Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for November 2011
One of three British solo shows performed in rep as part of the 2011 Brits Off Broadway festival, James Gaddas’s lean and muscular monologue is a knockout under Donald Pulford’s punchy direction. The appealing Jonny Collis-Scurll stars as Flynn, a dedicated boxer and son of a much less successful fighter. As he does push-ups and pummels unseen opponents, we also learn that Flynn is also a gay man who overcame childhood bullying.
59E59 Theatres, through November 20.
Graphic unsafe sex scenes and full-frontal nudity eclipse all else in Thomas Bradshaw’s provocative moral satire — helmed by New Group’s out artistic director Scott Elliott — about icky folks like incestuous neo-Nazi siblings. In an ’80s-set storyline, an orphaned 14-year-old is taken in by an older gay couple who shamelessly sleep with him until he contracts HIV from another adult and grows up to indulge his own id with a black youth.
Acorn Theatre, through December 17.
Racial perceptions are challenged when a Filipina — is she a mail-order sex slave? — moves in with a pair of liberal roommates. The unhealthy heart of this likable lightweight comedy, which was written by The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg, is the lopsided bromance between neurotic weirdo Edgar (Eisenberg) and sleazebag stoner Vinny (Justin Bartha). During a bad acid trip, Edgar offers Vinny oral sex to prove his love and loyalty.
Cherry Lane Theatre, through December 18.
Sons of the Prophet
Out playwright Stephen Karam's poignant dramedy lyrically explores human suffering in Roundabout Theatre Company’s phenomenal New York premiere. Opposite the great Joanna Gleason as a manipulative, pill-popping boss, Santino Fontana and Chris Perfetti have touching chemistry as gay Lebanese-American brothers coping with odd ailments and their father’s death, and Charles Socarides plays a gay journalist covering the story.
Laura Pels Theatre, through January 1.
Man and Boy
Roundabout Theatre Company’s stately revival of closeted playwright Terence Rattigan’s 1963 daddy drama stars a mesmerizing Frank Langella as a Madoffian businessman on the edge of financial ruin in 1934. Seeking refuge in the Greenwich Village apartment of his estranged son Basil (Angels in America’s hunky Adam Driver) to close a deal, he slyly pimps Basil out in order to coerce and dupe a secretly gay tycoon (Zach Grenier).
American Airlines Theatre, through November 27.
Other Desert Cities
Lincoln Center Theater’s slick, sophisticated dramedy by gay Brothers & Sisters creator Jon Robin Baitz stars Rachel Griffiths as a novelist whose new memoir details a dark family secret. Out über-director Joe Mantello overcomes familial tropes like political dissonance with a peerless ensemble led by Stockard Channing as the chilly matriarch and AIDS activist Judith Light as her quick-witted alcoholic sister with a lesbian past.
Booth Theatre, through January 8.
Venus in Fur
Out director Walter Bobbie helms David Ives’s exhilarating two-hander, which stars Hugh Dancy as Thomas, a playwright auditioning actresses for his adaptation of Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 erotic novel. Born Yesterday’s vivacious Nina Arianda wows as Vanda, a mysterious spitfire who thrillingly takes charge as the dominatrix, but Thomas also ends up playing the female part as sexual tension rises and scripted fantasy blurs with reality.
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, through December 18.
Staged on an abstract football field, Hung scribe Julia Brownell’s tense, tightly formed play isn’t really about football. Katie (Meredith Forlenza) has just joined her new high school’s varsity boys’ team, and her overbearing dad, Mike (C.J. Wilson), a former NFL star, revels in her success while ignoring her athletically challenged twin brother (Harry Zittel). But will Katie fumble the whole family if she decides to tackle a new dream?
LCT3 @ the Duke on 42nd Street, through November 19.
Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway
Accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra and backup dancers he calls his Dreamgirls, the triple threat’s interactive solo show reflects on his charmed life and career as he shares his favorite songs, including “One Night Only,” “Over the Rainbow,” and “Fever.” Radiating sex and confidence, he gleefully revisits Peter Allen — the gay role that earned him a 2004 Tony for The Boy From Oz — in one of many glorious medleys.
Broadhurst Theatre, through January 1.
Queen of the Mist
Every teardrop is a waterfall in Transport Group’s emotionally draining staging of Michael John LaChiusa’s mellifluous musical about Anna Edson Taylor, who became the first woman to survive the trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel at the age of 63 in 1901. Comedic treasure Mary Testa gives a triumphant performance as our heroine, who died a pauper because her quest for greatness wasn’t enough to keep the fickle public’s interest.
The Gym at Judson, through December 4.
Weeds heartthrob Hunter Parrish is a luminous and inviting Jesus in the first Broadway revival of Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak's 1971 rock musical based on parables from the Gospel of Matthew. Director Daniel Goldstein’s intimate interpretation can be as cloying as children’s theater, but the game cast and irresistible score ultimately leave the crowd spellbound — despite an unholy arsenal of corny pop culture references.
Circle in the Square Theatre, open-ended.
Katori Hall’s powerful Olivier-winning drama stars a transformative Samuel L. Jackson as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the night before his 1968 assassination in Memphis, and Angela Bassett is a sassy hoot as an enigmatic maid at the Lorraine Motel, where the civil rights leader rests after a legendary speech. This Dr. King supports “fruits” as “God’s children,” and — spoiler alert! — Stonewall even gets a shout-out in the magical climax.
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, through January 22.