Mr. Zero worked for his company loyally for 25 years. Then he was replaced by a mechanical adding machine. Ouch.
Naturally, he was furious and murdered his boss. This musical adaptation of Elmer Rice’s 1923 play follows Mr. Zero all the way to afterlife in the Elysian Fields. The score by composer Joshua Schmidt ranges from gospel to contemporary classical.
Previews begin Feb. 7. Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane (betw. Sixth Ave. & MacDougal St.), 212.420.8000; $45-$65.
Betrayed: The Iraqis Who Loved America Too Much
First, New Yorker staff writer George Packer turned to 20,000 words in the magazine to describe the relationships between Americans and their Iraqi interpreters, who risked death with little help from the United States. Now he’s written his first play, which further explores the situation through the story of three Iraqi interpreters and their American supervisor. The subtitle says it all.
Feb. 6-Mar. 16. Culture Project, 55 Mercer St. (betw. Broome & Grand Sts.), 212-352-3101; $25-$60.
Coming soon to a living room near you: Brooklyn playwright Aaron Landsman’s fourth site-specific production will be staged on 24 different people’s couches. The play interweaves the story of a real estate agent and his sales pitch with the story of a young couple trying to start a family and sustain a relationship in a city where everything is in flux.
Each performance will be tailored to the lives of the hosts and the particulars of their neighborhood—from Wall Street to Williamsburg to Kingsbridge in the Bronx.
Feb. 9-Mar. 16. Various locations, 866-811-4111; $15.
So She Said
One director has combined material from 13 New York playwrights. Six actresses will perform two dozen characters just beginning to find their voices. The play loosely follows the form of Jane Martin’s “Sez She,” but the group putting on “So She Said” was denied rights to perform “Sez She” in New York. Enter the 13 New York playwrights. (Jenny Fischer)
Feb. 7-16. Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, 312 W. 36th St., First floor (betw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), (212)868-4444; $20.
The Jazz Age
Playwright Allan Knee, whose last work, The Man Who Wrote Peter Pan, was adapted to the 2004 movie Finding Neverland, takes on the realm of literary creators again—this time it’s heavyweights F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Sayre and Ernest Hemingway. Knee was inspired by A Moveable Feast, Hemingway’s account of his life in 1920s Paris. Expect passion, jealousy and betrayal. (JF)
Feb. 8-Mar. 2. 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St. (betw. Park & Madison Aves), 212-279-4200; $35.
Come Back, Little Sheba
Director Michael Pressman’s production, the first on Broadway since the 1950 original, doesn’t liberate William Inge’s play from the ranks of period pieces. But its heart-stirring images deliver a suffocating intensity, and actress S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance as Lola is a beautifully textured creation. (Leonard Jacobs)
Open run. Biltmore Theatre, 247 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-91.50.
This one-woman “folk opera” stars the captivating Sheila Dabney as a 19th-century American slave who tries to save her lover by turning him into a tree (but ultimately fails to protect him). The blues seems like an appropriate choice, but the story lacks originality; it all rests on the dynamic performance of Dabney, who doesn’t disappoint in the 50-minute tour de force, but we need more to feel we’ve experienced something beyond a stellar soundtrack performed live. (Jerry Portwood)
Through Feb. 10. La MaMa, 74 E. 4th St. (betw. 2nd Ave. & Bowery), 212-475-7710; Thurs.-Sat. 7:30; Sun. 3 & 7:30, $20-$25.
Nathan Lane stars as a lame-duck president in David Mamet’s first new work on Broadway in 20 years. The playwright who made his reputation painting hucksters and hustlers as inexorably human fatally errs this time: November packs only the firepower to nick the skin, not to assassinate. Mamet has stated that the play isn’t about George W. Bush, but shouldn’t satire sear? Why does this one itch? (LJ)
Open run. Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. (betw. Broadway & 8th Ave.), 212-239-6200; $46.50-$99.50.
In an attempt to get twentysomethings interested in theater, this is a play about 20- to 30-year-olds and their pursuit of love (and sex). Unfortunately Abi Morgan’s script is intended for TV more than the stage, having too many rapid scene changes and plot points for an effective live performance. The writing is successful at times, but the young cast has a hard time keeping up and matching its wit. (JP)
Through Feb. 9. Michael Weller Theatre, 311 W.43rd St., 6th floor (betw. 8th & 9th Aves.), 212-868-4444; Wed.-Sat. 8, $18.
The 39 Steps
It’s raison d’être is, at first blush, delicious: A send-up of Alfred Hitchcock’s oeuvre as seen through the lens of one of his great early films from 1935, all in the name of turning Hitch’s horror-loving sensibility on its head. The hoary plot is tailor-made for a lot of goofy spoofing, especially with two actors—Arnie Burton and Cliff Saunders—playing dozens of subsidiary roles. But no matter how much laughter one derives from The 39 Steps, there’s no denying it overflows with comic shtick we’ve seen countless times before. (LJ)
Through March 23. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. (betw. 7th & 8th Aves.), 212-719-1300; $51.25-$96.25.
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