By Michael Gioia
25 Jun 2014
|Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva|
Concluding June 28
tick, tick… BOOM! (Off-Broadway at New York City Center). Jonathan Larson's tick, tick… BOOM! is the opening show of City Center's Encores! Off-Center series of landmark Off-Broadway musicals. Tony winners Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo and Leslie Odom Jr. ("Smash") comprise the cast. The work is described as "an autobiographical musical by the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer of Rent. First performed as a solo rock monologue by Larson in 1990, it is the story of an aspiring composer who questions his life choices on the eve of his thirtieth birthday." Visit NYCityCenter.org.
A Fable (Off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre). The world premiere of David Van Asselt's A Fable is directed by Daniel Talbott and includes Edward Carnevale, Liza Fernandez, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Maxwell Hamilton, Jerry Matz, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Eileen Rivera, Pamela Shaw, Samantha Soule, Alok Tewari, Sanford Wilson and Gordon Joseph Weiss. Here's how the work is billed: "The epic adventure of an idealist spurred on by love to right a long-forgotten wrong, A Fable follow his encounters with a whole cast of characters — colorful and corrupt, lucky and ill-fated — as they each grope their way through a landscape of nationwide strife and corporate greed. A play of dualities, A Fable takes into question how each choice we make can drastically change our ending." Visit RisingPhoenixRep.org.
All The Way (Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre). Robert Schenkkan's Tony Award-winning political drama All The Way stars Emmy and Tony winner Bryan Cranston. Here's how it's billed: "1963. An assassin's bullet catapults Lyndon Baines Johnson into the presidency. A Shakespearean figure of towering ambition and appetite, the charismatic, conflicted Texan hurls himself into Civil Rights legislation, throwing the country into turmoil. Alternately bullying and beguiling, he enacts major social programs, faces down opponents and wins the 1964 election in a landslide. But in faraway Vietnam, a troublesome conflict looms. In the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright's vivid dramatization of LBJ's first year in office, means versus ends plays out on a broad stage canvas as politicians and civil rights leaders plot strategy and wage war." Visit AllTheWayBroadway.com.
Casa Valentina (Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre). Casa Valentina, the new play by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein about an upstate colony where heterosexual men dress as women, features Patrick Page, Tony Award winner John Cullum, Drama Desk Award winner Reed Birney, Tony Award winner Gabriel Ebert, Obie Award winner Lisa Emery, Tony Award nominee Tom McGowan, Larry Pine, Drama Desk Award winner Nick Westrate and Oscar nominee Mare Winningham. "Back in 1962, most men went to the Catskill Mountains to escape the summer heat, but others took the two-hour drive to escape something else entirely: being men," press notes state. "Nestled in the land of dirty dancing and borscht belt comedy sat an inconspicuous bungalow colony that catered to a very special clientele: heterosexual men whose favorite pastime was dressing and acting as women. It was paradise for these men — white-collar professionals with families — to spend their weekends discreetly and safely inhabiting their chosen female alter egos. But when faced with the opportunity to become an official organization, these 'self-made women' had to decide whether public recognition would help them gain a place in open society or spell their own personal disaster." Visit CasaValentinaBroadway.com.
After Midnight (Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre). The Tony Award-nominated musical revue After Midnight features Grammy winner Patti LaBelle as the show's final guest star. Conceived by Jack Viertel and directed and choreographed by 2014 Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle, After Midnight, according to press notes, "takes the sexy, smoky glamour of the original Jazz Age and catapults it into a whole new era of heart-pounding, mind-blowing entertainment for modern Broadway audiences. Refracted through a contemporary lens, After Midnight celebrates Duke Ellington's years at the Cotton Club using his original arrangements and performed by a world-class big band of 17 musicians hand-picked by living jazz legend, Wynton Marsalis. The timeless tunes set against a narrative of Langston Hughes poetry provide an authentic backdrop for an array of cutting-edge performances by 25 sensational vocalists and dancers, including special guest stars, whose interpretations shatter everything you think you know about music, nightlife and Broadway." Visit AfterMidnightBroadway.com.
Our New Girl (Off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company). Nancy Harris' Our New Girl is directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch and stars Mary McCann. "Behind the shiny door of Hazel Robinson's perfect London home, nothing is as it seems," press notes state. "Hazel's plastic surgeon husband Richard has embarked on his latest charitable quest in Haiti, leaving the heavily-pregnant Hazel with a failing business and a problem son. When a professional nanny arrives unannounced on the Robinsons' doorstep, Hazel finds her home under the shadow of a perfect stranger with an agenda of her own." Visit AtlanticTheater.org.
Murder for Two (Off-Broadway at New World Stages). The two-person whodunit musical Murder for Two features music by Joe Kinosian, lyrics by Kellen Blair and a book by Kinosian and Blair. It is directed by Scott Schwartz and stars Jeff Blumenkrantz and Brett Ryback. Here's how the musical is billed: "Everyone is a suspect in Murder For Two, a hilarious musical murder mystery with a twist: one actor (Ryback) investigates the crime, the other plays all of the suspects (Blumenkrantz) and they both play the piano! A zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, this 90-minute whodunit is a highly theatrical duet loaded with killer laughs." Visit MurderForTwoMusical.com.
Fly By Night (Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater). The new musical Fly By Night, a dark comedy rock fable, features Allison Case, Adam Chanler-Berat, Tony Award nominee and Obie Award winner Peter Friedman, Michael McCormick, Patti Murin, Drama Desk Award nominee Bryce Ryness and Obie Award winner Henry Stram. Here's how the production is billed: "In this darkly comic rock-fable, a melancholy sandwich maker's (Chanler-Berat) hum-drum life is intersected by two entrancing sisters (Case and Murin). A sweeping ode to young love set against the backdrop of the northeast blackout of 1965, Fly By Night is a tale about making your way and discovering hope in a world beset by darkness." Visit PlaywrightsHorizons.org.
Satchmo at the Waldorf (Off-Broadway at The Westside Theatre). Satchmo at the Waldorf, written by Terry Teachout, stars John Douglas Thompson and is directed by Gordon Edelstein. Here's how it's billed: "In March of 1971, one of the greatest music legends the world would ever know was performing the final set of shows he would ever play at New York's Waldorf Astoria Hotel. But the audiences who adored him onstage never really saw the man behind the trumpet. In Terry Teachout's searing and surprisingly intimate play, Satchmo at the Waldorf, we encounter Louis Armstrong where few ever had the chance to see him: backstage. Reflecting on his own unlikely career amidst a rapidly changing society, the icon is stripped bare, revealing complexities and contradictions that his omnipresent smile, horn and handkerchief belied. Critically acclaimed actor John Douglas Thompson, seamlessly morphing between Armstrong, his manager Joe Glaser, and fellow trumpeter Miles Davis, gives one of the most vivid portraits ever created for the stage." Visit SatchmoNYC.com.