Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon bravely commands the stage as a demanding poetry professor — conveniently well-versed in the mortality themes of John Donne's Holy Sonnets — diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer in Manhattan Theatre Club’s surprisingly funny, tastefully heart-tugging revival of out playwright Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize–winning 1995 masterpiece, which is as brief and precious as life itself.
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, through March 17.
Look Back in Anger
Brothers & Sisters star Matthew Rhys is electric as working-class idealist Jimmy in this streamlined revival of John Osborne’s 1956 “angry young man” drama about four people — including Angels in America’s hunky Adam Driver as Jimmy’s pal — who seduce and squabble in squalor. Sam Gold directs the tense action on the stage’s lip, an exhilaratingly literal interpretation of the tiny flat’s description as “a very narrow strip of plain hell.”
Roundabout at the Laura Pels Theatre, through April 8.
How I Learned to Drive
Twilight’s Elizabeth Reaser stars in the assured 15th anniversary revival of out playwright Paula Vogel’s darkly comic coming-of-age drama about a young girl whose alcoholic uncle molests her during their intimate driving lessons. Opposite the reliable Norbert Leo Butz as Uncle Peck, Reaser is touchingly understated as Li'l Bit, the Pulitzer Prize–winning memory play’s abused narrator, who can easily be interpreted as a lesbian.
Second Stage Theatre, through March 18.