The WEEK AHEAD: Jan. 8-14

Inside Track   The WEEK AHEAD: Jan. 8-14
Kick-off 2011 with a theatre-filled, spectacular WEEK AHEAD!

Wilde women start off Broadway's New Year... four Main Stem departures... Rent men take up residence at Town Hall... and Dr. Freud is back on the couch.


Saturday, January 8
Billie Joe Armstrong GO? The 10th Annual Arts & Leisure Weekend will feature some heavy-hitters from the worlds of Broadway, film, TV, fashion and music, including: screen legend Robert Redford, brother and sister powerhouse Rufus and Martha Wainwright; and on Sunday, American Idiot creators, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong and director Michael Mayer, and 28-year-old classical pianist (fresh from his gig with the New York Philharmonic) Lang Lang. (Through January 9, The New York Times' Times Center, 242 W. 41st St., btwn. 7th and 8th Aves., info/tickets)

Sunday, January 9
Four Broadway shows bid the Great White Way a great big adieu. They are:

Andréa Burns, Robin de Jesús, Christopher Jackson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Karen Olivo and Janet Dacal will reprise their roles on Broadway in In the Heights.BEFORE IT CLOSES? In The Heights, the 2008 Tony Award-winning musical, welcomes back original star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda for its final weeks on Broadway. This love story set "at the top of the world" (aka Manhattan's Washington Heights) is fueled by the sounds of rap, salsa and hip-hop. (Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th St., btwn. Broadway & 8th Ave., info/tickets)

BEFORE IT CLOSES? Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch star in the revival of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler classic A Little Night Music, a romantic musical comedy about the follies of love. (Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St., btwn. Broadway and 8th Ave., info/tickets)


BEFORE IT CLOSES? A pompous head of a royal court theatre troupe (David Hyde Pierce), an oafish street clown (Mark Rylance), and a princess who travels with a moving shower of sparkles (Joanna Lumley) provide the laughs for David Hirson's Molière-esque verse play La Bête. (Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St., btwn. Broadway and 8th Ave., Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets)

BEFORE IT CLOSES? John Guare's first offering of the 2010-2011 Broadway season, A Free Man of Color, is brought to Broadway courtesy of Lincoln Center. Jeffrey Wright stars in this epic play about the rise and fall of a Don Juan in the early 19th century. Two-time Tony winner George C. Wolfe directs. (Vivian Beaumont Theater, 150 W. 65th St., btwn. Broadway and Amsterdam, Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets)

Monday, January 10
Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal return to the Broadway production of Rent.GO? Rent’s original leading men Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp return to the concert stage for a one-two punch of original, contemporary songs (courtesy of Rapp), and more tradition Broadway standards (via Pascal). The pair will take the stage together to perform selections from the hit Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning show Rent. (Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St., btwn 6th Ave., and Broadway, info/tickets)

Tuesday, January 11
 Christine EbersoleGO? She's baaack! Two-time Tony Award winner (and, ahem, Playbill's Broadway on the High Seas star!) Christine Ebersole returns to the famed stage at the Café Carlyle. I've seen Ebersole's show several times (both at the Carlyle and other venues) and trust me, if you like cabaret, this one is not to be missed! (Café Carlyle at the Carlyle Hotel, 35 E. 75th St., btwn. Park and Madison Aves., info/tickets)

Thursday, January 13, 2011
Brian Bedford as Lady BracknellOPENING? After a critically acclaimed run at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Tony winner Brian Bedford brings his gender-bending version of Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy The Importance of Being Earnest to Broadway. Bedford directs and stars as the formidable lady-in-charge, Lady Bracknell. (American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St., btwn 7th & 8th Aves., Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets)

Stockard Channing, Stacy Keach, Thomas Sadoski, Elizabeth Marvel, Linda LavinOPENING? Stacy Keach, Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin and Elizabeth Marvel star in Other Desert Cities. Keach plays the rigid, right wing patriarch of a California clan torn apart when his son commits a ghastly crime. Directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello. (Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, 150 W. 65th St., btwn. Broadway and Amsterdam, Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets)

Raul EsparzaGO? Lincoln Center kicks off its American Songbook series this week! Marquee names on the series’ 16-night roster include Lance Horne with Alan Cumming and Cheyenne Jackson (Jan. 14), Anika Noni Rose (Feb. 5), Raul Esparza (Feb. 18) and others. (American Songbook Through February 20, The Allen Room, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th St., info/tickets)

Friday January 14
Mark H. Dold and Martin Rayner in Freud's Last SessionREOPENING? After a sold-out run last summer, Freud’s Last Session, the story of a fictional meeting between renowned psychoanalyst Dr. Sigmund Freud (a rigid atheist) and Christian writer C.S. Lewis, reopens with original stars Martin Rayner (as the good Doctor) and Mark H. Dold (as Lewis). (Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater,?10 W. 64th St., btwn., Broadway & Central Park West, info/tickets)

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