Once Bitten

Brooklyn in New York Theater.
Photo: Robin Platzer/Twin Images

Plymouth Theater;previews September 23, opens October 21.
The Gist Five street performers living under the Brooklyn Bridge—and an orphan named Brooklyn.
Promising Signs Choreographer Jeff Calhoun’s last project was the acclaimed half-deaf Big River. Bonus cred: Co-writer Mark Schoenfeld was once a homeless street performer.
Then Again … The writing team is unknown, the plot reeks of cheese, and critics in Denver complained of “the saturated sentimentality of the storytelling.”
Sample Lyric “A voice on a sidewalk stage / He held the crowd amazed.”

La Cage Aux Folles
Marquis Theatre; previews November 7, opens December 9.
The Gist The eighties hit musical from Harvey Fierstein and composer Jerry Herman gets a splashy revival starring Gary Beach as Albin, a middle-aged drag queen.
Promising Signs Beach won a Tony for a flamboyant role in The Producers (and played Beauty and the Beast’s lead chandelier).
Then Again … Production lost steam in a search to cast the other lead—with reported passes from Kelsey Grammer and Doug Sills. Final pick Daniel Davis is best known for The Nanny.
Sample Lyric “Nobody dished / Nobody swished when I was a Foreign Legionnaire.”

Pacific Overtures
Studio 54; previews November 12, opens December 2.
The Gist Director Amon Miyamoto, who staged a Japanese version of the Sondheim-Weidman musical about Commodore Perry’s 1853 visit to Japan, directs an English-language revival starring B. D. Wong.
Promising Signs Miyamoto’s foreign-language production won praise at Lincoln Center and in D.C.; plus, America’s latest foreign incursions make Sondheim’s political musings timely.
Then Again … The show’s first foray on Broadway, in 1976, won two Tonys but tanked.
Sample Lyric “They call them spectacles / I drink much wine / I take imported pills / I have a house up in the hills / I’ve hired British architects to redesign.”

Bare: A Pop Opera
Dodger Stages; opens September 22.
The Gist Saved! meets Fame in a teen melodrama set in a religious boarding school.
Promising Signs A rising chorus of “the next Rent.” The show shares producers with prestige indie Urinetown, and it’s scored by soundtrack impresario Damon Intrabartolo.
Then Again … Critics call the music surprisingly hoary for a composer still in his twenties—more Hair than Rent.
Sample Lyric “There’s a bender among us / He must be exposed / He’ll kidnap our children / Then take off their clothes.”

Temptation of St. Anthony in New York Theater.
Photo: Brinkhoff/Mogenburg

The Temptation of St. Anthony
Brooklyn Academy of Music; opens October 19.
The Gist BAM favorite Robert Wilson’s “gospel musical” based on Flaubert; music by Bernice Johnson Reagon; stars novelist-musician-actor-playwright du jour Carl Hancock Rux.
Promising Signs Wilson and his maximally lit, minimally staged designs, plus the street cred of Rux and Reagon (founder of the a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock.)
Then Again … Mixed reviews for 2003’s Euro tour. “Pretentious, overblown, patronising … Take it back to Germany, guys.”
Sample Lyric “Does matter matter? / What is the function of form? / Does matter matter? / Why in flesh do we come?”

Once Bitten