Monday, February 27, 2012

Theater: New Shows (February 27 - March 4)

photo credit: David Hou
As if in response to the prayers of Senator Santorum, theater gets religion in our godless city this week. Skip the Lloyd Webber musical on Broadway and try the demon-puppet of Hand to God. Or ditch the divine altogether and see Once, a lovely romance based on the 2007 Irish cult film about a busker and an immigrant.

Eternal Equinox
where: 59E59
first night: Thursday, Mar. 1
Bohemian artists in a love triangle with an athlete! In 1924, a mountaineer pays a visit to the Bloomsbury set, where he tests a couple's open-minded approach to sex and adultery. Equinox made an impression on LA audiences with its frank sexuality and emotional heft, good ingredients to any period drama.

where: DR2
first night: Friday, Mar. 2
The background info on this show sounds awfully high-minded: “a man's search for truth, love, and his identity” etc.; a dying mother is also involved in the soulful analysis. But none of that info tells us much about the dramatic engine, a sign that, despite its claim to be “touching”, Flight may not be compelling.

Hand to God
where: Ensemble Studio Theater
first night: Wednesday, Feb. 29
This satire earned a massive audiences in its autumn run. A Texas Sunday school uses puppets to teach kids about Christ. But one puppet gets possessed by Satan himself, leading to anarchy in the congregation both in church and at home. Sounds like a cross between The Twilight Zone and Robot Chicken!

Jesus Christ Superstar
where: Neil Simon Theater
first night: Thursday, Mar. 1
By our count, this is the third Jesus to bow on Broadway now: he's spieling parables in Godspell and making a cameo in The Book of Mormon. So which should you see during Lent? This one's definitely the show biz-iest, with its “Jesus as Rock God” approach and direction from Jersey Boys' Des McAnuff.

Much Ado About Nothingwhere: The Secret Theater
first night: Thursday, Mar. 1
The squabble between Beatrice and Benedick hides mutual affection; the passion between Claudio and Hero masks uncertainty. Shakespeare's witty comedy always gives pleasure, so pull the script off your bookshelf to skim on the 7 train out to the aptly-named Secret Theater in Long Island City.

where: Jacobs Theater
first night: Tuesday, Feb. 28
A Broadway transfer for this acoustic musical based on the lovely film of 2007, which won an Oscar for Best Song. An Irish busker and Czech immigrant develop an complex, true-to-life romance over the course of a week. Netflix the original film and then seek out this generous, emotional adaptation.

The Real Thing
where: The Secret Theater
first night: Saturday, Mar. 3
Tom Stoppard gets meta (more so) with this fictionalized autobiography―he left his wife only after the protagonist, a middle-aged, left-wing playwright, had done so! Happily, Thing has plenty of emotional heft, which Stoppard's plays often lack, as well as the wit and intelligence that are his hallmark.

Teresa's Ecstasy
where: Cherry Lane Theater
first night: Sunday, Mar. 4
Rather than chase Jesus around Times Square, try this drama about sex and religion. A professor researching a saint of the Spanish Renaissance makes a stopover to serve her husband divorce papers. Will she realize that a quest for the divine doesn't necessarily lead away from the pleasures of the flesh?

where: Theater Row
first night: Friday, Mar. 2
Too often, estate dramas (where the conflict hinges on who gets what) soften the pettiness and viciousness that could make the show fun. Thirds, however, may get the inheritance right: one of three sisters begins to wall off her section of the house with actual brick and mortar!

Last chance!
The Broken Heart
where: TFANA at the Duke

The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G
where: Theater Row

The Navigator
where: WorkShop Theater

Poetic License
where: 59E59

Professor Bernhardi
where: Marvell Rep at TBG Arts Complex

Richard III
where: BAM Harvey Theater

The Road to Mecca
where: Roundabout at American Airlines Theater

where: Primary Stages at 59E59

Shatner's World: We Just Live in It
where: Music Box Theater

The Threepenny Opera
where: Marvell Rep at TBG Arts Complex

where: Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

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