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New York Spotlight: April 2009

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Megan Hilty, Allison Janney, and
Stephanie J. Block in 9 to 5
(© Craig Schwartz)
The 2009 Broadway spring season comes to a close with a number of high-profile entries. Dolly Parton penned the score to the new musical 9 to 5 (Marquis Theatre, beginning April 7), based on the 1980 film of the same name (in which Parton was featured) about a trio of office workers who turn the tables on their sexist and egotistical boss. The show, which has a book by screenwriter Patricia Resnick, stars Stephanie J. Block, Megan Hilty, Marc Kudisch, and Allison Janney.

Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin play Samuel Beckett's existential tramps in the Roundabout's revival of Waiting for Godot (Studio 54, beginning April 3), which also features John Goodman and John Glover and is directed by Anthony Page. Matthew Broderick, who starred with Lane in The Producers, also returns to Broadway, leading the cast of the Roundabout's revival of Christopher Hampton's comedy The Philanthropist (American Airlines Theatre, April 10-June 28).

Two more starry revivals are on hand. The Goodman Theatre brings its acclaimed Chicago production of Desire Under the Elms to the St. James Theatre, beginning April 14. The five-person cast is headed by Brian Dennehy, Carla Gugino, and Pablo Schreiber. Meanwhile, Tony winner David Hyde Pierce will star in Manhattan Theater Club's staging of Samson Raphaelson's comedy Accent on Youth (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, beginning April 7), about a successful playwright whose new muse also inspires his leading man.

The Old Vic Theatre Company's production of Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests (Circle in the Square, beginning April 7) comes to Broadway featuring the entire London cast, headed by Stephen Mangan in the title role. The work is comprised of the three full-length plays -- Table Manners, Living Together and Round and Round the Garden -- that can be seen as separate ticketed entries, or in Saturday marathon performances.

Off-Broadway, John Lithgow returns to Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse with Stories by Heart (April 12-May 25), performing two different evenings in repertory. Bobby Cannavale, Jason Butler Harner, Jackie Hoffman, and Sarah Paulson star in Mark Schultz's The Gingerbread House (Rattlestick Theatre, April 11-May 10), about a couple who will do anything to get the life they believe they deserve. Broadway star Sherie Rene Scott performs in her own work, Everyday Rapture (Second Stage, April 7-May 31), co-written by Dick Scanlan, about a young woman's psycho-sexual-spiritual journey.

Olympia Dukakis, Mark Blum, Jonathan Groff, and Randy Harrison lead the cast of Craig Lucas' The Singing Forest, making its New York premiere at the Public Theater (April 10-May 17), about three generations of a family whose lives are intertwined despite the secrets that have torn them apart. Also at the Public, LAByrinth Theater Company stages Raul Castillo's Knives and Other Sharp Objects (through April 19), in which cultures collide in Texas as two Latina sisters are shipped off to live with their more well-heeled family.

Pulitzer Prize finalist Eisa Davis stars in her autobiographical play, Angela's Mixtape (Ohio Theater, April 6-May 2), co-starring Linda Powell as activist Angela Davis, who is the playwright/performer's aunt. Larry Pine and Tina Chen star in The Shanghai Gesture (Julia Miles Theater, April 21-May 17), about a Manchu princess sold into sex slavery, who has risen to great power by running an elegant brothel. Ugly Betty's Michael Urie and Thomas Jay Ryan lead the cast of The Temperamentals (Barrow Group Studio Theater, April 30-May 18), about the founders of the pre-Stonewall gay rights organization, The Mattachine Society.

Cirque du Soleil returns to New York with its latest, Kooza (Randall's Island, April 16-May 24), which focuses on acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. Tyler Perry's The Marriage Counselor makes its New York premiere at the Beacon Theatre (April 7-12, April 29-May 3). Theatre for a New Audience's critically acclaimed production of Othello returns to the Duke on 42nd Street, April 15-24. John Douglas Thompson stars in the title role, with Ned Eisenberg as Iago and Juliet Rylance as Desdemona. Irish Repertory Theatre presents an ambitious undertaking with The Yeats Project, staging all 26 plays written by William Butler Yeats.

Prospect Theatre Company premieres the new musical Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge (59E59 Theaters, April 11-May 3), adapted from J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World by composer Peter Mills and director Cara Reichel. The company will also present J. Oconer Navarro and Katie Kring's Onward as part of its "Dark Nights" series, April 2-5. Another new tuner is BRUNCH -- the Musical (Chernuchin Theatre, April 2-25), about the New York City restaurant scene.

Austin Pendleton stars in Love Drunk at the Abingdon Theatre (through April 19), about an older man who picks up a much younger woman in a bar. Joy Franz stars in the title role of George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession (Manhattan TheatreSource, April 1-18). David M. Sanborn tells the Biblical story of King David (Promise Theater, April 9-June 27), impersonating some of Hollywood's greatest stars (including Jimmy Stewart, Danny Kaye, and Arnold Schwarzenegger) to bring the tale to life.

Luigi Creatore's comedy set in a South Florida apartment complex, Flamingo Court, returns to New World Stages (April 18-September 6). Brandt Reiter's new drama, End of Play (Center Stage NY, April 17-May 10), is about an industry outcast who returns to Hollywood. The late John Belluso's A Nervous Smile -- about the family of a girl severely disabled with cerebral palsy -- receives a production from Theater Breaking Through Barriers at Theatre Row's Kirk Theatre (April 17-May 17). Direct Arts presents Genny Lim's Paper Angels (University Settlement, April 29-May 2), about Chinese immigrants detained on Angel Island at the beginning of the 20th Century.

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