Sunday, January 16, 2011



With only twenty shows currently playing on Broadway, and most of what opened in the Fall over and done with, everyone is craving some new blood on the Great White Way.

Here is what I am most looking forward to...


 From the creators of South Park and Avenue Q, comes The Book of Mormon - a musical skewering of religion.

Vogue calls it "hands down, the filthiest, most offensive, and—surprise—sweetest thing you’ll see on Broadway this year, and quite possibly the funniest musical ever."

Do I rule my life by what Vogue says? No. But word of mouth has been promising, and the premise is fantastically provocative. If South Park - Bigger, Longer, and Uncut is any indication, The Book of Mormon should be great fun, extremely crass, and quite ridiculous.

The Book of Mormon begins previews at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Feburary 24


 War Horse, a monster hit in the West End, has been playing various theatres in London since October 2007, and is only now making its way to the United States via Lincoln Centre. 2010 was a pretty rough year over on 66th St. With Women On The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown and A Free Man of Color (two shows with with extreme talent and equally sized expectations) having been both critical and financial flops, Lincoln Centre's greatest success of 2010 turned out to be its stock footage cameo appearance in The Black Swan. L.C. is in desperate need of a morale boost, and War Horse is sure to bring it...that is... unless it pulls an Enron.

War Horse beings previews at The Lincoln Centre's Vivan Beaumont Theatre on March 15


Although you might not know his name...yet, Mark Rylance, for the last three years, has been slowly taking over Broadway. Having spent the last several decades claiming London as his territory, he just recently urinated a talent circle around the Music Box Theatre, ensuring that only he alone can perform there. I am referring, of course, to his masterful performance as Valere in La Bete, which played the Music Box for several months during the Fall and Winter. Jerusalem will open, also at the Music Box, in April. Rylance's performance in the brilliant, but very British, Jerusalem (originally at the Royal Court) earned him every major acting award in London, and it will surely earn him a Tony nomination this year. This means that Mark Rylance will almost certainly be nominated twice as Best Actor for both La Bete and Jerusalem - a first for the category. A must see, indeed.

Jerusalem begins previews at the Music Box Theatre on April 2


The New York theatre scene is very interesting. With a large pool of corporate run (and sometimes artistically viable) theatres knows as Broadway, one wonders how the smaller, less tourist-oriented theatre succeeds. Well, it does - and when it does - IT DOES. Four of my favorite productions of 2010: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Scottsboro Boys, A Lie of The Mind, and Bachelorette were all born Off-Broadway. And there is much more to enjoy in 2011.


 With a title that defies Wordpress's formatting capabilities, and a collaborative team including Tony Kushner, The Public, and Signature Theatre - T.I.H.G.T.C.A.S.W.A.K.T.T.S. is not to be missed. The Public Theatre was without a doubt the most important theatrical force of 2010. With productions like Gatz, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and The Merchant of Venice appearing on a smattering of year end Top 10 lists, the Public is once again the dominant presence in Off-Broadway theatre. Actually, if one takes into account the critically acclaimed Broadway incarnations of Hair, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and The Merchant of Venice, The Public might just be the dominant force in Broadway theatre as well. In conclusion, Thank You Oskar Eustis and See Shows at The Public.

Previews begin at The Public Theatre on March 22



 In 2008, I saw Company B's (based in Australia) hilarious and seductive revival of Ionesco's Exit The King adapted by Geoffrey Rush and Neil Armfield. The same acting/directing/adapting team is together once again - this time at BAM, a venue known for uncompromised artistic expression. Rush's Berenger in Exit The King was an enormous treat, winning him a Tony in 2008 for Best Actor. This new collaboration is quite thrilling to me - and I am particularly curious to see how they react and conform to Gogol.

Diary of a Madman begins previews at BAM on February 11.


This last decade was gangbusters for Chicago theatre. With multiple forays into Broadway by Steppenwolf (August: Osage County, Superior Donuts) and The Goodman (Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Light In The Piazza, Desire Under The Elms) - a Regional Theatre Tony for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre - and the enormous success of local director David Cromer's acclaimed off-broadway production of Our Town - Chicago theatre is seething with relevance.


A new Sarah Ruhl show is a big deal. Although she has been writing glorious scripts for several years, her work only became well-known a year ago when her play, In The Next Room, or the vibrator play opened on Broadway - earning Ruhl a Tony nomination and a spot of the Pulitzer Prize shortlist. The Goodman Theatre is very lucky to host this World Premiere of her new, original play - Stage Kiss - directed by longtime collaborator, Jessica Thebus. Stage Kiss apparently explores the actor's onstage relationships, and how that affects the 'job' of an actor. The Goodman's description is very simple, but expect anything but simplicity from Sarah Ruhl - one of our greatest modern playwrights.

Stage Kiss starts at the Goodman Theatre on April 30


While I know little-to-nothing about it, Woyzeck is Sean Graney's last show as Artistic Director of The Hypocrites - a position he has held for fourteen years. A production of Woyzeck, also directed by Graney, appeared in the Hypocrites first season, and should act as a lovely bookend on his time there. This production is presented in collaboration with About Face Theatre.

Woyzeck will be presented as part of The Woyzeck Festival in the Spring

These are only a few productions I am excited for, but as always, many many more productions in tiny storefront off-off-loop theatres, Brooklyn basements, and Seattle bathrooms will surprise us with their social insight and artistic transcendence - and perhaps a few of these listed here will suck. Who knows?