Monday, September 19, 2011

Broadway wish list: Fall 2011

My 2011-2012 New York theatre season starts this weekend!

I'm even more excited than usual because my first trip of the fall coincides with Sunday's Broadway Flea Market sponsored by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

I've never been to the flea market and this year it's supposed to be bigger than ever, spilling over from West 44th Street into Times Square. I'm sure I'll pick up a Broadway-themed tchotchke or two, all for a great cause. Good thing there's a Bank of America ATM nearby!

Here's what I'm most looking forward to seeing on Broadway:

Relatively Speaking

Two names make this trio of one-act comedies a must-see for me: Woody Allen, who wrote "Honeymoon Motel," and Marlo Thomas, who stars in Elaine May's "George is Dead." (The third, "Talking Cure," is by Ethan Coen.) I've been a Woody Allen fan for a long, long time. (Don't even ask!) And Marlo Thomas, That Girl herself, wow.

The Mountaintop

As soon as I heard the plot of Katori Hall's play, I was interested. It takes place at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on the last night of Martin Luther King's life. I've mentioned before my mixed feelings about Samuel L. Jackson playing Dr. King but I'm going in with an open mind. And I'm excited about seeing Angela Bassett, an amazing Tina Turner in What's Love Got to Do With It, as his costar.

Other Desert Cities

Jon Robin Baitz's play about a woman who returns home to visit her parents after a six-year absence sounds like the kind of meaty family drama I'd enjoy. (I'm hoping secrets will be revealed!) And he has plenty of experience in this area - I loved his ABC series Brothers and Sisters. The cast includes Rachel Griffiths, from Brother and Sisters, and Judith Light, who was simply sublime in Lombardi.

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever

I'm not super familiar with this Burton Lane/Alan Jay Lerner musical, which is having its first Broadway revival. I know it involves ESP and reincarnation and I vaguely remember watching the movie, with Barbra Streisand, years ago. Apparently things have been changed around, Streisand's character has been turned into a man. Also, it stars the handsome and talented Harry Connick Jr., whom I've never seen onstage.


Living in a foreign country is an eye-opening experience. I certainly gained a new perspective during the year I spent working in an elementary school in Israel. And I had my fair share of linguistic misadventures. So I'm eager to see this clash-of-cultures comedy by David Henry Hwang about an American businessman trying to launch a new enterprise in China.

Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway

A late addition to my wish list! Yes, I'd rather see Hugh Jackman in a book musical rather than a one-man show. But a couple hours of the man from Oz singing, dancing and telling stories, accompanied by an 18-piece orchestra, sounds pretty pleasant, too. Plus, just looking at the artwork makes me feel kind of tingly. Those brown eyes, that stubble!

There are also several off-Broadway shows on my wish list:

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

I've been an Apple fangirl for decades. If I counted up all of the iMacs, iPods, etc., that I've owned over the past 30 years, I'd probably have to use my fingers and toes. So Mike Daisey's monologue about the Apple cofounder, how his devices shape our lives - and at what cost - is definitely a subject that intrigues me.

Maple and Vine

The premise of Jordan Harrison's play - a group of 1950s reenactors - sounds both bizarre and brilliant. I mean, who would want to return to a decade of suffocating conformity? If done well, this could be the kind of clever, witty and insightful work that I really enjoy. How do you re-enact the 1950s? I'm guessing there'll be some women vacuuming the living room in high heels and pearls.


I thought Jesse Eisenberg was terrific in The Social Network and I'm curious to see how he does as a playwright. In Asuncion, two young men have a chance to demonstrate how open-minded they are when a young Filipina woman becomes their roommate. In addition to Eisenberg, the cast features Justin Bartha, who was hilarious in his Broadway debut in Lend Me a A Tenor.


Dale said...

That's one nice looking wish list! Hope you fit everything in that you can and have a wonderful time! I look forward to reading all about your adventures.

Esther said...

Awww, thanks Dale, for being so kind and so encouraging! I really appreciate it.

I never got around to Anything Goes in the spring so I'm seeing it this weekend, along with a couple of new shows on my list: Relatively Speaking and The Mountaintop. I'm a little concerned about going so early in previews but I figure I'd better see them while I have the chance!

Hope you get to see some great theatre this fall!