THE WEEK AHEAD, Dec. 17-23: The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess Lands on Broadway; David Hyde Pierce in Close Up Space

Inside Track   THE WEEK AHEAD, Dec. 17-23: The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess Lands on Broadway; David Hyde Pierce in Close Up Space Playbill's weekly planner explores the week before Christmas, and here is your gift — great things to do that will give you a lift: Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis inhabit Catfish Row… David Hyde Pierce plays a role I was born to play… and Playbill's Broadway Christmas Schedule keeps you in the know (and on time for your show!).
Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis
Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis Photo by Michael Lutch

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Saturday, December 17
PREVIEWS→ The masterful Audra McDonald stars opposite Broadway leading man Norm Lewis as the titular lovers of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Also paying a visit to this newly conceived version of Catfish Row is David Alan Grier as Sporting Life. Diane Paulus directs with contributions to the book and score by playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and composer Diedre Murray. Expect the classics from George and Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward including "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," "My Man's Gone Now," "Summertime," "I Got Plenty o' Nothin'" and "It Ain't Necessarily So." (Officially opens Jan. 12. Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount previews tickets.)

GO→ The ever-busy fashion designer/sometimes TV host Isaac Mizrahi — who found himself in the theatre biz in 2010 when he directed and designed an Opera Theatre of St. Louis production of A Little Night Music — expands his resume yet again to include babysitter. Well, not exactly, but he will narrate a version of the children's classic "Peter & the Wolf" at the Guggenheim. Huge balloon animals, courtesy of artist Jason Hackenwerth, will represent the characters in the story, with music by the Juilliard Ensemble. (Through Dec. 18, Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Ave., btwn. 88th & 89th Sts. $30-$35. Info/tickets.)

Harriet Harris and Craig Bierko in Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays.
photo by Joan Marcus

Sunday, December 18
LAST CHANCE→ Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays — a collection of short plays that deal with the ever-evolving quest for marriage equality — will end its Off-Broadway run, with its sights set on touring the play in key battleground states. The New York company stars Beth Leavel, Richard Thomas, Craig Bierko, Harriet Harris, Mark Consuelos and Polly Draper. Playwrights who have contributed to the collection include Moisés Kaufman, Neil LaBute, Paul Rudnick and Doug Wright. (Minetta Lance Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane, off 6th Ave. Info/tickets.)

GO→ Tony winner Lillias White joins the New York City Gay Men's Chorus (200+ voices strong!) for a special jazz and gospel infused holiday concert entitled Holiday House of Love. (3 PM & 8 PM, Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. $40-$75. Info/tickets.) Monday, December 19
OPENING→ David Hyde Pierce stars as a neurotic editor on deadline (hmm, sounds familiar) in Molly Smith Metzler's new comedy Close Up Space. Rosie Perez also stars as a crazy author who is the source of his frustration — that is, until his estranged Russian-speaking daughter (Colby Minifie) comes back into the picture. (Through Feb. 5, New York City Center Stage I, 131 W. 55th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

GO→ Daphne Rubin-Vega, Andre De Shields, Wilson Jermaine Heredia and Ty Jones join a long list of actors, directors, journalists and scholars who have performed as a part of Project Shaw's ongoing staged readings of the plays of George Bernard Shaw. This time, the group (which also includes Time Out New York critic Adam Feldman and Shaw's producer David Staller) will read from The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet and Passion Play. (7 PM, Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South, btwn. Park & Irving. $25. Info/tickets.)

Wallace Smith and Lindsay Mendez in Godspell.
photo by Jeremy Daniel

Tuesday, December 20
LISTEN→ The cast album for the current Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz's pop-rock cult classic Godspell will be made available for digital download on Tuesday, in advance of an in-store release in the New Year. The current revival features Godspell classics like "Prepare Ye," "By My Side" and "Day by Day" with new arrangements by Michael Holland. The cast features Hunter Parrish, Lindsay Mendez and Morgan James. (Pre-order here.)

Wednesday, December 21
WATCH→ Catch Frank Capra's 1946 Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" on the big screen. Starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed as George and Mary Bailey. As an extra holiday treat, Mary Owen, Donna Reed's daughter, will be in attendance. (Through Dec. 27, IFC, 323 6th Ave., at W. 3rd St. Info/tickets.)

Thursday, December 22
GO (Los Angeles)→ A Cinderella Christmas combines the family-friendly fairytale with modern-day music (think Jennifer Lopez, Michael Buble and Kelly Clarkson) and moves (thanks to choreographer Mark Ballas of "Dancing with the Stars" fame). Shoshana Bean stars as the fairy godmother with Veronica Dunne as Cinderella, "American Idol" star David Hernandez as Prince Charming's best friend, and Fred Willard as Cinderella's dad. (El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Info/tickets.)

Friday, December 23
GO→ If the holidays find you in New York City, you must find time for a Broadway show! The holiday weeks often mean an irregular performance schedule, so be sure to check on changing curtain times and dark days with Playbill's Broadway Christmas Week Performance Schedule. (Info.)

Blake Ross is the editor of Playbill magazine. Follow her on Twitter @PlaybillBlake.

Watch Playbill Video's preview of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess:


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