Getting Gilbert Unmarried

The famous librettist, sans Sullivan, is most engaging with a play that's so old it's new again


A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
March 16-28
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718.636.4100

Treading dangerously on his father's ground, Edward Hall, son of Peter, directs an all-male version of Shakespeare's puckish romantic comedy. If the casting conceit is any gauge, he's inherited an even bolder set of theatrical genes.


INTIMATE APPAREL
March 17-June 6
Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, 111 West 46th Street, 212.719.1300

The dependably haunting Viola Davis stars in Lynn Nottage's play about an African American seamstress whose provocative lingerie designs offer her financial independence, but can they spark romance in her life? The production, directed by the reliable Daniel Sullivan, inaugurates the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which serves as the Roundabout's new Off-Broadway venue.


THE SLUG BEARERS OF KAYROL ISLAND, OR THE FRIENDS OF DR. RUSHOWER
March 19-27
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, 212.255.5793

This musical-theater collaboration between cartoonist Ben Katchor and rock composer Mark Mulcahy blends drawings, animation, and a sung-through pop score to tell of an "absurdist romance" involving a philanthropist and an aficionado of instructional pamphlets, who embark together on a campaign to rescue exploited workers.


HANNAH & MARTIN
March 20-April 25
Bank Street Theatre, 155 Bank Street, 212.279.4200

David Strathairn and Melissa Friedman star in this play about Martin Heidegger (brilliant philosopher, Nazi) and his relationship with his star pupil, young lover, and lifelong moral challenger, Hannah Arendt.


ROAR
March 22-May 8
Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, 212.239.6200

Palestinian American playwright Betty Shamieh's new play explores the tumult of the first Persian Gulf war on a Palestinian American family living in Detroit. Marion McClinton, the reigning king of realistic ensemble acting, directs.


ASSASSINS
Opens March 26
Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street, 212.719.1300

Violent upheaval has an unfunny way of interfering with Sondheim's musical about the history of presidential assassinations in America. But the Roundabout's on-again, off-again revival is finally set to take over the infamous disco and former cabaret haunt, with a cast of ballistic wits (Denis O'Hare, Becky Ann Baker, and Mario Cantone) directed by Joe Mantello.


BIRO
Previews begin April 6, opens April 18
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 212.239.6200

This solo piece about the African AIDS crisis runs concurrently at the Public with the Worth Theater's revival of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart. Written and performed by Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Biro tells the story of a Ugandan boy who finds himself on the front lines of the global war against AIDS.


GUINEA PIG SOLO
April 13
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 212.239.6200

The LAByrinth's new production stars John Ortiz in a new play by Brett C. Leonard about "an Iraq war veteran trapped in post 9-11 New York." Apparently inspired by Buchner's Woyczek, the piece sounds like ideal fodder for the company's explosive theatricality.


WHERE DO WE LIVE
April 14-May 23
Vineyard Theatre, 108 East 15th Street, 212.353.0303

Set in a Lower East Side apartment building, Christopher Shinn's new play (receiving its American premiere after debuting in 2002 at London's Royal Court) examines the lives of two male characters who, though living next door to each other, inhabit distant universes.


LIGHT RAISE THE ROOF
Previews begin April 30, opens May 20
New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th Street, 212.239.6200

A playwright with a fiery social conscience, Kia Corthron tackles the subject of street people in her latest dramatic exposé. Michael John Garces directs this investigation into the brutal reality of New York City homelessness.


CHINESE FRIENDS
April 30-June 6
Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street, 212.279.4200

Playwright Jon Robin Baitz (A Fair Country, Substance of Fire) pursues a father-son psychological quagmire from a political angle, peeling away the truth behind the old man's exile from his homeland.


BOY
Previews begin May 5, opens May 18
Primary Stages, 354 West 45th Street, 212.333.4052

The Julia Jordan marathon (Boy marks her fourth play produced in the 2003-04 New York season) continues with her tale "of two young men struggling to find their place in the modern world." Vague though the premise sounds, the play was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award.


HOMEBODY/KABUL
May 11-May 30
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718.636.4100

Tony Kushner's drama, which centers on the unexpected aftermath of a British woman's fascination with Afghanistan, won an Obie in 2001. The playwright, however, still wasn't satisfied. He's retooled the script for this revival, directed by Frank Galati, which features the luminous Linda Emond in a reprise of her homebody role.


ANTIGONE
May 20-June 13
La MaMa E.T.C., 74A East 4th Street, 212.475.7710

It's definitely a ripe time for the Greeks, given the world's escalating violence. So it's only fitting that we close our season's highlights with Ellen Stewart's staging of Sophocles' tragedy, which runs in repertory with revivals of several other Greek plays, including stirring work by director Andrei Serban and composer Elisabeth Swados.

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