Thursday, March 7, 2013

New York Theater Buzz: Not-To-Be-Missed Shows, Spring 2013

By Jacquelin Carnegie – (New York, NY)
There are so many outstanding shows on and off-Broadway right now, this season is a theater-lover’s dream.


Vivian Beaumont Theater - Lincoln Center (150 West 65th St.);
Written & performed by Holland Taylor; Directed by Benjamin Endsley Klein
One-person shows sometimes fall flat, but this one’s a home run. The Emmy® award-winning Holland Taylor is such a terrific actress she makes Ann an evening of great theater. In the show, Taylor brings the feisty and funny former Governor of Texas, Ann Richards, roaring back to life. Just as, on film, Daniel Day-Lewis makes you feel you actually met Lincoln. Holland Taylor performs similar magic on stage with Governor Richards, a person and politician definitely worth knowing.


Classic Stage Company (136 East 13th St);

Silverman & Errico, Kuhn (photo: Joan Marcus)
Limited run: until April 14, 2013
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim;
Book by James Lapine;
 Directed & Designed by John Doyle; Starring: Ryan Silverman, Judy Kuhn, Melissa Errico
Once again, director John Doyle works his special brand of je ne sais quoi on another Stephen Sondheim musical. This beautifully-staged version of Passion serves to heighten the emotions of the piece and the music just soars thanks to a fabulous ensemble cast that includes Ryan Silverman as Giorgio, Judy Kuhn as Fosca, and Melissa Errico as Clara. The story, inspired by the Italian film Passione d’Amore, explores the intricacies of obsessive love. The Classic Stage Company consistently delivers terrific, larger-than-life productions in a small space. If you’re unfamiliar with CSC, it’s time to discover them!

The Public Theater (425 Lafayette St.); Limited run: until March 17, 2013
National Black Theatre (2031 5th Ave., at 125th St.) March 23-April 14, 2013
Written By Dominique Morisseau; Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah;
Starring: De'Adre Aziza, Francois Battiste, Brandon Dirden, Samantha Soule, Michelle Wilson

Aziza, Battiste, & Wilson (photo: Joan Marcus)
Just as the Younger family in Lorraine Hansberry’s famed A Raisin in the Sun yearned for a better life on Chicago's Southside in the 1950s, Dominique Morisseau’s characters—brought to life by a wonderful ensemble cast—deal with similar strivings a decade later in Detroit '67. But this extended family’s struggles are compounded by what’s going on outside their home—the Detroit riots of 1967. These five gifted actors make the characters so endearing, you’ll root for them like they were members of your own family. (On March 23rd, the show moves uptown for another month-long run, staged by the Classical Theatre of Harlem.) 

New World Stages (340 West 50th St.); Opens March 18, 2013
Written by Rick Elice; Co-directed by Roger Rees & Alex Timbers; Starring: Nicole Lowrance, Jason Ralph, Rick Holmes
(photo: Joan Marcus)
This dynamite show started at the New York Theater Workshop, had a run on Broadway and, happily, is now back on the boards. Based on the best-selling novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, this is a prequel to Peter Pan for adults, but kids will love it too. One of the most imaginatively-staged productions, it’s the opposite of bloated Broadway shows. The fabulous ensemble cast creates everything out of nothing, bringing shipboard and imaginary worlds to life. If you love theater, and always wondered how Peter got to Neverland, don't miss this production.


Wu & Iskandar (photo: Joan Marcus)
Signature Theatre (480 West 42nd St.)
The Dance and the Railroad (until March 24, 2013)
Written by David Henry Hwang; Directed by May Adrales; Starring: Yuekun Wu & Ruy Iskandar
The revival of this beautiful, lyrical play depicts the heartbreaking reality for Chinese “coolie” laborers on the transcontinental railroad in the U.S. in 1867.
The Signature Theatre’s Residency One program devotes an entire season to a living playwright’s oeuvre, including re-examinations of past work and world premieres. Currently, the brilliant playwright David Henry Hwang is so honored with this play he wrote 30 years ago. In Fall/Winter 2013, there’ll be a world premiere of his new play, Kung Fu.
Signature offers a variety of innovative theater experiences at an affordable price. If you haven’t been yet, you really need to get over there. The new space, designed by starchitect Frank Gehry, is a great place to see theater and a nice spot to hangout before the show, with live music in the snack/bar area, and a very friendly, helpful staff.

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