New York Spotlight: May 2008
The Lusty Month of May
But the lusty month of May has plenty more to offer! The New York Philharmonic presents four semi-staged performances of Lerner and Loewe's Camelot (May 7-10), with cast members including Gabriel Byrne, Fran Drescher, Nathan Gunn, Stacy Keach, Marc Kudisch, Christopher Lloyd, Marin Mazzie, Bobby Steggert, and Christopher Sieber. Another high-profile musical event is the Encores! production of No, No Nanette (New York City Center, May 8-12), with Michael Berresse, Charles Kimbrough, Beth Leavel, Rosie O'Donnell, Mara Davi, Sandy Duncan, and Shonn Wiley.
The eagerly anticipated world premiere musical Saved comes to Playwrights Horizons, May 9-June 22. Based on the 2004 movie of the same name, the show concerns a Christian high school senior whose boyfriend tells her he thinks he's gay. The cast includes Celia Keenan-Bolger, John Dossett, Mary Faber, Julia Murney, and Aaron Tveit.
MCC Theater presents the world premiere of Neil LaBute's reasons to be pretty (Lucille Lortel Theatre, May 14-July 5). This new comic drama explores America's obsession with physical beauty, and stars Piper Perabo, Alison Pill, Thomas Sadoski, and Pablo Schreiber. At the Signature, Mercedes Ruehl and Larry Bryggman star in Edward Albee's Occupant (May 6-July 6), a portrait of acclaimed sculptor Louise Nevelson. Jonathan Clem, Peter Friedman, Mary McCann, and JoBeth Williams star in the Atlantic Theater Company's Stage 2 world premiere production of Annie Baker's Body Awareness (May 28-June 22), in which a college's "Body Awareness Week" goes awry when a male photographer shows up with his passel of pictures of naked women.
Tony winner John Lithgow is presenting his solo show, Stories by Heart (through June 2), at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse during off-nights of that theater's run of Paul Rudnick's The New Century. Lithgow's piece is a meditation on the art and essence of storytelling. Tony nominee Jan Maxwell stars in Substitution (Soho Playhouse, through May 17), Anton Dudley's play about a mother whose image of her son is challenged by a substitute teacher.
Ars Nova presents the world premiere musical, Jollyship the Whiz-Bang (May 14-June 28), a pirate-puppet-rock odyssey that follows Captain Clamp and his crew as they undertake a ribald and rum-soaked nautical journey. Irish Rep presents Prisoner of the Crown (May 14-July 6), about Sir Roger Casement, an Irish patriot hanged for treason whose sensational trial was tainted by the presence of the "Black Diaries," an alleged explicit account of Casement's promiscuous homosexual lifestyle.
Naomi Wallace's latest, The Fever Chart: Three Visions of the Middle East (through May 11) is directed by Jo Bonney as part of The Public Theater's Lab series. Also part of the Lab series is Tracey Scott Wilson's The Good Negro (May 20-June 1), about a trio of emerging black leaders trying to conquer their individual demons as the local KKK fights for its old way of life.
Target Margin presents Old Comedy, David Greenspan's adaptation of Aristophanes' The Frogs, May 7-June 1 at Classic Stage Company. New Georges has Susan Bernfield's Stretch (The Living Theater, May 2-26), which imagines the final days of Rose Mary Woods, Richard M. Nixon's longtime loyal secretary. And Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (Clurman Theatre, through May 24) gets a rare revival from The Actors Company Theatre.
As summer approaches, festivals grow more abundant. EST Marathon (Ensemble Studio Theatre, May 8-June 28) showcases 15 world premiere one-acts by both emerging and established writers such as David Auburn, Lewis Black, Michael Feingold, Michael John Garcés, Frank D. Gilroy, Amy Herzog, Neil LaBute, Quincy Long, Taylor Mac, Willie Reale & Patrick Barnes, Jacquelyn Reingold, José Rivera, Lloyd Suh, Anne Washburn, and David Zellnik.
The Brits Off Broadway festival at 59E59 Theaters is back for its fifth year, presenting some of the UK's most innovative and provocative theater including Yellow Moon (through May 18), The Unconquered (May 1-18), Damascus (May 6-June 1), Artefacts (May 20-June 8), and Blink (May 21-June 8).