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New York Spotlight: March 2005

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The cast of Altar Boyz
(Photo © Carol Rosegg)
We've all heard that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but this is nothing but a roaring month for theater in New York. It gets off to a bang on March 1, with the commercial Off-Broadway run of Altar Boyz, which opens then at Dodger Stages. A sell-out hit at last fall's inaugural New York Musical Theatre Festival, the show follows a Christian boy band's efforts to hold onto their faith while finding fame and fortune in the music world. The songs, by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker, include such titles as "Girl You Make Me Wanna Wait" and "Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone."

Broadway's not far behind, though -- there are seven openings on the Great White Way this month. The first is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the much-anticipated musical version of the 1988 film; this show, with music by David Yazbek, direction by Jack O'Brien, and choreography by Jerry Mitchell stars Tony winner John Lithgow and Norbert Leo Butz, and opens at the Imperial on March 3. Another film-based musical comedy opens at the Shubert on March 17: Monty Python's Spamalot, taken from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, features a book by Eric Idle and a score by Idle and John Du Prez. Comedy legend Mike Nichols directs a starry cast featuring Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria, and Sara Ramirez. And the Elvis Presley songbook provides the basis for All Shook Up, which opens at the Palace on March 24; Cheyenne Jackson, Jennifer Gambatese, and Alix Korey star.

If you like new plays, don't miss John Patrick Shanley's Doubt at the Walter Kerr; this moving drama about a Catholic school priest being charged with inappropriate behavior was a sell-out hit this fall at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and Cherry Jones, Brían F. O'Byrne, Heather Goldenhersh, and Adriane Lenox will be recreating their performances on Broadway. (The show opens March 31.) In terms of revivals, the Tennessee Williams classic The Glass Menagerie opens at the Barrymore on March 15; Jessica Lange and Christian Slater star. And Edward Albee's searing marital drama Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, led by Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin, opens at the Longacre on March 20. Finally, the inimitable Jackie Mason returns to Broadway with his latest one-man show, Freshly Squeezed. It opens at the Helen Hayes on March 23.

Elsewhere Off-Broadway, you can find musical productions in the New York City Opera's production of Candide, which opens on March 4 and runs all month; the latest Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty venture, Dessa Rose, opening at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse on March 21; and the City Center Encores! production of Purlie, running for five days only starting March 31.

David Mamet's latest, Romance, opens at the Atlantic Theater Company on March 1; the LAByrinth Theater Company's latest production at the Public, Stephen Adly Guirgis's The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, starring Eric Bogosian and Sam Rockwell, opens on March 2; the Public's production of noted theater singer Billy Porter, Ghetto Superstar, bows at Joe's Pub on March 6; and the final play of Signature's season devoted to Paula Vogel, Hot 'N' Throbbing, bows March 28 at the company's Peter Norton Space. And March 29 sees two openings: the Primary Stages production of Lee Blessing's Going to St. Ives, starring Vivienne Benesch and Tony Award winner L. Scott Caldwell, and the Manhattan Theatre Club production of Ron Hutchinson's Moonlight and Magnolias, a story (based on actual events) about the writing of the screenplay to the classic Gone With the Wind starring Matthew Arkin, David Rasche, Douglas Sills, and Margo Skinner.

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