Concluding June 27
New Country (Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre). Fair Trade Productions and Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre present Mark Roberts' New Country following a limited run at University of Alabama in Huntsville. The cast includes Malcolm Madera, Jared Culverhouse, Stephen Sheffer, David Lind, Mark Roberts and Sarah Lemp under the direction of David Harwell. According to press notes, "Country music star Justin Spears has the world on their knees. He’s a good ole bad boy, a thankless, shameless, phony, user, that’s tying the knot tomorrow; but tonight, he’s tying one on. He’s going to party hardy with his entourage of ruthless, calculating managers, faux fans and friends, his favorite pig-farming uncle and a plastic model." Visit NewCountryThePlay.com.
A New Brain (Off-Broadway at New York City Center). Aaron Lazar, Ana Gasteyer and Dan Fogler join Jonathan Groff in the New York City Center's Encores! Off-Center series revival of William Finn and James Lapine's A New Brain. The musical features a book by Lapine and a score by Finn. Lapine also directs the staging. A New Brain, inspired by composer Finn's personal experiences, is, press notes state, "a medical tragedy seen through the zany iris of a Looney Tunes short. After struggling composer Gordon Michael Schwinn (Jonathan Groff) collapses face-first into a plate of spaghetti, he is diagnosed with a brain tumor and is forced to come to terms with his creative ambitions and the lovable screw-ups in his life: an overbearing boyfriend, a power-belting homeless woman, and a nasty kiddie-show host named Mr. Bungee." Visit NYCityCenter.org.
Concluding June 28
The Audience (Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre). Peter Morgan's The Audience stars Tony and Oscar winner Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in imagined meetings with each of her Prime Ministers. Two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Daldry directs the production, which also features Dakin Matthews, Rod McLachlan, Dylan Baker and Judith Ivey. "For sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said, not even to their spouses," press notes state. "The Audience imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen. From Churchill to Cameron, each Prime Minister uses these private conversations as a sounding board and a confessional — sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. In turn, the Queen can't help but reveal her own self as she advises, consoles and, on occasion, teases. These private audiences chart the arc of the second Elizabethan Age, from the beginning of Elizabeth II's reign to today. Politicians come and go through the revolving door of electoral politics, while she remains constant, waiting to welcome her next Prime Minister." Visit TheAudienceBroadway.com. Consent (Off-Broadway at the Black Box Theatre at the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center). Consent, a new work written and directed by David Rhodes, follows the life of former NFL player Ron Sullivan, who has recently come out as gay and finds himself in a risky new relationship with a young law student. The cast features Catherine Curtin, Michael Goldstein, Angela Pierce and Mark McCullough Thomas. Here's how the show is billed: "Consent follows Ron Sullivan, living the American dream. A natural athlete and former NFL football player, Ron achieved early success as an award-winning architect. But recently he's made some changes. Ron came out as gay, separated from his high school sweetheart, and moved into a Soho loft. Now a chance encounter with Kurt, a sexy Yale law student, seduces him into the murky waters of consent. Neither man, nor the two most important women in Ron’s life, will ever be the same." Visit ConsentThePlay.com.
Ghost Stories: The Shawl and Prairie du Chien (Off-Broadway at Atlantic Stage 2). The Off-Broadway revival of David Mamet's haunting short plays, Ghost Stories: The Shawl and Prairie du Chien, is directed by Scott Zigler. The cast includes Jim Frangione, Jordan Lage, Mary McCann, Jason Ritter, Arliss Howard, Nate Dendy, Henry Kelemen and Dereks Thomas. In The Shawl, a bereaved woman consults a medium for help with her grief, but are his true motives to guide her, or help himself? In Prairie du Chien, a friendly card game becomes the trigger for a moment of menace, set in a railroad car, late on a Wisconsin night. Visit AtlanticTheater.org.
The Spoils (Off-Broadway at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre). The New Group's world premiere of The Spoils is by Jesse Eisenberg of "Social Network" fame. Eisenberg heads a cast that features Michael Zegen, Erin Darke, Annapurna Sriram and Kunal Nayyar under the direction of New Group artistic director Scott Elliott. Eisenberg plays Ben, a socially awkward, at-times-unbearable wannabe filmmaker living in his parents Manhattan apartment with his friend and earnest Nepalese immigrant Kalyan. When he learns that his grade school crush is marrying a straight-laced banker, he sets out to win her back against all the odds. Visit TheNewGroup.org.
Dinner With the Boys (Off-Broadway at the Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row). Dinner with the Boys is written by and stars Dan Lauria, who is most famous for playing the role of father Jack Arnold in TV's "The Wonder Years." Frank Megna directs a cast that includes Ray Abruzzo and Richard Zavaglia. Dinner with the Boys is billed as "a comedy about two wise guys from the old neighborhood who find themselves at odds with the family and must serve up perfectly seasoned results with their puttanesca in order to escape danger themselves. As they await their own fate in 'the wilds of New Jersey,' this Italian odd couple reflects on their days of glory while preparing dinner for special guests, all the while wondering, 'will this meal be their last supper?'" Visit DinnerWithTheBoysPlay.com.