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New York Spotlight: October 2007

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Sutton Foster and Roger Bart in Young Frankenstein
(© Paul Kolnik)
Mel Brooks is hoping that lightning will strike twice as he reunites with his Producers team of director/choreographer Susan Stroman and co-book writer Thomas Meehan for the adaptation of his 1974 cult film, Young Frankenstein (Hilton Theatre, beginning October 11). This remagining of the Mary Shelley story centers around the grandson of the infamous Victor Von Frankenstein, and stars Tony winners Roger Bart, Sutton Foster, Shuler Hensley, and Andrea Martin, as well as Will and Grace's Megan Mullally.

A number of other Broadway shows are also debuting this month, Kevin Kline takes on the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac (October 12-December 23) at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The production is directed by David Leveaux and co-stars Jennifer Garner and Daniel Sunjata. Meanwhile, Chazz Palminteri stars in his semi-autobiographical solo, A Bronx Tale at the Walter Kerr (October 4-February 10).

Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll makes its U.S. premiere at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (beginning October 19), which reunites the stars of the original London company Brian Cox, Sinead Cusack, and Rufus Sewell. Another London import, Conor McPherson's The Seafarer (Booth Theatre, beginning October 30), has original stars Conleth Hill and Jim Norton joined by David Morse as an Irishman who returns to Dublin to look after his ailing brother and becomes involved in a high-stakes game that may cost him his soul. Hank Azaria and Jimmi Simpson star in Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention (Music Box, beginning October 15), about the early days of television. And Steppenwolf Theatre Company brings its critically acclaimed production of Tracy Letts' August: Osage County to the Imperial, beginning October 30. The play is about a Midwestern family that reunites following the disappearance of its patriarch.

Off-Broadway, Steppenwolf presents its production of When the Messenger is Hot as part of 59E59 Theater's GoChicago! festival (October 3-28). Meanwhile, the Roundabout -- which officially opens its Broadway productions of The Ritz and Pygmalion -- offers the U.S. premiere of J.T. Rogers' London hit The Overwhelming (Laura Pels Theatre, through December 23), which revolves around an American family newly arrived in Rwanda in 1994. Meanwhile, Jason Moore directs the first production in the new Roundabout Underground space, Stephen Karam's Speech and Debate (October 5-December 16). The play is about three teenage misfits, linked by a sex scandal, that form their school's first speech and debate team.

Manhattan Theatre Club debuts Adam Bock's office comedy The Receptionist (October 12-December 16), directed by Joe Mantello and featuring Josh Charles, Robert Foxworth, Jayne Houdyshell, and Kendra Kassebaum. Marsha Mason plays a mother concerned about her daughter's future in Sarah Treem's new play, A Feminine Ending at Playwrights Horizons (October 4-November 4), directed by Blair Brown. Yet another actor turned director, Ethan Hawke, helms Jonathan Marc Sherman's new play Things We Want (October 22-December 15) for the New Group at Theatre Row in a production starring Paul Dano, Peter Dinklage, Josh Hamilton, and Zoe Kazan.

Second Stage presents Peter and Jerry (October 19-December 30), which combines Edward Albee's classic one-act The Zoo Story with a more recently penned companion piece Homelife. The production stars Bill Pullman, Dallas Roberts, and Johanna Day. Marc Kudisch heads the cast of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's new musical, The Glorious Ones (Mitzi Newhouse Theatre, October 11-January 6), about a 17th-century troupe of commedia dell'arte actors, while MCC presents Spain (October 10-November 17), Jim Knable's play about a disenchanted, lonely woman who retreats into her very active imagination, with a cast featuring Anabella Sciorra, Veanne Cox, and Lisa Kron.

Looking for more stars: Hunter Foster plays the title role of Frankenstein (37 Arts, beginning October 10), a new musical based on Mary Shelley's novel. Alison Fraser stars in Alexander Dinelaris' The Chaos Theories (McGinn/Cazale, October 25-November 17), about an assortment of characters who converge in a downtown Manhattan eatery on the coldest night of the year. Lisa Emery stars in Damien Atkins's Lucy (Ensemble Studio Theatre, October 24-November 19), about an anthropologist and her autistic daughter. Charles Busch stars in Die Mommie Die!, an adaptation of his 2003 film about a fallen pop diva who murders her husband and then must cope with her vengeful children.

If you seek more provocative fare: Soho Rep presents John Jesurun's adaptation of Sophocles' Trojan War play, Philoktetes and The National Theatre of Greece returns to New York with Electra (City Center, October 10-14). LAByrinth Theater Company presents Bob Glaudini's A View From 151st Street (Public Theater, October 5-November 4). The creators of the international hit De La Guarda return to New York with Fuerzabruta (Daryl Roth Theatre, October 11-February 17). The Wooster Group's Hamlet (Public Theater, October 9-November 18) deconstructs the 1964 Broadway production of Shakespeare's play, which starred Richard Burton. Infamous performance artist Karen Finley presents her latest show, Wake Up! (Lafayette Street Theatre, October 7-November 18) which takes a look at First Lady Laura Bush and the controversy surrounding Terri Schiavo. Adam Rapp's latest play, Bingo with the Indians premieres at The Flea (October 25-December 22).

Elsewhere, the musical revue Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn lands at New World Stages, beginning October 30. An adaptation of C.S. Lewis' novel The Screwtape Letters returns to Off-Broadway at Theatre at St. Clements, October 18-December 9. The Cherry Lane presents Hoodoo Love (October 16-December 8), Katori Hall's southern tale of love, magic, jealousy and secrets. Transport Group presents Jenny Giering and Laura Harrington's new musical about two idealistic public school teachers, Crossing Brooklyn (Connelly Theatre, October 19-November 28).

In Brooklyn itself, Broadway stars Nancy Anderson, Jeffry Denman, and Bobby Steggert headline the Gallery Players' Yank, a new musical by brothers David and Joseph Zellnik that looks at gays in the military during World War II. Meanwhile, Anne Bogart's SITI Company presents the New York premiere of Charles Mee's Hotel Cassiopeia (BAM Harvey Theater, October 9-13), inspired by the life and art of Joseph Cornell. And Arts at St. Ann's presents the Muslim-themed one-acts The Veiled Monologues & Is. Man (October 2-14) in rotating repertory.

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