Summer may seem like a slow time for theatre in New York City, but actually theatre companies and venues are very busy taking stock of the previous season, and, of course, arranging the season to come. Already a number of seasons and shows are in place, so here's a current list (as of July 1) of what to look for Off-Broadway in fall 1999.
ASTOR PLACE THEATRE
* Blue Man Group continues its run.
ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY
* The Water Engine & Mr. Happiness by David Mamet (Sept. 29-Nov. 21)
* American Buffalo by David Mamet (Feb 2000). Famous drama of a scheme gone wrong.
* Two other plays by David Mamet, TBA
* The Country Club, by Douglas Carter Beane (As Bees In Honey Drown). Previews Sept. 7; runs Sept. 23-Oct. 2 at venue TBA. The show tells of wealthy twenty-somethings who don't know how to approach adulthood.
* Perfect Crime continues its run. GRAMERCY THEATRE
[venue for Roundabout's Give Me Your Answer, Do!]
JOHN HOUSEMAN THEATRE
* Over The River And Through The Woods by Joe DiPietro and directed by Joel Bishoff, continues its run.
LINCOLN CENTER THEATRE - MITZI NEWHOUSE
* Contact, by Susan Stroman and librettist John Weidman, featuring original music by the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Boyd Gaines stars as a suicidal man who meets a dancer at a swing club. Prevs Sept. 9; opens Oct. 7.
* Ancestral Voices by A.R. Gurney, directed by Dan Sullivan. Plays in rep with Contact starting Sept. 19. The show had an extended try-out at the Newhouse this past spring. As with that engagement, performances will feature rotating casts. The plot: a family is turned inside out when young Eddie's grandmother unexpectedly divorces his grandfather to marry the grandfather's best friend.
MANHATTAN CLASS COMPANY
* Yard Gal by UK dramatist Rebecca Prichard (Sept. 8-Oct. 17, opening Sept. 16).
MANHATTAN THEATRE CLUB
* Proof, by David Auburn (Skyscraper), concerns a mysterious young woman who faces the death of a genius father, an unexpected suitor and a mysterious mathematical proof. Directors and dates TBA.
* Y2K by Arthur Kopit. Bob Balaban directs this thriller by the author of Nine, Wings and Indians, concerning a couple terrorized by a computer hacker. Dates TBA.
* An Experiment With An Air Pump by Shelagh Stephenson (The Memory of Water). Satire and drama mix in this look at two families and the collision of science and morality over centuries. Douglas Hughes directs.
* Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay-Abaire. David Petrarca directs this comedy about a woman's attempt to regain her memory while surrounded by and "alarmingly bizarre" cast of friends and family. Dates TBA.
* Stomp continues its run.
* The Dead, a musicalization of James Joyce's short story by Shaun Davey (music & lyrics) and Richard Nelson (book & lyrics). Jack Hofsiss directs (Oct. 1-Nov. 14).
* Lobster Alice, Kira Obolensky's Kesselring Award-winning play has its New York premiere, Dec. 17-Jan. 23, 2000. It tells of a Hollywood animator in 1946, his assistant, and a strange visit from Salvador Dali.
* Who's On Top [tentative title] by James Lapine (Feb. 18-March 26, 2000). Daniel Sullivan may direct this tale of a New York couple and their artistic careers and conflicts over the years.
* Bubbly Black Girl,a jazz, pop and Motown-inflected musical, with book, music and lyrics by Kirsten Childs, April 28, 2000-June 4, 2000. Wilfredo Medina directs; A.C. Ciulla choreographs.
* Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight, by Peter Ackerman, expects to continue its run past Labor Day.
ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY
* Give Me Your Answer, Do! by Brian Friel. Kyle Donnelly directs, Prevs Sept. 10, opens Sept. 30 at Gramercy Theatre. Set in Donegal, Ireland, the play has novelist Tom Connolly and his wife Daisy nervously awaiting the decision of their American houseguest as to whether he will purchase Tom's papers for a U.S. college library.
* Forbidden Broadway Cleans Up Its Act! by Gerard Alessandrini continues its run.
SULLIVAN STREET PLAYHOUSE
* The Fantasticks continues its run, of course.
UNION SQUARE THEATRE
* Wit, Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize-winner, continues its run (though lead actress Kathleen Chalfant leaves during the summer).
* [tentative] Fully Committed by Becky Mode, expected Fall 1999. The plot: an out of work actor deals with an avalanche of people all trying to secure a reservation for New York's hottest restaurant on a Saturday night. Mark Setlock stars; Nicholas Martin directs.
* [tentative] True History And Real Adventures by Sybille Pearson. Michael Mayer will direct; Kathleen Chalfant (Wit) may star in this drama about a Scottish girl who comes to America at the turn of the last century and teams up with some rogue teenagers to find the real Calamity Jane. Pearson previously wrote Baby and Phantasie.
* [tentative] The Altruists by Nicky Silver, directed by longtime collaborator David Warren. The new work, due winter 2000, takes aim at "radicals, do-gooders, leftists, fascism, racism, sexism, agism, gay rights, civil rights, the NEA, the ERA, the NRA, ACT UP and anyone with a social conscience."
* (upstairs) I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, directed by Joel Bishoff, continues its run.
-- By David Lefkowitz