New York theaters plan some monster hits this season

[23 October 2007]

By Christine Dolen

McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

It’s all about a master and a monster this season in New York.

During the 2007-2008 season, two different versions of Frankenstein (both musicals!) will duke it out to prove which is the bigger box office monster. (Betting on Mel Brooks? Very smart, as the best seats to Young Frankenstein will fetch a bordering-on-obscene $450. Each.)

Edward Albee celebrates his 80th birthday in March with not just a new full-length play (Me, Myself and I was commissioned by and premieres at New Jersey’s McCarter Theater Center Jan. 11-Feb. 17) but a trio of Off-Broadway productions: Occupant (about sculptor Louise Nevelson) at the Signature Theatre; Peter and Jerry (a pairing of Zoo Story and the related Homelife) at Second Stage; and another double bill, The American Dream and The Sandbox, at the Cherry Lane Theater, where both one-acts premiered in the early 1960s.

Younger playwrights will be heard from too. Tarell McCraney, the Miamian whose career has taken off at warp speed since he graduated from Yale last spring, will see the world premiere of his play The Brothers Size (one part of a trilogy) at the Public Off-Browadway. The brilliant Sarah Ruhl has a new comedy with a great title—Dead Man’s Cell Phone—at Playwrights Horizons. West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin tackles television itself in his Broadway play The Farnsworth Invention.

Stars hitting the boards this season include Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner (in Cyrano de Bergerac), Claire Danes (Pygmalion), Megan Mullally (Young Frankenstein), Nathan Lane (November), Mary-Louise Parker (Dead Man’s Cell Phone) and Matthew Broderick (The Starry Messenger). Morgan Freeman and Frances McDormand (in a Mike Nichols-directed revival of Clifford Odets’ The Country Girl) are also expected on Broadway this spring, though at which theater is still unknown.

To order Broadway or Off-Broadway tickets in advance, call either Telecharge at 1-800-432-7250, Ticketmaster at 1-800-755-4000 or the specific box office numbers indicated in each show description. If prices aren’t listed, that means tickets haven’t gone on sale yet.


A Bronx Tale, Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St.; opens Oct. 25 (through Feb. 10); $26.50-$96.50; Telecharge: Chazz Palminteri plays 18 roles in his one-man show (which became a 1993 movie) about growing up in the Bronx.

August: Osage County, Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St.; previews Oct. 30, opens Nov. 20 (through Feb. 17); $26.50-$99.50; Telecharge: Bug author Tracy Letts’ acclaimed play about an Oklahoma family investigating the disappearance of the clan’s patriarch moves from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre to Broadway.

Cymbeline, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 150 W. 65th St.; previews Nov. 1, opens Dec. 2 (through Jan. 6); $65-$90; Telecharge: Mark Lamos direct Michael Cerveris, John Cullum, Martha Plimpton, Jonathan Cake and Phylicia Rashad in the romantic Shakespearean drama.

Cyrano de Bergerac, Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th St.; previews begin Friday, opens Nov. 1 (through Dec. 23); $20-$100; Ticketmaster: Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner star in Anthony Burgess’ adaptation of the play about a heroic poet-soldier with an enormous nose who woos the beauty he loves for another man.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!—The Musical, St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St.; previews Oct. 29, opens Nov. 9 (through Jan. 6); $25-$111.50; Telecharge: Tony winner Jack O’Brien directs this stage musical about Dr. Seuss’ very mean, Christmas-hating character.

The Farnsworth Invention, Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St.; previews Oct. 15, opens Nov. 14; $51.50-$91.50; or Telecharge: Jersey Boys` Des McAnuff directs Hank Azaria in West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin’s new play about the race to invent television.

Grease, Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. 47th St.; currently running; $71.50-$121.50; Ticketmaster: TV reality show winners Max Crumm and Laura Osnes are Danny and Sandy in this revival of the `50s-era musical about a sweet girl and her walk-on-the-wild-side fella.

Is He Dead?, Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th St.; previews Nov. 8, opens Nov. 29; $26.50-$98.50; Telecharge: David Ives has adapted Mark Twain’s recently-discovered 1898 farce about artists who pretend one of their own is dead in order to inflate the price of his paintings; Michael Blakemore directs Norbert Leo Butz as the not exactly deceased artist.

Mauritius, Biltmore Theatre, 261 W. 47th St.; opened Thursday (through Nov. 25); $46.50-$91.50;; Telecharge: A terrific cast—Bobby Cannavale, Alison Pill, F. Murray Abraham, Dylan Baker and Miami’s Katie Finneran—star in Theresa Rebeck’s play about sisters who inherit a rare stamp collection.

Pygmalion, American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St.; opens Oct. 18 (through Dec. 16); $51.25-$86.25; 212-719-1300 or Claire Danes and Jefferson Mays play Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins in this revival of George Bernard Shaw’s play.

The Ritz, Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St.; opens Thursday (through Dec. 2); $36.25-$96.25; 212-719-1300 or Rosie Perez, Kevin Chamberlin and Brooks Ashmanskas star in the revival of the Terrence McNally’s farce about a guy who hides in a bathhouse.

Rock `n’ Roll, Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St.; previews Oct. 19, opens Nov. 4; $76.50-$98.50;; Telecharge: Tom Stoppard’s latest, a transfer from London’s Royal Court, stars Brian Cox, Sinead Cusack and Rufus Sewell in a witty, emotional political play that takes place between 1968 and 1990 in Prague and Cambridge.

The Seafarer, Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St.; previews Oct. 30, opens Nov. 15; $76.50-$98.50; Telecharge: Conor McPherson’s play, a transfer from the Royal National Theatre, is about a man who returns to Dublin on Christmas Eve to look after his blind, difficult brother.

Young Frankenstein, Hilton Theatre, 213 W. 42nd St.; opens Nov. 8; $51.50-$121.50 (premium seats $450); or Ticketmaster: Mel Brooks and director-choreographer Susan Stroman return to Brooks’ movie catalog for what will probably prove to be a monster hit musical followup to their smash The Producers, with Roger Bart, Megan Mullally, Andrea Martin, Shuler Hensley and Sutton Foster.


Come Back, Little Sheba, Biltmore Theatre, 261 W. 47th St.; previews Jan. 3, opens Jan. 24 (through March 9); $46.50-$91.50; Telecharge: In this revival of William Inge’s play, S. Epatha Merkerson plays a lonely woman whose dead marriage to an alcoholic turns turbulent when a young woman moves into their home.

The Homecoming, Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St.; previews Nov. 23, opens Dec. 9 (through April 13); $26.50-$98.50; Telecharge: Miami’s Raul Esparza, Ian McShane, Eve Best and Michael McKean star in the revival of Harold Pinter’s play about a guy who brings his new wife home to meet the men of his North London family, with unsettling results.

The Little Mermaid, Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St.; previews Nov. 3, opens Dec. 6; $41.50-$111.50; Ticketmaster: The underwater animated classic becomes the latest Disney property to be adapted into a musical; this one is the work of composer Alan Menken, lyricists Glenn Slater and the late Howard Ashman, and Pulitzer Prize-winning book writer Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife).

November, Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St.; previews Dec. 20, opens Jan. 17; $46.50-$99.50; Telecharge: Nathan Lane and Laurie Metcalf star in David Mamet’s new play, directed by Joe Mantello, set in the days before a presidential election.

The 39 Steps, Roundabout Theatre at the American Airlines Theatre, 229 W. 42nd St.; previews Dec. 28, opens Jan. 10 (runs through March 16); 212-719-1300 or; Four actors play some 150 roles in this spoof of the spy novel and Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Sunday in the Park With George, Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St.; previews Jan. 25, opens Feb. 21; 212-719-1300 or British stars Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell, both of whom won Olivier Awards for their performances in this revival of Stephen Sondheim’s musical about painter Georges Seurat.


A Catered Affair, Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St.; previews March 25, opens April 17; Telecharge: Faith Prince, Tom Wopat and Harvey Fierstein star in this new musical—with a book by Fierstein, music and lyrics by John Bucchino, and direction by Tony winner John Doyle—about a Bronx couple in 1953 who must choose between starting a business or giving their daughter a lavish wedding.

In the Heights, Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th St.; previews Feb. 14, opens March 9;; Ticketmaster: The Off-Broadway musical hit by playwright Quara Alegria Hudes and composer-star Lin-Manuel Miranda, about the Latino community in Washington Heights, comes to Broadway.

South Pacific, Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center, 150 W. 65th St.; previews March 1, opens April 3;; Telecharge: Kelli O’Hara is Nellie Forbush, and opera baritone Paulo Szot is Emile de Becque in this revival of the great Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II musical set in the South Pacific during World War II.

Top Girls, Biltmore Theatre, 261 W. 47th St.; previews April 15 (through June 22); $46.50-$91.50;; Telecharge; Caryl Churchill’s celebrated, wildly theatrical 1982 play about the price of an ambitious woman’s success makes its Broadway debut.


Almost an Evening, Atlantic Theater Company, 330 W. 16th St.; previews Jan. 9, opens Jan. 16 (through Feb. 3);; 212-279-4200 or Successful filmmaker Ethan Coen (responsible, with brother Joel, for Fargo and a number of other hits) makes his Off-Broadway debut with three one-act plays.

The American Dream and The Sandbox, Cherry Lane Theater, 38 Commerce St.; previews March 4, opens March 18 (through April 12); $51-$61;; Telecharge: Edward Albee’s 80th birthday year is being celebrated in part with this double bill of one-acts that originally premiered at the Cherry Lane.

Beckett Shorts, New York Theatre Workshop; 79 E. Fourth St.; previews Dec. 5, opens mid-December; 212-460-5475 or JoAnne Akalaitis directs Mikhail Baryshnikov and his fellow actors in four one-act plays by Samuel Beckett.

Bingo With the Indians, Flea Theater, 41 White St.; previews Oct. 25, opens Nov. 9 (through Dec. 22); 212-226-2407 or Adam Rapp’s new play is about members of an avant-garde theater company scheming to pay for their next show with money stolen from a bingo game.

Black Nativity, The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W. 42nd St.; Nov. 30 (through Dec. 30) $50; 646-223-3010 or; The Classical Theater of Harlem performs Langston Hughes’ play in which a street preacher tells the story of a girl searching for peace on earth.

The Black Suits, MCC Theater at Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St.; previews May 14 (through July 5); 212-279-4200 or With music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, book by Iconis and Robert Maddock (the team has already won several awards for their work), this new musical is about a garage band playing its way toward adulthood.

The Brothers Size, Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St.; Oct. 23-Dec. 23; $50; 212-967-7555 or Miami’s Tarell Alvin McCraney, who graduated from the Yale School of Drama last spring, gets a high-profile world premiere of his mythic play about two very different brothers.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St.; previews Feb. 8, opens March 4 (through March 16); $65; Weeds star Mary-Louise Parker and Angels in America Tony nominee Kathleen Chalfant star in MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Sarah Ruhl’s new comedy, to be directed by Anne Bogart.

Die, Mommie, Die!, New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St.; previews begin Wednesday, opens Oct. 21 (through Feb. 17); $35-$71.50;; Telecharge: Charles Busch plays killer diva Angela Arden in his play about a woman who slays her hubby with the help of her much younger lover.

Frankenstein, 37 Arts, 450 W. 37th St.; previews Wednesday, opens Nov. 1; $41.25; or Ticketmaster: This “other” Frankenstein musical, not nearly as spoofy as the Mel Brooks version, stars Hunter Foster as Mary Shelley’s mad scientist.

Fuerzabruta, Daryl Roth Theater, 20 Union Square East; $42.50; Telecharge: The creators of the in-your-face (or above-your-head) De La Guarda have come up with a show in which actors fly and the audience gets wet.

The Glorious Ones, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center, 150 W. 65th St.; previews Thursday, opens Nov. 5 (through Jan. 6); $75;; Telecharge: Ex-South Floridian Marc Kudisch is one of the stars of this new musical by the Ragtime team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty; Graciela Daniele directs the show, based on the 1974 Francine Prose novel.

Grace, MCC Theater at Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St.; previews Jan. 23 (through March 8); 212-279-4200 or Lynn Redgrave stars in this London hit about a scientist and atheist fighting her son, a lawyer planning to become a minister.

Hunting and Gathering, Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St.; previews Jan. 22, opens Feb. 5 (through March 1); $60; 212-279-4200 or Brooke Berman’s new play is about interconnected young New Yorkers looking for love.

Occupant, Signature Theatre Company, 555 W. 42nd St.; May 6-29; $20; 212-244-7529 or Edward Albee’s play paints a portrait of sculptor Louise Nevelson.

The Overwhelming, Laura Pels Theater, 111 W. 46th St.; opens Oct. 23 (through Dec. 23); $55-$65; 212-719-1300 or J.T. Rogers’ new play is about an American family arriving in Rwanda in 1994, just as the nation is sliding into genocide.

Paradise Park, Signature Theatre Company, 555 W. 42nd St.; Feb. 12-April 6; $20; 212-244-7529 or Charles Mee’s play is about an amusement park that becomes a bizarre carnival of life.

Peter and Jerry, Second Stage Theater, 307 W. 43rd St.; previews Oct. 19, opens Nov. 11 (through Dec. 9); $56-$70; 212-246-4422 or Edward Albee, who turns 80 in March, gets a production of his first play (1958’s Zoo Story) and its 2004 companion Homelife, with Bill Pullman, Johanna Day and Dallas Roberts.

Pumpgirl, Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center, Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center, 131 W. 55th St.; previews Nov. 8, opens Dec. 4 (through Jan. 13); 212-581-1212 or Irish playwright Abbie Spallen spins the story of a girl at a gas station who falls in love with a married local racetrack star.

Queens Boulevard (the musical), Signature Theatre Company, 555 W. 42nd St.; Nov. 6-Dec. 30; $20; 212-244-7529 or Charles Mee’s musical, inspired by an Indian dance-drama, is about a husband searching for the perfect gift for his bride on their wedding day.

Rag and Bone, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place; previews Nov. 13, opens Nov. 20 (through Dec. 16); $20-$40; 212-868-4444 or Noah Haidle (Mr. Marmalade) has a new play about brothers struggling to make ends meet, as one engages in the black-market sale of human hearts.

The Receptionist, Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center, 131 W. 55th St.; previews Friday, opens Oct. 30 (through Dec. 16); 212-581-1212 or Well star Jayne Houdyshell plays a no-nonsense receptionist in the world premiere of Adam Bock’s new play.

The Starry Messenger, Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center, 131 W. 55th St; previews Feb. 7 (through April 13); 212-581-1212 or Matthew Broderick stars in Kenneth Lonergan’s new play about an aspiring astronomer (and married man) drawn to a young single mom.

Two Thousand Years, Acorn Theater at Theater Row, 410 W. 42nd St.; Jan. 8 through March 1; Scott Elliott directs Mike Leigh’s new play about a suburban London Jewish family thrown into turmoil when their son becomes devout.

War, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place; previews Jan. 29, opens Feb. 11 (through March 2); 212-868-4444 or Lars Noren’s play about a mother, two daughters and a missing father becomes a history of genocide.

Yellow Face, Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St.; Nov. 20 (through Dec. 23); $50; 212-967-7555 or David Henry Hwang’s play is about the protests over the casting of British actor Jonathan Pryce as the Eurasian pimp in Miss Saigon.

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