THE WEEK AHEAD, Aug. 11-17: Book of Mormon Hits the Road; L.A.'s Red and NYC's Soul Doctor Open

By Blake Ross
August 11, 2012

Playbill.com's weekly planner reminds you that Iron Mike exits Broadway… Mormons hit the road… Alfred Molina is once again Red… and a free evening of Bebe Neuwirth's Star Quality is offered. Summer days are swelterin' this WEEK AHEAD. How about you do some theatrein'!



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Saturday, August 11
GO→ Take a trip to Spiegelworld's sexy and bizarre circus experience Empire. The traveling spiegeltent (an ornate European antique from the 20th century that hosts audiences in the round) has situated itself in the Times Square theatre district for a summer show that combines burlesque with modern-day vaudeville. (265 W. 45th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Info/tickets.)

Sunday, August 12
LAST CHANCE→ Notorious boxing legend Mike Tyson takes a final bow in the limited summer engagement of Undisputed Truth. Under the guidance of director Spike Lee, Iron Mike tells the story of his rough upbringing in Brooklyn, his tutelage under boxing coach Cus D'Amato and his eventual mastery in the ring that earned him the title of the youngest heavyweight champion in the world. Of course, Tyson's path was not without some major public pitfalls (serving jail time, a tempestuous marriage to Robin Givens and the ear bite heard 'round the world). Also, there's a strange run-in with Brad Pitt. Need I say more? (Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Info/tickets.)

OPENING→ The Tony-winning play Red, about the relationship between artist Mark Rothko and a young protégé, makes its West Coast premiere with original Broadway star Alfred Molina once again portraying the volatile abstract expressionist painter who is battling his inner demons and a changing art scene. Jonathan Groff plays Rothko's young assistant, a role originated by Eddie Redmayne to Tony-winning effect. This is the same Michael Grandage-helmed production that was originated at London's Donmar Warehouse and eventually made its way to Broadway. (Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA. Info/tickets.)

Monday, August 13
OPENING→ The unusual relationship between a soul music-loving rabbi named Shlomo Carlebach and the "High Priestess" of that genre, Nina Simone, takes center stage in a new musical Soul Doctor. Based on a true story, Soul Doctor follows Carlebach from his childhood in Nazi Germany, through his studies in America, where he discovers gospel and soul music, to the time when he befriends Simone and eventually creates a new type of popular Jewish music — and performs with Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. (New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St., btwn. 2nd Ave. & Bowery. Info/tickets.)

GO (FREE)→ Tony winner Bebe Neuwirth and Tony nominee Brian Murray star in a reading of the Noël Coward comedy Star Quality, the story of a self-aggrandizing actress and her wicked backstage hijinks. The free reading is a part of the Noël Coward in New York Festival, which celebrates the legacy of the prolific writer. (6 PM, Bruno Walter Auditorium at Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, 111 Amsterdam Ave., seating is first-come, first-served. Info.)

Gavin Creel
photo by Robert Mannis

Tuesday, August 14

GO→ The much-anticipated national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Book of Mormon hits the road starring Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner as two young, idealistic Mormon missionaries who make a pilgrimage to Uganda to spread the gospel. There, they encounter warlords, rampant illness, hunger and "magical" frogs used for unseemly acts that I can't type here. The tour kicks off in Denver before spreading the gospel of musical comedy to a city near you. It's from the creators of "South Park," Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and the Tony Award-winning Avenue Q songwriter, Robert Lopez. (Through Sept. 2, Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Info/tickets.)

Wednesday, August 15
GO→ Deana Martin pays homage to her legendary father Dean in the nightclub act Deana Sings Dino. Expect classic songs like "Memories Are Made of This," "That's Amore" and "Everybody Loves Somebody," interspersed among home movies, photos and other personal effects from the Martin family. (Through Aug. 18, Feinstein's at Loews Regency, 540 Park Ave., at 61st St. Info/tickets.)

Thursday, August 16
GO (FREE)→ Lincoln Center's summer Target Free Thursdays continues with a presentation of the Henry James' ghost story The Turn of the Screw. The story, originally written in 1898, tells the tale of a governess and the two young orphans in her care who are holed up in a Hamptons estate that is haunted by an evil spirit. (7:30 PM, David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, 62nd St., btwn. Broadway and Columbus. Info.)

Friday, August 17
GO→ "Sparkle," the music-filled film starring Jordin Sparks and Whitney Houston, hits theatres nationwide. A revamped remake of the 1973 film of the same name, the story is loosely based on the rise to fame of the Supremes. The 2012 version features new music by R. Kelly and a Broadway musical based on the new property is in the works! (Info.)

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

Mike Tyson and Spike Lee in rehearsals for Undisputed Truth: