New York Spotlight: November 2008
What a Pal
The green-hued Shrek the Musical arrives on the Great White Way, bringing the popular Dreamworks film -- based on William Steig's book -- to theatrical life at the Broadway Theatre, beginning November 8. Brian d'Arcy James plays the titular monster, with Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona, John Tartaglia as Pinnochio, Daniel Breaker as Donkey, and Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad. The adaptation features book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire, and music by Jeanine Tesori.
If you're ready to dive into the holiday season, head to the Marquis Theatre, where Irving Berlin's White Christmas plays a limited engagement, November 14-January 4. Stephen Bogardus, Charles Dean, Kerry O'Malley, Jeffry Denman, Susan Mansur, and Meredith Patterson star in the stage adaptation of the popular 1954 film musical, with a score full of Berlin classics like "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," "Sisters," "How Deep is the Ocean," and the title tune.
Off Broadway, Cassie Beck, Zachary Booth, Victoria Clark, Jonathan Groff, Michelle Pawk, and Skipp Sudduth star in the New York City premiere of Craig Lucas' Prayer for My Enemy, directed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher, at Playwrights Horizons, November 4-December 21. The play focuses on the troubled relationship between two childhood friends. Signature Theater continues its season dedicated to the works of the Negro Ensemble Company with Samm-Art Williams' Tony-nominated play, Home, November 11-January 4. Meanwhile, the Atlantic's production of David Pittu's What's That Smell: The Music of Jacob Sterling transfers to New World Stages on November 1.
Justin Bohon, Christian Borle, Michael Cumpsty, Jessica Lee Goldyn, Leslie Kritzer, Andrea Martin, Julyana Soelistyo, Jennifer Laura Thompson, and Tony Yazbeck make up the principal cast of City Center Encores' presentation of the 1944 musical On the Town, by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, November 19-23. Karen Murphy and Shonn Wiley perform in the musical two-hander My Vaudeville Man! (York Theatre Company, November 7-January 4), about legendary eccentric tap dancer Jack Donahue.
Plenty more notable actors are to be found all over the city. Hunter Foster and Richard Masur star in Billy Goda's new thriller, Dust, at the Westside Theatre, beginning November 18. Vincent Pastore headlines a revival of Louis LaRusso's Lamppost Reunion, at the ArcLight Theatre, November 7-30. Obie winner Donna Lynne Champlin is featured in the cast of The Transport Group's staging of Irwin Shaw's 1936 anti-war play, Bury the Dead (Connelly Theatre, through November 23). Gerry Bamman and Laura Esterman lead the cast of Thomas Bradshaw's Dawn (Flea Theater, November 9-December 6), about an abusive alcoholic who has completely alienated his wife and children. Sam Tsoutsouvas stars in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie at the Metropolitan Playhouse, November 14-December 14. Tony nominee Jeffrey DeMunn heads the cast of Stephen Belber's newest play, Geometry of Fire (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, November 15-December 14) which pits an investment banker-turned-Marine-sniper against and a Saudi-American who just wants to get laid.
Theater Renaissance man Austin Pendleton stars in a new musical inspired by Anton Chekhov's story, The Black Monk, at the Beckett Theatre, November 25-January 3. Pendleton is also directing Obie Award winner Barbara Eda-Young's Lillian Yuralia (La MaMa E.T.C., November 13-30), about a former star of the Yiddish Theater, her son, and the old man who lives across the hall. Donal O'Kelly's acclaimed solo piece Catalpa, based on the true story of the daring ship rescue of six Irish prisoners in 1875, comes to the Irish Arts Center, November 12-30. Meanwhile Hip Hop Theater pioneer Danny Hoch arrives at The Public Theater with his latest one-man-show, Taking Over, November 7-December 14. Jon Courie's dysfunctional family drama Carapace Isle hits Manhattan Repertory Theatre, November 8-December 5, and Grace Gummer makes her New York stage debut in Electric Pear Productions' presentation of The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents, at the Wild Project, November 6-22.