THE WEEK AHEAD, May 19-25: How to Succeed Ends; Title and Deed, Common Pursuit Open Off-Broadway

By Blake Ross
May 19, 2012

Playbill.com's weekly planner reminds you that Spiegelworld puts its circus tentpole in the theatre district… Elaine Stritch brings her Sondheim songbook to the West Coast… Will Eno's Title and Deed gets its NYC debut… and Godspell "kids" offer a glimmer of Broadway's future. Circus tents and new productions blossom in this spring-scented WEEK AHEAD!



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Saturday, May 19
PREVIEWS→ The Olivier-nominated Potted Potter, a 70-minute jaunt parodying all seven installments of the famous "Harry Potter" franchise, arrives stateside with original stars-creators Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner in tow. The show earned a 2012 Olivier nomination for Best Entertainment & Family Show. (Little Shubert Theater, 422 W. 42nd St., btwn. 9th Ave. & Dyer Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount previews tickets. Officially opens June 3.)

GO (CALIFORNIA)→ Tony and Emmy Award winner Elaine Stritch — in all her brassy and sassy glory! — will play the Walt Disney Concert Hall as part of their Songbook series. The repertoire? Why, all Sondheim, of course! Following Stritch's engagement will be Tony winner and fellow "30 Rock" star Jane Krakowski (Oct. 23) and Judy Collins (Feb. 11). (8 PM, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Info/tickets.)

Sunday, May 20
LAST CHANCE--> After 474 performances, and three superstar Finches that included Daniel Radcliffe, Darren Criss and Nick Jonas, the 50th anniversary Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying close. The current cast, lead by Jonas as the corporate ladder-climber J. Pierrepont Finch, includes Michael Urie as the sniveling Bud Frump and Beau Bridges as the World Wide Wicket Company's head honcho, J.B. Biggley. Includes the classic Frank Loesser tunes "Been a Long Day," "Company Way," "Brotherhood of Man" and the title tune. (Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W. 45th St., btwn. 8th & 9th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)  

OPENING→ Conor Lovett stars as the man with no name in Will Eno's one-man show Title and Deed. Eno's play follows a mysterious traveler — or, as the play refers to him, "the newest nobody of the funniest century yet" — looking for a connection as he makes a trek to an unknown country. The play promises to run an hour — that is, if the unknown man "doesn't die or think of anything else." (Through June 17, Signature Theatre's Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre, 480 W. 42nd St., at 10th Ave. Info/tickets.)

Monday, May 21
GO→ Olympia Dukakis stars as Lear in an adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tragedy King Lear. Austin Pendleton directs the staged reading, which will serve as a benefit for the Hero Theatre. (6:30 PM, The Laura Pels Theatre, 111 W. 46th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves., tickets starts at $75. Info/tickets.)

Kacie Sheik in February House.
photo by T. Charles Erickson

Tuesday, May 22
OPENING→ The famous artists' compound at 7 Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights was home to some of most creative and interesting minds of the 1940s — including burlesque darling Gypsy Rose Lee, poet W.H. Auden, writer Carson McCullers, novelists Jane and Paul Bowles, and composer Benjamin Britten. What life must have been like inside that utopia is the subject of February House, a new musical by Gabriel Kahane and Seth Bockley that features an eclectic mix of jazz music, musical comedy, opera and modern folk-pop songs. (Through June 10. The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. here.)

GO→ Times Square can sometimes feel like a circus. Now, thanks to tent-house theatrical producer Spiegelworld, it really will be one! A new show, Empire, featuring elements of circus, cabaret and burlesque, sets up shop in a vacant lot on West 45th Street in the heart of the theatre district. The 440-seat tent promises a carnival-style experience for adults, including a show, a bar and a speakeasy lounge. (265 W 45th St., btwn. 7th & 8th Aves. Info/tickets.)

GO→ The adorable future stars of Broadway (coined the "Godspell cast of 2032") gets a taste of the spotlight when they sing with the current cast of the famous Stephen Schwartz musical — headed by Corbin Bleu — at a special curtain-call performance. (Circle in the Square Theatre, 1633 Broadway at 50th St. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Kate Baldwin and Burke Moses
Photo by Scott Suchman

Wednesday, May 23
OPENING (WASHINGTON, DC)→ Broadway's Kate Baldwin and Burke Moses star in Arena Stage's revival of The Music Man. The famous exploits of conman Harold Hill features the classic Meredith Wilson songs "Seventy-Six Trombones," "Till There Was You," "Trouble" and "My White Knight." Directed by Arena's artistic director Molly Smith. (Arena Stage, 1101 6th St., SW, Washington, DC. Info/tickets.)

Thursday, May 24
OPENING→ Director Moisés Kaufman's revival of Simon Gray's 1985 comedy-drama The Common Pursuit, about the exploits in the lives of a group of literary-minded friends as they navigate the 20 years after their school days, officially opens Off-Broadway. Starring Kieran Campion, Kristen Bush, Josh Cook, Jacob Fishel, Tim McGeever and Lucas Near-Verbrugghe. (Laura Pels Theatre, 111 W. 46th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

PREVIEWS→ Tony Award winning lyricist Scott Wittman debuts a new musical revue based on the life of glitter rock drag performer (and Andy Warhol sidekick) Jackie Curtis. Jukebox Jackie, conceived and directed by Wittman, will play at La Mama, a theatre that Curtis was all too familiar with having performed several of her own plays there in the 1970s. Jukebox Jackie stars Tony nominated Kiki & Herb star Justin Vivian Bond, Bridget Everett, Steel Burkhardt and former Curtis co-star Penny Arcade. (La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, 74A East 4th Street, btwn. Bowery & 2nd Ave. Info/tickets.)

Friday, May 25
PREVIEWS→ Tony nominee Chad Kimball stars in Dan Gordon's Murder in the First, a courtroom thriller based on the 1995 Christian Slater-Kevin Bacon film of the same name. The story follows an inmate at Alcatraz that forms a friendship with the idealistic attorney representing him. (59E59 Theatres, 59 E. 59th St., btwn. Park & Madison Ave. Info/tickets. Officially opens June 6.)

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

Highlights of How to Succeed with Nick Jonas: