Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for March 2012
BY Brandon Voss
March 21 2012 9:45 PM ET
The Mountaintop’s Katori Hall transcends familiar black theater tropes in her gritty, biting drama about the fiery residents of a dilapidated Memphis housing project awaiting government relocation, including Cookie (Joaquina Kalukango), a 13-year-old rapper who spits like Nicki Minaj. A borderline satire of underclass manners, the drug dealers let gay-panic insults fly when Cookie’s articulate father returns from a tour of duty in Iraq.
The Pershing Square Signature Center, through March 25.
The Lady From Dubuque
David Esbjornson’s eye-opening revival of Edward Albee’s metaphysical 1980 flop begins with an uncomfortable party game led by Laila Robins as Jo, an acerbic host dying of cancer. Characters address the audience in this surreal meditation on mortality and denial, but the play takes an unnerving, otherworldly turn when the great Jane Alexander (A Question of Love) arrives as an unexpected guest with an elegant male companion.
The Pershing Square Signature Center, through April 15.
Romeo and Juliet
Inspired by Italian neorealist films of the 1940s, Tragedians of the City and Northwest Passage co-present a passionate all-male production of Shakespeare’s tragedy with shrewd direction by Anya Saffir and sparkling new music by Cormac Bluestone. Free of extraneous drag and anchored by superb performer John Early as Juliet, the stripped-down production offers a refreshing take on the text that feels both timely and classic.
Chernuchin Theater at the American Theatre of Actors, closed March 17.