I’ve viewed and recommend the following five plays and a musical that are still available, though two of them only through this weekend. (For theater that is opening this weekend, check out my April calendar. ) The shows are listed in chronological order by the last date of their scheduled run
Ending this Weekend
The Last 5 Years, through April 25
This 20-year-old musical of a love affair gone wrong (in which the man’s experiences are presented forward while the woman’s are presented in reverse) has a cult following which doesn’t include me, but I basked in this production as if hearing it for the first time (as I wrote in my review)
Neat, through April 25
Charlayne Woodard reprises her 1997 solo show as part of the Manhattan Theatre Club’s new Curtain Call series, in which she tells the vivid story of her own childhood, but also about of her Aunt Neat, who was brain damaged as an infant when a whites-only hospital refused to treat her after she was accidentally poisoned – one of the direct examples of the racism that affected the lives of her family.
Ending in May
Until The Flood, through May 9th
Studio Theatre of D.C. turns Dael Orlandersmith’s solo play about the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri into an ensemble piece with three Black actresses portraying eight widely varied characters from the area and the people with whom they interact, to present a picture not just of the reaction to this event, but about the country’s ongoing divisions, about trauma and escape, and about hope. (My review)
The Royale, through May 16
Part of Lincoln Center Theater’s new Private Reels series, showing videos of old stage productions, this one is from 2016 based on the life of Jack Johnson, the first African-American to become heavyweight boxing champion of the world, and at the time the most famous Black man in the world. The best things about the show (as I wrote in my 2016 review) are the intense and innovative theatricality directed by the extraordinary Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812) , a design team that makes us hear and feel the blows of a championship match without there being any actual physical contact on stage; and an exceptional five-member cast that includes two familiar faces – Clarke Peters from The Wire and Montego Glover from Memphis – and that marked te memorable New York stage debut by Khris Davis as Jay “The Sport” Jackson.
Two Sisters and a Piano, through May 23
In New Normal Rep’s second-ever production, a revival of Nilo Cruz’s play, Jimmy Smits plays a lieutenant in the Cuban army in 1991 who is supposed to keep tabs on the two women (Daphne Rubin-Vega and Florencia Lozano) who are under house arrest for political activity, but instead he becomes infatuated with one of them. The premise is steamy, the acting is engaging, the Zoom design is largely inventive. (My review)
Ending in August
The Woman’s Party, part 1, through August
This first of three 30-minute episodes about the National Woman’s Party, which was pushing for an Equal Rights Amendment many decades before the Senate finally passed one in the 1970s, is not just fascinating history but terrific entertainment. (My review.)