Nathan Lane in November
(© David Hume Kennerly)
Nathan Lane in November
(© David Hume Kennerly)
The recently ended Broadway stagehands strike has meant that several shows slated to premiere either last month or this month, have had to delay their opening dates. These include The Farnsworth Invention (December 3), August: Osage County (December 4), The Seafarer (December 6), Is He Dead? (December 9), The Homecoming (December 16), and The Little Mermaid (January 10). Still on track to open on December 2 is Lincoln Center's star-studded Cymbeline, with John Cullum, Jonathan Cake, Michael Cerveris, Martha Plimpton, and Phylicia Rashad.

The Broadway production of David Mamet's November, starring Nathan Lane, Laurie Metcalf, and Dylan Baker, is scheduled to begin performances December 20. Directed by Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, this world premiere play is set days before a major presidential election, and involves civil marriages, gambling casinos, lesbians, American Indians, presidential libraries, questionable pardons, and campaign contributions.

Off-Broadway, JoAnne Akalaitis directs Beckett Shorts (New York Theater Workshop, December 5-January 20), a collection of the Samuel Beckett one-acts Act Without Words I and II, Eh Joe, and Rough For Theatre. The cast features Mikhail Baryshnikov, Bill Camp, Karen Kandel, and David Neumann. Another work from one of the 19th and 20th Century's greatest writers, George Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple (December 5-January 27), is being presented by Irish Repertory Theatre.

Ensemble Studio Theatre presents Petronia Paley's On the Way to Timbuktu (December 6-21), about a teacher of Shakespearean sonnets who finds herself falling in love with a female student. At the Cherry Lane is The Past Is Still Ahead (December 6-15), about the life and poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva, one of Russia's most profound poets. Bo Eason returns to New York with his semiautobiographical one-man show, Runt of the Litter (open-ended), recounting his life and career as a defensive back for the Houston Oilers.

The Salzburg Marionette Theatre's new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music makes a brief stop in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art December 7-9. The all-marionette production is set to a new fully orchestrated recording and features the vocal talents of numerous Broadway veterans including Christiane Noll, Martin Vidnovic, Jonathan Groff, and Jenn Gambatese. At BAM, nouveau cirque wunderkind James Thiérrée presents his latest work, Au Revoir Parapluie (December 4-16), which combines acrobatics, dance, mime, and music.

TheatreWorks/USA presents the world premiere family musical Max and Ruby (December 7-January 13), based on the series of stories by Rosemary Wells and the popular TV programs on Nick Jr. and Noggin. Although featuring nursery rhyme favorites, The City That Cried Wolf (59E59 Theaters, December 5-30) is not appropriate for the little ones. It's a theater-noir that follows Private Eye Jack B. Nimble as he tries to solve Rhyme Town's stickiest murder.

PS 122 is presenting London-based performance troupe Duckie's Olivier award-winning, interactive nightclub performance experience C'est Duckie! (CSV Cultural Center, December 20-January 19). In its home space, PS 122 will also host the Chicago-based 500 Clown company for two if its works that combine circus arts, improvisation, and action-based performance: 500 Clown Frankenstein (December 12-19) and 500 Clown Christmas (December 21-31).

Speaking of holiday shows, seasonal highlights include Auction Block (Baruch Performing Arts Center, December 16-30), a contemporary version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol about a hip hop mogul who must, like Scrooge, decide between redemption and damnation; Holiday Wonders (Beacon Theatre, December 18-26), a fusion of classical Eastern and Western cultures; and David Sedaris' "anti-holiday" cult classic The Santaland Diaries (Gallery Players, December 1-16). For even more seasonal offerings, check out TheaterMania's Winter Wonderland feature.

The NYC-based Nature Theater of Oklahoma, in association with Soho Rep, presents No Dice (December 6-30), a unique four-hour work culled from 70-hours of taped conversation about a wide variety of subjects. Parallel Exit presents the backstage adventure Cut to the Chase (59E59 Theaters, December 6-30). Finally, Red Bull Theatre revives Christopher Marlowe's Edward the Second (Peter Jay Sharp Theater, December 11-January 13) with Queer as Folk's Randy Harrison included in the cast.