THE WEEK AHEAD, Sept. 22-28: Porgy and Bess Ends, Enemy of the People Opens and Virginia Woolf Begins

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22 Sep 2012

Michael Ball
Michael Ball
Photo by Catherine Ashmore

Playbill.com's weekly planner reminds you that "Summertime" ends for us as well as the Tony-winning revival of Porgy & Bess… Richard Thomas and Boyd Gaines are Broadway brothers in Enemy of the People… Playbill and NY1 host "Thirty for 30" at Grace… and BC/EFA's Flea Market and Grand Auction returns to Times Square! Fall begins this WEEK AHEAD! Cozy up with these theatre happenings.

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Saturday, September 22
LAST CHANCE (West End)→ Michael Ball's celebrated turn as the demon barber of Fleet Street comes to an end when Sweeney Todd closes at the West End's Adelphi Theatre. Ball's co-star is Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton ("Vera Drake") who has wowed critics with her unassailable Mrs. Lovett. This most recent London revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's musical masterwork comes from director Jonathan Kent and designer Anthony Ward who have set the story inside a decrepit old factory. (Adelphi Theatre, 409-412 Strand, London. Info/tickets.)

Sunday, September 23
LAST CHANCE→ The Tony Award-winning revival of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess ends its twice-extended limited engagement on Broadway. This reworked version — cut down to two-and-a-half hours with added dialogue and new musical arrangements — comes courtesy of director Diane Paulus, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks and composer Diedre L. Murray. Audra McDonald nabbed her record-tying fifth Tony Award for her triumphant turn as Bess. Norm Lewis earned his first Tony nomination for his portrayal of Porgy and David Alan Grier took a third Tony nod for his Sportin' Life. The supporting cast, featuring Joshua Henry, Philip Boykin and Nikki Renee Daniels, are equally as winning in this new production of the American folk opera. (Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

GO→ The 26th Annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Flea Market and Grand Auction returns to Times Square. Theatre lovers and memorabilia aficionados from near and far come to the market to scoop up one-of-a-kind items like signed show posters and Playbills, costume and set sketches, cast albums, ticket raffles and more. Big ticket items at the auction include the shirts off of Hugh Jackman and Ricky Martin's back (literally — they wore them during performances), musical phrases written and signed by the likes of Sondheim, Schwartz and Menken, walk-on roles in some of Broadway's biggest musicals, VIP opening night tickets to Broadway's big openings and more. There's also the celebrity autograph table and photo booth with celebs like Edward Asner, Harvey Fierstein, Steve Kazee, Jan Maxwell, Bebe Neuwirth, Bernadette Peters and more! (10 AM-7 PM, Times Square, Shubert Alley and along W. 44th St. Info.)



Monday, September 24
GO→ The Drama League kicks of a series of expanded programming for the 2012 fall-winter season with An Evening with David Schwimmer and Director Anne Kaufmann. The pair worked together on the New York mounting of Detroit, currently running at Playwrights Horizons. DL evenings of discussions, open rehearsal and classes continue throughout the year featuring events with Michael Shannon, David Hyde Pierce, James Lapine and casting guru Bernard Telsey. (7 PM, Drama League HQ, 520 8th Ave., btwn. 7th & 8th Aves., $25 for non-members per event. Info/full schedule of events.)

Tuesday, September 25
GO (FREE)→ The cast of the 2012 Off-Broadway revival of Carrie, including Marin Mazzie and Molly Ranson, will perform selections from the show's newly released cast album. Also on hand to chat with the crowd will be the show's creators Michael Gore, Dean Pitchford and Lawrence D. Cohen. (5 PM, Barnes & Noble, 150 E. 86th St., at Lexington Ave. Info.)

Wednesday, September 26
PREVIEWS→ Burgeoning theatre troupe and band PigPen Theatre Co., known for its hipster blend of shadow puppetry and folk music, debuts The Old Man and the Old Moon. The show follows a fable about a man who fills up the moon. Click here for a sneak peek of the show. Also, I dare you not to fall in love with their musical style after listening to this cover of Adele's "Someone Like You." Officially opens Oct. 4. (The Gym at Judson, 243 Thompson St., at Washington Square South. Info/tickets.)

Boyd Gaines and Richard Thomas
photo by Henry Leutwyler

Thursday, September 27
OPENING→ Ibsen's An Enemy of the People opens on Broadway in a new adaptation by Rebecca Lenkiewicz and director Doug Hughes. Four-time Tony winner Boyd Gaines and Richard Thomas star as brothers Thomas and Peter Stockman, respectively. When Thomas, a doctor, discovers water contamination in the town governed by Peter, morality, greed and family loyalty come to light in the most disconcerting ways. (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

PREVIEWS→ With the help of commercial producers, Steppenwolf Theatre Company's acclaimed Chicago revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? comes to Broadway. Tracy Letts (in his Broadway acting debut) and Amy Morton (a Tony nominee for August: Osage County) star as the beleaguered couple in the eye of a booze-fueled marital storm. Director Pam MacKinnon (Clybourne Park) has been hailed for her different take on the classic that puts Letts' George in the destructive driver's seat. Officially opens Oct. 13, on the 50th anniversary of its premiere. (Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount previews tickets.)

WATCH→ Audra McDonald will host the latest "Live From Lincoln Center" broadcast, which will air live from the New York Philharmonic Opening Gala. The evening will feature legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman and the Philharmonic, under the baton of Alan Gilbert. Expect selections from Sarasate, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Perlman's haunting version of the theme from "Schindler's List." (8 PM ET, PBS. Info/check local listings.)

Friday, September 28
GO→ NY1's Frank DiLella and I invite you to a new season of "Thirty For 30," our way of offering students and young professionals access to great shows for just 30 bucks. We'll kick off the season with a partnership with Grace, a dark comedy about religion and testing one's faith, starring Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, Kate Arrington and Ed Asner. After the show, the entire cast will sit down with Frank and I for a talkback. Good times…cheap tix…win-win! (For tickets, use the code "GR30UNDER" — valid online or in-person at the box office now through Sept. 28. Patrons must pick up tickets at the box office with a valid ID showing the age of 30 or under. For each ticket, an ID must be shown. There is a two-ticket maximum per transaction. (Call 212-947-8844 or go to the Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. Visit GraceOnBroadway.com.)

LAST CHANCE→ Cabaret singer Frank Dain offers his final performance of The Magic of Mathis, his solo show celebrating the tunes made famous by Johnny Mathis, at the Metropolitan Room in NYC. Audiences can expect fresh interpretations of Mathis classics, co-arranged by musical director Kathleen Landis, such as "Chances Are," "It's Not for Me to Say," "Wild Is the Wind," "Misty" and "The Twelfth of Never," among others. (7 PM, Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street, btwn. 5th & 6th Aves., $20 plus a two-drink minimum. Info/tickets.)

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

Watch highlights from Porgy and Bess: