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New York Spotlight: June 2008

Welcome to the Jungle logo
A scene from
Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy
(© Carol Rosegg)
The 2007-2008 Broadway season culminates in the Tony Awards, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, at Radio City Music Hall, June 15. But the first entry of the new season is already upon us: the touring show Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy, described as "an exotic encounter inspired by nature's unpredictable creations" (Broadway Theatre, June 16-August 24).

Off Broadway, Roundabout Theatre Company presents a revival of Christopher Durang's wacky dark comedy, The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Laura Pels Theatre, June 12-September 7), which follows the titular characters through three decades of marriage, divorce, alcoholism, nervous breakdowns, and death. Tony Award winners Victoria Clark and John Glover head an impressive cast that includes Christopher Evan Welch, Julie Hagerty, and Kate Jennings Grant.

Academy Award and Tony nominee Stephen Rea stars in Sam Shepard's new play, Kicking a Dead Horse (Public Theater, June 25-August 10), about the myth of the West, a Manhattan art dealer, and, yes a dead horse. Speaking of the Public, the first Shakespeare in the Park entry of the summer is Hamlet (through June 29), in which Michael Stuhlbarg portrays the melancholy Dane alongside Lauren Ambrose, Andre Braugher, Kevin Caroll, Margaret Colin, David Harbour, and Sam Waterston. For more outdoor Shakespeare, Polish director Grzegorz Jarzyna presents his sweeping, cinematic version of Macbeth in the Tobacco Warehouse on the Brooklyn Waterfront (June 17-29).

Second Stage Theatre revives Richard Nelson's Some Americans Abroad (June 26-August 3), about a group of partying American college students, accompanied by their pretentious professors, on a literary tour of England. Emily Bergl, Tom Cavanagh, John Cunningham, Fiona Dourif, Halley Feiffer, Enid Graham, Cristin Milioti, Pamela Payton-Wright, Anthony Rapp, Corey Stoll, and Todd Weeks make up the ensemble cast. Colman Domingo, one of the featured players in the Broadway musical Passing Strange, directs the comedy Single Black Female (The Duke on 42nd Street, June 10-29), which features actress Soara-Joye Ross and Riddick Marie playing many, many characters. Tony winner Trazana Beverley stars in the New York premiere of Jovanka Bach's Marko the Prince (Barrow Group Theater, June 20-July 13), about a first-generation American who travels to Serbia to bury his mother in the village of her birth.

Broadway veteran Rosemary Prinz headlines Kari Floren's new drama, Voices of Swords (Urban Stages, June 18-22). Elsewhere, Brooke Berman's newest play, A Perfect Couple ( DR2, June 9-July 12), is about three best friends and their young next door neighbor; while Judith Thompson's award-winning play, Palace of the End, a trio of monologues about the Middle East crisis starring Teri Lamm, Heather Raffo, and Rocco Sisto, will play the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwrights Horizons (June 11-July 13).

The Brits Off Broadway Festival at 59E59 Theaters continues with the chamber musical The Hired Man (June 6-29); Vincent River (June 10-29), a thriller featuring Olivier Award-winning actress Deborah Findlay; and Some Kind of Bliss (June 10-29), about a small-time writer who sets out to do a tabloid interview and gets more than she expected.

June is Gay Pride Month, and there are several appropriate theatrical entries. Peter Mac's Judy and Me, about a high school teenager visited by the spirit of Judy Garland, returns to The Producer's Club (June 5-30). Bash'd (Zipper Factory, beginning June 12) is a gay rap opera about two lovers who must cope with the reality of hatred when one is brutally beaten. Split Britches returns, as Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw present their latest performance piece, Miss America (La MaMa E.T.C., June 12-29). Drag diva Joey Arias and puppeteer Basil Twist team up for the aptly-named Arias with a Twist at HERE Arts Center (June 12-July 13). Jeremy Lawrence essays the role of gay playwright Tennessee Williams in Everyone Expects Me to Write Another Streetcar (Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, June 16-19). Meanwhile, GAYFEST continues at TBG Arts Center, with Jumping Blind (June 4-14), about an English resistance fighter and a wounded German soldier who fall in love in occupied France, and Steve Hayes' Hollywood Reunion (June 6-15), about the author's Christmas visit to cheer up an old friend.

Daytime drama favorite Mark Pinter stars in Three on a Couch, about a writer who fakes his death (SoHo Playhouse, through June 22). Nancy Anderson, Lisa Bostnar, and Jodie Lynne McClintock are among the cast members in A Dangerous Personality (Julia Miles Theatre, June 4-July 20), about Russian-born spiritualist and philosopher Helena Blavatsky. The simply-titled Stitching, by British playwright Anthony Neilson, is about the increasingly disturbing and inventive games a couple plays in order to connect (The Wild Project, June 17-July 19). You may also want to consider Standing Clear, about commuters in the New York subway (Access Theater, through June 21); Dreams, about legendary actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne (The Turtle Shell Theatre, June 4-21); or Daniel Roberts' Monsterface (Irish Arts Center, June 5-28), about an actress facing a mental breakdown.

The Broken Watch Theatre Company will present Edward Allan Baker's The Framer (Michael Weller Theatre, June 5-22), a tragic-comedy set in a picture framing shop in a New England mill town. W. Allen Taylor's solo show In Search of My Father...Walkin' Talkin Bill Hawkins chronicles the author's adventurous search for information about the father he never knew (Henry Street Settlement, June 5-29). The new bio-musical Forbidden City West chronicles the life and times of nightclub entertainer Jadin Wong (Theater for the New City, June 14-July 2). And back from its spring hiatus, Forbidden Broadway presents its new summer edition, Dances with the Stars! (47th Street Theatre, beginning June 28), featuring old favorites and new parodies.

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