New York Spotlight: June 2009
A Night Out
A star-studded cast will perform Daniel Sullivan's Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night (Delacorte Theatre, June 10-July 12), including Michael Cumpsty, Raúl Esparza, Anne Hathaway, Hamish Linklater, Audra McDonald, David Pittu, Jay O. Sanders, and Julie White. Grammy Award winner Ashanti will star as Dorothy in New York City Center Encores! Summer Stars production of The Wiz, to run June 12-July 5. This all-black musical adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz also features Orlando Jones as The Wiz, LaChanze as Glinda, Tichina Arnold as Evillene, Dawnn Lewis as Addaperle, Joshua Henry as the Tinman, James Monroe Iglehart as the Lion, and Christian White as the Scarecrow. Meanwhile, the York Theatre Company will present a staged concert presentation of High Spirits, based on Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, and starring Carol Kane, Veanne Cox, and Howard McGillin.
Second Stage Theatre will present Jack Heifner and David Kirshenbaum's new musical, Vanities (June 30-August 9), adapted from Heifner's stage play. Judith Ivey directs Lauren Kennedy, Sarah Stiles, and Anneliese van der Pol in this musical work that chronicles the comic journey of three bubbly Texas teens from cheerleaders to sorority sisters to housewives, liberated women, and beyond. The Roundabout Theatre Company presents The Tin Pan Alley Rag (Laura Pels Theatre, June 12-September 6), an imagined meeting of two of America's greatest musicians, composer Scott Joplin and songwriter Irving Berlin. Cast members include Michael Boatman, Jenny Fellner, and Michael Thierrault.
Danny Mastrogiorgio, Cristin Milioti, and Charlayne Woodard head the cast of Lincoln Center's LCT3 production of Stunning (Duke on 42nd Street, June 1-27). Written by David Adjmi, the play is set in Brooklyn's Syrian-Jewish community, and tells the story of a teenager newly married to a much older man, whose sheltered life is disrupted when an African-American housekeeper enters her life. The Temperamentals -- Jon Marans' play about the founders of the pre-Stonewall gay rights organization, The Mattachine Society -- transfers from the Barrow Group's studio theater to the company's 99-seat house, June 10-July 5. The cast, led by Michael Urie and Thomas Jay Ryan, remains intact. Tony Award nominee Andre De Shields and Ted Lange (best known as Isaac on TV's The Love Boat) headline the cast of Classical Theatre of Harlem's production of Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe (Clurman Theatre on Theatre Row, June 12-July 19).
Jordan Baker and Jim Stanek headline Susan Yankowitz's Night Sky (Baruch Performing Arts Center, through June 20), about a brilliant astronomer who is struck by a car and loses her ability to speak conventionally. Anika Larsen stars in her autobiographical musical Shafrika, The White Girl, to play the Vineyard Theatre, June 12-28. The show is co-conceived and directed by April Nickell, and features music by Tim Acito, Joshua Henry, and Janice Lowe, with choreography by Luis Salgado. The Umbilical Brothers return to New York in Speed Mouse (Joyce Theater, June 29-July 11), performing their madcap style of physical and vocal mayhem. The Alchemy Theatre, in association with LAByrinth Theater, presents Scott Hudson's Sweet Storm (Kirk Theatre, June 11-July 5), set in Florida in 1960, and about two newlyweds.
The U.K. hit, Girls Night: The Musical plays the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre at Sofia's, June 2-July 26. The show follows five long-time friends in their 30s and 40s during a wild and outrageous girls night out at a karaoke bar. Anna Ziegler's Dov and Ali will make its U.S. premiere at The Cherry Lane Studio, June 5-27. Set in a Detroit school, the play explores the disconnect between an Orthodox Jew and a strict Muslim. Carole Gaunt's Dance of the Seven-Headed Mouse (The Beckett at Theatre Row, June 17-July 25) concerns a family put to the test by the death of a daughter. The Amoralists brings back the company's critically acclaimed production of writer/director Derek Ahonen's The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side (P.S. 122, June 5-28), about a group of young idealists, who live as an extended sexual family while battling their fears and addictions.
The Americas Off Broadway Festival comes to a close with Karl Gajdusek's Fubar (June 11-28), about the ensuing ripple effect on the lives of a young couple after a random act of violence. Speaking of festivals, a large number tend to crop up during the summer, many of them happening Off-Off-Broadway. Clubbed Thumb presents Summerworks 2009, its14th annual festival of new plays. Brooklyn's Brick Theater hosts the Antidepressant Festival (June 5-July 4), while the Gallery Players presents the 12th Annual Black Box New Play Festival (June 6-21). TeatroStageFest 2009, the third annual Ibero-American artistic, and educational, and cultural celebration, will play multiple venues, June 15-28. A new eco-friendly festival, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, will be presented at 440 Studios, June 11-28.