BY Brandon Voss
September 14 2011 11:20 AM ET
Out playwright J. Stephen Brantley puts a nostalgic New York spin on the in-yer-face theater style with his tense, electric drama — developed under the guidance of the great Craig Lucas — starring Brian Miskell as an adorably awkward closet case who gets a jolt of excitement and empowerment when a coke-addled gal pal drops by his parents’ house on New Year’s Eve of 1983 with a heat-packing sociopath and an aggressive bisexual Brit.
Under St. Marks, through September 17.
Reviving her piercingly insightful, oddly moving, and indelibly messy 2003 cabaret act to honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11, provocative performance artist Karen Finley loosely channels Liza Minnelli, a symbol of both resilience and New York itself. Don’t overthink Finley’s passionate ramblings; just order a stiff cocktail and commiserate with her, drag artiste Chris Tanner, pianist Lance Cruce, and a rotating roster of Liza impersonators.
Laurie Beechman Theatre, through September 17.
Olive and the Bitter Herbs
Charles Busch’s hilariously absurd comedy starred Marcia Jean Kurtz as Olive, a grumpy Jewish actress best known for some sausage commercials in the ’80s. The zinger-packed Primary Stages production also featured out Frasier alum Dan Butler and Married With Children’s David Garrison as Olive’s neighbors, a quarrelsome gay couple who used to sleep with the friendly ghost — a Phyllis Diller drag impersonator! — in Olive’s mirror.
59E59 Theaters, closed September 4.
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