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New York Spotlight: November 2004

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Whoopi Goldberg
(Photo © Joseph Marzullo)
Okay, let's talk turkey: The rest of the country is just beginning to prepare for a busy holiday season, but the world of New York theater never slows down -- not even for Thanksgiving. Rest assured, though, that your hunger for entertainment and enlightenment can be satisfied on the city's stages just as easily this month as they can the rest of the year.

Care to start off with something light? You have some tasty (and likely hilarious) one-person shows to choose from, on Broadway and Off. Whoopi Goldberg returns to the Great White Way in Whoopi, the show that helped launch her career 20 years ago (her show opens at the Lyceum on November 17). For an evening of a very different sort, there's Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance!, which roars into the Music Box on November 21. There's also Eve Ensler -- of Vagina Monologues fame -- making her Broadway debut on November 15 with The Good Body, an examination of women's preoccupations with their figures. Off-Broadway, Dave Gorman's GOOGLEWHACK! Adventure, which opens at the Village Theater on November 4, is about one man and the people he met as a result of the popular web search engine.

Those offerings will almost certainly leave you hungering for more, and when you're ready for something a tad more worldly, you might want to sample either The Immigrant, a new musical at Dodger Stages opening on November 4, about a Russian Jew who tries to assimilate himself in rural Texas, or the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of The Foreigner, Larry Shue's sparkling fish-out-of-water comedy, at the Laura Pels (opening November 7). If you're in more of a John Patrick Shanley mood, you have three of his works to choose from: There's the LAByrinth Theatre Company production of Sailor's Song, a romantic seaside tale with dance, opening November 7 at the Public Theater; his classic romantic comedy Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, opening at Second Stage on November 10; and Doubt, about a Catholic school priest who takes too strong of an interest in his young students, opening at the Manhattan Theatre Club on November 22.

When you're ready for your entree, be prepared to be stuffed -- there's no lack of filling drama this month, either. On Broadway, you can find the premiere of the latest play in August Wilson's 10-play cycle covering the African-American experience in the 20th century, Gem of the Ocean (opening November 11), starring Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad; a revival of Marsha Norman's searing mother-daughter drama 'night, Mother starring Brenda Blethyn and Edie Falco (opening November 14); or Democracy, the latest from Michael Frayn (Noises Off, Copenhagen) about German chancellor Willy Brandt. Off-Broadway, you can catch Five by Tenn, five seldom-produced short plays by the legendary Tennessee Williams (the production opens on November 11); and the Classic Stage Company production of Death and the Ploughman, which opens on November 14.

When it's time for dessert, there are plenty of sweetly festive options to choose from. There is of course the always-popular Radio City Christmas Spectacular (opening November 4) on hand. But you can also find the charming family musical Cam Jensen, written by Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy) and his wife Nell Benjamin, about a girl who uses her photographic memory to solve crimes (the show opens on November 6); and the New York City Opera production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (November 12-21). Or, for something just a tiny bit spicier, you may want to investigate the Lincoln Center Theater production of Belle Epoque, the new Martha Clarke and Charles L. Mee play about Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec at the Mitzi Newhouse (opening November 21).

It's enough to keep the avid theatergoer feeling stuffed, but sometimes it's okay to over-indulge. Bon appetit, and happy Thanksgiving!

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