Theater Listings for Feb. 28-March 6

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Theater Listings for Feb. 28-March 6

Posted on: February 28th, 2014 by tommyj

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Intimacy The land of id is flooded with sunshine in Thomas Bradshaw’s sensationally square new play about pornography in an all-American suburb, with, from left, Daniel Gerroll, Ella Dershowitz, Austin Cauldwell and Déa Julien. Directed by Scott Elliott, this sui generis comedy presents sex in all its manifestations as something beyond jokes, remorse or censure. And it confirms Mr. Bradshaw’s status as one of the American theater’s most originally provocative playwrights (2:20). Acorn Theater at Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Ben Brantley)

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Approximate running times are in parentheses. Theaters are in Manhattan unless otherwise noted. Full reviews of current productions, additional listings, showtimes and ticket information are at A searchable, critical guide to theater is at

Previews and Openings

‘Aladdin’ (in previews; opens on March 20) The 1992 Disney film upon which this new musical is based is best remembered today for Robin Williams’s manic voice-over work and the Oscar-winning ballad “A Whole New World.” The song is still in there, along with several new ones, but James Monroe Iglehart has taken over as the motormouthed Genie. There is one repeat participant within the cast, however: Jonathan Freeman will once again play the villainous grand vizier Jafar. Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”) does double duty as director and choreographer. New Amsterdam Theater, 214 West 42nd Street, 866-870-2717, (Eric Grode)

‘All the Way’ (in previews; opens on Thursday) A cast of 20 in a new Broadway play? A play about the political maneuverings to pass legislation 50 years ago, no less? Well, the viability of this Lyndon B. Johnson drama looks a little better when you learn what that legislation is — the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — and who is playing L.B.J.: Bryan Cranston, the Emmy Award-winning star of “Breaking Bad.” He is joined by the likes of Michael McKean and John McMartin in this sprawling docudrama by Robert Schenkkan (“The Kentucky Cycle”). Neil Simon Theater, 250 West 52nd Street, 800-745-3000, (Grode)

‘Antony and Cleopatra’ (in previews; opens on Wednesday) News of a Shakespeare production coming from Stratford-upon-Avon conjures the image of British actors performing an authentic, letter-perfect rendition. That’s not the case here. Half the cast may hail from across the pond, including Jonathan Cake as Mark Anthony, but fidelity to the period is not an issue. Instead, Tarell Alvin McCraney (“The Brothers Size”) has directed and radically edited the piece, setting it in an 18th-century Haiti on the brink of revolution. Joaquina Kalukango, as Cleopatra, heads the American contingent of the cast. Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, 212-967-7555, (Grode)

‘Appropriate’ (in previews; opens on March 16) The young African-American playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins landed on the New York scene with a splash in 2010 when the Public Theater produced his “Neighbors,” which featured a black family in blackface performing tropes familiar from minstrel shows. In some ways, the racial makeup of his new work is even more radical: He has written a play for an all-white cast. But as its characters return to their crumbling Arkansas plantation home after the patriarch’s death, the troubling mementos they find once again vault to the forefront. Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-244-7529, (Grode)

‘The Architecture of Becoming’ (previews start on Friday; opens on March 9) New York City Center, the Moorish Revival theater that once held the Shriners and is now a top destination for theater (Encores!) and dance (Alvin Ailey, Fall for Dance), serves as the background for this ambitious undertaking by the Women’s Project, one of the building’s more recent inhabitants. Five different playwrights — including Kara Lee Corthron and Lauren Yee — team up with three directors to interweave fictional characters into the building’s storied history. City Center Stage II, 131 West 55th Street, 212-581-1212, (Grode)

‘Arlington’ (in previews; opens on Sunday) Solo musicals are an extremely demanding prospect, but that didn’t stop Paulette Haupt from starting the Premieres commissioning program. Over the years, she has enlisted respected songwriters to develop pieces for her Inner Voices series. One of those spawned this newly expanded piece by Polly Pen (“Goblin Market”) and Victor Lodato, about a soldier’s wife who is nursing doubts (and her husband’s bourbon) while he is off at war. Alexandra Silber (one of Tyne Daly’s students/combatants in the 2011 Broadway revival of “Master Class”) stars in this fully staged version. Vineyard Theater, 108 East 15th Street, Manhattan, 212-353-0303, (Grode)

‘Character Man’ (previews start on Friday; opens on Wednesday) This one-man show courtesy of Jim Brochu, best known for channeling Zero Mostel in the long-running “Zero Hour,” is a celebration of Broadway’s notable character actors. Mostel makes an appearance in this musical memoir, as do Jack Gilford, George S. Irving and Mr. Brochu’s personal mentor, David Burns, who won two Tony Awards (including one for appearing alongside Mostel in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”). Urban Stages, 259 West 30th Street, Manhattan, 212-868-4444, (Grode)

‘50 Shades! The Musical’ (in previews; opens on March 12) Don’t let the still-on-display “Silence! The Musical” posters fool you: It has been a full seven months since the Elektra Theater, in the shadow of the Port Authority, has played host to a bawdy spoof ending in “! The Musical.” That’s about to change, as this well-traveled parody of you-know-what reaches New York. If just 0.1 percent of the 70 million people who purchased copies of EL James’s phenomenally popular mommy-erotica trilogy buy tickets, the replacement posters will come in handy for some time. Elektra Theater, 674 Eighth Avenue, at 42nd Street, 212-352-3101, (Grode)

‘Hand to God’ (in previews; opens on March 10) The Devil is a sock puppet in this foul-mouthed, fun-packed play by Robert Askins about the urges that drive good men (and women, and boys) to dirty deeds. This play, which received critical acclaim during its Off Off Broadway run in 2011, is once again led by Steven Boyer as a troubled teenager at odds with his id. Geneva Carr also returns for this Off Broadway run. Lucille Lortel Theater, 121 Christopher Street, West Village, 866-811-4111, (Charles Isherwood)

‘The Happiest Song Plays Last’ (in previews; opens on Monday) Quiara Alegría Hudes’s first investigation into a troubled but supportive Puerto Rican family in North Philadelphia, “Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue,” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007; her 2011 sequel, “Water by the Spoonful,” won the award. Ms. Hudes’s latest drama, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, wraps up the Elliot Trilogy by following Elliot (Armando Riesco, who has appeared in all three works) and his cousin Yaz (Lauren Vélez) through a fateful year in both of their lives. Second Stage Theater, 305 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 212-246-4422, (Grode)

‘If/Then’ (previews start on Wednesday; opens on March 30) Almost 20 years ago, Michael Greif directed a group of absurdly talented young actors in “Rent,” cementing a very specific image of life as a 20-something New Yorker. Flash forward to this new musical, also directed by Mr. Greif, in which the slightest decisions of a soon-to-be-40-something New Yorker (embodied by one of those “Rent” stars, Idina Menzel) send her into alternate realities, both of which are interwoven onstage. Throw in another “Rent” alumnus (Anthony Rapp), as well as the creative team behind “Next to Normal” (the composer Tom Kitt and the book writer and lyricist Brian Yorkey), and you’ve got quite the pedigree. Richard Rodgers Theater, 226 West 46th Street, 877-250-2929, (Grode)

‘Measure for Measure’ (opens on Friday) The last time the six versatile actors who make up Fiasco Theater came to the New Victory Theater, it was with their acclaimed, bare-bones take on Shakespeare’s all-but-unplayable “Cymbeline” in 2011. This time they are back with a less troublesome Shakespeare work, even if it is classified as one of his problem plays. Think of the Fiasco sextet — which include the “Cymbeline” directors, Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld — as problem-solvers extraordinaire. New Victory Theater, 209 West 42nd Street, 646-223-3010, (Grode)

‘Les Misérables’ (previews start on Saturday; opens on March 23) Ah, the joys of synergy: The success of the film has induced Cameron Mackintosh to bring a new version to Broadway, where its most recent revival closed in 2008. This new, slightly streamlined staging has new scenic designs and orchestrations but no revolving turntable — a centerpiece of the original Broadway production. Among the cast members are a couple of “Hair” veterans (Will Swenson as Javert, Caissie Levy as Fantine); Nikki M. James, who won a Tony for “The Book of Mormon,” as Eponine; and the London theater star Ramin Karimloo, making his Broadway debut, as Jean Valjean. Imperial Theater, 249 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, (Grode)

‘Mothers and Sons’ (in previews; opens on March 24) In what is being billed as Terrence McNally’s 20th Broadway production, this new play features the star of his last Broadway outing: Tyne Daly, who made a formidable impression in the 2011 revival of “Master Class.” Here she plays a woman who visits her dead son’s former partner years later. She will be joined by two other people who have done well by Mr. McNally (and vice versa): Bobby Steggert, who received a Tony nomination for “Ragtime,” and Frederick Weller, part of the “Some Men” ensemble cast. Sheryl Kaller (“Next Fall”) directs. John John Golden Theater, 252 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, (Grode)

‘No Exit’ (in previews; opens on March 9) There’s something a bit perverse about subjecting members of the longest-running repertory company in New York to a play in which three people are doomed to spend eternity in the company of one another. But that’s exactly what the Pearl Theater has done with this mounting of Sartre’s 1944 existentialist classic, here receiving its first Off Broadway production in more than 15 years. Pearl Theater, 555 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-563-9261, (Grode)

‘The Open House’ (in previews; opens on Monday) A month before the downtown playwright Will Eno makes his Broadway debut with “The Realistic Joneses,” the Signature Theater has managed to pry one more Off Broadway play out of him. This one delves into the common tropes of family plays — or, as the Signature website calls them, Family Plays — while retaining more than a little of the off-kilter, deadpan whimsy common to such Eno works as “Thom Pain (based on nothing).” Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-244-7529, (Grode)

‘The Pig, or Vaclav Havel’s Hunt for a Pig’ (previews start on Thursday; opens on March 10) The Czech playwright Vaclav Havel was one of the most electrifying voices in 20th-century theater, but he put that part of his life on hold when he was elected president of his country in 1989. Luckily, Havel returned to writing after stepping down as president of the Czech Republic in 2003. Untitled Theater Company #61, which organized a citywide Havel festival in 2006, is presenting the final work by the master (written with Vladimir Moravek), a revision of his 1987 dialogue “The Pig.” It includes music from “The Bartered Bride,” an American journalist and a missing pig — and the production comes with a pre-show cabaret and Slovakian food. 3LD Art & Technology Center, 80 Greenwich Street, at Rector Street, Lower Manhattan, 866-811-4111, (Grode)

‘Rocky’ (in previews; opens on March 13) One of Hollywood’s more unlikely success stories, written by and starring an unknown 30-year-old named Sylvester Stallone, has become an even less likely Broadway musical. The mix of old Broadway hands with young blood is intriguing, though: The songwriting team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (“Ragtime”) and the book writer Thomas Meehan (“Annie”) are joined by the director Alex Timbers (“Here Lies Love”) and the fight choreographer Steven Hoggett (“Black Watch”). It apparently knocked ’em dead in Hamburg, Germany. But how will they recreate the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Winter Garden Theater, 1634 Broadway, at 50th Street, 212-239-6200, (Grode)

‘Satchmo at the Waldorf’ (in previews; opens on Tuesday) Not content with writing an acclaimed biography of Louis Armstrong (“Pops,” from 2009), Terry Teachout has turned his 1971 performances at the Waldorf-Astoria into a backstage drama as well. Life as a theater critic provides a lot of looks at a lot of actors, and Mr. Teachout, a theater critic for The Wall Street Journal, has found a formidable one in the Obie Award-winning John Douglas Thompson, who plays not just Armstrong but also his (white) manager, Joe Glaser, and Miles Davis. Westside Theater, 407 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Grode)

‘Stage Kiss’ (in previews; opens on Sunday) Art crashes into life in this new romantic drama by Sarah Ruhl (“In the Next Room, or the vibrator play”), in which two actors who share a romantic history are cast as romantic leads in a 1930s melodrama. Things apparently get surreal from there, as they tend to do in Ms. Ruhl’s work. Jessica Hecht and Dominic Fumusa star as the past and (possibly) present paramours. Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-279-4200, (Grode)

‘Sweeney Todd’ (opens on Wednesday) Fourteen years after he had to withdrew from a New York Philharmonic concert staging of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s 1979 masterpiece, the Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel is ready to take on the title role. He is scheduled to appear with Emma Thompson, making her New York stage debut as Mrs. Lovett. The director, Lonny Price, has surrounded these two musical theater newbies with a passel of pros, including Christian Borle, Jeff Blumenkrantz and the West End legend Philip Quast. Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonic’s music director, will once again lead the greatest pit orchestras in town. (Sorry, “After Midnight.”) Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, 212-875-5656, (Grode)

‘Tales From Red Vienna’ (in previews; opens on March 18) After winning a Tony Award as the reality-shifting temptress Vanda in “Venus in Fur,” Nina Arianda returns to period ribaldry in this new work by David Grimm (“Kit Marlowe”). Here she plays a World War I widow who grudgingly turns to prostitution. Kate Whoriskey (“Ruined”) directs an intriguing cast that includes Kathleen Chalfant and Michael Esper. Manhattan Theater Club at City Center Stage I, 131 West 55th Street, Manhattan, 212-581-1212, (Grode)


★ ‘After Midnight’ The stars of this tribute to the Harlem jazz clubs of the 1920s and ’30s are the 16 virtuosic musicians who perform — with verve, style and a good splash of sheer joy — about 25 songs from the period, with a special emphasis on Duke Ellington both as composer and arranger. The dancers and singers are terrific, and Adriane Lenox all but steals the show with her two lowdown numbers. But it’s really the Jazz at Lincoln Center All Stars on the bandstand at the back of the stage who shine brightest (1:30). Brooks Atkinson Theater, 256 West 47th Street,, 212-745-3000. (Isherwood)

‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’ This friendly, formulaic jukebox show about the New York-born singer-songwriter might as well be called “Brooklyn Girl,” so closely does it adhere to the template of the mega-hit “Jersey Boys” (about the Four Seasons). Jessie Mueller, though, is extraordinary as Ms. King, making us feel the connection between a singer and her songs (2:25). Stephen Sondheim Theater, 124 West 43rd Street, 212-239-6200, (Ben Brantley)

‘The Bridges of Madison County’ As a questioning farmer’s wife who briefly discovers a love with all the answers, Kelli O’Hara brings a rich and varied topography to what might have been strictly flat corn country. Adapted from Robert James Waller’s best-selling novel, this musical features a sumptuous score by Jason Robert Brown and a lust-worthy leading man in Steven Pasquale (2:30). Gerald Schoenfeld Theater, 236 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

★ ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ Playing eight different victims of a sweet-faced killer (Bryce Pinkham) in Edwardian England, Jefferson Mays sings, dances, prances and generally makes infectious merriment in this daffy, ingenious new musical. Written with real wit by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, the show has been stylishly directed by Darko Tresnjak (2:20). Walter Kerr Theater, 219 West 48th Street, 212-239-6200, (Isherwood)

★ ‘Kinky Boots’ Cyndi Lauper has created a love-and-heat-seeking score that performs like a pop star on Ecstasy. This Harvey Fierstein-scripted tale of lost souls in the shoe business, in which a young factory owner (Stark Sands) teams up with a drag queen (Billy Porter), sometimes turns into a sermon. But it’s hard to resist the audience-hugging charisma of the songs (2:20). Al Hirschfeld Theater, 302 West 45th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

★ ‘Matilda the Musical’ The most satisfying and subversive musical ever to come out of Britain. Directed by Matthew Warchus, with a book by Dennis Kelly and addictive songs by Tim Minchin, this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel is an exhilarating tale of empowerment, told from the perspective of that most powerless group, little children (2:35). Shubert Theater, 225 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

‘Motown: The Musical’ A dramatically slapdash but musically vibrant joy ride through the glory days of the Detroit music label founded by Berry Gordy. Mr. Gordy’s book is sketchy and obvious — you want to plug your ears whenever the music stops. But the music is, of course, some of the greatest R&B ever recorded, and the performers mostly electric (2:40). Lunt-Fontanne Theater, 205 West 46th Street, 877-250-2929, (Isherwood)

★ ‘No Man’s Land’/‘Waiting for Godot’ With Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart playing a couple of swells and a couple of hobos, Sean Mathias’s productions bring out the polish and shimmer in the language of these existential classics from Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. If these shows lack the requisite mortal chill, they allow us to savor fully some of the best dialogue ever written. (“Waiting for Godot”: 2:30; “No Man’s Land”: 2:00.) Cort Theater, 138 West 48th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

★ ‘Outside Mullingar’ Brian F. O’Byrne and Debra Messing give nicely honed performances in John Patrick Shanley’s lyrical romantic comedy set in the Irish Midlands. She’s mouthy, prickly and outgoing; he’s moody and withdrawn. Their gradual rapprochement isn’t surprising, but it’s immensely satisfying in Doug Hughes’s flawless production, which features excellent supporting work from Peter Maloney and Dearbhla Molloy (1:35). Samuel J. Friedman Theater, 261 West 47th Street, 212-239-6200, (Isherwood)

‘Pippin’ Diane Paulus sends in the acrobats for her exhaustingly energetic revival of Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson’s 1972 musical starring Patina Miller. As for the 99-pound story at the center of this muscle-bound spectacle — the one about the starry-eyed son of Charlemagne (Matthew James Thomas) — that’s there too, if you look hard (2:35). Music Box Theater, 239 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

Off Broadway

★ ‘Bayside! The Musical’ Attending this bawdy, ridiculous, unauthorized parody of the harebrained sitcom “Saved by the Bell” is a bit like going to a midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” given the many inside jokes and synchronized audience responses. Audience members know the material so well because half the humor comes from merely reproducing every ludicrous plot twist and trope from the TV show (including Zack’s giant cellphone, Becky the Duck and other allusions that will be familiar to longtime fans). The other half of the humor is just good-old fashioned raunch, usually playing up the horrifying ways to reinterpret a squeaky-clean children’s show (2:00). Theater 80, 80 St. Marks Place, East Village, 212-388-0388, (Catherine Rampell)

‘Bikeman: A 9/11 Play’ Thomas F. Flynn’s docudrama, adapted from his book “Bikeman,” recounts a journalist’s travels to ground zero on the day of the attacks (:55). TriBeCa Performing Arts Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers Street, near Greenwich Street, 212-220-1460, (Ken Jaworowski)

‘Bill W. and Dr. Bob’ Making the story of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous 99 percent preachiness-free is quite an accomplishment. Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey’s purpose-driven script, which never forgets the humor of the human experience, goes a long way toward making this a satisfying revival (2:15). SoHo Playhouse, 15 Van Dam Street, South Village, 866-811-4111, (Anita Gates)

★ ‘Buyer & Cellar’ Jonathan Tolins has concocted an irresistible one-man play from the most peculiar of fictitious premises — an underemployed Los Angeles actor goes to work in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu, Calif., basement — allowing the playwright to ruminate with delicious wit and perspicacity on the solitude of celebrity, the love-hate attraction between gay men and divas, and the melancholy that lurks beneath narcissism. In the capable hands of the director Stephen Brackett and the wickedly charming actor Michael Urie, this seriously funny slice of absurdist whimsy creates the illusion of a stage filled with multiple people, all of them with their own droll point of view (1:30). Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow Street, at Seventh Avenue South, West Village, 212-868-4444, (David Rooney)

‘The Correspondent’ Ken Urban’s pulpy psychodrama stars Thomas Jay Ryan as a widower who tries to contact his dead wife through highly unorthodox means, and achieves highly unorthodox results (1:30). Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, at 11th Street, Greenwich Village, 866-811-4111, (Isherwood)

‘Cougar the Musical’ Three older women find themselves attracted to younger men, two against their better judgment. The concept seems made for bus tours, but imagination, appealing numbers with original melodies and theme-transcending jokes lift this show well above the level of “Menopause: The Musical” and its ilk (1:30). Saturdays only. St. Luke’s Theater, 308 West 46th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Gates)

‘Cuff Me: The Fifty Shades of Grey Musical Parody’ What can I possibly say that isn’t said by the title of this production? Here’s one thing: It’s not exactly great theater, but I’d still rather see “Cuff Me” than read the novel upon which it’s based (1:30). Actors Temple Theater, 339 West 47th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Claudia La Rocco)

‘Dinner With Friends’ As a happily married man whose life is upended when his best friend announces he is leaving his wife, Jeremy Shamos (“Clybourne Park”) gives a standout performance in this solid but sometimes emotionally distant production of Donald Margulies’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about negotiating the rough middle years of marriage (2:00). Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theater, 111 West 46th Street,, 212-719-1300. (Isherwood)

‘Disaster!’ Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick lampoon those cheesy 1970s movies in which fistfuls of C-list stars were clobbered by various unnatural acts of nature. Deathlessly awful songs from the same era — “Torn Between Two Lovers,” “Feelings,” “I Am Woman” — are thrown in for good measure (2:05). St. Luke’s Theater, 308 West 46th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Isherwood)

‘Hamlet’ The Bedlam company presents a four-person, stripped-down production that is modest and sensitive to the sound of the poetry of the play (3:30). Lynn Redgrave Theater at the Culture Project, 45 Bleecker Street, at Lafayette Street, East Village, 866-811-4111, (Jason Zinoman)

★ ‘Handle With Care’ Jason Odell Williams has written something special: a Jewish Christmas story. Carol Lawrence is the star attraction as an Israeli grandmother in this hilarious and heartwarming story about a lost corpse and a lost love. The other three cast members, however, are adorable — and a couple of generations younger (1:45). Westside Theater Downstairs, 407 West 43rd Street, Clinton,, 212-239-6200. (Gates)

‘iLuminate’ More spectacle than story, “iLuminate” offers technology as its most dazzling star. Conceived, produced and directed by Miral Kotb, a former software engineer, the show employs about a dozen talented, indefatigable young actor-dancers, encased in black suits wired with digitally controlled lights. Performing in total darkness to a score combining hip-hop, jazz and classical influences, they portray the tale of an artist whose magic paintbrush is stolen for evil ends. Much of the action is like a neon comic book, but it does have its magic moments (:55). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Laurel Graeber)

‘Intimacy’ The land of id is flooded with sunshine in Thomas Bradshaw’s sensationally square new play about pornography in an all-American suburb. Directed by Scott Elliott, this sui generis comedy presents sex in all its manifestations as something beyond jokes, remorse or censure. And it confirms Mr. Bradshaw’s status as one of the American theater’s most originally provocative playwrights (2:20). Acorn Theater at Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

‘Kung Fu’ The exciting action-dance sequences, full of furious fists and flashing legs, supply all the propulsive energy in David Henry Hwang’s otherwise pedestrian bio-drama about the martial arts master and action movie star Bruce Lee, played by a perky Cole Horibe, of the television competition “So You Think You Can Dance” (2:00). Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-244-7529, (Isherwood)

★ ‘London Wall’ John van Druten’s lively 1931 office comedy is a provocative, socially conscious bit of fun that never made it to Broadway, even in an era when many of his plays did. Watching Davis McCallum’s brisk, pitch-perfect production feels like stumbling across a lost film classic by Howard Hawks: How did this fresh and fizzy thing fall into obscurity (2:30)? Mint Theater, 311 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 866-811-4111, (Laura Collins-Hughes)

★ ‘Love and Information’ This thought-churning, deeply poignant new work by Caryl Churchill is made up of 57 — count ’em, 57 — short plays about our multifarious ways of trying to connect with and understand one another and the splintered world around us. It is directed with dizzying fluency by James Macdonald, and features 15 actors playing more than 100 roles (2:00). Minetta Lane Theater, 18 Minetta Lane, Greenwich Village, 800-982-2787, (Brantley)

★ ‘Murder for Two’ After a successful run at Second Stage Uptown, this show returns to another Off Broadway space, New World Stages. In this nifty mystery musical comedy by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, a virtuosic Jeff Blumenkrantz plays all the suspects, and Brett Ryback the investigating officer. The actors also provide the music, taking turns at the piano, under Scott Schwartz’s fleet direction (1:30). 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Isherwood)

★ ‘My Mother Has 4 Noses’ In Jonatha Brooke’s haunted and haunting solo play with music, she is bearing witness, recounting the descent into dementia of her mother, Darren Stone Nelson, and her experience of caring for Ms. Nelson in the last years of her life. Unavoidably sad yet poignantly funny, it is a narrative created beautifully out of mourning (1:45). The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 West 42nd Street, Manhattan, 646-223-3010, (Collins-Hughes)

‘Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes’ The story of Mr. Hayes’s five-year imprisonment in Turkey for trying to smuggle hashish has been presented before: in “Midnight Express,” his 1976 memoir, and in the 1978 movie adaptation. But as he makes clear in this one-man show, the movie omits much of his ordeal, and what it does present has, shall we say, a high degree of historical revisionism. Mr. Hayes sets the story straight in this engrossing production, and the facets of his tale not covered in the film are highlights (1:30). St. Luke’s Theater, 308 West 46th Street, 212-239-6200, (Andy Webster)

★ ‘Saint Joan’ With just four actors playing 24 characters, Bedlam’s wonderfully high-spirited production of Shaw’s 1920 semi-tragedy leads its audience into, out of and all over the space. Eric Tucker’s inventive direction and the four superb performers make it well worth the time. It returns to the stage after a previous run at the Access Theater this year to run in repertory with Bedlam’s “Hamlet” (3:00). Lynn Redgrave Theater at the Culture Project, 45 Bleecker Street, at Lafayette Street, East Village, 866-811-4111, (Grode)

‘Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man’ Matt Murphy’s one-act is a blend of a bachelorette party at Chippendales and the embarrassing midnight show at some tourist trap in Pigalle. It has a talented cast, but it is no “Queer Eye” (1:20). 777 Theater, 777 Eighth Avenue, at 47th Street, Manhattan, 888-841-4111, (Gates)

‘La Soirée’ The side show meets the big top in this naughty hybrid of burlesque and circus, featuring performers like the comic chanteuse Meow Meow and a waterlogged hunk taking a very gymnastic bath (2:00). Union Square Theater, 100 East 17th Street, 800-653-8000, (Isherwood)

‘Til Divorce Do Us Part: The Musical’ This revue, considering its provenance (its lyricist and choreographer, Ruthe Ponturo, conceived it after being dumped by her husband), is surprisingly spry, nimble and spleen-free. Happy to let finesse, buoyant ditties and high spirits prevail over its darker undercurrents, it is highly recommended for others who have survived (or are surviving) its titular ordeal (1:30). DR2 Theater, 103 East 15th Street, 212-239-6200, (Webster)

‘Transport’ Politics, history and exile are much on the minds of Thomas Keneally (“Schindler’s List”) and Larry Kirwan (of the band Black 47), whose new musical is set on a 19th-century prison ship packed with Irishwomen and bound for Australia. The show floats along on the strength of its fiddle- and flute-filled score, but the spare book makes the characters seem more like ideas than people (1:45). Irish Repertory Theater, 132 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, 212-727-2737, (Collins-Hughes)

★ ‘The Tribute Artist’ Charles Busch’s new comedy — about a man who impersonates his dead landlady for mercenary reasons — is delightful and slyly insightful. Co-starring the invaluable Julie Halston, Mr. Busch’s longtime aide-de-camp in theater, the show subversively blurs lines between fact and fiction, male and female and, most daringly, what we think of as moral and immoral behavior (2:10). 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, 212-279-4200, (Brantley)

Off Off Broadway

★ ‘The Norwegians’ There is every chance that C. Denby Swanson wrote this odd, dark, profane comedy — about really sweet Scandinavian hit men in Minnesota and the young women who hire them — after falling asleep during “Fargo.” But this low-budget guilty pleasure, which was a hit this spring and returns with the original cast, delivers solid laughs while making fun (in mostly nice ways) of various ethnicities and American states. And one actress demonstrates how good Mary-Louise Parker might be as a stand-up comic (1:30). Drilling Company Theater, 236 West 78th Street, 212-868-4444, (Gates)

‘Sotto Voce’ A Holocaust story long unspoken has the power to unbalance lives in Nilo Cruz’s fanciful new drama about the borders of love. An elderly Berlin-born author (Franca Sofia Barchiesi, wonderfully cast) and a young Cuban Jew (Andhy Mendez, not so wonderfully) embark on an affair of the imagination, gently romancing in a dream space. Mr. Cruz directs (1:30). Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue, at Ninth Street, East Village, 212-254-1109, (Collins-Hughes)

‘Thank You for Being a Friend’ This shrill, frantic musical drag parody of “The Golden Girls” — one of the best-written and -acted sitcoms of the 1980s and ’90s — is so raunchy, overwrought and redolent with misogyny, it would be hard to call it affectionate (1:30). (Wednesdays only.) Laurie Beechman Theater, inside the West Bank Cafe, 407 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-352-3101, (Webster)

★ ‘Then She Fell’ Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice” books, this transporting immersive theater work occupies a dreamscape where the judgments and classifications of the waking mind are suspended. A guided tour of Wonderland, created by Third Rail Projects, leads its participants through a series of rooms and an interactive evening of dance, poetry, food and drink (2:00). The Kingsland Ward at St. John’s, 195 Maujer Street, near Humboldt Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-374-5196, (Brantley)


‘Queen of the Night’ The latest and most lavish of this city’s immersive theater experiments includes cocktails, a meal and a circus-style floor show, in addition to any number of possible intimate, eroticism-tinged (but PG-13) encounters with the comely young cast members. The show is not for the social anxiety-prone, but full of gaudy spectacle, with a fin-de-Bloomberg-era vibe (2:45). Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel, 235 West 46th Street, Manhattan, 866-811-4111, (Isherwood)

Long-Running Shows

‘Avenue Q’ R-rated puppets give lively life lessons (2:15). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200,

‘The Berenstain Bears Live! In Family Matters, the Musical’ This adaptation of three of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s children’s books is pleasant enough, but the cubs are showing their age. Saturdays and Sundays (:55). Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, 5 West 63rd Street, 866-811-4111,

‘Black Angels Over Tuskegee’ The tear-jerker story of these trailblazing African-American pilots (2:30). (Saturdays only.) Actors Temple Theater, 339 West 47th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200,

Blue Man Group Conceptual art as entertainment (1:45). Astor Place Theater, 434 Lafayette Street, East Village, 800-258-3626,

‘The Book of Mormon’ Singing, dancing, R-rated missionaries proselytize for the American musical (2:15). Eugene O’Neill Theater, 230 West 49th Street, 800-432-7250,

‘Chicago’ Jazz Age sex, murder and razzle-dazzle (2:25). Ambassador Theater, 219 West 49th Street, 212-239-6200,

‘The Fantasticks’ Boy meets girl, forever (2:05). Snapple Theater Center, 210 West 50th Street, 800-745-3000,

‘Jersey Boys’ The biomusical that walks like a man (2:30). August Wilson Theater, 245 West 52nd Street, 212-239-6200,

‘The Lion King’ Disney’s call of the wild (2:45). Minskoff Theater, 200 West 45th Street, 800-870-2717,

‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ Directed by José Zayas and performed by an efficient four-actor crew, Caridad Svich’s adaptation of the Gabriel García Márquez novel is pleasing but lightweight. A production cannot live on romance alone. In Spanish with subtitles (2:00). Runs in repertory at Gramercy Arts Theater, 138 East 27th Street, Manhattan, 212-889-2850,

‘Mamma Mia!’ The jukebox musical set to the disco throb of Abba (2:20). Broadhurst Theater, 235 West 44th Street, 800-432-7259,

‘Newsies’ Extra! Extra! enthusiasm (2:20). Nederlander Theater, 208 West 41st Street, 866-870-2717,

‘Once’ Almost love, in a singing Dublin (2:15). Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 242 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200,

‘Perfect Crime’ The murder mystery that has been investigated since 1987 (1:30). Snapple Theater Center, 210 West 50th Street, 800-745-3000,

‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Who was that masked man anyway? (2:30). Majestic Theater, 247 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200,

‘Rock of Ages’ Big hair, thrashing guitars and inspired humor fuel this jukebox musical (2:25). Helen Hayes Theater, 240 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200,

‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ The ultimate makeover story, restyled for a red-carpet age (2:20). Broadway Theater, 1681 Broadway, at 53rd Street, 212-239-6200,

‘Sistas: The Musical’ Black women reflect on their lives, with songs (1:30). (Saturdays and Sundays.) St. Luke’s Theater, 308 West 46th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200,

‘Sleep No More’ A movable, murderous feast at Hotel Macbeth (2:00). The McKittrick Hotel, 530 West 27th Street, Chelsea, 866-811-4111,

‘Stomp’ And the beat goes on (and on), with percussion unlimited (1:30). Orpheum Theater, 126 Second Avenue, at Eighth Street, East Village, 800-982-2787,

‘Wicked’ Oz revisited (2:45). Gershwin Theater, 222 West 51st Street, 800-745-3000,

Last Chance

‘Almost, Maine’ (closes on Sunday) Nine interlocking love stories occur on the same moonless Maine night in this rom-com revival. Four actors (including the show’s author, John Cariani) play 19 different characters. Many are afflicted by some idiom about love made literal. The writing is earnest and thoughtful, and the performances often very affecting and funny, but the show occasionally descends into deep, gooey cheesiness (2:00). The Gym at Judson, 243 Thompson Street, at Washington Square South, Greenwich Village, 866-811-4111, (Rampell)

★ ‘Breakfast With Mugabe’ (closes on Sunday) To his critics in the West, the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is an election-rigger, a thug who uses past victimhood to justify further oppression. To Dr. Peric, a white psychiatrist, he is just another patient. That is the premise of Fraser Grace’s trenchant, magnificently acted play, inspired by news reports that Mr. Mugabe did seek counsel from a white psychiatrist despite his lifelong image as one opposed to white authority figures. What follows is less a cooperative, therapeutic relationship than an unwinking power struggle (1:30). The Lion Theater at Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton,, 212-239-6200. (Rampell)

‘Bronx Bombers’ (closes on Sunday) This dreamy love letter to the Yankees, the latest in a series of sports-themed plays written and directed by Eric Simonson, stars Peter Scolari as Yogi Berra, trying to hold the team together during the fractious 1977 season. The drama drains away, however, during an odd second act at which a pinstriped pantheon (Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter) sits down to dinner together, presumably in Yogi’s fevered imagination (2:10). Circle in the Square, 235 West 50th Street, 212-239-6200, (Isherwood)

‘The Faire’ (closes on Saturday) This loopy but smart comedy by Crystal Finn details the backstage angst among members of a theater troupe at a fading Renaissance fair. As the threat of a shutdown looms, four performers and a woman who sells churros contemplate love, sex and the future (1:15). Fourth Street Theater, 83 East Fourth Street, East Village, 212-868-4444, (Neil Genzlinger)

‘Machinal’ (closes on Sunday) Lyndsey Turner’s stylish revival of Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 drama, about one woman’s descent into murder and madness, features a spectacular set (by Es Devlin) and a star to match in Rebecca Hall. The supporting cast rarely captures the hypnotic cadences of this Expressionistic drama, and scenes that should be suspenseful sag. But Ms. Hall’s emotionally transparent performance burns bright throughout (1:35). American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street,, 212-719-1300. (Brantley)

★ ‘My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer’ (closes on Saturday) Part Sam Shepard gothic yarn, part “Moth Radio Hour” confession, this play tells the story of two sisters in their 20s, living with their ailing, indifferent mother on the High Plains and desperate for a way out. Written by Brian Watkins and directed by Danya Taymor, this taut and thoughtfully staged work sketches a darkly funny tableau of domestic isolation and frustration that insists on release (1:00). Flea Theater, 41 White Street, TriBeCa, 212-352-3101, (Daniel M. Gold)

★ ‘Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812’ (closes on Sunday) Dave Malloy’s transporting pop opera dramatizes an emotionally potent slice of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.” Rachel Chavkin directs a superb young cast who bring the loves and losses of 19th-century Russian aristocrats to vibrant, intimate life in a stylish cabaret setting (2:30). Kazino, West 45th Street, near Eighth Avenue, (Isherwood)

‘Pains of Youth’ (closes on Sunday) Ferdinand Bruckner’s 1926 play about sex and unhappiness among the curdled youth of Vienna gets an unconvincing staging from the Cake Shop Theater Company. The production’s naturalism undermines the perverse and the pathological in the material (2:10). Access Theater, 380 Broadway, at White Street, TriBeCa, 212-868-4444, (Rachel Saltz)

‘Philosophy for Gangsters’ (closes on Saturday) After her family dies in a hail of bullets they always knew would be their lot, a Mafia princess feels that philosophers are the true menace to society; she and her gang kidnap a philosophy professor as a first step in an attack on determinism. Written and directed by Liz and Barry Peak, this would-be dark comedy goes on for at least a half-hour too long, losing steam and humor by the minute (2:00). Beckett Theater on Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Gold)

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