THE WEEK AHEAD, Aug. 4-10: Into the Woods Opens in Central Park; Broadway's Fela!, Memphis and Harvey Close

By Blake Ross
04 Aug 2012

Sahr Ngaujah
Sahr Ngaujah
Photo by Tristram Kenton

Playbill.com's weekly planner reminds you that Memphis shouts a final "Hockadoo!"… Howard McGillin plays 54 Below… Woody Harrelson fires a Bullet over Off-Broadway… Fringe invades NYC… and there are giants on the ground in Into the Woods.

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Saturday, August 4
LAST CHANCE→ The sultry summer engagement of the 2010 Tony nominee for Best Musical, Fela!, comes to an end. Since debuting in 2008 at 37 Arts, the dance-heavy musical about the life of controversial Afro beat pioneer Fela Kuti has been seen around the world, including on Broadway and in the late Kuti's native Nigeria. All the while, Tony nominee Sahr Ngaujah, in a bravura performance, has been with the property, including for this limited Broadway return. Directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones. (Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W. 45th St., btwn. 8th & 9th Aves., Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Sunday, August 5
LAST CHANCE→ After nearly three years, 1,166 performances and four Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Memphis will close on Broadway. It currently stars Adam Pascal and original cast member Montego Glover as a white radio DJ and a black soul singer who come together over their shared passion for music and, in turn, fall in love amid the racial tension brewing in the segregated south of the 1950s. Featuring the rock- and blues-infused score of Bon Jovi's David Bryan (composer) and Joe DiPietro (the lyricist who also wrote the book) and direction by Christopher Ashley. (Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave., info/tickets.)



LAST CHANCE→ Jim Parsons stars as the affable yet peculiar Elwood P. Dowd in the Roundabout's revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1944 Mary Chase play, Harvey. You see, Harvey is Elwood's best chum and they're practically inseparable. The problem lies in the fact that Harvey is invisible… and a giant rabbit. (Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave., info/tickets.)

Monday, August 6
GO→ Much of the cast of the Tony-winning musical Once, including Tony nominees Cristin Milioti and Elizabeth A. Davis, will be featured in The Martin Lowedown, an evening of songs celebrating the music of the show's Tony-winning orchestrator, Martin Lowe. Expect songs from Once as well as the cast's favorite covers and some Irish and Czech traditional music. The evening will benefit Ars Nova's 54/10 Music Marathon (which runs through Aug. 11), a showcase for new underground musical talents. (6:30 PM, Ars Nova, 511 W. 54th St., info/tickets.)

Howard McGillin

Tuesday, August 7
GO→ Tony nominee and record-breaking Phantom star Howard McGillin will grace the stage at Broadway's newest nightclub 54 Below for a two-night engagement. McGillin, a Broadway vet of musicals like The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Anything Goes, The Secret Garden and Kiss of the Spider Woman, possesses one of Broadway's most beautiful, booming tenors. He'll also be joining his former Anything Goes co-star, Patti LuPone, along with Norm Lewis and Seth Rudetsky on Playbill's third Broadway on the High Seas cruise in August 2013! (Through Aug. 8, 254 W. 54th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave., info/tickets.)

GO→ Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli spends his first night as Norman Osborn — aka the man who would become the Green Goblin aka Spider-Man's arch nemesis — in Broadway's stunt-filled spectacular Spider Man Turn Off the Dark. Cuccioli takes over for Patrick Page (playing his last performance Aug. 5), who will move just up the block (to the Roundabout's American Airlines Theatre) to play Comte de Guiche in the upcoming revival of Cyrano de Bergerac. (Foxwoods Theatre, 213 W. 42nd St., btwn. 7th & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Wednesday, August 8
OPENING→ Bullet for Adolf, a new dark comedy from actor and stoner hero Woody Harrelson (who also directs) and Frankie Hyman, tells the semiautobiographical story of two Texas-based construction workers who find themselves in a bind when they meet up with a slick New Yorker who owns a rare piece of World War II memorabilia. (Through Sept. 9, New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave.. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Donna Murphy

Thursday, August 9
OPENING (FREE)→ Surrounded by trees, woodland creatures (read: the infamous Park Raccoon) and Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare in the Park's Delacorte Theater seems like an ideal location for the starry revival of Into the Woods. Donna Murphy, Amy Adams, Denis O'Hare and Jessie Mueller star in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's fairytale-based musical that takes on Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella, in a glorious Sondheimian way. (Delacorte Theater, enter Central Park at 81st Street and Central Park West or at 79th Street and Fifth Avenue. Info.)

Friday, August 10
GO→ The 16th annual New York International Fringe Festival (or FringeNYC for short), kicks off with over two weeks chockablock with performances — 1,200 of them ranging from plays to musicals to dance programs to performance art to kid shows and beyond — spread across 20 venues. Some highlights from the Fest include: #MormonInChief, a comedy from Brigham Young grad Matthew Greene about an errant tweet sent by a young Mormon missionary that gets him in hot water with the Church; Tail! Spin!, a political comedy by NPR contributor Mario Correa, that boasts a starry ensemble including "SNL" alum Rachel Dratch and CBS Sunday Morning's Mo Rocca; Our Lady, a solo performance that follows a suicidal teen as he navigates his coming out to his father; and The Hills Are Alive!, a dark musical comedy about an Austrian family trekking across the Alps with seven children in tow. Expect yodeling and every problem not being solved by Maria. (Through Aug. 26, multiple venues, click here for a full schedule of performances/tickets.)

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

Watch highlights from Harvey: