Monday, March 19, 2012

Theater: New Shows (March 20-26)

 Clybourne Park is much better than this photo would imply
photo credit: Joan Marcus
Ironically, I missed last week's post because I had to prep for vacation―paid work and parenting trumped blogging―but now that I'm away on holiday, I have time to look at what's new! Mid-March has lined some fun new shows ups, including the Broadway revival of Clybourne Park. My Pick of the Week is a radical experiment so faithful to the spirit of David Foster Wallace, its title has parenthetical digressions.

Clybourne Park
where: Walter Kerr Theater
first night: Friday, March 23
The best American drama of the last five years finally moves to Broadway, with its original New York cast reprising their roles. It's savage and smart in all the fun ways that you wish every show could be. Act 1 shows Truman-era neighbors fret over the sale of one home to a black family; act 2 sees a white couple buy the same house, auguring a wave of 21C gentrification.

Elephant Room
where: St. Ann's Warehouse
first night: Thursday, March 22
A trio of performers play low-rent illusionists in a slapstick perf-art piece about the magic of theater. According to the press release, ER "mixes the glory of a Styx reunion tour with the transcendental power of a 200-year-old Zuni shaman and a dash of trailer park ennui.” Not sure what that means but it's worth an evening to find out!

Li'l Abner
where: Theater Row
first night: Tuesday, March 20
Half a century before Spidey swung onto Broadway Al Capp's classic strip about political corruption and hillbillies in love got turned into a musical. It rarely gets a revival, so buffs of musical comedy should check out this concert-style performance.

where: Longacre Theater
first night: Wednesday, March 21
On the court and in cultural debate, Magic Johnson shared a fierce rivalry with Larry Bird; off the court they were pals. Unconventional material but ripe for drama, and playwright Eric Simonson is a stalwart of Chicago's scene. Plus, Off-Broadway talent Deirdre O'Connell is part of the cast!

The Morini Strad
where: 59E59
first night: Tuesday, March 20
A certain type of realistic, bourgeois drama revolves around the brokering of a valuable object (the finest case of this is The Cherry Orchard, of course). In this case it's a Stradivarius violin, the sale of which threatens the friendship between a former child-prodigy and a temperamental restorer of instruments.

Out of Iceland
where: Walkerspace
first night: Saturday, March 24
A New Yorker takes a tumble in Iceland and lands on a cowboy's couch; she also has conversations with a troll named Thor. This new play portrays Iceland as a mystical land, setting to a modern fairy tale like one of Haruki Murakami's dream-realities.

A (Radically Condensed and Expanded) Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again (after David Foster Wallace)
where: The Chocolate Factory
first night: Thursday, March 22
Six actors, fed their lines via earbuds, improvise a performance of DFW's nonfiction works. The ensemble includes two great young actresses, Jenny Seastone Stern and Lisa Joyce. If all that weren't enough to draw you out to Long Island City, the show's by director Daniel Fish, one of those essential NYC artists who seems to do more work in Europe than here at home.

Tis Pity She's a Whore
where: BAM Harvey Theater
first night: Tuesday, March 20
Possessing one of the great titles in the dramatic canon, Whore audaciously sets an incestuous affair against a decadent Italian court, with the siblings looking a lot more noble than the aristos. The company is Cheek by Jowl, a British company whose cool, stylized approach to classics earns applause, but I find it remote.

Last chance!
And God Created Great Whales
where: 45 Bleecker

The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos
where: The New Ohio Theater

where: Cherry Lane Theater

Hurt Village
where: Signature Center

Love, Loss, and What I Wore
where: Westside Downstairs

The Real Thing
where: The Secret Theater

Spring Tides
where: The Secret Theater

The Twenty-Seventh Man
where: The Public Theater

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