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Three to See: September

September 4th, 2014 Comments off

The Broadway Blog’s editor Matthew Wexler rounds up our top three picks of the month.

After a quiet summer and theater vacancies (so long, ROCKY, Bullets Over Broadway and Holler If Ya Hear Me), new productions are slowly rumbling onto the stage. It’s proving to be an eclectic season. Which shows will win the hearts of critics and audiences? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, we’ve got our eyes on three openings this month worth a second glance:

Bridget Everett and The Tender Moments (photo: Kevin Yatarola)

Bridget Everett and The Tender Moments (photo: Kevin Yatarola)

ROCK BOTTOM
Downtown’s bawdry broad Bridget Everett returns to the Public Theatre with the premiere of Rock Bottom. Conceived with the help of heavy hitters Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Matt Ray, Everett tells the story of what happens when you’re too passionate to give up, and too big to fail. In it, she barrels through life tiptoeing toward disaster, wine bottle by wine bottle and man by man. However, instead of succumbing to a chardonnay-induced stupor, Everett embraces a series of revelations that lead her and her voice of an angel to redemption. Originally commissioned as part of Joe’s Pub 2013 New Voices series, Everett and her entourage have moved beyond cult status into the “see and be seen” of New York’s theater world.

Rock Bottom
Joe’s Pub at The Public
425 Lafayette Street
Opening night, September 17
Through October 11

Take a peek at Patti LuPone crashing one of Bridget’s performances at Joe’s Pub last year.

 

YouthTHIS IS OUR YOUTH
Hollywood stars come out to play in the revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth, directed by Anna D. Shapiro. The play follows three wayward youth, played by Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson, as they stumble their way through life and love via 1982 New York City. The New Group originally produced the play Off Broadway back in 1996. This revival got its footing at Steppenwolf in Chicago earlier this summer in their intimate Upstairs Theatre. Hopefully those performances will translate to the 1,082-seat Cort Theatre.

This Is Our Youth
Cort Theatre
138 West 48th Street
Opening night, September 11
Through January 4, 2015

 

2020at20
With too many Off Broadway shows to pick from this fall, we couldn’t limit ourselves and why should you? The Off Broadway Alliance’s bi-annual promotion enables audience members to snag $20 tickets at 20 minutes prior to curtain for dozens of shows. Revisit old favorites like Avenue Q and Naked Boys Singing, or check out a new production such as Port Authority or Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story (closing September 14).

For a full listing, visit, 20at20.com.
September 9–28

The cast of "Piece of My Heart" (photo: Jenny Anderson via The Broadway Blog).

The cast of “Piece of My Heart” (photo: Jenny Anderson via The Broadway Blog).

My Kind of Town: Chicago Theater Week, Part I

March 5th, 2013 Comments off


I headed to the Windy City last week for Passport Magazine. Stay tuned for a “creative getaway” feature article that will appear in our print publication this fall. What exactly does that mean? Without giving too much away, I’ll say that it involved three days of improvisational belly laughs with (among others) a cigar salesman, a venture capitalist and a guy living in his mother’s basement who could crank out a spot-on Beyoncé imitation.

While chewing my way through non-existent scenery by day, I caught up on Chicago’s theater scene and what to keep your eyes out for this spring season. One of the most exciting projects happening as of late is the Garage Rep at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. This curated collection gives opportunity to storefront theaters to perform their works in repertory under the guidance of this well-established ensemble company.

Associate Producer Jacob Padrón says, “I like to think that great work comes out of company — a collective of artists with shared history, shared values and a real sense of ownership around the work they invest in making together.”

Don’t be confused, though. These are not Steppenworlf productions and they’re damn proud of it. No ensemble members are involved in any aspect. What the company does do is foster an environment for dialogue. Steppenwolf itself began in a church basement in Highland Park and feels a responsibility to these companies which typically rely on whatever venue or rehearsal space that they can afford.

Take the jump for this year’s line-up and an inside look at the shows in rehearsal…
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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: “Virginia Woolf” & “Cyrano”

October 18th, 2012 Comments off

There were two big Broadway openings in the last week and just because I haven’t had a chance to see them, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Let’s see what the critics have to say:

Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Madison Dirks & Carrie Coons in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf". Photo by Michael Brosilow.

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF

In celebration of its fiftieth anniversary, the Edward Albee classic of marital gamesmanship returns to Broadway in a blistering Steppenwolf production starring Amy Morton (August: Osage County) and Tracy Letts (Pulitzer-winning playwright of August:Osage County).

“…the soul ache this superlative staging leaves behind is accompanied by a feeling far more emotionally enriching: the exhilaration of a fresh encounter with a great work of theater revitalized anew.” New York Times

“The story, in which two married couples share a boozy, increasingly unhinged night, has lost none of its power to keep an audience on edge.” New York Post

“These are both exciting, rich performances, and while they capture a different dynamic, they get the game-playing nature of Albee’s dialogue just right…” Variety

“In Letts’ and Morton’s capable hands, George and Martha emerge as historic icons, America’s first couple of passive-aggressive dysfunction.” Entertainment Weekly

Mizer’s Two Cents: I haven’t made it to the Broadway staging but I saw this production (with this same cast) when it was at the Arena Stage last year; I was astonished and riveted. Judging by the reviews, this sensational revival of a true American classic is still firing on all blazing cylinders.

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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: 2012 Fall Preview, The Plays

September 12th, 2012 Comments off

Steppenwolf's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". Photo by Michael Brosilow.

If the fall season’s crop of musicals is a sparse and eccentrically planted lot, the roster of plays is lush with big ideas, big stars and must-see events (if a few too many “didn’t we just see that” revivals). So let’s dig into the harvest feast…

"Grace". Image via O+M Co.

An Enemy of the People (September 27): Henrik Ibsen’s sturdy study of personal pressure and politics kicks things off just in time for election season. Class acts Boyd Gaines and Richard Thomas play brothers, a mayor and a doctor, on opposite sides of an environmental disaster in the making. (Yeah, this was written when?)

Grace (October 4): As I’ve said before…Paul Rudd. I lerve him. Toss in the always magnetic Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) and my interest is more than peaked for this surreal comedy-drama about a couple’s plans for religious-themed motels and their less than faithful neighbor.

Running on Empty (October 9): Comedian and professional ranter Lewis Black brings his stand-up to Broadway for a week of performances.

Cyrano de Bergerac (October 11): The French war horse (no, not that one) gets trotted out for another display of witty banter, actorly showmanship and much-needed rhinoplasty. Tony-winner Douglas Hodge (La Cage aux Folles) takes on the title role in a Roundabout Theatre revival.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (October 13): The revelatory Steppenwolf production starring playwright (and seriously accomplished actor) Tracy Letts and the incomparable Amy Morton finally makes it to Broadway. Check my review from when I saw it at Arena Stage last year and tell me you aren’t a wee bit excited to see the Albee classic again.

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