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Dramas of Dysfunction

Your folks are in town, and you've braced yourself for a clannish Thursday. Want to send a message on Friday night? Five plays that will -- ever so gently -- hint at what could be better in your family's life.

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Anniversary party: Mirren and McKellen in Dance of Death.  

1. Dance of Death
If we can't have Albee to whet our hunger for familial dysfunction, we'll take Strindberg. Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren ably provide the bickering, shrieking, and deception as a discontented couple who spend their days verbally jabbing and parrying.
Broadhurst Theatre
583 Broadway, near Prince Street
235 W. 44th St.

2. Christmas With the Crawfords
"You may keep the doll and the bracelet . . ." Packed with more allusions to Mommie Dearest than a Wednesday night at Stonewall, this campy calamity imagines Christmas at home with Hollywood's favorite wire-hanger-wielding, Christina-smackin' psycho diva.

583 Broadway, near Prince Street
125 W. 22nd St.

3. Everett Beekin
Richard Greenberg's serio-comedy follows not one but two generations of a Jewish family, which means twice as much kvetching as in your requisite Neil Simon play. (See John Simon's review of Simon's 45 Seconds From Broadway)
Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater
150 W. 65th St.
212-239-6200


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