"Nineteen plays in four theatres nearly killed us,” said Midtown International Theatre Festival producer John Chatterton in a statement after last year's festivities. Also the owner and publisher of oobr (the off-off-broadway-review), he planned to scale back the productions this year — and so he has. The second annual Midtown International Theatre Festival will feature 12 plays and take place at the New 42nd Street Theatre July 12-Aug. 5.
Among the dramatic dozen are a mix of classic, contemporary, plays, musicals, improv and solo shows. The pieces will run through July 30, at which point the most popular shows of the festival will be chosen to continue running through Aug. 5.
This year's participants are listed below:
•The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari - the 1919 German silent film comes to life on stage as a musical. Book by Douglas Hicton and Richard Lawton, music and lyrics by Douglas Hicton.
•Rhinoceros - Absurdist Eugene Ionesco's classic about conformity, set in present-day New York City. The InterArt Group presentation is directed by Cosmin Chivu. •Richard III - the Shakespeare classic as set in a dreary fantasy world performed with masks & marionettes. Genesis Repertory Theatre Company presents the tale under the direction of Jay Michaels.
•Sex Ed - a comedy that follows three youngsters who are about to learn some new things. The John Montgomery Theatre Co. presents the play by Suzanne Bachner.
•All Things Stinky - six short plays by Carl Gonzalez about everything from "The Sopranos" to bad breath. Pete Ernst directs the production presented by The Waterfront Ensemble.
•No Exit - Jean Paul Sartre's classic tale in which three people's hell is spending eternity with each other. Produced and directed by Rodney Hakim.
•Happy Hour - three short works by HIU-Shudan, a Japanese improvisational group.
•Southern Discomfort - a musical revue that spoofs politics, current events and corporate America.
•Spoon River Anthology - the ghosts of Spoon River's townspeople talk of their lives through the words of author Edgar Lee Masters. Ken Bachtol directs the adaptation by Charles Aidman.
•The Grove Street Wannabees take a look back at the 20th Century told through both song and dance.
•Old, Borrowed & Blue - a one-woman show by Cara Worth about a newly separated woman and her and a hectic Saturday night in her small Brooklyn studio apartment.
•Richard Hoehler's Working Class - a one-man show about bad jobs and great guys. Written and performed by Richard Hoehler, who appeared in the piece and its sort-of sequel, Human Resources, Off Broadway in the 1990s.
The Second Annual Midtown International Theatre Festival plays at the New 42nd Street Theatre, 348 West 42nd Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues) on the 2nd floor. For tickets and times, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200.
— by Ernio Hernandez