Fall's best theater
Off Broadway troupe Transport Group has us over a barrel.
Tue Aug 23 2011
Queen of the Mist
Queen of the Mist
Off Broadway's adventurous Transport Group has been taking audiences to some pretty strange places lately. After years at the cozy Connelly Theatre, the troupe took over a series of less conventional venues, beginning in 2010: repurposed loft spaces for immersive revivals of The Boys in the Band and Hello Again; a radically reorganized Duke on 42nd Street for See Rock City & Other Destinations; and the basement gym at Judson Memorial Church for the basketball-themed musical Lysistrata Jones (which moves to Broadway's Walter Kerr Theatre on November 12). The company will return to Judson in October to kick off its ambitious 20th Century Project—five commissioned pieces and five revivals, each set in a different decade—with the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's musical Queen of the Mist. (Mary Testa will play sexagenarian daredevil Anna Edson Taylor, who went over Niagara Falls in a barrel back in 1901.) In keeping with the unusual subject matter, and the typical complexity of a LaChiusa score, Transport Group artistic director Jack Cummings III isn't planning a standard proscenium-theater presentation. "An unusual setup has to come organically from the material and enhance it," he says. "But it gives the audience an opportunity to experience theater differently. People are up for more adventure than they're given credit for. I think they'll go along for the ride." Queen of the Mist begins previews at the Gym at Judson Oct 18 (transportgroup.org). $58--$65.—AF
The Select (The Sun Also Rises)
Elevator Repair Service follows up its sublime Gatz with a verbatim performance of Ernest Hemingway's classic novel. New York Theatre Workshop (nytw.org). Previews begin Sept 11. $20--$70.
The New York Musical Theatre Festival
This roundup of promising new tuners—which has spawned Next to Normal, Altar Boyz and [title of show]—returns for its eighth installment. (nymf.org). Previews begin Sept 26--Oct 16. $25.
The Threepenny Opera
Iconic director Robert Wilson (The Black Rider) applies his customary stylized magic to the darkly satiric Bertolt Brecht--Kurt Weill musical. BAM Harvey Theater (bam.org). Oct 4--8. $25--$110.
Playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) returns to Broadway with a timely global-economy comedy about Sino-American relations. Longacre Theatre (chinglishbroadway.com). Previews begin Oct 11. $36.50--$121.50.
Venus in Fur
This canny David Ives play shot newcomer Nina Arianda to stardom when it was staged by Classic Stage Company in 2010. This fall, Arianda stars in a Broadway run, thanks to Manhattan Theatre Club. Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (mtc-nyc.org). Previews begin Oct 13. $57--$121.
We never thought that taboo-tweaking Thomas Bradshaw would go mainstream, but here he is with a racially and sexually provocative play produced by the New Group. New Group @ Theater Row (thenewgroup.org). Previews begin Oct 19. $60.
Blood and Gifts
Political drama is usually in short supply in New York, so we're glad to see that tough-minded writer J.T. Rogers (The Overwhelming) has a new work about CIA counter-Soviet ops in 1980s Afghanistan. Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (lct.org). Previews begin Oct 27. $75--$85.
Kim Cattrall works her way through a few racks of fabulous frocks and shoes as Amanda, one half of the tart romantic duo at the center of Nol Coward's comedy. Paul Gross (Slings and Arrows) costars. Music Box Theatre (telecharge.com). Previews begin Nov 6. $46.50--$121.50.—DC