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A New Year of New York Theatre Begins

January 10, 2013 - by Griffin Miller

While new year resolutions are still being posted on Twitter and its kindred cyber-spirits, I find myself thinking less about resurrecting that dusty exercise bike/coat rack and more about the intriguing theatre season now in progress—and the one looming in the near future….

BROADWAY: IN THE PRESENT…

If you happen to be waffling about just what Broadway shows are worth a first (or second) visit—don’t worry, it happens to all of us—allow me to suggest the following productions to usher you into 2013.

Betsy Wolfe and Will Chase in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Photo: Joan Marcus

The Mystery of Edwin Drood: This doozy of a musical whodunit, based on Charles Dickens’ last (unfinished!) novel and laced with hilarious British music hall shenanigans, relies on the audience to determine how the dangling plot lines will end. The entire cast is grand, including musical theatre legend Chita Rivera.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: One of the most powerful evenings of theatre one’s likely to experience in a lifetime, the four-person cast is led by two of Steppenwolf’s most celebrated talents—Tracy Letts (George) and Amy Morton (above, as Martha)—who vibrate the Booth Theatre with their electric game playing in this Albee masterpiece.

Nice Work If You Can Get It: Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara, plus Tony winners Michael McGrath and Judy Kaye—are in top form in this musical farce set during Prohibition. The score is made up of George and Ira Gershwin’s greatest hits and, as a bonus, if you catch a performance before March 10th you’ll get to see Blythe Danner in the delicious 11th-hour role of Millicent.

NEW ARRIVALS ON THE GREAT WHITE WAY…

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: A superstar revival of a Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize winner starring Scarlett Johansson as Maggie the Cat and Benjamin Walker (Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson; Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) as Brick. (In previews for a 1/17 opening.)

Manilow on Broadway: Yes, Grammy winner Barry Manilow is back in his hometown (he was born in Brooklyn) for this limited-run concert. (Previews begin 1/18; opens 1/24; runs through 3/2.)

Picnic: Yet another Pulitzer Prize-winning play, this one by William Inge, starring Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn and Mare Winningham. (In previews for a 1/13 opening)

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella: Making its Broadway debut, this lush musical fairy tale adaptation was originally written for television in the mid-1950s. Featuring Tony nominee Laura Osnes (Bonnie & Clyde) as the title character, the production also features two Tony-winning actresses in the key roles: Victoria Clark (Light in the Piazza) plays the Fairy Godmother and Harriet Harris (Thoroughly Modern Millie) is the heroine’s evil stepmother. (Previews begin 1/21 for a 2/21 opening)

CELEBRITY-STOCKED OFF-BROADWAY OPENING

Talk about your “better reserve your tickets now” opportunities: Clive, a new work set in the 1990s and inspired by Bertolt Brecht’s controversial play Baal (by Jonathan Marc Sherman), stars Brooks Ashmanskas (Tony nomination for Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me), Vincent D’Onofrio (Law & Order: Criminal Intent; Men in Black), Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks; Come Back, Little Sheba), and Ethan Hawke (Training Day; The Coast of Utopia), who also directs. Bonus: Clive features a number of classic American songs—performed live! This New Group production will play The Acorn Theatre (410 W. 42nd St.), with previews beginning January 17th for an official opening night of February 7th.

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