Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for November 2011
BY Brandon Voss
November 15 2011 6:17 PM ET
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.