For weeks this spring, all New York was abuzz with Tony madness and the final rush of the Broadway season. Yet, as almost always happens, mid June brings an equal and opposite reaction of lulls and exits. Long-running shows pack it in, and new shows barely clinging to life give up the ghost, while producers and theatre companies start mapping out their plans for the fall.
This June and July will be an especially thinning one for the New York theatre scene -- a studied contrast from the logjam that Broadway and Off-Broadway experienced all season long. Those in town for the next few weeks who've been procastinating about seeing various productions have only a couple of weeks to see a number of major shows before they vanish.
As a helpful guide, here's a list of shows that won't be around come Labor Day.
June 24: Bed, Boys and Beyond --Running since March 1, this gay revue ends performances at the Duplex cabaret club.
June 25: Macbeth -- Kelsey Grammar and Diane Venora star in this spare staging of Shakespeare's bloody tragedy, which the critics bloodied to the point of cutting the limited run at the Music Box Theatre short by several weeks. June 25: Anonymous -- Glen Merzer's comedy, which received mixed notices, leaves OB's McGinn/Cazale Theatre.
July 1: Bruce Vilanch: Almost Famous -- Well-received stand-up act, by the joke-writer for most of the major award shows, ends its extended downtown run.
July 2: Footloose -- A box-office and critical flop -- with a young and enthusiastic fan base -- that played for nearly two years at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
July 2: A Moon for the Misbegotten -- Daniel Sullivan's Tony nominated revival, which won a Supporting Actor Tony for Roy Dotrice, ends its slightly extended and highly acclaimed run.
July 2: Our Lady of Sligo -- Sebastian Barry's Irish drama received mixed reviews but glowing notices for star Sinead Cusack. The slightly extended run ends July 2.
July 2: Dame Edna: The Royal Tour -- Royalty has had its privileges for Barry Humphries all season long. Now he/she will take a summer break before embarking on a national tour of his/her hit solo comedy.
July 2: Lydie Breeze -- John Guare's two-part epic, which received mixed but deferential reviews, ends its run at New York Theatre Workshop.
July 15: The Designated Mourner -- Tickets sold out long ago for this limited run of Wallace Shawn's drama, playing in a 30-seat theatre downtown.
July 16: The Winter's Tale -- Brian Kulick's take on Shakespeare's comedy-drama ends its scheduled, limited run at the Delacorte in Central Park.
July 16: Current Events -- David Marshall Grant's poorly-received political comedy-drama closes, as scheduled, July 16 at Manhattan Theatre Club's Stage II.
July 23: The Ride Down Mt. Morgan -- The Patrick Stewart brouhaha died down a couple of weeks ago; Arthur Miller's well-received comedy, a remount of the Public Theatre's Off-Broadway production, will itself die down on July 23.
July 30: Proof -- July 30 is the scheduled closing date for David Auburn's drama, but reviews have been so good for the piece and for star Mary-Louise Parker, that there's talk of an extension and/or Broadway transfer.
July 30: Jackie Mason: Much Ado About Everything -- As usual he came, he saw, he conquered with comedy. And he'll tour.
Aug. 13: The Real Thing -- David Leveaux's revival of Tom Stoppard's comedy won three major Tonys (Revival, Actor and Actress) and ends its acclaimed run Aug. 13.
Sept. 2: Capitol Steps -- The musical satirists end their third Off Broadway engagement, this one at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre.
Sept. 3: Jitney -- August Wilson's modern masterpiece finishes its hugely acclaimed run at the Second Stage Theatre.
Sept. 3: Julius Caesar -- Shakespeare's political nightmare, staged by Barry Edelstein, ends its scheduled, limited run at the Delacorte in Central Park.
Sept. 10: Cats -- Okay, so this is a week after Labor Day, and the way tickets have been selling recently, maybe they'll put off the closing date once again. But Cats is, for now (if not forever), scheduled to crawl away from the Winter Garden Sept. 10.
Sept. 10: Hotel Suite -- Neil Simon's evening of playlets ends at the Gramercy Theatre. The Roundabout mounting features Helen Carey and Ron Orbach.
Theatregoers should also keep in mind that summertime will bring a few cast-changes, such as Joely Fischer exiting Cabaret July 23 and the conitnued roster rotations at The Vagina Monologues (Linda Ellerbee, Calista Flockhart and Lisa Gay Hamilton through June 25; Melissa Joan Hart, Carol Kane and Phylicia Rashad through July 9). Elias Koteas and Josh Brolin are scheduled for True West only through Aug. 27, and Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat leave Annie Get Your Gun Sept. 4.
-- By David Lefkowitz