THE WEEK AHEAD, March 3-9: Starry Reading of Dustin Lance Black's 8 Offered in L.A.; The Best Man Begins

Inside Track   THE WEEK AHEAD, March 3-9: Starry Reading of Dustin Lance Black's 8 Offered in L.A.; The Best Man Begins Playbill.com's weekly planner reminds you that George Clooney and Martin Sheen bring 8 home… Kevin Spacey redefines "March Madness"… BC/EFA bends Broadway "Backwards"… and James Earl Jones leads a starry Best Man. The stars invade your WEEK AHEAD!
George Clooney
George Clooney

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Saturday, March 3
GO (Los Angeles)→ George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Matt Bomer, Campbell Brown, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Christine Lahti, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Chris Colfer, Rory O'Malley, Yeardley Smith, George Takei and John C. Reilly will take part in the Los Angeles reading of Dustin Lance Black's 8. The "Milk" Oscar winner's newest play is based on the courtroom drama that led to the eventual dismissal of California's controversial Proposition 8 measure regarding gay marriage. Proceeds from the reading will benefit marriage equality organizations around the country. Rob Reiner directs. If you can’t make it to L.A., you can still watch the reading during a live online stream. (7:30 PM, Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd., Los Angeles, info and call 310-559-9334 for tickets. Click here to RSVP for the live stream)

WATCH→ "Glee" star Matthew Morrison (who played Lieutenant Cable in the 2008 Tony Award-winning Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific) hosts a celebration of that show's legendary librettist Oscar Hammerstein II with "Out of My Dreams" on PBS. The film will feature rare footage of the songwriter himself and classic performances from some of his famous film musicals like "Show Boat," "Oklahoma!," "Carousel," "South Pacific," "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music," as well as recent interviews with luminaries like Stephen Sondheim (a Hammerstein protégé), Harold Prince, and various members of the Hammerstein family. (PBS, Check local listings.)

Sunday, March 4
LAST CHANCE→ Rosemary Harris, Carla Gugino and Jim Dale star in Athol Fugard’s The Road to Mecca. Harris makes a stunning and haunting Miss Helen, an elderly shut-in whose home becomes the town eyesore thanks to her large, eccentric pieces of art. When Miss Helen is persuaded to move to a less conspicuous retirement home, at the behest of an overzealous minister (Dale), her outspoken friend (Gugino) comes to her rescue. (American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St., btwn. 7th & 8th Aves., Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets)

LAST CHANCE→ Kevin Spacey's masterful turn as the hunchback king in Sam Mendes' Richard III ends in Brooklyn, marking the finish of the production's global tour that included stops in London, Qatar, Athens, Hong Kong, and Spain. This also is the end of the Bridge Project, a transatlantic collaboration between BAM, The Old Vic (where Spacey serves as artistic director) and Mendes' Neal Street Productions; it was started in 2009. (BAM's Harvey Theatre, 651 Fulton St., Brooklyn, info/tickets.)

Nick Jonas
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

GO→ Jujamcyn Theaters president Jordan Roth will continue his "Broadway Talks" series with Nick Jonas. As a kid, Jonas performed on Broadway in shows like Beauty and the Beast and Les Miz. After a shot to superstardom with his band The Jonas Brothers, Nick returned to his first love, the stage: First, in the high-profile anniversary concert staging of Les Miz in London, and now on Broadway, succeeding Daniel Radcliffe and Darren Criss, in the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. (8 PM, 92nd Street Y, at Lexington Ave., tickes starting at $29, info/tickets.)

Monday, March 5
GO→ Betty Buckley, Jackie Hoffman, Charles Busch, Len Cariou, Andrew Rannells, Adam Pascal, Bruce Vilanch, Mario Cantone and more will participate in Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' 7th Annual Broadway Backwards concert that features singers performing gender-bending versions of Broadway and pop classics. The evening will benefit BC/EFA and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. (8 PM, Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W. 45th St., btwn. 8th & 9th Aves., tickets start at $75, info/tickets.)

GO→ Alan Cumming, Montego Glover, Benjamin Walker, Laura Benanti, Jesse L. Martin, Raul Esparza and Steven Pasquale headline the Public Sings! benefit concert. Expect songs from the Public’s rich musical theatre history including Hair, Two Gentleman Of Verona, Caroline, Or Change, Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk, A Chorus Line and Passing Strange. (8 PM, Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., info/tickets)

OPENING→ Jane Alexander stars as the mysterious titular "lady" of Edward Albee's The Lady From Dubuque by Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre Company. When a stylish and curious woman shows up at the house of Sam (Michael Hayden) and Jo (Laila Robins), otherworldly questions start to swirl. (Through March 25, Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 W. 42nd St., btwn. Dyer and 10th Aves., info/tickets.)

Angela Lansbury

Tuesday, March 6
PREVIEWS→ James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, John Larroquette, Michael McKean, Eric McCormack and Kerry Butler star in the Broadway revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man. Vidal's 1960 play about a ruthless presidential election makes for a perfect 2012 election year offering. (Through July 1, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave., Click here for Playbill Club discount previews tickets. Officially opening April 1.)

Wednesday, March 7
PREVIEWS→ The team behind [title of show]Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Jeff Bowen, Heidi Blickenstaff, director-choreographer Michael Berresse and music director Larry Pressgrove — reunite for a new musical comedy adventure (complete with funky punctuation), Now. Here. This. The show promises a musical adventure through life's milestones, both big and small. (Through April 15, Vineyard Theatre, 108 E. 15th St., btwn. 4th Ave. & Irving Place. Officially opening March 28. Info/tickets.)

Thursday, March 8
PREVIEWS→ "Gilmore Girls" star Alexis Bledel and Tony winner Adriane Lenox star in the world premiere of Matt Charman's Regrets. Lenox plays Mrs. Duke, the proprietor of a compound in the Nevada desert where men go to "secure a quick divorce" and start life anew. This being 1950s America, a group of men congregating in a ramshackle retreat in an attempt to rid themselves of their lives (and their wives) is not accepted in mainstream "Cleaver Family" society — to say the least. (Through April 29, City Center Stage I, 131 West 55th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves, Click here for Playbill Club discount previews tickets. Officially opening March 27.)

Friday, March 9
GO→ Judy Kuhn (She Loves Me, Les Miserables, Chess) returns to Feinstein's with a brand-new act. The three-time Tony nominee promises a night filled with songs that explore love and happiness from songwriters that range from the likes of Joni Mitchell to Stephen Sondheim. (Through March 10, Feinstein's at Loews Regency, 540 Park Ave, at 61st St., info/tickets.)

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

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