In Nick Payne’s soggy drama about one family’s failure to communicate in the shadow of imminent global disaster, Jake Gyllenhaal makes a fine American stage debut with a spot-on Cockney accent as scruffy pot-smoking uncle to an overweight, severely bullied, and suicidal 15-year-old girl played by heartbreaking Hairspray alum Annie Funke. Too bad the play gets bogged down in a flood of showy theatrics that hinge on watery metaphors.
Laura Pels Theatre, through November 25.
Ben Rimalower is turning lemons and spilt T into a delicious Arnold Palmer with his insidery tribute to idol and colleague Patti LuPone. Marking the out NYC director’s debut as playwright and performer, the captivating solo piece draws parallels between his connection to the diva and his strained relationship with his dad, who came out as gay when he was a child. It’s not exactly I Am My Own Wife, but it’s smart, poignant, and dishy as hell.
The Duplex, through November 1.