The Drama Dept., the frequently whimsical congregation of actors, directors and playwright that works out of the Village's Greenwich House Theatre, will present four "talent shows" on Mondays in November and December. The shows, each different in nature, will feature many of the members of the troupe.
The series begins on Nov. 19 with "A Salute to NYC," in which company members and others will offer "their unique takes on Manhattan." Actor Kevin Chamberlin will perform a selection from his long-awaiting work in-progress Bellmont 5. David Rakoff will read "We Call It Australia," from his recent collection "Fraud." And host Isaac Mizrahi—the fashion designer who is quickly insinuating himself into the theatre community—sill sing a few Cole Porter tunes.
The Nov. 26 show will be dedicated to the inspirational '70s album "Free to Be You and Me." Playwright Douglas Carter Beane (Music From a Sparkling Planet) will act as master of ceremonies, introducing the likes of Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa (singing the title tune and "Glad to Have a Friend Like You"), Cynthia Nixon ("Ladies First"), Mary Beth Piel ("Girl Land"), B.D. Wong ("William's Doll"), Karen Ziemba ("When We Grow Up") and Kevin Chamberlin ("Boy Meets Girl").
Those nostalgic for Drama Dept. productions of the past will want to be in attendance on Dec. 3, when the theatre offers a "Drama Dept. Medley." The evening will feature the opening scene from Drama Dept.'s very first production, a radical revival of Tennessee Williams' Kingdom of Earth; a cut scene from Beane's hit, As Bees In Honey Drown; songs and sketches from Irving Berlin and Moss Hart's As Thousands Cheer; scenes from June Moon, Uncle Tom's Cabin, hope is the thing with feathers, The Country Club, The Torchbearers and other titles; and a few sneak peaks of next year's shows, including Herringbone by B.D. Wong, The Dark Kalamazoo by Oni Faida Lampley and Beane's latest play.
Finally, Dec. 10 brings the, natch, "Christmas Pageant Holiday Spectacular." Amy Hohn, Geoffrey Nauffts, Jessica Stone and B.D. Wong will perform songs and David Rakoff will read his essay, "Christmas Freud." All tickets are $35. All shows are at the Greenwich House. Call (212) 633 9632.
—By Robert Simonson