By Michael Gioia
30 Aug 2012
Concluding Sept. 1
Into the Woods (Off-Broadway at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park). The Public Theater's outdoor production of Into the Woods stars Broadway's original Into the Woods cast member Chip Zien as the Mysterious Man, Donna Murphy as the Witch, Amy Adams as the Baker's Wife and Denis O'Hare as the Baker. The new production of the Tony Award-winning Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine fairytale musical is based on the 2010 Regent's Park Open Air Theatre London staging. The Public Theater enlisted original London co-directors Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel to re-explore the production in a fresh incarnation for Shakespeare in the Park. Visit PublicTheater.org.
The Last Smoker in America (Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre). The Last Smoker in America features Farah Alvin, Natalie Venetia Belcon, John Bolton and Jake Boyd. "In a world where smoking has recently been outlawed and the penalties are growing stricter by the minute, Pam is having an impossible time trying to quit," according to press notes. "Her husband Ernie dreams of being a rock star and relentlessly practices his guitar in the basement, while their videogame-addicted son Jimmy listens to so much rap music he thinks he's black. As if Pam isn't pushed to the edge of reason already, her nosy, anti-smoking zealot neighbor Phyllis is on a mission to catch transgressors mid-puff. Will Pam kick the habit or fight for her right to light up?" Visit LastSmoker.com.
Concluding Sept. 2
Clybourne Park (Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre). Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park, directed by Tony nominee Pam MacKinnon, is the recipient of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play. Here's how it's billed: Clybourne Park "is the wickedly funny and fiercely provocative new play about race, real estate and the volatile values of each. Clybourne Park explodes in two outrageous acts set 50 years apart. Act One takes place in 1959, as nervous community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to a black family. Act Two is set in the same house in the present day, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification." Visit ClybournePark.com.
One Man, Two Guvnors (Broadway at the Music Box Theatre). One Man, Two Guvnors stars 2012 Tony Award winner James Corden. According to production notes, "In One Man, Two Guvnors, Corden stars as Francis Henshall [the title's 'one man']. Always-famished and easily-confused, Henshall agrees to work for a local gangster as well as a criminal in hiding [the 'two guvnors'], both of whom are linked in a tangled web of schemes and romantic associations... none of which Francis can keep straight. So he has to do everything in his power to keep his two guvnors from meeting while trying to eat anything in sight along the way. Simple. Falling trousers, flying fish heads, star-crossed lovers, cross-dressing mobsters and a fabulous on-stage band are just some of what awaits [in the acclaimed] play…" Visit OneManTwoGuvnorsBroadway.com.
Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience – A Parody by Dan and Jeff (Off-Broadway at the Little Shubert Theatre). Written and performed by two-time Olivier Award-nominated actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, Potted Potter, according to press notes, takes on the "ultimate challenge of condensing, or 'potting,' all seven Harry Potter books into 70 madcap minutes, aided only by multiple costume changes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props and a generous helping of Hogwarts magic. The show also invites audiences to engage with a real life game of Quidditch, but according to Clarkson and Turner's unique set of rules." Visit PottedPotter.com.
Traces (Off-Broadway at the Union Square Theatre). Here's how producers characterize Traces: "If the world ended tomorrow, what would you leave behind? In Traces, the human body is pushed to its limits as a group of friends leave their mark in a run-down warehouse through acrobatics, music and dance. Fusing the traditions of circus with the energy of street performance, Traces is an explosive display of raw emotion and physicality in an intimate urban setting. When it counts, will you leave it all on the stage?" Visit TracesUSA.com.
Voca People (Off-Broadway at New World Stages). Voca People, Off-Broadway's intergalactic musical, is created by Lior Kalfo and Shai Fishman. The Voca People, according to press notes, "believe music is the source of life that brings harmony, joy and refueling. A performance bursts with over 70 well known songs that create vocal 'fireworks' and leave audiences clapping along and snapping their fingers. Voca People is the musical theater event that bridges languages, cultures, and planets." Visit VocaPeopleNYC.com.
Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular (Las Vegas at The Venetian). Upon closing, Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular, which has run for more than six years, will have played nearly 2,700 performances. The production is directed by 21-time Tony Award winner Hal Prince, the show’s original director, and guided by the musical's composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber. Visit PhantomLasVegas.com.