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Boston Metro Spotlight: September 2006

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Akiko Aizawa and Leon Ingulsrud
in bobrauschenberamerica
(© Michael Brosilow)
You can practically hear the gears cranking. After yet another laidback summer, the city's cultural production line is rolling once again. The Huntington Theare Company kicks off its season with the pre-Broadway production of, August Wilson's last play Radio Golf (September 8-October 8), directed by Kenny Leon. American Repertory Theater begins its season with Charles L. Mee's kaleidoscopic bio-collage bobrauschenberamerica (September 9-October 7), directed by Anne Bogart, while in the ART's satellite space, Zero Arrow, Boston gets its first glimpse of a home-grown I Am My Own Wife (September 14-October 12), starring ART supervet Thomas Derrah.

More fun for musical lovers: Boston gets to play try-out town for High Fidelity at the Colonial (September 26-October 22), with book by Pulitzer Prize-winning local, David Lindsay-Abaire, and Will Chase as the romantically challenged pop music idiot savant played in the film by John Cusack. The Opera House welcomes a post-Broadway visit from the Presley-fueled All Shook Up (September 26 -October 8). And Boston gets its own resident company of 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (The Wilbur, starting September 26).

The Stuart Street Playhouse, which has already captured a certain demographic with Menopause, reinforces its estrogenic mission with Respect: A Musical Journey (September 23-November 26), spanning 50 top-forty songs that reflect women's lives. Boston's midsize companies are busy, too: Lyric Stage with the 1969 musical 1776 (September 8 -October 14), featuring Christopher Chew and Brent Reno, and Speakeasy Stage with The Women (September 22 -October 21), starring the distaff side of local talent.

The Boston Center for the Arts hosts two small but ambitious companies this month. Up You Mighty Race premieres Robert Johnson, Jr.'s Patience of Nantucket (September 7-23), about a racially motivated misprosecution in the nineteenth century, and Centastage introduces Monsters: A Musical Panic Attack (September 14-30), in which a fortieth birthday brings surprises and stressors. Meanwhile, the city's tiniest theatre, the Devanaughn, hosts two shows as well: AYTB's The Moon Away (September 1-16), about a gay New Mexico photographer accused of pedophilia, and 11:11's The Unnoticed (September 22-30), a magical-realist take on three typical roommates. And if you're yearning for the big top? Cirque du Soleil is in town -- actually, at the edge of town -- with its latest extravaganza, Corteo (September 8 -October 8).

Suburban highlights include the New England premiere of The Pillowman at Watertown's New Rep (September 6 -October 4), with protean John Kunz as the accused. In Waltham, Brandeis plays host to the Berkshire Theatre Festival production of David Hare's Via Dolorosa (September 14-17), after which actor Jonathon Epstein reprises the role back at the BTF (September 29- October 21). Stoneham Theatre revives Cole Porter's You Never Know (September 14 - October 1), featuring premiere songstress Leigh Barrett. Beverly's North Shore Theatre resurrects Jesus Christ Superstar (September 19-October 8) with hunky Nicholas Rodriguez in the title role.

Elsewhere, Merrimack Rep in Lowell opens its 28th season with the New England premiere of Richard Dresser's Augusta (September 21-October 14), about class conflict in coastal Maine. A relatively new company, the Village Theatre Project, mounts Rebecca Gilman's Spinning into Butter in at the Groton-Dunstable Performing Arts Center (September 29 - October 15).

The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater on Cape Cod carries on with a reading of Stuff Happens (September 11), and the New England premiere of David Mamet's courtroom farce Romance (September 14-October 7). Cape Rep offers the first East Coast showing of David Henry Hwang's adaptation of the Peter Sis story Tibet through the Red Box (September 21-October 21), starring Tibetan folklorist Tsering Dorjee Bawa. Meanhwhile, Shakespeare on the Cape, comprising young graduates of the Guthrie's actor training program, will perform in the First Annual Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival (September 28 - October 1), which promises the premiere of a hitherto unstaged, openly gay early work, The Parade or Approaching the End of a Summer.

In Rhode Island, the Gamm Theatre assays Mother Courage and Her Children (September 14 -22), with company regular Wendy Overly optimally cast in the title role. Trinity Rep kicks off its 43rd season with new artistic director Curt Columbus's translation of The Cherry Orchard (September 15 - October 29). Columbus, who hails most recently from Steppenwolf, likens the Madame Ranevskaya's plight to the prospect of Paris Hilton being suddenly stripped of her platinum card. An intriguing notion to say the least.

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