NEW YORK—From the eclectic to the egocentric and the classic to the cute, off-Broadway has always been and will continue to be a veritable smorgasbord of choices for the discerning theatergoer, this season being no exception to that rule.
For classic film buffs, there’s the comedy Billy and Ray at the Vineyard Theatre. The show tells of what happened when director Billy Wilder and writer Raymond Chandler teamed up to create the film noir classic, Double Indemnity.
If one prefers a look at the entertainment world of today, there’s Neil LaBute’s The Money Shot. It’s a story about two movie stars who desperately need a hit to revive their faltering careers, and when such an opportunity arises, they must decide how far they will go to achieve A-list status once again. Presented by MCC Theater, The Money Shot will be performed at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.
Meanwhile, the Roundabout Theatre Company plays host to Indian Ink, the New York premiere of Tom Stoppard’s work, which takes place in 1930s India and 1980s England. The show was previously seen in London.
Also coming over from the U.K. this fall will be Scenes From a Marriage, an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s film of the same name.
Another new play of interest is A Particle of Dread, where playwright Sam Shepard gives a twist to the story of Oedipus Rex. Dread stars Academy Award winner and frequent Stoppard actor Stephen Rea and is presented by Signature Theatre Company.
If politics is more your interest, you might check out Tail! Spin! at the Culture Project’s Lynn Redgrave Theater. The play examines various sex scandals in American politics, especially those on the receiving end on both sides of the political aisle.
For something a bit more wholesome, there’s Found at the Atlantic Theater Company, a new musical based on discarded notes and letters printed in Found Magazine.
Revivals are always well represented off-Broadway and will be so again in the next few months.
Among those shows coming up or already in previews are the Keen Company’s presentation of Lee Blessing’s A Walk in the Woods, about two superpower arms negotiators—one a cynical Russian veteran and the other an idealistic American newcomer—who meet informally in the woods after a long official bargaining session has gone nowhere. The story is based on an actual 1982 incident.
Presented by The Actors Company Theatre is The Killing of Sister George, a work showing what happens when an outspoken actress who drinks too much learns that Sister George, the much beloved character she plays on a BBC Radio soap opera, is about to be killed off. This will be the first time the show has been seen in New York since 1990.
Over at the New Group will be David Rabe’s Sticks and Bones about an American family torn apart by the turmoil surrounding the Vietnam War. Among the cast will be Richard Chamberlain, Holly Hunter, and Bill Pullman.
For those looking for something in the classical vein, there’s Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya presented by the Pearl Theatre Company. Meanwhile, Theatre for a New Audience will offer Christopher Marlowe’s rarely performed Tamburlaine, Parts I and II, along with William Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Moving ahead a few hundred years, the Mint Theater Company is presenting The Fatal Weakness, a 1946 comedy about marriage, love, and commitment.
Among the musical revivals that are being offered around town are Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro as presented by Classic Stage Company and Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, which will be seen at the Laura Pels Theatre.
Judd Hollander is the New York correspondent for the London publication The Stage.