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This Week on Stage: 'Sex With Strangers' with Anna Gunn, Dee Snider's puppet Bard

Anna Gunn could very well win her second consecutive Emmy for Breaking Bad in about three weeks on the West Coast—but right now, she’s laying down some East Coast roots in Sex With Strangers, a new drama directed by David Schwimmer. The role is only the actress’s second major New York City stage part (she was in the supporting cast of The Rehearsal opposite Frances Conroy and Roger Rees back on Broadway in 1996), but the reviews for her and costar Billy Magnussen (soon to be seen in the long-awaited film of James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods; by the way, have you seen that spiffy trailer yet?), like the one we’ll provide you below, indicate she’ll get more love from theatergoers than Skyler White ever did as a character.

In other news, 2014 marks a banner year in which both Woody Allen and Mia Farrow scored Broadway shows. His self-penned Bullets Over Broadway will sleep with the fishes on Aug. 24, while Farrow begins a stint in A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters on Sept. 13, her first Broadway appearance since 1980’s Romantic Comedy. And no, I’m not counting her voice work in the megabomb Stephen Sondheim (him again!) play Getting Away With Murder. Letters will feature a rotating cast that will also include Brian Dennehy, Carol Burnett, Alan Alda, Anjelica Huston, Martin Sheen and Game of Thrones‘ Diana Rigg, so it’s kind of a choose-your-own-veteran actor-adventure. And speaking of adventures, this week offered a cornucopia of new ones Off Broadway, including a bloody puppet bacchanal presented by the frontman for Twisted Sister, a new play from a scribe of Girls and Looking on HBO, and the sterling return of one of NYC’s most-emerged playwrights.

Click on the links below for full reviews: READ FULL STORY

'Breaking Bad' takes over 'Conan' -- VIDEO

Just like you, Conan O’Brien is obsessed with Breaking Bad. Just like you, he’s been spending the last few months both eagerly anticipating and dreading the series finale on September 29. And just like you, Conan also thinks it’d be just awesome to spend half an hour palling around with Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, and Vince Gilligan.

But unlike you, Conan actually has the power to make that last part happen. Thus, last night’s episode of Conan — a celebration of AMC’s Emmy-winning drama, featuring altered opening credits, appearances by every full cast member, several goofy in-joke segments (“BarrelFlex: Get fit the Breaking Bad way!”), and even a special musical guest: Los Cuates de Sinaloa, performing the opening song from season 2’s “Negro y Azul,” a.k.a. “The Ballad of Heisenberg.”

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'Breaking Bad': The 5 best Skyler White episodes

This Sunday, AMC’s Breaking Bad begins a final run of eight episodes, bringing the tale of Walter White to its inexorable conclusion. The show has become one of the great running masterpieces of the last half-decade of television, bringing the post-Sopranos model of anti-heroic TV drama to new critical highs (and terrifying new moral lows). What makes it even more impressive is that — in an era defined by ever-more-gigantic ensembles — Breaking Bad has unfurled its epic American tale with a relatively small cast of characters. While other shows opt for cast breadth, Bad has explored each character’s depth, sending them on fascinating byzantine journeys into the interior of their souls. This week, we’ll be taking a close look at all the show’s main characters and presenting a suggested viewing list for the five episodes that best define their arc. We started with alpha-male DEA agent Hank yesterday. Today: Skyler White (Anna Gunn), Walter’s wife and sometime accomplice, who went from unwitting victim to money-laundering queenpin — and is now seriously reconsidering that choice.

“ABQ” (season 2, episode 13): While Skyler had some great moments in season 1 — “Gray Matter” is the honorary No. 6 on this list for that intervention scene alone — she didn’t truly come into her own until the season 2 finale, when she stopped believing everything Walt told her and started calling him on his increasingly hard-to-swallow B.S. It all starts to unravel when Walt groggily admits to having two cell phones before his surgery, and from there, Skyler questions every strange event from the previous months, especially her husband’s “fugue state” story (“I had to believe that, didn’t I?”). While Walt offers to tell her the full truth to keep her from leaving him, she says she’s “afraid to know” — for now, at least.
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