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New York Spotlight: February 2007

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Liev Schreiber
(© Michael Portantiere)
Revivals of three very different types of plays bow on Broadway this month. First up is Journey's End (Belasco Theatre; previews begin February 8), the 1929 drama inspired by playwright R.C. Sherriff's experiences in World War I. While this is a transfer of an acclaimed production that recently played in London, directed by David Grindley, the all-new Broadway cast is headed by Hugh Dancy, Boyd Gaines, Jefferson Mays, and Stark Sands.

Robert Falls directs stage and film star Liev Schreiber in the first Broadway production of Talk Radio (Longacre Theatre; previews begin February 15). Eric Bogosian's play, first seen at The Public Theater in 1987, concerns a controversial radio talk show host who's overwhelmed by the hatred that surrounds his program just before it goes national. The cast also features such notables as Peter Hermann and Stephanie March of Law & Order fame, actor-playwright Erik Jensen, and rising film star Sebastian Stan.

Craig Lucas' comedy Prelude to a Kiss (American Airlines, previews begin February 16), is about a young bride whose soul is mysteriously transported into the body of an old man (and vice versa). The show was a hit Off-Broadway, on Broadway, and on film in the early '90s, which may be why The Roundabout Theatre Company has brought it back. This new production is directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan and stars Alan Tudyk, Annie Parisse, and Tony winner John Mahoney, best known as the lovably irascible Martin Crane on Frasier.

Most certainly not a revival is Curtains (Hirschfeld Theatre; previews begin February 27), a long-aborning musical with a score by the legendary team of John Kander and his late partner Fred Ebb. Set in Boston in the 1950s, the show centers on detective Frank Cioffi (played by David Hyde Pierce), who is called to investigate the murder of a musical's leading lady. Curtains has a book by Rupert Holmes, based on the work of the late Peter Stone, and features additional lyrics by Kander and Holmes. Fresh from a run in Los Angeles, the Broadway production also stars Debra Monk, Karen Ziemba, Jason Danieley, Edward Hibbert, and a host of other Broadway favorites. Scott Ellis is the director, Rob Ashford is the choreographer.

Here they come, those beautiful girls -- courtesy of the City Center Encores! presentation of Follies (February 8-12). This semi-staged concert production of the 1971 Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical about showbiz ghosts, lost youth, and mid-life crises has Victoria Clark, Donna Murphy, Michael McGrath, and Victor Garber in the leading roles; it also features such performers as Christine Baranski, JoAnne Worley, Mimi Hines, and Arthur Rubin. To say that it's a hot ticket is an understatement.

Off-Broadway, there's much to savor. The Vineyard offers a rare revival of Mary Rose (February 1-March 11), J.M. Barrie's 1920 play about a young woman's mysterious disappearance and her subsequent return to her family, starring Paige Howard, Keir Dullea, and Betsy Aidem. Alfred Molina headlines the Roundabout's American premiere of Patrick Marber's Howard Katz (Laura Pels, February 2-May 6), a dark comedy about a showbiz agent, directed by Doug Hughes. Tony and Oscar-winner Kevin Kline takes on the title role in The Public Theater's King Lear (February 9-March 18); James Lapine directs the production, which also features Larry Bryggman as Gloucester, Michael Cerveris as Kent, and Logan Marshall-Green as Edmund.

Lincoln Center Theater presents Dying City, Christopher Shinn's play about a young therapist whose husband dies while on military duty in Iraq; a year later, his identical twin brother turns up, seeking answers to the mystery of his brother's death. James Macdonald directs Rebecca Brooksher and Pablo Schreiber in the show. Charles Busch's new play Our Leading Lady (MTC Stage 2; previews begin February 22) stars Kate Mulgrew as Laura Keane, the 19th-century stage luminary who headed the cast of the Ford's Theatre production of Our American Cousin that Abraham Lincoln attended on the night he was assassinated. In Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell (Minetta Lane; previews begin February 20), Kathleen Chalfant, Hazelle Goodman, Ain Gordon, and Frank Wood perform works of the famous monologist, who committed suicide in 2004.

The Signature Theatre Company's season dedicated to the plays of the late August Wilson wraps up with King Hedley II (February 20-April 15), directed by Derrick Sanders and starring Cherise Booth, Lynda Gravatt, and Stephen McKinley Henderson. Finally, the end of the month brings us the LAByrinth Theatre Company's world-premiere presentation of Jack Goes Boating (Public Theater; February 27-April 8). Bob Glaudini's play about "date panic, marital meltdown, betrayal and the prevailing grace of the human spirit" stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz (the company's co-artistic directors) along with Daphne Rubin-Vega and Beth Cole.

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