LE Newsletter - September 20, 2012
10 Must-See Plays In New York This Fall
www.globeandmail.com - By J. Kelly Nestruck
(September 17, 2012) The fall is perhaps the best time for
theatre lovers to visit New York. Free from
all hype that leads up to the Tony Awards in the spring,
takes interesting risks, while off-Broadway theatres premiere
their most daring fare. Oh, and every star under the sun shows
up to strut their stuff. Here are 10 shows that will have you
booking your flight now.
Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 West
48th St., Previews Oct. 7, opens Nov. 1
Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain (The
Help) makes her Broadway debut as Catherine Sloper, the
daughter of a rich man who falls in love with a fortune hunter,
in this enduring stage adaptation of the Henry James novel
Washington Square. The part is award bait for a strong actress –
the last to play Sloper was Cherry Jones, who walked off with a
tony in 1996.
Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway.
Previews Oct. 3, opens Nov. 8
The British have a knack for penning popular musicals that put
child performers centre stage – from
Billy Elliot. Until the
current London kidsploitation hit
Matilda, based on Roald
Dahl's book, opens in New York in the spring, however, a little
American orphan will have to satisfy visitors' cravings for
singing and dancing tykes. As Annie, 11-year-old Lilla Crawford
follows in the footsteps of such famous former hard-knock-lifers
as Sarah Jessica Parker.
Neil Simon Theatre, 250 W 52nd
St. Previews from Oct. 13, opens Nov. 15
The Great White Way has been awash in religiously themed
musicals for the past couple of seasons, from
The Book of Mormon to the
Stratford Shakespeare Festival's production of
Jesus Christ Superstar.
Now, Kathie Lee Gifford – yes, that Kathie Lee Gifford – tells
the story of Canadian-born Aimee Semple McPherson, an evangelist
who was a rabble-rousing radio star in Los Angeles in the 1920s
and 1930s. The music is by David Pomeranz and David Friedman.
Glengarry Glen Ross
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236
West 45th St. Previews Oct. 16, opens Nov. 11
It has only been seven years since David Mamet's profane classic
about desperate shysters at a Chicago real-estate office was
last on Broadway, but the ever-popular, ever-relevant play is
back again thanks to a dream cast. None other than Al Pacino is
taking on the role of washed-up salesman Shelly "the Machine"
Levene, while rising star Bobby Cannavale has nabbed the part
Pacino played in the 1992 movie, smooth-talking Ricky Roma.
Longacre Theatre, 220 W 48th St.
Previews Oct. 23, opens Nov. 14
This is a romantic comedy by up-and-coming playwright David West
Read about high-school friends who reunite at a porn convention
in Las Vegas. The cast includes
30 Rock's Cheyenne Jackson,
Clueless' Alicia Silverstone and – the reason why it seems
like I can't miss whether good or bad – Henry Winkler a.k.a. The
Fonz, as an adult actor named Chuck Wood. Triple-X Ayy!
Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th
St. Previews from Nov. 3, opens Nov. 29
Broadway offers the rare opportunity to see many of your
favourite Hollywood names up close and personal – and with no
second takes to hide behind. Katie Holmes, whose bizarre
marriage to Tom Cruise kept her in the headlines, throws her
status as Suri's newly single mom behind the premiere of a new
comedy by Theresa Rebeck, whose recent writing include the play
Seminar and the TV series
Bullet for Adolf
New World Stages, 340 W 50th St.
Runs until Oct. 21
Woody Harrelson – who, coincidentally, shared the honour of
being named 2012's sexiest vegetarian by PETA with
The Heiress's Chastain –
penned this quirky semi-autobiographical comedy about an
aspiring actor from California fighting a drug addiction. It
premiered in a non-professional production in Toronto last year
and Canadian actors David Coomber and Brandon Coffey have
followed it down to New York where, despite mixed reviews, what
the Post called "theater's answer to a midnight movie" keeps
extending its run.
Sleep No More
The McKittrick Hotel, 530 West
27th St. Runs until Nov. 3
A word-of-mouth smash since it opened in 2011, this immersive,
film-noir adaptation of Macbeth
allows you to follow the various characters of Shakespeare's
play through multiple floors of a warehouse in Chelsea. No one
I've recommended this to has left disappointed. It's theatre as
you've never experienced it before – and it has just opened a
new rooftop bar called Gallow Green where you can discuss your
adventure with fellow audience members afterward.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House,
30 Lafayette Ave. Nov. 16-18
Another unusual adaptation of Shakespeare, this hyper-modern,
multimedia extravaganza mashes together
Antony and Cleopatra and
Coriolanus into a single
six-hour show. Belgian theatre director Ivo van Hove's
freewheeling production – you can wander around and buy a drink
on stage while it plays – was a hit on a visit to Montreal two
years ago and will no doubt be a hot ticket in New York among
What Rhymes with America
Linda Gross Theater, 336 W 20th
St. Nov. 20 to Dec. 30
While she's just beginning to catch on in her native Canada,
Vancouver-raised Melissa James Gibson has already won an
Off-Broadway Theater Award and the Steinberg Playwright Award
for her inventive language-rich plays like
[sic]. Her latest about a
father and his estranged daughter gets its world premiere from
the prestigious Atlantic Theater Company, whose ensemble of
actors includes William H. Macy and Mary Steenburgen.
If you go
Where to eat
Angus McIndoe's is
the usual after-theatre drinks and food place to stumble upon
Broadway actors. 258 W 44th St.,
Whitehall Bar and Kitchen
has the best selection of gins in New York; it's my favourite
place to indulge in gin martinis.
19 Greenwich Ave. (at West 10th
Street), 212-675-7261; whitehall-nyc.com
I like Freemans,
too: It's a neat place down the end of an alley with lots of
taxidermy in the decor and delicious food. I got mistaken for
Jesse Eisenberg by two French women there, which added to fun.
End of Freeman Alley, off
Rivington between the Bowery and Chrystie; 212-420-0012;
Where to stay
The Chatwal is a
five-star beauty that hearkens back to the glamour of 1930s New
York. Rooms from $627 (U.S.) a night.
130 West 34th Street,
A restored beaux-arts building is home to the
NoMad Hotel. French designer Jacques Garcia modelled
the 168-room hotel after his favourite Parisian flat. Rooms from
$445 (U.S.). 1170 Broadway (and
28th St.), 212-796-1500, thenomadhotel.com [http://www.thenomadhotel.com]