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The Season in Theater

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A Man for All Seasons  

Broadway

A Tale of Two Cities
The Dickens adaptation will bring back Les Mis–style bombast— not to mention Natalie Toro, an original Eponine, as Madame Defarge. Al Hirschfeld Theatre; in previews for a 9/18 opening.

To Be or Not to Be
Director Casey Nicholaw (Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) should help buoy this dark screwball comedy, starring Craig Bierko as the head of a Warsaw theater troupe in 1939. Based on the great 1942 Jack Benny film. Friedman (formerly Biltmore) Theatre; in previews 9/11 for a 10/2 opening.

13
A rock musical that promises to give young New Yorkers nightmares: It’s about a boy whose family moves from the city to Indiana. Jacobs Theatre; in previews 9/16 for a 10/5 opening.

A Man for All Seasons
Frank Langella comes off playing Nixon to become Thomas More, Henry VIII’s martyred Catholic chancellor, in the play that became an Oscar-winning movie. American Airlines Theatre; in previews 9/12 for a 10/7 opening.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
While The Grinch was anchoring the holidays here, this rejiggered classic was hitting all the nation’s other big cities. Producers hope to make it a New York seasonal staple. Marquis Theatre; in previews 11/14 for an 11/23 opening.

Dividing the Estate
Horton Foote’s Off Broadway play, about a family fighting over its inheritance, transfers with cast intact (including Penny Fuller and Foote’s daughter Hallie Foote). Booth Theatre; in previews 10/23 for an 11/20 opening.


A Tale of Two Cities  

Pal Joey
Richard Greenberg spiffs up the book of this Rodgers and Hart warhorse for its fifth Broadway revival, with Stockard Channing as Broadway’s first cougar, Vera Simpson. Roundabout at Studio 54; in previews 11/14 for a 12/11 opening.

Shrek the Musical
Brian D’Arcy James one-ups Wicked in the green-makeup Broadway game, joined by Sutton Foster as Fiona. Broadway Theatre; in previews 11/8 for a 12/14 opening.

Off Broadway

Fela!
Bill T. Jones choreographs, directs, and co-writes a musical that brings Afrobeat—the music pioneered by Fela Anikulapo Kuti—to the musical-theater world. 37 Arts; in previews for a 9/4 opening.

Beast
Michael Weller’s dark, farcical picaresque is about two wounded Iraq vets who go down to Crawford for a word with the commander-in-chief. New York Theatre Workshop; in previews 8/29 for a 9/15 opening.

Three Changes
Maura Tierney stars as half of a settled Upper West Side couple that’s due for some unsettling, via a brother-in-law in from Hollywood with very odd plans. Playwrights Horizons; in previews for a 9/16 opening.

The Tempest
Mandy Patinkin takes off his cabaret shoes to play a character only slightly more magical: Prospero. Classic Stage Company; in previews 9/3 for a 9/18 opening.

Cato
Joseph Addison’s 1713 play about the Roman statesman who resisted Caesar—a favorite story of George Washington’s—stars André de Shields. The Flea Theater; in previews 10/10 for an October opening.

The Atheist
Campbell Scott is a ruthless reporter on the trail of a politician with some awfully tawdry secrets, who (imagine!) actually might have to pay the price for his own muckraking. Barrow Street Theatre; in previews 10/6 for a 10/12 opening.

Kindness
Adam Rapp’s latest is set in a Midtown hotel where an ailing woman and her teenage son are holed up after fleeing a faltering marriage. Playwrights Horizons; in previews 9/25 for a 10/13 opening.


Fela!  

Rock of Ages
Glam metal has its jukebox moment in this musical welcoming you to the jungle, located in a dying L.A. rock club circa 1987, where rockers chase fame to a soundtrack of Journey, Bon Jovi, and (dude!) Whitesnake. New World Stages; in previews 10/1 for a 10/16 opening.

If You See Something Say Something
Mike Daisey, the celebrated performer whose subjects have ranged from his three years spent working for Amazon to the lives of crazy geniuses, this time tells the life story of the inventor of the neutron bomb. Public Theater; in previews 10/15 for a 10/27 opening.

Romantic Poetry
John Patrick Shanley’s foray into musical theater (he’s written the book and lyrics) bears the stamp of his class-conscious dark romances, with a series of odd couples crossing geographic and cultural boundaries in cute ways. MTC Stage I; in previews 9/30 for a 10/28 opening.

Streamers
The Roundabout revives the dark, funny and once-controversial Vietnam buddy drama by David Rabe, which preceded his much better-known Hurlyburly by fifteen years. Laura Pels Theatre; in previews 10/17 for an 11/11 opening.

American Buffalo
John Leguizamo and Cedric the Entertainer double-team Mamet’s rare-nickel caper, whose two previous Broadway runs starred Robert Duvall (1977) and Al Pacino (1983). Belasco Theatre; in previews 10/31 for a 11/17 opening.

Home
The Signature’s second show in a season devoted to the 40-year-old Negro Ensemble Company is Samm-Art Williams’s play, with three actors in more than 25 roles. Signature Theatre Company; in previews 11/11 for a 12/7 opening.

Prayer For My Enemy
Craig Lucas, last heard from at The Light in the Piazza, brings out a new play about a family riven by alcoholism, Vietnam, Iraq, and a healthy dose of homoerotic tension. Playwrights Horizons; in previews 11/14 for a 12/9 opening.


Related:

Fall Preview 2008

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