Monday, March 5, 2012

Theater: New Shows (March 6-12)

A tough week for audiences, since they have to choose which shows to see and which to miss. The cast of The Best Man makes it a must-see; the creativity of Now. Here. This. does the same. My pick of this week, The Maids, says more about my taste than the line-up. The Red Bull takes a break from 'Jacobethan' drama to produce Genet's radical absurdism.

where: Schoenfeld Theater
first night: Tuesday, March 6
The last time Broadway saw Gore Vidal's backroom political potboiler, Gore and Bush were locked in a dire campaign. The social and economic situation in 2012 is worse than in it seemed in 2000, so we're rewarded with a much stronger cast, including James Earl Jones, John Larroquette, and Candice Bergen.

where: The New Ohio Theater
first night: Friday, March 9
The title lets you know what you're in for: a deeply silly take on dramatic self-importance. The focus of the parody is Brecht, as protagonist Mother LaMadre drags her wagon across the apocalyptic battlefields of the fifth World War, hunting zombies and books. Sounds like a good show for a spring evening!

where: Irish Rep
first night: Wednesday, March 7
A middle-aged Irish duo take the audience on their afternoon tour of the National Gallery in London. It's billed as a “poetical stroll”, which doesn't sound very dramatic. But since the script's by an Irishman as well, Hand may pull out several colorful observations on famous art and celebrated artists.

where: Abingdon Theater
first night: Friday, March 9
A nice guy rents his basement apartment to an unstable neurotic, resulting in an Odd Couple friendship that goes sour as the tenant's problems mount. Sounds like standard stuff: a bit of comedy, a dollop of drama. The show will hinge on the leads' chemistry and the writer's rejection of conventions.

where: 59E59
first night: Tuesday, March 6
The utilitarian title tips its hand: The Maria Project is a stage documentary. Its subject is one Maria Salazar, a Hispanic woman who went missing over fifty years ago. The staging mingles music and film footage with the performer's story, as she tracked Salazar through her own family history.

where: The Red Bull at St. Clement's
first night: Tuesday, March 6
The Red Bull gives NYC the chance to catch Jean Genet's too-rare absurdist comedy about class, identity, language and other favorite themes of puzzling French art. A sparking cast—just three talented women—has me tempted, while the promise of a uniquely intimate staging for a small audience wins me over.

where: The Pearl Theater at City Center
first night: Tuesday, March 6
Fans of classic American drama have already caught a few of Eugene O'Neill's early work this winter. That should prep them to revisit Moon, a work from the playwright's colossal late period. This elegiac piece is a sort of spin-off from Long Day's Journey, as the older Tyrone brother finds salvation.

where: Vineyard Theater
first night: Wednesday, March 7
A blend of anecdotes, monologues from plays, original music, philosophy, this piece is hard to classify. But those who saw its workshop production at the Vineyard claim that the disparate Now. Here. This. (great title, by the way) add up to something special. Just don't go expecting a conventional evening.

where: MTC at City Center
first night: Thursday, March 8
Britain's theater mavens have been thumping the tub about this play's writer, Matt Charman, for a few years. But he hasn't made it in New York yet, so who is he? His debut is a period drama set at a quick-divorce residency in 1950s Nevada, and pits a young man against McCarthy-era paranoia.

where: The Secret Theater
first night: Friday, March 9
A closet door opens onto a beach, where a pregnant woman finds a sword-wielding nun battling a monster. The conceit sounds like Narnia, or Alice in Wonderland, but the show's surrealism may be more slippery, since reality and fantasy start to mingle and fuse. Plus, to repeat, a sword-wielding nun!

Last chance!
As Wide as I Can See
where: Here Arts Center

where: Playwrights Horizons

Blood Knot
where: Signature Center

Call Me Waldo
where: Abingdon Theater

where: Atlantic Theater at Signature

Early Plays
where: The Wooster Group at St. Ann's Warehouse

How I Learned to Drive
where: Second Stage

Russian Transport
where: The New Group at Theater Row

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