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This Week's Off-Broadway Openings: January 31, 2011-February 6, 2011

January 31, 2011 - by City Guide News Desk
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Click on the show title for theater information, show times, and more.

Compulsion - It is 1951, and Sid Silver is on a mission to be the guardian of one of the most moving and provocative accounts of the 20th century. Deeply moved by Anne Frank's diary, he is driven to bring her story to the American masses by promoting the book's publication and adapting the diary into a work of theater.  A complex and inventive telling that is part historical fiction, part investigation into what makes a man obsess, and part exploration of an untold dimension of Anne Frank's powerful and enduring legacy.

The Hallway Trilogy - Playwright Adam Rapp's three full-length plays set fifty years apart. Part 1, Rose takes place on the evening of November 28th, 1953, the day following the death of Eugene O'Neill and concerns a young actress who has been struggling with severe depression (diagnosed as melancholia in those days) whose arrival in a lower east side tenement affects the lives of several of its residents. Part 2, Paraffin is set on the first evening of the 2003 New York City blackout and concerns a married couple - a husband addicted to heroin, his pregnant wife, and his brother's unrequited love for his wife. Though it's now 50 years later, the affects of that young actress's visit are still being felt. Part 3, Nursing is set in 2053 in a disease-free New York when the tenement has been transformed into a museum where young men and women in need of cash are injected with old-fashioned diseases for the amusement of the public. On this night the air-tight glass wall fractures.

Interviewing the Audience - Based on a method originated by pioneering author, actor, and storyteller Spalding Gray, Zach invites individual members of each evening's audience to be interviewed by him on stage. The result is an improvised, intimate, and immensely compelling evening that expands our perception of theatre and narrative.

La Barbería - When Beny Acevedo, landlord and proprietor of a bustling Washington Heights barbershop, gets a multi-million dollar offer to sell his building, he faces the toughest decision of his life. Set against a score of original contemporary Latin music emanating from the airwaves, La Barbería is a comedic and wistful portrait of a neighborhood in flux and a tribute to the strength of a community.

The Little Mermaid - Since the departure of Disney’s Little Mermaid from Broadway, many of us have felt deprived of one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most adored heroines. Happily, she’s back in an irresistibly charming musical courtesy workshop-serving number, “Misunderstood.” And, of course, the Little Mermaid’s dad, King Neptune, has his own moment in the spotlight when he reflects on the innate perils of parenthood in the song “Loving and Letting Go.” Recommended for ages three and up; includes pre-show arts workshop featuring lessons in movement and music from the show and the opportunity to create a sea creature that glows in the dark when place onstage.

Lost in the Stars - Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert. Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson set to work fashioning Alan Paton’s novel Cry, the Beloved Country into a musical tragedy within weeks of its momentous publication. This story of life in South Africa under apartheid stirred generations to action, and was the basis for a beautiful, brooding, dramatic musical that produced not only the immortal title song, but an entire score that pulses with the life of a people.

Madeleine The Magician's Dazzical - Welcome to Madeleine the magician's world of magic – a magic show where illusion and magic come together for 90 minutes of non-stop, totally fascinating entertainment for the whole family.

The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller - A startling and surprisingly humorous, upside-down view of what happens when the Western world intrudes on an ancient, so-called primitive culture, telling the story from the native peoples' point-of-view: set among the Asmat tribe of New Guinea, the play explores the still-unsolved disappearance in 1961 of Michael C. Rockefeller, the 23-year-old son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and a celebrated anthropologist who collected artifacts from the Asmat culture during two expeditions there.

My Scandalous Life - Set in 1944 in the middle of the Second World War, the play tells the story of Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar Wilde's beloved Bosie, who, overcome with memories of the notorious love affair that rocked England, struggles to examine the mysteries of his own identity. Forever linked to Wilde... the scandal... the violent trials which led to Wilde's imprisonment... the guilt... and the subsequent half-century he lived after Wilde, who died alone in Paris in 1900, Bosie searches for the very personal meaning of a life forever the subject of endless conjecture.

A Perfect Future - A play that explores the question of whether people can be married and truly love each other when their political persuasions are diametrically opposed. Set in 2005, the action takes place in the apartment of two well-heeled New Yorkers, Natalie and John, who are hosting a dinner for Elliot, a friend from their days as college radicals. Also invited to the party is Mark, a straight-laced young man from John's risk management firm. Over the course of a raucous evening filled with wine and merriment, their basic belief systems are upended, as the four must come to terms with each other's true politics and behavior.

Vieux Carré - Wooster Group's "memory play," is set in the boarding house in New Orleans where Williams himself stayed as a young man during the Depression. The young writer, as narrator, remembers his artistic and sexual awakening there. Inhabitants of the house swirl up out of the writer's mind as archetypal Williams characters, longing for release and haunted by thwarted dreams.

For more Off-Broadway shows, click here. For Off-Off Broadway, click here.

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