Also on the Great White Way, The Roundabout Theatre Company presents its revival of The Importance of Being Earnest, at the American Airlines Theatre, December 17-March 6. Brian Bedford directs the production, and plays the role of Lady Bracknell. The cast also features Santino Fontana as Algernon Moncrieff, David Furr as Jack Worthing, Dana Ivey as Miss Prism, Charlotte Parry as Cecily Cardew, Sara Topham as Gwendolyn, and Paxton Whitehead as Reverend Chausible.
Ethan Hawke, Natasha Lyonne, and Daphne Rubin-Vega are featured in New Group's Off-Broadway production of Tommy Nohilly's Blood From a Stone (Acorn Theatre, December 13-February 19), about a troubled working-class family. Stockard Channing, Stacy Keach, Linda Lavin, Elizabeth Marvel, and Thomas Sadoski star in Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities (Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, beginning December 16), about a once promising novelist, who plans to publish a memoir focusing on an explosive chapter in her family's history.
At Playwrights Horizons, Reed Birney, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Michele Pawk, and Victor Williams star in the world premiere of Adam Bock's A Small Fire (December 16-January 23), which focuses on what happens when a tough-as-nails contractor finds her senses slipping on the brink of her daughter's wedding. Michel Altieri stars in the title role of a revival of Dracula at the Little Shubert Theatre, December 14-March 13. The principal cast also includes George Hearn (Abraham Van Helsing), Thora Birch (Lucy Seward), and Jake Silbermann (Jonathan Harker).
Academy Award-nominee Brenda Blethyn, along with Niall Buggy and Beth Cooke, stars in Haunted (59E59 Theaters, December 1-January 2), about a man who pretends his wife is dead, and dresses a young woman in her clothes. At the same theater complex, young British company Inspector Sands presents repertory productions of Hysteria and If That's All There Is (December 2-January 2).
The Public Theater imports the U.K.-based Tricycle Theatre Company's The Great Game: Afghanistan, to NYU's Skirball Center, December 1-19. This ambitious work is presented in three parts, and is about the culture and history of Afghanistan since Western involvement in 1842 to the present day. The Public also presents a touring production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, which stops at the Judson Memorial Church, December 6-11. New York Theatre Workshop presents the OBIE Award-winning Three Pianos (December 7-January 9), described as "a theatrical explosion of Franz Schubert's Winterreise song cycle."
Gay male performance artist Tim Miller returns to New York with his latest show, Lay of the Land (PS 122, December 1-11), a blend of politics and sex. Holly Hughes tackles the subject of gay marriage in Let Them Eat Cake (Dixon Place, December 2-18), a spirited and satirical romp that pays campy homage to the likes of Tony n' Tina's Wedding. Meanwhile, John Kelly revives Pass the Blutwurst, Bitte, his dance-film-theater piece about Viennese expressionist Egon Schiele (La MaMa E.T.C., December 2-19).
Bread & Puppet Theater presents The Return of Ulysses (Theatre for a New City, December 2-19), which draws parallels between the Trojan War and the U.S.'s contemporary military conflicts, as well as the troupe's family-oriented show, The Decapitalization Circus (December 4-19). Meanwhile, Wakka Wakka presents Baby Universe (A Puppet Odyssey) (Baruch Performing Arts Center, December 1-January 8), about scientists of a dying world trying to birth a new planet that can support the relocation of its entire population.
Two-time Emmy Award winner Nikkieli DeMone stars in Black Nativity Now, a holiday gospel pageant that tells the story of the birth of Christ. Additional holiday shows include Irish Repertory Theatre's A Child's Christmas in Wales (December 8-January 2), Mark Morris Dance Group's The Hard Nut (BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, December 10-19), and Axis Theatre Company's Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid (December 3-21). More irreverent seasonal fare is represented by Justin Bond's Christmas Spells (Abrons Arts Center, December 9-18), the provocatively titled Naked Holidays at the Ace of Clubs (December 10-30), and the burlesque spectacular, Nutcracker Rouge (Company XIV, December 10-January 9).
Also of note: a new edition of Newsical the Musical (Kirk Theatre, beginning December 13); Ashlie Atkinson in Jennifer Lane's Psychomachia (Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios, December 1-19); a return of the kid-friendly musical Dear Edwina (DR2 Theatre, December 17-February 25); Rebecca Northan's Canadian hit Blind Date (Ars Nova, December 2-20); a return engagement of Golf: The Musical (Midtown Theatre, through January 16); and the nonverbal dance-theater experience Mummenschanz (Skirball Center, December 21-January 8).