'ICE FACTORY '03' Fresh from winning the Ross Wetzsteon Grant at the 2003 Obie awards, Soho Think Tank mounts what might be its most ambitious "Ice Factory" series yet. The summer theater festival kicks things off with Lenora Champagne's Mother's Little Helper, the tale of a Cajun American Princess in an age of international political anxiety. Potential highlights in the six-show series, which runs through August 16: Pig Iron Theatre's new vaudeville Flop (July 23 through 26), and David Greenspan's Myopia (July 30 through August 2), his cult solo turn centered on a musical about President Warren G. Harding. (Here's hoping for Richard Foreman's bio of William Henry Harrison.) STARTS WEDNESDAY, Ohio Theatre, 66 Wooster Street, 212-966-4844. (Parks)

KIROV OPERA Russia's attention-getting opera house, celebrated for its large casts and lavish stagings, pays a rare visit as part of the Lincoln Center Festival, bringing some even rarer repertory items with it. Much of the conducting is in the hands of artistic director Valery Gergiev, and the six-opera season includes the New York premiere of Prokofiev's socialist realist work Semyon Kotko, plus Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina, Verdi's Macbeth, and a concert performance of Rubinstein's rarely performed The Demon. THROUGH JULY 26, Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, 212-362-6000. (Feingold)

The Kirov Opera reinterprets Verdi's Macbeth at the Lincoln Center Festival (see theater).
photo: Monika Ritterhaus
The Kirov Opera reinterprets Verdi's Macbeth at the Lincoln Center Festival (see theater).

'MACBETH' (CTH) Shakespeare's tersest and grimmest tragedy must have some hidden cultural link to African American life: Orson Welles famously staged it in Harlem, setting it in Haiti; James Earl Jones won early laurels playing the title role. Now Classical Theatre of Harlem, newly laden with Obies for its revival of The Blacks, tackles the story of Scotland's destiny-hexed king, with Ty Jones in the lead and artistic director Alfred Preisser at the helm. Previews begin Wednesday, OPENS FRIDAY, CTH Courtyard Theater, 645 St. Nicholas Avenue, 212-868-4444. (Feingold)

'MACBETH' (LC FEST) Contemporary soundscapist Salvatore Sciarrino is yet another to tackle Shakespeare's tragedy of evil ambitions, which seems to be in the air these days. Oper Frankfurt's visiting production at the Lincoln Center Festival, the U.S. premiere of the work, is in the hands of director-designer Achim Freyer, a German theater eminence whose work has rarely been seen here. WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, John Jay College Theater, Lincoln Center, 212-721-6500. (Feingold)

'MAKE LOVE' Karen Finley, song and dance gal. If that description startles you, it's no surprise: Startling is Finley's stock in trade. This time around, the Obie-winning innovator of outrageous solo performance swears she's channeling Liza Minnelli "in song, dance, glamour, and glitter," to quote the press release. Don't, however, expect censor-ridden mainstreamers like Clear Channel to be tuning in on Karen's channel any time soon. Just stand by for blastoff. OPENS SUNDAY, THROUGH AUGUST 10, Fez at Time Café, 380 Lafayette Street, 212-533-2680. (Feingold)

'MYTHOS' The Oresteia, the tale of how King Agamemnon's dynasty crumbles during an interminable foreign war, seems an apt one for the Middle East just now. Israeli director Rina Yerushalmi, noted for her work at La MaMa, has tackled it with the combined forces of Itim Theatre Ensemble and Tel Aviv's Cameri Theatre. Let's hope Abbas and Sharon take their cues from Aeschylus's conciliatory finale. THROUGH SUNDAY, LaGuardia Drama Theater, Lincoln Center, 212-721-6500. (Feingold)


WILL HEINRICH+DEBORAH SCHUPACK+RA SHER Heinrich's The King's Evil resides one step from myth, rendering a remote town and a sadomasochistic dyad in a controlled prose that sounds translated through several ashen tongues ("In either case, our new rapport led gradually to the heroic month of June"). Schupack and Sher read from their notable, unusual debuts, The Boy on the Bus and Gentlemen of Space. WEDNESDAY AT 7, Housing Works Used Books Café, 126 Crosby Street, 212-334-3324. (De Krap)

IAN SPIEGELMAN A decade before 9-11 and the brotherhood of "I love New York more than ever," the threat of violence was more imminent on the streets than across the ocean, and diversity was just another word for racism—at least according to this Queens native's explosive debut novel, Everyone's Burning, where a generation of kids unraised by self-obsessed parents turn to drugs, s/m, and all forms of self-destruction as roads to transcendence. Pain is love, so sniff back the drip, hop on the L.I.E., and head to a place "twenty minutes and a thousand psychic miles from Manhattan." "Normals" need not bother. WEDNESDAY AT 7:30, Barnes & Noble, 70-00 Austin Street, Forest Hills, Queens, 718-793-1395. (Russell)

JAMES WOOD+NORMAN RUSH New Republic book critic Wood—bane of hysterical realists, champion of Sebald—has no affection for the marquee fictions of Zadie Smith, David Foster Wallace, and their ilk. But does his debut novel, The Book Against God, have what it takes to reinvigorate the allegedly shopworn form? He joins Rush, whose 12-year novelistic silence has been broken with Mortals. SUNDAY AT 7, KGB, 85 East 4th Street, 212-505-3360. (De Krap)

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