As busy as Broadway will be this autumn, Off-Broadway is just as active -- and the names are exciting, indeed: Kushner, Wolfe, Coonrod, McNally, Lapine, Finn, Busch, Howe, Andersen, Langella, Larson, MacLeod, McCourt, Gotanda, Blessing -- not to mention Shakespeare, Williams, Miller, Shaw, Brel, Ibsen, Rostand, et al. Here's a partial run-down of shows scheduled to open in the next couple of months:
THREE-FOR-ALL (three-man performance comedy troupe, Tricicle) Union Square Theatre: 100 East 17th St. (212) 505-0700 Prev: Sept. 16; Opens Oct. 13
ALLIGATOR TALES (a trip down to the bayou and its Cajun community) Author/Cast: Anne Galjour; Director: Sharon Ott. Manhattan Theatre Club - Stage II: West 55th St. (212) 581-1212 Prev. Sept. 30; Opens Oct. 21.
FREESTYLE REPERTORY (improv troupe) Grove Street Playhouse: 39 Grove St. (212) 642-8202 Runs Oct. 2-Nov. 1
AMERICAN CLOCK, THE (Depression-era drama) Author: Arthur Miller. Director: James Houghton. Signature Theatre: 555 West 42nd St. (212) 244-PLAY. Prev: Oct. 7; Opens: Oct. 19; To: Nov. 16. QUICK-CHANGE ROOM, THE (comedy about a Russian theatre troupe coping with post-Perestroika) Author: Nagle Jackson; Director: Orson Bean. LAB Company at INTAR: 420 West 42nd St (212) 279-4200. Prev: Oct. 7; Opens: Oct. 12.
QUEEN AMARANTHA (comedy about fictional queen who decides to live as a man) Author: Charles Busch. Cast: Busch, Ruth Williamson. WPA Theatre: 519 West 23rd St. (212) 206-0523 Prev: Oct. 7; Opens: Oct. 23.
TELL-TALE (comic thriller in grand guignol tradition) Theatre Couture at Cherry Lane Theatre: 38 Commerce St. (212) 620-4866 Prev: Oct. 8; Opens: Oct. 15; open run
LEBENSRAUM (New York premiere of Israel Horovitz drama) Miranda Theatre: 259 West 30th St. (212) 268-9829. Oct. 9-26.
COME TO LIFE (Jean Seberg, And What She Said) (solo on the life of actress Seberg) Cast: Kyle deCamp. PS 122: 150 1st Ave. (212) 477-5288 Runs Oct. 9-19
BECKET (revival of drama about doomed friendship between Henry VIII and Thomas a Becket) New Mercury Players at Gene Frankel Theatre: 24 Bond St. (212) 505-0099 Prev: Oct. 10; Opens: Oct. 17.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE (true-life drama of female British loyalist during the American Revolution) Alces Productions at Judith Anderson Theatre: 412 West 42nd St. (212) 279-4200 Prev: Oct. 11; Opens: Oct. 16; To: Nov. 2
CABARET CONVENTION (various performers, sponsored by the Mabel Mercer Foundation) Town Hall (212) 980-3026. Runs Oct. 13-Oct. 19.
MIND GAMES (mysterious performance piece) Cast: Marc Salem. Westside Theatre: 407 West 43rd St. Prev: Oct. 14. Opens: Oct. 20.
THANK GOD! THE BEAT GOES ON! (Thirty years in the career of "The Whispers" R&B group and singer Phyllis Hyman) Cast: Alyson Williams (as Hyman) Beacon Theatre: 2124 Broadway (74th St.) (212) 307-7171 Prev: Oct. 14; opens: Oct. 15.
FILUMENA (romantic comedy of a woman pushing her long-time partner into marriage) Author: Eduardo De Filippo. Director: James Naughton. Cast: Maria Tucci, Tony Amendola, Greg Naughton. Blue Light Theatre Company at venue TBA. (212) 265-8147 Prev: Oct. 15. To: Dec. 7.
SHANGHAI LIL'S (musical about 1940s dancer in wartime Chinese American dance club) Book/Lyrics: Lilah Kan; Music: Louis Stewart. Pan Asian Repertory: 423 West 46th St. (212) 245-2660 Prev: Oct. 15; Opens: Oct. 16; To: Nov. 8
EVEN STEVEN (romantic comedy about a young man and the women in his life) Author: Anthony Giunta; Director: Mark Harborth. Trilogy Theatre: 341 West 44th St. (212) 561-0251 Prev: Oct. 15; Opens: Oct. 19; To: Nov. 9
DOTTED LINE (comedy about a gay executive hoping to date a heterosexual would-be actor) Author: Anthony Giunta. Director: Mark Harborth. Trilogy Theatre: 341 West 44th St. (212) 561-0251 Prev: Oct. 16; Opens: Oct. 19.
THE LAST SESSION (musical about a former rock star taping one last batch of songs before committing suicide) Book/Director: Jim Brochu; Music/Lyrics: Steve Schalchlin. 47Th Street Theatre: 304 West 47th St. (212) 239-6200 Prev. Oct. 9; Opens: Oct. 17; open run
DEFYING GRAVITY (drama of seven astronauts journeying into space) Author: Jane Anderson; Director: Michael Wilson. Cast: Lois Smith, Jonathan Hadary, Candy Buckley. American Place Theatre: West 46th (212) 239-6200; Prev: Oct. 18; Opens: Nov. 2; open run.
THREE DAYS OF RAIN (Brother and sister search for the truth about their parents) Author: Richard Greenberg; Director: Evan Yionoulis. Manhattan Theatre Club: West 55th St. (212) 581-1212 Prev. Oct. 21; Opens: Nov. 11.
TWO PIANOS, FOUR HANDS (Canadian comedy w/music about musicians-in training dealing with their teachers and competition) Authors/Cast: Ted Dykstra & Richard Greenblatt. Director: Gloria Muzio. Promenade Theatre: 2162 Broadway (76th St.) (212) 239-6200 Prev: Oct. 21; Opens: Oct. 30.
THERESE RAQUIN (Neal Bell adapts Emil Zola novel of murder & revenge) Director: David Esbjornson. Classic Stage Company: 136 East 13th St. (212) 677-4210. Prev: Oct. 21; Opens: Oct. 29; To: Nov. 23
FLY (comedy about modern black life) Author: Joseph Edward. Director: Wynn Handman. Cast: Edward, Arthur French. American Place Theatre: 111 West 46th St. (212) 840-3074 Prev: Oct. 22; Opens: Nov. 2; To Dec. 7
WATER CHILDREN, THE (drama about the battle for reproductive rights) Author: Wendy MacLeod. Directed by David Petrarca. Women's Project/Playwrights Horizons production at Studio Theatre: 416 West 42nd St. Prev: Oct. 22; To: Nov. 16
ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (fantasy based on Lewis Carrol novel) Author: Suzanne Bachner; Director: Thom Fudal. John Montgomery Theatre: 134 West 26th St. (212) 627-7076 Prev: Oct. 22; To: Nov. 15
SEX, DRUGS, ROCK & ROLL (revival of vignettes about ethical discards and shrivelled souls) Author: Eric Bogosian; Director: Chris Marcantel; Cast: Oscar Riba. Phil Bosakowski Theatre: 354 West 45th St. (212) 613-9139 Prev: Oct. 22; Opens: Oct. 27; To: Nov. 16.
SECRETS EVERY SMART TRAVELER SHOULD KNOW (musical revue by various writers lampoons leisure trends) Director: Patrick Quinn. Triad: 158 West 72nd St. (212) 362-2590 Prev: Oct. 22; Opens: Oct. 30
DYBBUK, A - OR, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (mysterious stranger throws Hassidic community into turmoil) Author: S. Ansky, adapted by Tony Kushner. Director: Brian Kulick. Public Theatre: 425 Lafayette Place (212) 239-6200 Prev: Oct. 28; To: Nov. 30
CYRANO DE BERGERAC (romantic drama of wisecracking swashbuckler with a big nose that keeps him from approaching the girl he loves) Author: Edmond Rostand; Re-Conceived & Directed by Frank Langella. Cast: Langella, George Morfogen. Roundabout - Laura Pels Theatre: 1530 Broadway (212) 869-8400. Prev: Oct. 29; opens: Nov. 23; To: Jan. 18, 1998.
LAST YANKEE, THE / I CAN'T REMEMBER ANYTHING (one-acts) Author: Arthur Miller. Director: Joseph Chaikin. Signature Theatre: 555 West 42nd St. (212) 244-PLAY. Prev: Oct. 30; Opens: Nov. 11; To: Feb. 8.
HAIL TO THE CHEF (dark farce based on true story of 1966 partygoers at a Halloween dinner, who all believe they've accidentally consumed a piece of John F. Kennedy's brain.) Author: Michael Dempsey. Theatre Row Theatre: 424 West 42nd St. (212) 802-8383 Opens Oct. 31; To Nov. 17.
RAFFERTY RESCUES THE MOON (play by June Anderson). Directors: Bob Flanagan & Akira Yoshimura. Irish Repertory Theatre: 132 West 22nd St. (212) 727-2737 Prev: Oct. 31.
BALLAD OF YACHIYO (Girl's tragic introduction to adulthood in 1919 Japanese immigrant community in Hawaii) Author: Philip Kan Gotanda; Director: Sharon Ott; Public Theatre - Martinson Hall: 425 Lafayette St. (212) 239-6200 Prev: Nov. 4; To: Dec. 7
PRIDE'S CROSSING (drama about a matriarch remembering how she swam the English channel) Author: Tina Howe. Director: Jack O'Brien. Cast: Cherry Jones. Lincoln Center - Mitzi Newhouse: West 65th St. Prev: Nov. 6; Opens: Dec. 7.
MAJOR BARBARA (satirical comedy about business) Author: G.B. Shaw; Director: Tony Walton. Irish Repertory Theatre: 132 West 22nd St. (212) 727-2737 Prev. Nov. 15; Opens: Nov. 25.
MUD, RIVER, STONE (drama of African-American couple on vacation in Africa) Author: Lynn Nottage; Directed by Roger Rees. Playwrights Horizons: West 42nd St. (212) 279-4200. Prev: Nov. 21; Opens: Dec. 14; To: Dec. 28.
MERCURY: THE AFTERLIFE & TIMES OF A ROCK GOD (Queen's Freddie Mercury awakens from death and struggles to make sense of his fate) Author/Director: Charles Messina; Cast: Paul Goncalves. NahNotOutsideMyHouse! Productions at Sanford Meisner Theatre: 164 11th Ave. (22nd St) (212) 252-6910 Runs: Nov. 24-Dec. 7
SHOW GOES ON, THE (revue of Jones & Schmidt theatre songs) Composers/Cast: Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt. Director: Drew Scott Harris. York Theatre Company at St. Peter's Church: Lexington Ave. (212) 935-5820 Prev: Dec. 3.
MR. PIM PASSES BY (comedy about a married couple discovering the wife's ex-con husband is still alive) Mint Theatre Company: 311 West 43rd St. (212) 315-9434 Opens: Dec. 4. To: Jan. 11, 998.
CHRISTMAS AT THE IVANOVS (zany comedy about Russian family anticipating Christmas Day) Author: Alexander Vvedensky, adapted/translated by Karin Coonrod & Julie Listengarten. Director: Coonrod. CSC/Arden Party production at Classic Stage Company: 136 East 13th St. (212) 677-4210 Prev: Dec. 9; Opens: Dec. 14; To Jan. 4, 1998.
LIBERTINE, THE (Dark satire about notorious behavior in 1675 London, deemed excusable because the participants are rich and privileged) Author: Stephen Jeffreys. Director: Stephen Hollis. Theatre Row Theatre: 424 West 42nd St. Prev: Jan. 8, 1998; To Jan. 25, 1998.
EYES FOR CONSUELA (Traveler in the Mexican jungle meets a love-struck bandit) Author: Sam Shepard, based on Octavio Paz story. Manhattan Theatre Club - Stage II: West 55th St. (212) 581-1212 Prev. Jan. 13, 1998; Opens Feb. 3, 1998
GUN SHY (Edgy comedy of divorced couple) Author: Richard Dresser. Director: Gloria Muzio. Playwrights Horizons: 416 West 42nd St. (212) 279-4200. Prev: Jan. 13, 1998; Opens: Feb. 1, 1998; Feb. 22, 1998.
PHAEDRA IN DELIRIUM (drama about a queen whose obsession with her stepson has deadly consequences) Author: Susan Yankowitz; Director: Alison Summers. Cast: Kathleen Chalfant. Classic Stage Company: East 13th St. Prev: Jan. 20, 1998. To: Feb. 15, 1998.
ROMEO AND JULIET (romantic tragedy) Author: William Shakespeare; Director: James Bundy. Acting Company at New Victory: 209 West 42nd St. Runs Jan. 21-Feb. 8, 1998.
CORPUS CHRISTI (spiritual look at good and evil) Author: Terrence McNally; Director: Joe Mantello. Manhattan Theatre Club - Stage I: West 55th St. (212) 581-1212 Prev: Feb. 3, 1998; Opens: Feb. 24, 1998
BAFO ("Best And Final Offer") (satire of office life) Author: Thomas Strelich. Director/CAST: TBA. American Place Theatre: 111 West 46th St. (212) 840-3074 Prev: Feb. 4, 1998 opens Feb. 15, 1998
FROM ABOVE (drama about appealing young stranger entering a widow's life) Author: Tom Donaghy. Director/Dates: TBA 1998. Playwrights Horizons: 416 West 42nd St. (212) 279-4200
THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN (Arrival of Hollywood director on remote island sparks everyone's dreams of escape) Author: Martin McDonagh; Director: Nicholas Hytner. Public Theatre - Newman: 425 Lafayette St. (212) 239-6200. March 1998
THE NEW BRAIN: (New musical based on the composer's experience with a brain tumor) Authors: William Finn and James Lapine (both of Falsettos fame). Director/choreographer: Graciela Daniele. No cast has been set. Performances will begin in early April at the Mitzi Newhouse.
--By David Lefkowitz