The Drama Dept., the frequently whimsical congregation of actors, directors and playwright that works out of the Village's Greenwich House Theatre, began presenting a series of four "talent shows" on Monday, Nov. 19. That entry, titled "A Salute to NYC," featured company members and others offering "their unique takes on Manhattan."
With the Nov. 26 show, the company will take its inspiration from the '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").
The running order of the evening is as follows (according to the DD website):
• Marlo Thomas Intro — performed by Jackie Hoffman & Mary Testa
• "Free To Be You and Me" — performed by Jackie Hoffman & Mary Testa
• "Boy Meets Girl" — Kevin Chamberlin
• "When We Grow Up" — performed by Karen Ziemba
• "Don't Dress Your Cat in an Apron" — performed by Isaac Mizrahi
• "Parents are People"
• "Housework"— Ana Gasteyer
• "Helping" — performed by Robert Ari Ari
• "Ladies First" — performed by Cynthia Nixon
• "Girl Land" — performed by Mary Beth Peil
• "Dudley Pippen and the Principal"
• "It's Alright to Cry"
• "My Dog is a Plumber "— performed by Chip Kidd
• "What are Little Boys Made Of"
• "Hooray for Babies"
• "The South Paw"
• "William's Doll" — performed by B.D. Wong
• "Sisters and Brothers" — performed by Mary Bond Davis
• "Dudley Pippen and His No-Friend"
• "Glad to Have a Friend Like You" — performed by Mary Bond Davis, Jackie Hoffman & Mary Testa *
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."Tickets are $35. All performances are at the Greenwich House. Call (212) 633 9632.
—By Robert Simonson