Seat Filler: The Advocate's Guide to New York Theater
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
With a new libretto by out playwright Peter Parnell, gay director Michael Mayer neatly reincarnates Lerner and Lane's 1965 musical with an updated love triangle in psychedelic 1974: Dr. Bruckner (Harry Connick Jr.) hypnotizes a gay florist (David Turner) and falls for his female past life (Jessie Mueller), a ’40s jazz singer. The enticing gay twist — Connick ostensibly kisses Turner — and stirring vocals make up for the sluggish scenes.
St. James Theatre, open-ended.
With High School Musical and Xanadu as muses, Transport Group scores big with a bouncy hip-pop confection by life partners Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn that slam-dunks an update of a 411 B.C. Aristophanes comedy onto a college basketball court. Patti Murin channels Elle Woods as Lyssie, who dares her gal pals to withhold sex until their lazy boyfriends win, but two hot teammates would rather play ball with each other.
Walter Kerr Theatre, open-ended.
Bonnie & Clyde
Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan sparkle and smolder as Depression-era outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in a paint-by-numbers musical that also stars hunky out actor Claybourne Elder as Clyde’s brother. The show ultimately whimpers despite lots of fake-bloody bangs — Clyde bludgeons a fellow prisoner who made him his bitch — and a rockabilly- and blues-influenced score that’s Frank Wildhorn’s best since Jekyll & Hyde.
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, through December 30.
Teresa Rebeck’s smart and satisfying comedy stars the effortlessly commanding Alan Rickman — best known as Snape in the Harry Potter films — as a slimy author teaching a private seminar for young writers. Jerry O’Connell makes a solid Broadway debut as a pretentious prep, and American Horror Story’s Lily Rabe steals scenes as a rich girl taken seriously only when she pretends her work is by “a cross-dressing Cubano gang member.”
John Golden Theatre, open-ended.
Friends and Relations
Marc Castle is clearly working through some tough stuff in his familiar dramedy about an incestuous group of gay New Yorkers from 1977 to 1987; he likens the men to cinematic wartime comrades: “Not even death can separate them,” one friend muses. Thankfully, an appealing young cast — especially Joel T. Bauer as a hot waiter and Christopher Sloan as a quippy film buff — lent spark to retread subjects, as did Castle’s keen ear for gay gab.
June Havoc Theatre, closed December 17.
Sex and the City’s luminous Kim Cattrall and handsome Canadian actor Paul Gross spar as tempestuous divorcées Amanda and Elyot in Richard Eyre’s elegantly slapsticky, emotionally shallow, and surprisingly sleepy revival of Noël Coward’s 1930 comedy about the destructive nature of passion. The strained farce isn’t helped by the missed opportunity of a dismal art deco scenic design — save for a cool three-tiered aquarium.
Music Box Theatre, through December 31.
An Evening With Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin
Between a dour “Another Hundred People” opening and a dreary Carousel medley finale, LuPone and Patinkin have a little fun with a romantic song selection heavy on Sondheim, Kander and Ebb — two 70, Girls, 70 numbers! — and Rodgers and Hammerstein. It’s a surreal treat to see LuPone roll around on an office chair, but only die-hard fans need attend; one hoping for greatest hits may be disappointed with all but a brief Evita reunion.
Ethel Barrymore Theatre, through January 13.
Wild Animals You Should Know
Helmed by out director Trip Cullman, MCC’s comely staging of Thomas Higgins’s unsettling and uneven dark comedy goes camping with indiscriminately attention-seeking sociopath Matt (Jay Armstrong Johnson) and openly gay geek Jacob (Gideon Glick), teen Boy Scouts whose sexual exploration — “I’m not gay; you just give good head,” Matt tells lovesick Jacob — leads to the ruthless outing of a gay scoutmaster (John Behlmann).
Lucille Lortel Theatre, closed December 11.
Jackie Hoffman’s A Chanukah Charol
Hoffman, a scene-stealer from The Addams Family, Xanadu, and Hairspray, unwraps her inner Scrooge in this swift, sweet, and side-splitting semiautobiographical solo show — directed and cowritten by Michael Schiralli — inspired by Patrick Stewart’s version of A Christmas Carol. The kvetching comedian examines her life when visited by Yiddish icon Molly Picon and three “ghosts” that include a gay childhood pal in the chorus of Spider-Man.
New World Stages, through January 8.
Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová’s soulful soundtrack shines anew in this intimate and inspiring Broadway-bound musical based on the 2007 film. Steve Kazee and Christin Milioti are sublimely heartbreaking as a Dublin busker and a Czech immigrant who bond chastely while recording a demo with a motley crew that includes a quirky gay loan officer. Rest assured you’ll hear the Oscar-winning ballad “Falling Slowly” — twice.
New York Theatre Workshop, through January 15.
Maple and Vine
A nifty premise and compelling performances intersect in out playwright Jordan Harrison’s fascinating but problematic comedy about a world-weary couple who join a gated community of 1950s reenactors. Some Men’s Pedro Pascal is a standout as both a gay coworker in the real world and a closeted man acting out period-appropriate sexual repression with a ’50s community leader (As the World Turns alum Trent Dawson).
Playwrights Horizons, through December 23.
Accidentally, Like a Martyr
Perfectly realized by scenic designer Clifton Chadick, a gay dive bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is the setting for GLAAD-nominated playwright-director Grant James Varjas’s intoxicating Guinness-black comedy — reminiscent of Tennessee Williams’s Small Craft Warnings — about bickering patrons drowning their loneliness, self-loathing, and secrets. Keith McDermott is outstanding as Charles, the bar’s acid-tongued elder.
Paradise Factory, through January 8.