THE WEEK AHEAD, April 21-27: Streetcar, The Lyons, Ghost, Nice Work, Columnist and Leap of Faith Open on Broadway

Inside Track   THE WEEK AHEAD, April 21-27: Streetcar, The Lyons, Ghost, Nice Work, Columnist and Leap of Faith Open on Broadway's weekly planner reminds you that Blair Underwood heads a new DesireGhost haunts Broadway… the fourth time's a charm for John Lithgow and journalists… Alan Menken takes his third Leap of Faith on the boards… and the Easter Bonnet Competition returns! The 2011-12 Broadway season officially ends this WEEK AHEAD, but not before some last-minute contenders throw their hats in the ring!
Blair Underwood and Daphne Rubin-Vega in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Blair Underwood and Daphne Rubin-Vega in A Streetcar Named Desire. Photo by Ken Howard


Saturday, April 21
GO→ Stephen Sondheim will join pianist Anthony de Mare for a concert based on the prolific composer's work. Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano features de Mare playing songs from shows like Company, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd and other Sondheim classics, reinterpreted by different jazz, classical, musical theatre, pop and film composers. Following the concert, Sondheim will join author Mark Eden Horowitz for an onstage interview. (7:30 PM, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th St., $15-$45. Info/tickets.)

Sunday, April 22
OPENING→ Tennessee Williams' landmark play A Streetcar Named Desire receives its first Broadway revival featuring a multi-racial cast. The play stars Blair Underwood and Daphne Rubin-Vega as Stanley and Stella, respectively (the Polish-derived surname "Kowalski" has been dropped), Nicole Ari Parker as the fragile Blanche and Wood Harris as Blanche's suitor, Mitch. Emily Mann directs. (Broadhurst Theatre, 236 W. 44th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Monday, April 23
OPENING→ Tony winners Linda Lavin and Dick Latessa star as the heads of a crumbling household in Nicky Silver's The Lyons, which received a critically acclaimed debut Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre last fall. Lavin plays the brazen and brash Rita Lyons, who gathers her children (Michael Esper and Kate Jennings Grant) at the hospital bedside of their terminally ill father (Latessa) to nitpick their life choices. (Cort Theatre, 128 W. 48th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman in Ghost.
photo by Joan Marcus

OPENING→ Ghost, the tech-savvy, pop-rock musical adaptation of the hit '90s film, opens on Broadway. Grammy-winning rock legends Dave Stewart (of the Eurythmics) and Glen Ballard, along with Oscar-winning "Ghost" screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin, bring the supernatural love story to musical life. Original London leads Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman play Molly and Sam. When Sam is murdered, Molly reconnects with her lost love via a quirky medium Oda Mae Brown (Da'Vine Joy Randolph). Directed by Tony winner Matthew Warchus. (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.) GO→ The 26th Annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' Easter Bonnet Competition features casts of Broadway's best and brightest new (and old) spring shows — in all their crowning glory — performing specialty production numbers in a two-performance talent show, capping another sure-to-be-successful fundraising period. Since 1987, the 25 editions of the fundraiser have brought in more than $46 million for BC/EFA and their vital work in the community. (April 23 at 4:30 PM & April 24 at 2 PM, Minskoff Theatre, 200 W. 45th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Info/tickets.)

Tuesday, April 24
OPENING→ Matthew Broderick returns to Broadway in Nice Work If You Can Get It, a new musical (his first since The Producers) featuring the songs of George and Ira Gershwin. Nice Work, which derives inspiration from the famous Gershwin tuner Oh, Kay!, finds a Jazz Age playboy named Jimmy (Broderick) falling for a bootlegger named Billie (Kelli O'Hara). Also starring Judy Kaye, Oscar winner Estelle Parsons and Michael McGrath. Directed and choreographed by three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall. (Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St., btwn Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

John Lithgow
Photo by Andrew Eccles

GO (KIDS)→ The Broadway revival of Godspell, currently starring Corbin Bleu as Jesus, is on the lookout for the future Broadway stars of tomorrow — more specifically, Godspell's cast of 2032. Hopefuls aged 6-16 will have the chance to perform with the cast during a special encore following the May 22 performance. Auditions will be held at Godspell's home, the Circle in the Square Theatre. Participants should come prepared to sing 16 bars of any song, a cappella. (2 PM-6 PM, Circle in the Square Theatre, 1633 Broadway at 50th St.. Info.)

Wednesday, April 25
OPENING→ John Lithgow stars as the powerful Washington columnist Joseph Alsop in David Auburn's The Columnist. The play, set during the height of Alsop's influence (1954-1968), reimagines a dark period when Alsop was blackmailed by the KGB after photos surfaced of him in a sexual liaison with a Soviet agent. Also starring four-time Tony winner Boyd Gaines as Alsop's beloved brother Stewart, Margaret Colin as his wife and Grace Gummer as his stepdaughter. (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Thursday, April 26
OPENING→ Alan Menken and Glenn Slater's gospel-country musical Leap of Faith, based on the 1992 Steve Martin film of the same name, officially opens on Broadway. Raúl Esparza stars as a con-artist preacher who squares off against a small-town sheriff (Jessica Phillips) after he tries to bilk her naïve townsfolk out of their life savings in the name of being saved. (St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St., btwn. Broadway and 8th Ave. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets.)

Friday, April 27 GO (CHICAGO)→ Celebrated director David Cromer's production of Jonathan Larson's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning Rent hits Chicago's American Theater Company featuring resident performers Alex Agard as Tom Collins, Lili-Anne Brown as JoAnne, Esteban Andres Cruz as Angel, Grace Gealy as Mimi, Aileen May as Maureen, Tony Santiago as Benny, Alan Schmuckler as Mark and Derrick Trumbly as Roger. (Through June 17, American Theater Co., 1909 W. Byron St., Chicago, IL. Info/tickets.)

GO (California)→ The world premiere of Hands on a Hardbody, featuring music by Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, lyrics by Amanda Green and a book by Doug Wright, receives its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse. Directed by Neil Pepe, Hardbody gets its story from the 1997 documentary about an endurance competition that challenged its contestants to keep their hands firmly planted on a pickup truck. Keith Carradine, Tony winner Jarrod Emick, Mary Gordon Murray and Hunter Foster star. (Through June 17, La Jolla Playhouse, 2910 La Jolla Drive, La Jolla, CA. Info/tickets.)

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

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