discovers that there is more than one way to fill the heart.” In Mandarin and English with subtitles.

February 16, 2015

Kill Me Like You Mean It (Stolen Chair at Fourth Street Theatre)

KillMe2015-086BW_600-600x400“Ben Farrell, Private Investigator, discovers that his cases are appearing on the pages of a popular pulp serial… but the crimes are being penned before they happen in real life. The mystery grows darker still when Farrell reads his own death in the prophetic pages.”  A film noir for the stage.

February 17

*Hamilton (Public Theater)

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Hamilton, written and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, and directed by Thomas Kail — the same team that brought us “In The Heights” —  will be at the Public Theater January 20 to March 22. This new musical uses hip-hop to tell the story of the “political mastermind” who began life as a “bastard orphan.”

Little Children Dream of God (Roundabout Underground, Black Box Theatre)

In Jeff Augustin’s play, a young immigrant mother from Haiti is determined to forge a better life in America for her unborn son

 February 18

veriteshowposter.jpg__284x50000_q85_subsampling-2Verite (LCT3 – Claire Tow)

In Nick Jones new play, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Josephine, a stay-at-home mom and struggling writer, is offered an unusual deal for her memoir: she has to make her life exciting enough to publish. As mysterious and even sinister events start happening to her, Josephine has to decide how far she is willing to go to make her life into art.

Churchill (New World Stages)

ChurchillWinston Churchill “discusses his failures and his successes; his love of art, liquor and women; and the bravery of Britain’s finest hour.”

The Groundling (Axis Theatre)

“After stumbling upon a small outdoor production of a Shakespeare play in Manhattan, Long Island landscaper Bob Malone is inspired to write a play about his troubled marriage. He hires two reluctant New York theatre professionals to spend a week at his home and stage the play in his garage with a cast of colorful locals.”

February 19

One Day the Musical (3LD Art & Technology Center)

A new rock musical based on journal entries spanning two decades that tells the “journey of eight teenagers as they face ravaging internal struggles and exhilarating triumph.”

Pillow On The Stairs (The Cell Theatre)

“An unplanned pregnancy sets off a chain of events in the lives of three people….Every decision has lasting consequences.”

 February 20

Dutchman (Castillo Theater)

A revival of the best-known play by Amiri Baraka, “set on a New York City subway train, where Lula, a young white woman, strikes up a conversation with Clay, a young middle-class black man.”

 February 22

Winter's Tale at The PearlThe Winter’s Tale (The Pearl)

“Shakespeare’s later-career wise and winsome fairytale”

February 23

*Big Love (Signature Theatre)

Fifty brides flee their fifty grooms and seek refuge in an Italian villa in celebrated playwright Charles Mee’s modern re-making of one of the world’s oldest plays, The Danaids by Aeschylus

*The Insurgents (Labyrinth at Bank Street Theatre)

lab_insurgents_1216b_700x700Lucy Thurber writes about a woman who, having lost her athletic scholarship, returns home and “buries herself in books about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, John Brown, and Timothy McVeigh. She begins escaping into an interior world where their spirits talk to her, telling stories of their resistance to injustice.”

Rocket to the Moon (Peccadillo at St Clement’s Theater)

Revival of the 1938 play by Clifford Odets about a dentist whose business and marriage are both failing as he begins a love affair with a young dental assistant.

February 24

Lives of the Saints (Primary Stages at The Duke)

A new collection of short plays by David Ives (Venus in Fur), directed by John Rando (Urinetown, On The Town.)

The Nether (MCC Theater)

Jennifer Haley explores modern digital life, her central character a young female detective played by Merritt Wever (the young nurse Zoey Barkow in Nurse Jackie.)

WorldofExtremeHappinessThe World of Extreme Happiness (MTC at New York City Center – Stage 1)

Unwanted from the moment she’s born, Sunny is determined to escape her life in rural China and forge a new identity in the city.

February 25

Bright Half Life (Women’s Project Theater at New York City Center Stage II)

In a play by Tanya Barfield, “Erica meets Vicki. Vicki marries Erica. Lives collide. Rewind. Pause. Fast forward.”

*BROOKLYNITE (Vineyard Theatre)

features-large_brooklynite-keyartThis musical directed by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, Hedwig) and based on characters created by husband and wife authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, tells the story of a hardware store clerk who meets “Brooklyn’s most celebrated superhero” and together they try to save Brooklyn. Its impressive 13-member cast includes Nick Cordero (the best thing about Bullets Over Broadway), Matt Doyle and Ann Harada.

February 26

John & Jen (Keen Company at Theatre Row – Clurman)

Kate Baldwin and Conor Ryan in the 20th anniversary revival of Andrew Lippa’s chamber musical about a brother, a sister, and her son.

February 28

Delirium’s Daughters (Triumvirate Artists at Theatre Row – Studio Theatre)

A new farce. “A kind old gentleman believes his deceased wife has forbid their three daughters to marry, until one of the suitors plays a series of tricks that helps him deal with his loss and recover his sanity.”

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About New York Theater
Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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