THE WEEK AHEAD, Dec. 1-7: Broadway's Anarchist and Golden Boy Open; Assassins and Steel Magnolias Resurface

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01 Dec 2012

Patti LuPone  in <i>The Anarchist</i>.
Patti LuPone in The Anarchist.
Photo by Joan Marcus

Playbill.com's weekly planner reminds you that you get a double dose of Stephen Schwartz… David Mamet opens a new play on Broadway… Assassins and Steel Magnolias make brief Broadway returns… and David Cromer returns to Grover's Corners. Time to put your holiday shopping on hold and take a look at these fun WEEK AHEAD happenings to help you usher in a cozy December.

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Saturday, December 1
PREVIEWS→ A revamped version of Stephen Schwartz's musical revue Working premieres in New York. The premise of the show, which originally debuted on Broadway in 1978, had Schwartz (and several other composers like James Taylor, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead) musicalizing the real-life stories of working class stiffs mined from Stud Terkel's oral-history book of the same name. Since then, the show has received several reworkings and new songs. This latest incarnation features additional tunes from Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda and stars Marie-France Arcilla, Joe Cassidy, Donna Lynne Champlin, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Nehal Joshi and Kenita Miller. Gordon Greenberg directs. Officially opens Dec. 12. (59E59 Theatres, 59 E. 59th St., btwn. Park & Madison. Click here for Playbill Club discount previews tickets.)

GO (FREE)→ Disney is continuing the celebration of its biggest Broadway hit, The Lion King, with a free pop-up exhibit in Bryant Park. The exhibit consists of memorabilia from the Tony-winning musical's 15 years on the Great White Way, including an up-close look at director Julie Taymor's stunning puppets, masks and African-inspired costumes, sketches from the show's developmental years — and an interactive touch screen station with videos and images. The exhibit also boasts two weekend workshops (Dec. 8-9 and Dec. 15-16) in which Disney teaching artists will share music and dance from the show. (Open daily 10 AM-8 PM, Bryant Park, enter at 42nd St. and 6th Ave. Info.)

GO→ In support of the ongoing recovery efforts, The Drunken City is donating a portion of all ticket sales to The Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC, and is offering free tickets for shelter residents and National Guard Members. City is a comedic take on the mystique of marriage and the ever-shifting nature of love and identity in a city that never sleeps. Directed by Misti B. Wills (In Search of Euphoria). The Drunken City runs through December 16th. (The WorkShop Theatre, 312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Ave. Info/tickets.)



Sunday, December 2
OPENING→ A rare David Mamet two-hander featuring an all-female cast opens on Broadway. In The Anarchist, also directed by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Patti LuPone plays a longtime inmate at a prison where Debra Winger serves as her potential key to freedom. (Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

James Barbour and Neil Patrick Harris
photo by Joan Marcus

Monday, December 3
GO→ The original Broadway cast of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Assassins will reunite for a one-night-only concert. The entire 2004 troupe, including Neil Patrick Harris, Michael Cerveris, Denis O'Hare, Mario Cantone and Marc Kudisch, are expected to reprise their roles in the dark musical about presidential assassinations. Tony winner and original Assassins director Joe Mantello is once again at the helm. (7:30 PM, Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Aves. Info/tickets.)

GO→ Another revisiting is called for with a starry 25th Anniversary reading of Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias. Blythe Danner, Annie Potts, Marin Mazzie, Margo Martindale, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Sarah Stiles star as the gabby gals who find sisterhood, wisdom and solace inside a Southern beauty parlor. Judith Ivey directs the one-night-only event that boasts stars from the celebrated 1989 movie adaptation — including Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton and Julia Roberts — among its Anniversary Honorary Committee. (Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St., btwn. Bleecker and Hudson Sts. Info/tickets.)

Tuesday, December 4
OPENING→ Lee Pace, Bebe Neuwirth, Ethan Phillips, F. Murray Abraham, Lorenzo Pisoni, Will Rogers and Eddie Kaye Thomas star in the New York City premiere of Golden Age, Terrence McNally's play about 19th century Italian opera composer Vincenzo Bellini. McNally, an avid opera buff who has previously explored the behind-the-scenes drama of classical performers (most notably in his renowned Master Class), sets Golden Age on the Paris opening night of Bellini's newest (and what would turn out to be his last) opera, I Puritani. Directed by Walter Bobbie. (NY City Center, 131 West 55th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Wednesday, December 5
PREVIEWS (Massachusetts)→ Tony-nominated director Diane Paulus, who made a splash reworking musicals like Hair and Porgy and Bess for modern-day audiences, takes on another timeless musical, Stephen Schwartz's Pippin. Matthew James Thomas, Tony nominees Patina Miller and Terrence Mann and Tony winner Andrea Martin star in the revival staged at Harvard's American Repertory Theater. This new version will combine acrobatic movement courtesy of Gypsy Snider of the Montreal-based circus troupe, Les 7 doigts de la main (Traces), and Fosse-style choreography from Chet Walker. Officially opens Jan. 3. (Through Jan. 20, Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA. Info/tickets.)

Thursday, December 6
OPENING→ Clifford Odets' classic Golden Boy returns to Broadway 75 years after it first premiered — and at the same venue, the Belasco Theatre. Odets' timeless story about a young violinist caught between a world of art and great (but dangerous) fortune (by way of boxing) stars War Horse's Seth Numrich as the "boy" of the title. Danny Burstein, Anthony Crivello and Tony Shalhoub are among the people trying to shape the golden one's future. Bartlett Sher directs. (Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Friday, December 7
GO (Massachusetts)→ Director David Cromer will bring his Obie-winning version of Thornton Wilder's Our Town — which received critical acclaim and many extensions when it premiered in New York in 2009 — to Boston. As with his previous staging, Cromer will also play the role of the Stage Manager in Wilder's epic story of the lives of the denizens of Grover's Corners. The Boston engagement stars Derrick Trumbly, Therese Plaehn, Stacy Fischer and Christopher Tarjan. (Huntington Theatre Company's Calderwood Pavilion, 527 Tremont Street in Boston's Historic South End. Info/tickets.)

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

The Lion King creatives talk about the musical's 15th anniversary: