Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Theater: New Shows (July 17-23)

Cate Blanchett can't help it; she's sexy even in Russian drama
(photo: Lisa Tomasetti)
One of the great experiments in modern American theater comes to an close. Thirteen playwrights―mostly women burnt out at sending their scripts to non-profit institutions, at grinding out workshops without a production to follow―founded their own company that would mount a play by each one and then dissolve. 13P has been a great success as a model for showmaking and as an artistic showcase. I can't wait to see the final work, Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl.

where: New World Stages
first night: Thursday, Jul. 19
Take note: that's how you title a play! You may also be drawn in by Woody Harrelson, who co-writes and directs this Off-Broadway comedy. It's a farcical elaboration of his pre-Cheers life as a jobbing actor in Houston. An illegal Nazi knick-knack serves as the catalyst for a conflict among rubes & slickers.

where: Delacorte Theater
first night: Monday, Jul. 23
In Central Park, Sondheim comes from the bullpen to assist Shakespeare. This one's for folks who like old-fashioned musicals and not those ironic and nuanced shows that Sondheim usually pens. It's a set of fractured fairy tales―which is to say ironic and nuanced, but also not bound by realism.  In the lead roles, Denis O'Hare and Amy Adams play a childless couple who look to lift a witch's curse.

where: Invisible Dog Art Center
first night: Wednesday, Jul. 18
could serve as the title for Sarah Ruhl's entire body of work. A young woman, swamped by sadness, attracts plenty of suitors, but what happens when she gets happy? Ruhl collabs with composer Todd Almond on a chamber piece that contrasts her emotional watercolors with the classicism of a string quartet. Note: this show's sold all its tickets already!

where: Irish Repertory Theater
first night: Wednesday, Jul. 18
Anna Christie, a fallen young lady from St. Paul MN, joins her father in NYC, where she falls for a sailor. O'Neill's Ibsenite Pulitzer play would make a good modernist chamber piece, but this adaptation is an all-out musical―the original '57 show had Gwen Verdon dancing to Fosse choreography! NGiT has never had a major NYC revival, so fans of the American musical genre should buy tix & the rest of us should be cautious.

where: New York City Center
first night: Thursday, Jul. 19
Vanya and his pal Dr. Astrov laze away under the siren-song of lovely Yelena. Cate Blanchett plays the latter role, with Hugo Weaving as her Astrov, in this acclaimed production from Australia. I missed Blachett's Blanche (BAM's Streetcar) but heard raptures from every corner. Her Hedda, on the other hand, was far better than a dull production. 

Last chance!
The Bad and the Better
where: Peter J. Sharp Theater

where: The Public Theater

Freud's Last Session
where: New World Stages

Hell: Paradise Found
where: 59E59

A Streetcar Named Desire
where: Broadhurst Theater

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