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New York Spotlight: October 2010

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Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice
(© Joan Marcus)
Al Pacino and Lily Rabe repeat their luminous performances from this past summer in the Broadway transfer of The Merchant of Venice, at the Broadhurst Theatre, October 19-January 9. Daniel Sullivan helms Shakespeare's classic play, which also features David Harbour, Byron Jennings, Jesse L. Martin, and Christopher Fitzgerald.

A starry cast -- including de'Adre Aziza, Laura Benanti, Danny Burstein, Justin Guarini, Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Patti LuPone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mary Beth Peil, and Sherie Rene Scott -- is featured in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, the highly anticipated new musical based on the Pedro Almodovar film of the same name. The show is helmed by Bartlett Sher, and presented by Lincoln Center at the Belasco Theatre, beginning October 8.

Lincoln Center is also presenting John Guare's new play, A Free Man of Color, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater beginning October 21. Tony Award winner Jeffrey Wright stars in this freewheeling epic set in 1802 New Orleans, along with Mos (aka Mos Def), Peter Bartlett, Veanne Cox, Paul Dano, Sara Gettelfinger, Justina Machado, John McMartin, and Reg Rogers. George C. Wolfe directs.

Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones, and Boyd Gaines are in the Broadway revival of Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy (Golden Theatre, beginning October 7), about the friendship that develops between a widowed, 72-year-old Jewish woman and the African American man, hired to serve as her chauffeur. The critically acclaimed musical The Scottsboro Boys transfers from Off-Broadway to the Main Stem's Lyceum Theatre, beginning October 7. Featuring a score by Kander and Ebb, the piece explores the infamous "Scottsboro" case of the 1930's when a group of African American teenagers were unjustly accused of attacking two white women -- and the boys' attempts to prove their innocence.

Paul Reubens brings back his most famous creation in the Broadway premiere of The Pee-wee Herman Show, which is the first tenant in the newly renamed Stephen Sondheim Theatre, October 26-January 2. Colin Quinn presents his solo show, Long Story Short at the Helen Hayes (October 22-January 8), directed by Jerry Seinfeld. The music of the Beatles comes to Broadway in Rain (Neil Simon Theatre, October 19-January 2), a tribute show that captures all phases of the Fab Four's career.

Off-Broadway is also seeing stars as David Duchovny headlines Neil LaBute's latest play, The Break of Noon (Lucille Lortel Theatre, October 28-December 12), as a man who, amidst the chaos and horror of the worst office shooting in American history, sees the face of God. The cast also includes Tracee Chimo, John Earl Jelks, and Amanda Peet. Signature Theatre's revival of Tony Kushner's Angels in America (through February 20) has gathered an amazing cast including Robin Bartlett as Hannah Pitt, Christian Borle as Prior Walter, Bill Heck as Joe Pitt, Zoe Kazan as Harper Pitt, Billy Porter as Belize, Zachary Quinto as Louis Ironson, Robin Weigert as The Angel, and Frank Wood as Roy Cohn.

Jeremy Sisto headlines Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Beau Willimon's Spirit Control (New York City Center - Stage I, October 7-December 25), about an air traffic controller whose life changes after talking a terrified passenger through an emergency landing. Meanwhile, Jan Maxwell stars as a 1920s wingwalker in the Second Stage production of Arthur Kopit's Wings (October 5-November 21), directed by John Doyle. Johanna Day, Georgia Engel, and David Garrison head the cast of the Vineyard Theatre's production of Middletown (October 13-November 21), set in a small American Town and revolving around the friendship between a longtime resident and a new arrival.

Jon DeVries, Shuler Hensley, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders, and J. Smith-Cameron star in writer/director Richard Nelson's That Hopey Changey Thing (Public Theater, October 26-November 14), a timely piece set on election day, November 2, 2010. Meanwhile, Lisa Kron's In the Wake looks back to the November 2000 election, and is also at the Public, October 19-November 21. The cast features Jenny Bacon, Michael Chernus, Marin Ireland, Susan Pourfar, Miriam F. Glover, Deirdre O'Connell, and Danielle Skraastad. Politics is also explored in Amy Herzog's After the Revolution, at Playwrights Horizons, (October 21-November 2), featuring Peter Friedman, Lois Smith, and Mare Winningham.

Julia Stiles stars in Warren Leight's Persephone (October 26-30), based on the ancient Greek myth. Also at BAM, Stew and Heidi Rodewald present the world premiere of their latest musical work, Brooklyn Omnibus (October 20-23).

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake makes a return to the Big Apple, playing New York City Center, October 13-November 7. Featuring an all-male corps de ballet of swans, this groundbreaking and genderbending production deservedly won Bourne Tony Awards for both direction and choreography, and an additional Tony for Lez Brotherton's fabulous costumes.

Also of note: Malcolm Gets, David Lansbury, and Amanda Quaid in Irish Rep's Banished Children of Eve (October 13 - December 5); writer/performer Lawrence Wright in The Human Scale (3LD Art and Technology Center, October 2-31); a 25th anniversary production of William M. Hoffman's seminal AIDS drama, As Is (Studio Theatre at Theatre Row, October 14-31); Perfect Harmony, a comedy about a high school a cappella group (45 Bleecker, beginning October 8); the National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO) production of Jordan Harrison's Futura (TBG Theater October 23-November 13); Teller (of Penn & Teller) and Todd Robbins' Play Dead (Players Theatre, beginning October 21), exploring themes of death, darkness and deception; and Shakespeare's Globe's touring production of The Merry Wives of Windsor (Pace University, October 28-November 7).

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