Theater Listings for June 13-19

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Theater Listings for June 13-19

Posted on: June 13th, 2014 by tommyj

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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

‘Donogoo’ (in previews; opens on June 23) In Jules Romains’s 1930 farce, a geographer makes a great discovery, locating the mineral-rich realm of Donogoo. Soon investors and prospectors are salivating. Trouble is, Donogoo doesn’t exist. Gus Kaikkonen, who led a revival of Romains’s “Dr. Knock,” translates and directs this absurdly imperialist play for the Mint Theater. 311 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 866-811-4111, (Alexis Soloski)

‘Gertrude Stein Saints!’ (in previews; opens on Tuesday) Theater Plastique beatifies Gertrude Stein with this work, which matches Stein’s librettos for “Four Saints in Three Acts” and “Saints and Singing” with varied musical genres, including rap, blues, doo-wop, country, gospel and more. The 13 singers in the cast also composed the score; Michelle Sutherland directs. Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street, at Pitt Street, Lower East Side, 866-811-4111, (Soloski)

‘Holler If Ya Hear Me’ (in previews; opens on Thursday) In a 1996 interview, the rapper Tupac Shakur said, “All I’m trying to do is survive and make good out of the dirty, nasty, unbelievable lifestyle that they gave me.” Does making good involve a Broadway show? Mr. Shakur receives the posthumous jukebox treatment — courtesy of the director Kenny Leon and the book writer Todd Kreidler — with this new musical inspired by his lyrics. Palace Theater, 1564 Broadway, at 47th Street, 877-250-2929, (Soloski)

‘The Lion’ (in previews; opens on June 26) Manhattan Theater Club presents Benjamin Scheuer’s autobiographical solo musical concerning his father’s death and his own cancer diagnosis and recovery. Sean Daniels directs the piece, performed by Mr. Scheuer (winner of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ Cole Porter Award for songwriting). MTC Studio II City Center, 131 West 55th Street, 212-581-1212, (Soloski)

‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (in previews; opens on Monday) Sigh no more, theatergoers. Hamish Linklater and Lily Rabe, so lovely in “The Merchant of Venice,” have returned to the Delacorte Theater as the sparring lovers Beatrice and Benedick in this comedy. The noted Shakespearean director Jack O’Brien is making his Central Park debut, with a cast that also includes Brian Stokes Mitchell, Pedro Pascal and John Glover. Delacorte Theater, Central Park, enter the park at 81st Street and Central Park West, 212-539-8750, (Soloski)

‘The Muscles in Our Toes’ (previews start on Saturday; opens on June 26) Ah, the high school reunion. A chance to see who is bald, who is fat and who has been kidnapped by a fringe political group. In Stephen Belber’s comedy for Labyrinth Theater, four characters hatch a plan to rescue their friend from a terrorist cell. Anne Kauffman directs a cast including Amir Arison and Matthew Maher. Bank Street Theater, 155 Bank Street, West Village, 212-513-1080, (Soloski)

‘Pat Kirkwood Is Angry’ (in previews; opens on Sunday) This solo show by the British actress Jessica Walker recreates the life of Pat Kirkwood, a stage and screen star in wartime England. Through popular song and monologue, the piece explores Kirkwood’s tumultuous career and the allegations of an affair with Prince Philip, which Kirkwood denied, that nearly scuttled it. 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, 212-279-4200, (Soloski)

‘When We Were Young and Unafraid’ (in previews; opens on Tuesday) At a remote bed-and-breakfast in Washington State in 1972, Agnes offers muffins, coffee and succor to vulnerable and abused women. Sarah Treem’s Manhattan Theater Club show, which stars Cherry Jones, explores various forms of feminism and femininity. The director Pam MacKinnon’s ace cast also includes Cherise Boothe, Patch Darragh and Zoe Kazan. City Center, 131 West 55th Street, 212-581-1212, (Soloski)

‘The Who & the What’ (in previews; opens on Monday) The playwright Ayad Akhtar received critical acclaim and a Pulitzer Prize for “Disgraced,” his exploration of a New York highflier who rejects his Muslim heritage. Now Mr. Akhtar reteams with the director of that play, Kimberly Senior, and LCT3, where it had its New York premiere, for his follow-up, another charged domestic drama in which a daughter writing a book on women and Islam quarrels with her father and sister. Claire Tow Theater, Lincoln Center, 212-239-6200, (Soloski)


★ ‘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 (now including Patti LaBelle, through June 29) 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, (Charles Isherwood)

‘Aladdin’ Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”) directs and choreographs (and choreographs, and choreographs) the latest Disney musical, adapted from the 1992 animated movie. While the familiar formulas are not entirely abandoned, Mr. Nicholaw and the book writer, Chad Beguelin, stuff so much splashy, shticky business into this show that the more syrupy bits hardly register. James Monroe Iglehart stands out as the showboating, scene-stealing genie (2:20). New Amsterdam Theater, 214 West 42nd Street, 866-870-2717, (Isherwood)

‘All the Way’ Bryan Cranston makes a commanding Broadway debut as Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s mostly absorbing drama about the tumultuous first year of the Johnson presidency. The Tony-winning play, directed by Bill Rauch, sorely needs streamlining, but Mr. Cranston’s dynamic performance gives it a compelling center (2:50). Neil Simon Theater, 250 West 52nd Street, 800-745-3000, (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 megahit “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)

‘Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical’ This occasionally funny but mostly just loud adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1994 film, directed by Susan Stroman, features a score of 1920s standards and esoterica. If watching the movie was like being gently tickled into a state of hysteria, this musical version feels more like being head-butted by linebackers. Make that linebackers in blinding sequins (2:30). St. James Theater, 246 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

‘Cabaret’ Only a decade after it closed, Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s popular, audience-teasing reincarnation of this classic musical feels as if it never left us. Alan Cumming seems to be having the time of his life reprising the creepy, tragic M.C., a role he redefined for the ages. Michelle Williams appears somewhat less comfortable as the madcap Sally Bowles (2:30). Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street, 212-719-1300, (Brantley)

‘Casa Valentina’ A gentle magic whispers amid the speechifying of Harvey Fierstein’s prolix play about cross-dressing in the Catskills in the early 1960s. Directed with ripples of beauty by Joe Mantello, and featuring a first-rate cast, this production has the heaviness of an old-fashioned message drama. But it captures the blessed consummation that occurs for ordinary men transformed into women (2:15). Samuel J. Friedman Theater, 261 West 47th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

★ ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ Michael Grandage’s splendid production of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy from 1996 is a ringing testament to the talents of everyone involved. That includes its star, Daniel Radcliffe, who plays a misshapen boy from rural Ireland with Hollywood dreams; an unimpeachable ensemble; and, most important, Mr. McDonagh, whose spellbinding narrative powers have seldom been so alluringly displayed (2:20). Cort Theater, 138 West 48th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

★ ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & 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 show, winner of the Tony Award for best 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)

★ ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ Though he plays an “internationally ignored song stylist” of undefinable gender in John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s 1998 rock musical, Neil Patrick Harris is in full command of what he becomes here. That’s a bona fide Broadway star, who can rule an audience with the blink of a sequined eyelid. Michael Mayer directed this mightily entertaining, Tony Award-winning exercise in crowd control (1:30). Belasco Theater, 111 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

‘If/Then’ This new musical from Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (“Next to Normal”) is a gleaming drawing board of a show, full of polished surfaces and clearly drawn lines. The shiny-voiced Idina Menzel portrays a conflicted urban planner pondering two different roads her life might have taken. The show feels less like a variation on a theme, than a dogged reiteration of it (2:35). Richard Rodgers Theater, 226 West 46th Street, 877-250-2929, (Brantley)

★ ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill’ Audra McDonald scales her lustrous soprano down to jazz-soloist size to portray the great Billie Holiday in this concert-cum-solo-play by Lanie Robertson. Ms. McDonald’s terrific performance moves beyond mimicry to become a haunting portrait of a troubled artist who could only find equilibrium in her life when she lost herself in her music (1:30). Circle in the Square, 235 West 50th Street, 212-239-620, (Isherwood)

‘Les Misérables’ It’s back — again. Capitalizing on the popular movie, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil’s musical about the French fellow who steals a loaf of bread and lives to regret it storms Broadway in a new production. Ramin Karimloo, as the long-suffering bread-stealer, and Will Swenson, as his relentless foe, Javert, give sterling performances (2:50). Imperial Theater, 249 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, (Isherwood)

‘Mothers and Sons’ In this impeccably acted production about the legacy of AIDS, Terrence McNally uses the old-fashioned form of the drawing room drama to take pulse of a gay American subculture. It doesn’t avoid the stasis of most debate plays. But it features affecting moments from Frederick Weller, Bobby Steggert and the formidable Tyne Daly (1:30). John Golden Theater, 252 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

‘Of Mice and Men’ In Anna D. Shapiro’s respectable, respectful and generally inert revival of John Steinbeck’s classic portrait of a friendship, James Franco and Chris O’Dowd are the immortal itinerant farmhands George and Lenny. These two undeniably talented screen stars here wear their archetypes like armor. The competent cast includes Leighton Meester as the woman who destroys their lives (2:20). Longacre Theater, 220 West 48th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

★ ‘The Realistic Joneses’ Plays as moving and funny, as wonderful and weird as Will Eno’s meditation on the confounding business of being alive (and contemplating mortality) do not come along often on Broadway. Or ever. Sam Gold directs a flawless cast: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Marisa Tomei (1:30). Lyceum Theater, 149 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, (Isherwood)

‘Rocky’ The final 16 minutes of this adaptation of the 1976 movie — about a schlemiel who coulda been a contender — are terrific. That’s when the climactic boxing match occurs, and it’s a hell of a fight. Otherwise, this sluggish show’s sensibility isn’t just underdog; it’s hangdog. Alex Timbers directs a cast that includes the valiant and appealing Andy Karl (2:20). Winter Garden Theater, 1634 Broadway, at 50th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

★ ‘Violet’ A terrific, heart-stirring revival of Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s musical about a young woman from the South who hopes a faith healer can cure the facial scar that has blighted her adolescence. Sutton Foster gives a moving, career-redefining performance in the title role, with nary a tap shoe in sight (1:45). American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street, 212-719-1300, (Isherwood)

Off Broadway

‘The Anthem’ It’s complete folly to adapt Ayn Rand’s wooden novella “Anthem,” a belabored paean to individualism, as a straight stage drama. Far better to give it a goofy, spoofy spin, as this exuberant musical does, pouring on dazzling trimmings, including aerial acrobatics, wonderful “Jetsons”-like costumes and a critical element absent in Rand’s didactic prose: humor (2:20). Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project, 45 Bleecker Street, near Lafayette Street, East Village, 866-811-4111, (Andy Webster)

★ ‘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)

★ ‘Blink’ This lovely relationship play by Phil Porter, part of the Brits Off Broadway festival, is all the more impressive because the two characters, Sophie (Lizzy Watts) and Jonah (Thomas Pickles), rarely address each other directly. He’s a social misfit from the country who rents an apartment in London that she owns. She’s a bit of a misfit too; she anonymously sends him a video monitor that lets him watch her at home. Then things get weird (1:15). 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, 212-279-4200, (Neil Genzlinger)

★ ‘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 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. Stephen Brackett directs this seriously funny slice of absurdist whimsy (1:30). Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow Street, at Seventh Avenue South, West Village, 212-868-4444, (David Rooney)

★ ‘Carnival Kids’ A faded former rock star, unable to navigate a world ruled by technology, crashes at his son’s apartment in Lucas Kavner’s very funny new play, directed by Stephen Brackett for Lesser America. Part father-son reckoning, it becomes a sort of odd-couple romance as friendship blossoms between the musician (Randall Newsome) and his son’s roommate (Max Jenkins), a man-child whose isolation is directly connected to his digital life (1:35). TBG Theater, 312 West 36th Street, 212-868-4444, (Laura Collins-Hughes)

★ ‘The City of Conversation’ Jan Maxwell gives a captivating, multifaceted performance as a well-connected Washington dinner hostess in Anthony Giardina’s lively drama, which charts the rise of our polarized politics through the microcosm of a single family. Smoothly directed by Doug Hughes (2:00). Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center, 212-239-6200, (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, (Anita Gates)

‘Ethel Sings: The Unsung Song of Ethel Rosenberg’ The playwright Joan Beber issues a posthumous pardon to Ethel Rosenberg (Tracy Michailidis), executed for conspiring to commit espionage in 1953. Like a morbid episode of “This Is Your Life,” this overwrought and simplistic drama runs from Ethel’s days as a high school thespian right up to the electric chair. With Adrienne C. Moore of “Orange Is the New Black” as Ethel’s imaginary cellie (2:00). Beckett Theater at Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Soloski)

‘A Fable’ This saggy, perplexing parable by David Van Asselt concerns an angel and a devil fighting for the soul of a laggard soldier. All the characters, earthly and unearthly, remain one-dimensional, which is appropriate to an allegory, though it’s never really clear just what Mr. Van Asselt wants to symbolize. The moral of the story: No one wins (2:30). Cherry Lane Theater, 38 Commerce Street, West Village, 866-811-4111, (Soloski)

★ ‘The Few’ A breakout performance by Gideon Glick, playing a chronically anxious 19-year-old who helps produce a newsletter for long-haul truckers, animates Samuel D. Hunter’s gently hued drama about lonely lives. Tasha Lawrence and Michael Laurence are also excellent as ex-lovers with lots of history to hash out (1:35). Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, at 11th Street, Greenwich Village, 866-811-4111, (Isherwood)

★ ‘50 Shades! The Musical’ When it comes to potential for satire, E.L. James’s she-porn best seller “50 Shades of Grey” seems as easy a target as you could shake a sex toy at. That said, this exuberant takeoff handily delivers the goods, barreling along with a score steeped in show tunes, R&B, gospel, Gilbert and Sullivan and lyrics packed with references to various practices and orifices. “This is real life; this isn’t a book,” says Ana, the show’s heroine, to her tycoon suitor. “If it was, it would be terrible.” It certainly would. But “50 Shades!” is a musical parody, and a very entertaining one (1:30). Elektra Theater, 300 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 212-352-3101, (Webster)

‘Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging!’ This latest version of Gerard Alessandrini’s long-lived revue exudes an oxymoronic air of spirited ennui, an awareness that there ain’t much in the way of inspiring creative targets these days. With an industrious four-member cast, the show is dirgelike fun, rather in the spirit of a New Orleans jazz funeral (1:45). Davenport Theater, 354 West 45th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

‘Heathers: The Musical’ Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s rowdy guilty-pleasure musical isn’t as mordant as the 1988 cult movie that inspired it. But in scaling up the grotesqueness, this sardonically grisly high-school revenge comedy puts a genial, guilt-quelling distance between its onstage mayhem and its audience. The excellent Barrett Wilbert Weed plays the ambivalent heroine (2:10). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

★ ‘Here Lies Love’ This invigorating poperetta, conceived by David Byrne, sets a new standard for audience participation. Or do I mean coercion? In this heady show about the heady life of Imelda Marcos, staged with infinite inventiveness by Alex Timbers, all the world’s a dance floor, and all the men and women (including the audience) merely disco rats (1:30). Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, 212-967-7555, (Brantley)

‘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)

★ ‘Just Jim Dale’ The title doesn’t quite tell it all here. This one-man show from the British actor who starred on Broadway in “Barnum” and “Me and My Girl” seems to contain multitudes (music hall joker, serious actor, songwriter and singer), and they dazzle us by turns in this lovable tour of his career in show business on both sides of the Atlantic. Richard Maltby Jr. directs (1:40). Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theater, 111 West 46th Street, 212-719-1300, (Isherwood)

‘The Killer’ Contrary to what might be expected, Michael Shannon does not portray the title role in Eugene Ionesco’s baggy, shaggy play about a serial killer at loose in a utopian enclave. He’s game, but miscast as Berenger, the innocent trying to stop the killer in Darko Tresnjak’s murky production of a murky play (3:00). Polonsky Shakespeare Center, 262 Ashland Place, between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, 866-811-4111, (Isherwood)

‘Macbeth’ Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh’s galloping production of Shakespeare’s pacey tragedy is the summer blockbuster we wait for every year and too seldom find at the multiplexes. This spectacle-drenched juggernaut, which also stars a lusty Alex Kingston as the Lady to Mr. Branagh’s Macbeth, sweeps you right into its churning world and refuses to release you until the lights come up (2:00). Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue, at 67th Street, 212-933-5812, (Brantley)

‘Los Monólogos de la Vagina’ “The Vagina Monologues,” Eve Ensler’s classic paean to women and their genitalia, is always a bit of a feminist rally: part humor, part outrage. That spirit of celebration and defiance runs through the Spanish-language version of the show, which features rotating casts (including Daphne Rubin-Vega through June 22 and Judy Reyes from June 24 to July 20). The production offers headsets for English translation, a laudable effort but a frustrating way to experience the performance (1:45). Westside Theater, 407 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Collins-Hughes)

★ ‘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)

‘Our New Girl’ In Nancy Harris’s drama-cum-psycho-thriller, Mary McCann plays a harried wife and mother whose relationships with her troubled, slightly spooky 8-year-old son (Henry Kelemen), her plastic surgeon husband (CJ Wilson) and the new nanny (Lisa Joyce) become more fraught by the minute (2:20). Atlantic Stage 2, 330 West 16th Street, Chelsea, 866-811-4111, (Isherwood)

★ ‘Satchmo at the Waldorf’ John Douglas Thompson does a remarkable job impersonating the aging Louis Armstrong in this one-man show, written by The Wall Street Journal’s drama critic, Terry Teachout. While Armstrong’s reminiscences cover the bases of his life, the show is most interesting in its examination of the racial and generational divides this jazz giant straddled. Two other portraits, ably conveyed by Mr. Thompson, also loom large: Armstrong’s longtime manager, Joe Glaser, and the towering trumpeter Miles Davis (1:30). Westside Theater, 407 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Webster)

‘Sea Marks’ Gardner McKay’s script, which concerns the unlikely romance between a fisherman and a publishing house underling, manages the nifty trick of being both utterly formulaic and highly implausible. You can see the plot twists from miles away, though you don’t believe them when they arrive. Yet the play has its charms, which derive mostly from the obvious enjoyment of the actors (1:45). Irish Repertory Theater, 132 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, 212-727-2737, (Soloski)

‘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, 888-841-4111, (Gates)

★ ‘Too Much Sun’ Nicky Silver’s uneven but affecting play about a summer vacation in hell (really, Cape Cod) stars Linda Lavin, at the top of her game, as a veteran actress of modest fame and exceptional survival skills. To watch her character in action is to see Darwinian theory made flesh. Mark Brokaw directs this astutely acted production (2:00). Vineyard Theater, 108 East 15th Street, 212-353-0303, (Brantley)

‘Under My Skin’ When an underinsured office temp from Staten Island (Kerry Butler) and her entitled billionaire boss (Matt Walton) die in an elevator accident, an angel restores them to life, each in the other’s physique. Written by the television veterans Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser, this body-swapping comedy is a comfortable diversion that treads familiar ground. That it feels as fresh as it does is largely due to the presence of the terrific Ms. Butler (1:30). Little Shubert Theater, 422 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, (Collins-Hughes)

★ ‘The Village Bike’ Portraying an erotically overcharged pregnant woman, the appealing Greta Gerwig takes you right over a cliff and down into the depths in her New York stage debut. Sam Gold’s seductive production of Penelope Skinner’s truly daring play considers the idea of sex as a raw biological urge that’s been given new outlets in the Internet age (2:15). Lucille Lortel Theater, 121 Christopher Street, West Village, 866-811-4111, (Brantley)

★ ‘When January Feels Like Summer’ Cori Thomas’s engaging, buoyantly acted romantic comedy focuses on the intersecting lives of various New Yorkers: two young African-American men (the vibrant Maurice Williams and J. Mallory McRee); an older black sanitation worker (Dion Graham); and a pair of Indian immigrants, a woman (the terrific Mahira Kakkar) and her brother (the charming Debargo Sanyal), who is transitioning to female (2:10). Ensemble Studio Theater, 549 West 52nd Street, Clinton, 866-811-4111, (Isherwood)

Off Off Broadway

★ ‘Clown Bar’ This goofy but very funny homage to noir films and pulp novels finds a cop up against a crew of demented clowns (1:10). Saturdays only at the Box, 189 Chrystie Street, near Stanton Street, Lower East Side, (Ken Jaworowski)

★ ‘The Mysteries’ Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, a savvy and ambitious young director, has commissioned more than 40 playwrights to condense the Old and New Testaments into a five-and-a-half-hour event, both gratifying and grueling. An enthusiastic 53-member cast works from the first light to the Last Judgment, with a vegan meal served in between (5:30). Flea Theater, 41 White Street, TriBeCa, 866-811-4100, (Soloski)

★ ‘Sonic Life of a Giant Tortoise’ “I want to live more fully than I do now.” That’s the quiet wish of the restless 30-somethings in this reverie of a play by Japanese dramatist Toshiki Okada, receiving its English-language premiere in Dan Rothenberg’s splendidly cast, leisurely paced Play Company production (1:05). Jack, 505 ½ Waverly Avenue, near Fulton Street, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, (Collins-Hughes)

★ ‘The Vaudevillians’ The drag performer Jinkx Monsoon (real name: Jerick Hoffer) and her accompanist, Major Scales (Richard Andriessen), turn a simple conceit into a hilarious evening. (The show returns to the Laurie Beechman Theater at the West Bank Cafe for a weeklong engagement, starting on Sunday.) They are vaudeville performers who were frozen in an avalanche in the 1920s. Thawed out in the present, they find that many of their songs — “I Will Survive,” for instance — have been repurposed by more recent performers. They reclaim them, vaudeville style (1:25). 407 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-352-3101, (Genzlinger)

‘Within the Law’ Jailed for stealing from the store where she worked, the honest shop clerk Mary Turner (Elisabeth Preston) takes vengeance against her employer by marrying his son. This Metropolitan Playhouse revival of Bayard Veiller’s 1912 play reminds us that income inequality, living wages and an arbitrary criminal justice system have long been fodder for popular entertainment. But as intriguing as some elements are, the play is less a revenge thriller than a creaking melodrama (2:30). 220 East Fourth Street, East Village, 800-838-3006, (Daniel M. Gold)


‘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,

‘Kinky Boots’ These boots are made for dancin’ (and stompin’ out bigotry) (2:20). Al Hirschfeld Theater, 302 West 45th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200,

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

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

‘Matilda the Musical’ The children’s revolution, per Roald Dahl (2:35). Shubert Theater, 225 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200,

‘Motown: The Musical’ A dramatically slapdash but musically vibrant joy ride through the glory days of the Detroit music label founded by Berry Gordy (2:40). Lunt-Fontanne Theater, 205 West 46th Street, 877-250-2929,

‘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,

‘Pippin’ Making love and war, with music, under the big top (2:35). Music Box Theater, 239 West 45th 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,

‘Then She Fell’ Go ask Alice (2:00). The Kingsland Ward at St. John’s, 195 Maujer Street, near Humboldt Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-374-5196,

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

Last Chance

★ ‘Act One’ (closes on Sunday) Playing the theater addict and artisan Moss Hart in James Lapine’s loving adaptation of Hart’s memoir, Tony Shalhoub and Santino Fontana brim contagiously with passion for that endangered religion called the Theater. If the lively, overblown production surrounding them isn’t on their level, their shimmering performances (Mr. Shalhoub is also priceless as Hart’s mentor, George S. Kaufman) are reason to celebrate (2:40). Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lincoln Center, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

‘American Hero’ (closes on Sunday) A sweet and sour comedy by Bess Wohl about three workers at a sandwich shop franchise (terrifically played by Ari Graynor, Erin Wilhelmi and Jerry O’Connell) who try to make a go of it on their own when the owner mysteriously disappears (1:30). McGinn/Cazale Theater, 2162 Broadway, at 76th Street, fourth floor, 212-246-4422, (Isherwood)

‘The Deepest Man’ (closes on Saturday) “The Twilight Zone” meets media critique meets psychological portraiture in this thought-provoking experiment from 3-Legged Dog, a company known for integrating performance, video and effects. In its explorations of loss, natural disaster and manipulative electronic media, the show, with remarkable visual and audio design, is a searching, haunting experience (1:15). 3LD Art & Technology Center, 80 Greenwich Street, at Rector Street, Lower Manhattan, 866-811-4111, (Webster)

★ ‘Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation’ (closes on Sunday) The gift of being simple has rarely been associated with the mind-bending, technology-scrambling Wooster Group. Yet this song-for-song interpretation of a 1976 album of Shaker music is profoundly affecting in its austerity. Directed by Kate Valk, and featuring Frances McDormand and Suzzy Roche, this production testifies to the discipline, dedication and conviction of one uncompromising band of artists (:50). The Performing Garage, 33 Wooster Street, near Grand Street, SoHo, 212-966-3651, (Brantley)

★ ‘The Essential Straight & Narrow’ (closes on Saturday) This new piece by the Mad Ones collective, set in a dour motel room, melds folk rock, game shows, schlocky crime dramas and the Nietzschean concept of the eternal return. Ingenious and tricksy, its story lines tantalize and confound. But just when you’re ready to call it a postmodern goof, it shoots straight at your heart (1:30). New Ohio Theater, 154 Christopher Street, West Village, 888-596-1027, (Soloski)

★ ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ (closes on Sunday) Despite the presence of a movie megastar, Denzel Washington, in a central role, Kenny Leon’s disarmingly relaxed revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s epochal drama has a welcome egalitarianism. This engrossingly acted ensemble piece (a Tony winner for best revival of a play) makes us newly aware of one family’s dynamics. The very good cast also includes LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anika Noni Rose and Sophie Okonedo (2:40). Ethel Barrymore Theater, 243 West 47th Street, 212-239-6200, (Brantley)

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