Seat Filler: The Advocate's Guide to the 2011-12 Broadway Season

Seat Filler: The Advocate's Guide to the 2011-12 Broadway Season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Man

In Michael Wilson’s brisk, pertinent revival of gay elder statesman Gore Vidal’s 1960 play, Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack and Night Court’s John Larroquette lead a star-studded cast as mud-slinging presidential candidates fighting for their party's nomination. The skeleton in McCormack’s character’s closet is that he may have a homosexual past, as verified by a jumpy Jefferson Mays (I Am My Own Wife) as an old Army subordinate.

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, through September 9.

Bonnie Nathan JohnsonX400

Bonnie & Clyde

Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan sparkle and smolder as Depression-era outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in a paint-by-numbers musical that also stars hunky out actor Claybourne Elder as Clyde’s brother. The show ultimately whimpers despite lots of fake-bloody bangs — Clyde bludgeons a fellow prisoner who made him his bitch — and a rockabilly- and blues-influenced score that’s Frank Wildhorn’s best since Jekyll & Hyde.

Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, closed December 30.

Chinglish Michael McCabeX400

Chinglish

In this intelligent, crowd-pleasing comedy by M. Butterfly’s David Henry Hwang — deftly helmed by out director Leigh Silverman — an American businessman who makes English-language signage encounters both culture shock and unexpected romance in China. Much of the play’s dialogue is in Mandarin, but the use of well-timed supertitles sparks much laughter at the expense of awkward mistranslations by clueless interpreters.

Longacre Theatre, closed January 29.

Clybourne ParkX400

Clybourne Park

Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, Bruce Norris’s accessibly insightful, surprisingly funny Pulitzer Prize-winning play about gentrification imagines the flawed white families who may have preceded and followed the Youngers of the 1959 masterpiece. A minor character played by ginger Brendan Griffin is revealed to be gay in the second act, but mainly for the sake of his showing offense to a joke about prison rape.

Walter Kerr Theatre, through August 12.

Columnist Joan Marcus

The Columnist

Set in the ’50s and ’60s, David Auburn's staid but informative docudrama stars a reliably sharp and snooty John Lithgow as Joseph Alsop, the influential Washington newspaper columnist who kept the Kennedys close and his homosexuality a secret. The play’s opening scene finds a vulnerable Alsop post-coital in a Moscow hotel with Brian J. Smith as a Russian hunk — a KGB blackmail scheme that hangs over the rest of Alsop’s career.

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, through July 8.

DEATH OF A SALESMANX400

Death of a Salesman

Resurrecting the aural and scenic design of the original 1949 production for his powerful no-frills revival of Arthur Miller’s definitive domestic tragedy, Mike Nichols shepherds the heartbreaking Philip Seymour Hoffman and a subtle Linda Emond as self-destructing Willy Loman and his suffering wife. In an ace Broadway debut, Andrew Garfield brings Social Network smarts and Spider-Man brawn to Biff, the family’s tarnished golden boy.

Ethel Barrymore Theatre, closed June 2.

Dont Dress For Dinner Joan MarcusX400

Don’t Dress for Dinner

When it really gets cooking, Roundabout Theater Company’s beige, lackluster revival of Marc Camoletti’s creaky sex farce about horny philanderers can serve up some delicious entertainment. Unfortunately, a vibrant 2008 revival of Camoletti’s Boeing-Boeing stole Dinner’s thunder, but Urinetown’s Spencer Kayden and Bound’s Jennifer Tilly are ladling out big laughs as a plain chef and a glamorous model forced to switch identities.

American Airlines Theatre, through June 17.

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