Friday, September 2, 2011

Looking Forward to Fall

Every few months, I stop and take stock of what I've seen recently and what I am looking forward to in the coming months. Today I thought I'd look at what I really want to see that will be beginning previews during the months of September, October and November.  Before I do that, though, here was what I was looking forward to over the summer months.  I saw all  of the shows on my list, except for Follies, which I will be seeing shortly. 

Talk about an assortment of experiences!  From mega-spectacle to minimalist romance to campy excess on a budget, the summer of shows was completely fulfilling, despite a range of success.  I thought the best of the bunch was off-Broadway's Death Takes a Holiday (A+), and (relatively speaking) the worst of them was RENT (C), though I wouldn't mind seeing it again to see if I might like it better with a second viewing.  In between, I loved Lysistrata Jones (A-) and can't wait to see how it "grows up" in its move to Broadway.  And I was glad that the best parts of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark 1.0 were still in the final version, and disappointed with the score (B-).

This fall looks to have the same potential for variety.  You'll notice that I have included some off-Broadway shows, too, in an effort to expand my New York theatre going beyond Times Square.


The Submission - MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (Off-Broadway)

I have a subscription to the entire MCC season, which started simply because I wanted to get tickets to its winter offering, Carrie.  But when reading about the rest of their season, I had to see all three shows!  Of course, the director of this new play by Jeff Talbott, Walter Bobbie would be draw enough, but the subsequently announced cast Eddie Kaye Thomas, Will Rogers, Rutina Wesley and Jonathan Groff made this a must-see in my mind.  And the topic of this world premiere production - the creation of theatre under the guise of a phony artist in order to even be heard, among other things - intrigues me.  Art about making art is always, at the very least, interesting.  Here's hoping it poses more questions than answers to ponder over after the final curtain.

Chinglish at the Longacre Theatre (Broadway)

Any new work by David Henry Hwang is worth considering - I've been a huge fan of his since the brilliant and beautiful M. Butterfly.  And the press it is getting from its Chicago premiere certainly ups the ante.  But the real draw here is for my theatre companion, Mike, who studies linguistics and the Chinese language.  I look forward to lengthy chats about those subjects.  It could be the best possible combination of entertainment and thought-provoking education.

Wild Animals You Should Know - MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (Off-Broadway)

Another world premiere, this time a play by Thomas Higgins, that sound both intriguing and thought-provoking.  The play, according to the MCC website is about a father chaperoning a wilderness camp out who gets drawn into his son and another scout's game of cat and mouse.  Creepy...

Other Desert Cities at the Booth Theatre

The playwright: Jon Robin Baitz.  The cast: Stockard Channing, Rachel Griffiths, Judith Light, Stacy Keach and Thomas Sadoski.  Why wouldn't this be on the list?


The New York Musical Theatre Festival

At the suggestion of Mike, and his argument that my favorite show next to normal started out here, we are going to try it out this fall.


A musical about a real life Ziegfeld girl with a checkered past, along with many other theatre legends (Florenz Ziegfeld, Billie Burke and Fanny Brice) certainly pleases the history fan in me, and the cast, which includes Daisy Egan (Tony winner The Secret Garden), Rachel York (Drama Desk nominee Victor/Victoria, City of Angels) and Michael Hayden (Tony nominee Carousel, Cabaret) is exciting.  I am really looking forward to this one!


The fan of the film Camp in me makes this show - about former theatre campers who come back together after years apart to celebrate an event at the camp -  is interested in this show.  It should be interesting no matter what, potentially sweet, funny and, forgive the pun, campy.  The cast assembled for this festival entry - Andrea McArdle (Tony nominee Annie, Starlight Express, State Fair), Cary Shields (RENT, Taboo) and Felicia Finley (The Wedding Singer) - will certainly show its greatest strengths, I'm sure.

Godspell at Circle in the Square (Broadway)

I am a huge fan of this vintage show - its cast recording was one of the first I ever bought (I still have it on vinyl).  An early work by Stephen Schwartz, the score is brimming with catchy songs ("Day By Day", "Prepare Ye") and beautiful ballads ("All Good Things" , "On the Willows").  I am looking forward to a fresh, creative take on this story of the last days of Jesus Christ.  I am excited to see Hunter Parrish, who I loved in Spring Awakening.

Bonnie and Clyde at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (Broadway)

I love dark, potentially dangerous musicals,  What could be darker than real-life Depression-era killers on the run who are in love with each other.  If Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan can be this dark and sexy in just one picture, I'm sure they are terrific together.  And I'm hoping Frank Wildlhorn will finally have another decent hit show.

Lysistrata Jones at the Walter Kerr Theatre (Broadway)

I loved it in a tiny gym.  I can't wait to see how they get it to a Broadway-sized show while still keeping all the charm.  I trust Douglas Carter Beane.  I hope they keep the same cast, too!  We shall see...

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever at the St. James Theatre (Broadway)

I know nothing about the original show, but I hope the gender switch of a main character/gay theme works FOR the end result, not AGAINST it.  But if anyone can pull this edgy twist off, it is director Michael Mayer.  And I really want to finally see Harry Connick, Jr.

An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre (Broadway)

Considering how many fall shows there are that I want to see, this one might not make it for me.  I love Ms. LuPone (as you all know) and she puts on a hell of a concert - I've seen her in that capacity twice.  But I really don't care for Mandy Patinkin - he was great in The Wild Party - but as himself, he annoys me to no end.  Self-indulgent, vocal histrionic, shrill... is there enough Patti to calm down that beast?

The last few don't open until early December, so I might have to put a few of these off, but I hope to see all of these.  The musicals are a given, and I hope to catch most if not all of these plays.

Which shows are you looking forward to?  Write in and let me know!

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