The Footlights: Fall Theater Preview

Watchcentury_lThe hot weather is supposed to be behind us (damn you, global warming!) and chillier nights should play host to the new wave of shows. And while it would be utterly loco of me to include everything between now and early December, I figured it would be a good idea to give you some choice highlights, both in and out of the Big Apple, of the upcoming theater season.

EQUUS
Direct from London, here comes the heartwarming tale of a boy (Daniel Radcliffe), horsies, and how he likes to blind said horsies. Buzz is deafening. And you can even nab onstage seats to get a better view of Harry Potter, uh, up close and personal. (Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway, in previews, opens 9/25, www.telecharge.com)

FIFTY WORDS
Playwright Michael Weller is busy this season (he also has Beast at New York Theater Workshop right now), but any play with both Norbert Leo Butz and Elizabeth Marvel(ous, always), playing a couple immersed in marital woes, gets the edge. (Lucille Lortel Theatre Off Broadway, in previews, opens 9/28, http://www.mcctheater.org/tickets.html)

TURN OF THE CENTURY           
Nine-time Tony winner Tommy Tune directing Jeff Daniels (who finally gets to showcase his musician skills)and Rachel York (Victor/Victoria) in an American Songbook-laced (IrvingBerlin, Rodgers & Hart) musical from the writers of Jersey Boys? Count me in. (Goodman Theatre in Chicago, begins 9/19, http://www.goodmantheatre.org)

ALL MY SONS            
Yeah, yeah…Katie Holmes is in this and anti-Scientologists arealready picketing the theater. But why is everyone ignoring the factthat John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, and Patrick Wilson are in this as welland this is a kick-ass Arthur Miller play? (Schoenfeld Theatre onBroadway, begins 9/18, opens 10/16, http://www.telecharge.com)

BACK BACK BACK           
Itamar Moses is a very cool young playwright (The Four of Us) and thisclubhouse-set tale of three ball players sounds like another home run.(Sorry, had to.) And this pic might make it interesting for the ladies and gay gents too. (The Old Globe in San Diego, begins 9/19, http://www.theoldglobe.org/tickets/)

BLACK WATCH           
I kicked myself right in the keister for missing this Scottish Armydrama when it played last fall. I won’t make the same mistake again.(St. Ann’s Warehouse Off Broadway, plays 10/9 to 11/30, http://www.stannswarehouse.org/buy_tickets.php)

ROCK OF AGES            
Okay, this will be either be a unintentionally hilarious piece o’crapor prime mullet good times, but either way, this ConstantineMaroulis-led rock jukebox fest — featuring the tunes of Bon Jovi,Styx, Journey, and Whitesnake, among many — should be a hoot. Andthey’d better have “Mr. Roboto” in it. (New World Stages Off Broadway, previews begin 9/30, opens 10/10, http://www.telecharge.com)

BILLY ELLIOT            
There’s a reason Elton John has been razzed in both The Drowsy Chaperone and Gutenberg! The Musical!for his composing skills, but after all of its West End success andgoodwill, one has to think this Thatcherville-set story of thelittle-ballet-dancing-boy-that-could will cross the pond with class.(Imperial Theatre on Broadway, previews begin 10/1, opens 11/13, http://www.telecharge.com)

SPEED-THE-PLOW / AMERICAN BUFFALO           
Two David Mamet plays on Broadway simultaneously? And two really wild casts? (STP has Jeremy Piven, Raúl Esparza, and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss; AB has John Leguizamo, Cedric the Entertainer, and the boy, now grown, who saw dead people? Strange, yet vaguely awesome. (PLOW: Barrymore Theatre on Broadway, previews begin 10/3, opens 10/23, www.telecharge.com ; BUFFALO: Belasco Theatre on Broadway, previews begin 10/31, opens 11/17, www.telecharge.com)

ROAD SHOW           
Three words: New. Stephen. Sondheim. If that doesn’t make your heartbeat faster, I can never, ever be your friend. (Public Theater OffBroadway, previews begin 10/28, opens 11/18, http://www.publictheater.org)

DIVIDING THE ESTATE            
I saw this one last year and was jazzed to hear of its Broadwaytransfer (and it’s not just me who’s excited — theater editor MelissaBernardo had it at a ripe #2 on last year’s Best of Stage). So I cantell you sincerely that this Southern family dramedy about how moneyissues all but consume an unwieldy brood is unmissable, and HortonFoote (The Trip to Bountiful), at age 92 (!), is still at his peak. (Booth Theatre on Broadway, previews begin 10/23, opens 11/20, http://www.lct.org/showMain.htm?id=182)

DUBLIN CAROL / THE SEAFARER            
Steppenwolf takes on two terrific Conor McPherson plays in rep: August: Osage County star Amy Morton directs the former with a fresh-from-CSI William Petersen as a reflective alcoholic; John Mahoney (Frasier)gets drunk and plays cards with the boys (including one mysterious newpoker buddy) in the latter. Sure to be better than aged Irish whiskey,and just might warrant a Footlights field trip…(Steppenwolf Theatrein Chicago, Carol begins 11/7, Seafarer begins 12/4, http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/)

SHREK
Okay, throw your brickbats; I hate the damn movies, but the team behind this — Avenue Q’sdirector Jason Moore, composer Jeanine Tesori, stars Brian d’ArcyJames, Sutton Foster, Chester Gregory III and John Tartaglia — I wouldfollow into the murkiest swamp. (Broadway Theatre on Broadway, previewsbegin 11/8, opens 12/14, www.telecharge.com)

So, PopWatchers, any of these sound good to you? Anything you wannapummel me for leaving out? Any shows in your neck of the woods we needto know about? The ghostlight is on…

Comments (19 total)
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  • ceecee

    Shrek… wow. Hated the movies too, but really? Jeanine Tesori? John Tartaglia? AND Sutton Foster? I am so in!

  • angelus45

    Tale of Two Cities! Big epic musical based on the Dickens’ novel. It’s the French Revolution, but unlike Les Mis, it’s not really from the point of view of The People (although, you can still hear them sing). Despite his personal baggage, James Barber is stunning, Broadway newcomer Brandi Burkhardt is luminous Aaron Lazar is pretty! Previews now playing. Opens Thursday Sept. 19 at the Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway.

  • paige

    I saw Equus – it was interesting – good performances and yes you do see Harry Potter’s hairy plopper… afterewards I went to get my HP book signed by Richard Griffiths and he gave me attitude. nice eh?

  • shonuff

    i see about 25-30 shows a year. on my fall “must” list are speed the plow, romantic poetry, road show and dividing the estate. i’ll probably also see equus, billy elliot and to be or not to be (i LOVE the original movie).
    i’ve heard awful things about a tale of two cities (despite the well-intended performances), i’ve been told shrek needs a LOT of work, and rock of ages is utterly a waste of money.
    can’t wait for 9-to-5 in the spring!

  • Lauren

    I’m seeing Turn of the Century on Saturday…can’t wait!

  • strickens_girl

    Equus and Road Show are must sees for sure. Shrek sounds dumb but it sounds like a good cast so you never know. What a great season!

  • anne

    i see Equus on Saturday. Can’t wait.

  • Kurt

    Road Show for me. One of the greatest pleasures in life is hearing a Sondheim score for the first time. The Mamet two, also. But there’s a lot of potential for a great season this year.

  • Dona

    From the comments I’ve read from people who actually saw Rock of Ages in LA and Vegas, I think it’s definitely worth seeing. As I’m quite a ways from NYC, Rock of Ages is the only show mentioned on this site that I would fly to NYC to see. Being an 80′s babe, I really dig the music of that time period. There’s some really good actors and actresses in the cast who, in my opinion, will bring the show to life. I’ve seen Constantine in The Wedding Singer and Jacque Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris and he’s truely a gifted actor and singer.

  • b

    What a list! I missed Black Watch, too, but won’t this time! And Road Show? My god, my heart is racing!

  • Clayton

    I’m intrigued by Road Show, and Shrek sounds interesting. But you forgot A Tale of Two Cities! It looks fantastic!

  • Jackie

    I know it’s not really new, but I’ve been dying to see “Spring Awakening.” Fortunately, it’s coming to Boston, so I may not have to travel to New York!
    Also, I’ve seen people on here mention a musical of “A Tale of Two Cities.” I don’t know if it’s the same one, but my college did a musical of that a few years ago, and it was bad. And I mean REALLY bad.
    If not for Katie Holmes, I might see “All My Sons.” It’s a fabulous play, and I would pay good money to see John Lithgow, Dianne Weist, and Patrick Wilson, who are all amazing actors. But Katie Holmes? I can hear “One of these things is not like the others” in my head. I think my dislike of her as an actress (she’s entitled to whatever religious beliefs she wants) might overshadow my enjoyment of the play.

  • Sabrina

    I saw Tale of Two Cities. Definitely not the worst show I’ve ever seen, but it’s basically a poor man’s Les Miz. The second act was WAY better than the first. Amazing costumes, great singing…but not entirely cohesive.

  • Swenson Fan

    You forgot to mention the one reason to see Rock of Ages: Will Swenson. I don’t know or care who this Constantine guy is, but I would see Swenson in anything.

  • Mrs. Lovett

    So excited for Road Show (new Sondheim? Yes. It does make my heart beat faster.), Equus, and Billy Elliot.

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