The Very Best of NYC Theater (February 2010)

Looped, The Pride, and More!

Valerie Harper returns to Broadway as Tallulah Bankhead in Looped starting previews Feb. 19 at the Lyceum Theatre. Southern, but by no means a belle, Ms. Bankhead was known for her wild partying and convention-defying exploits that outshone even today’s celebrity bad girls. This hilarious new play revolves around the actress, being called into a sound studio in 1965 to re-record (or "loop") one line of dialogue for what would be her last film – the dreadful Die, Die My Darling. Given her obviously inebriated state along with her inability to loop the line perfectly, what ensues is a hilarious showdown between an uptight and conservative sound editor and the outrageous legend.

MCC Theater presents The Pride, making its American premiere at the Lucille Lortel Theatre now through Mar. 20. An alternately tough and touching look at love, the play involves three characters: Oliver, Philip and Sylvia, who are caught in a kind of erotic time warp. Their complex love triangle, replete with conflicting loyalties and passions, jumps from 1958 to the present and back in a maelstrom of fantasy, repression and rebellion in this innovative new drama.

Based on the bizarre and beloved family of characters created by legendary cartoonist Charles Addams, The Addams Family Musical begins previews Mar. 4 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Starring two-time Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia the famously macabre Addams Family is put to the test when outsiders come to dinner, hurling Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Fester, Grandma and Lurch headlong into a night that will change the family forever.

The Divine Sister, the new comedy written by and starring Charles Busch runs Feb. 6 – Mar. 7 at the Theater for the New City. Evoking such films as The Song of Bernadette, The Bells of St. Mary’s, The Singing Nun and Agnes of God, Busch creates an outrageous comic homage to nearly every Hollywood film involving nuns. The Divine Sister tells the story of St. Veronica’s indomitable Mother Superior who is determined to build a new school for her Pittsburgh convent. Along the way, she has to deal with a young postulant who is experiencing “visions,” sexual hysteria among her nuns, a sensitive schoolboy in need of mentoring, a mysterious nun visiting from the Mother House in Berlin, and a former suitor intent on luring her away from her vows.

Academy Award–winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and five-time Tony Award–winner Angela Lansbury star in the first Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, now playing at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Based on Ingmar Bergman’s film Smiles of a Summer Night, the musical is set in a weekend country house in turn of the century Sweden, bringing together surprising liaisons, long simmering passions and a taste of love’s endless possibilities. Hailed as witty and wildly romantic, the story centers on the elegant actress Desirée Armfeldt and the spider’s web of sensuality, intrigue and desire that surrounds her. The Sondheim score features one of the composer’s best-known songs, “Send in the Clowns,” as well as “Every Day a Little Death,” “The Miller’s Son” and “A Weekend in the Country.”

Following a critically acclaimed inaugural year, theater and Academy Award-winning film director Sam Mendes will again direct a transatlantic company of actors for the second season of The Bridge Project, a unique three-year series of co-productions by BAM, The Old Vic, and Neal Street Productions devoted to producing large-scale, classical theater for international audiences. This year features the intriguing double-bill pairing of Shakespeare’s witty pastoral comedy As You Like It and his late masterpiece The Tempest.

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