Spring Arts Guide: By the Way, Meet Vera Stark--Pulitzer Winner Lynn Nottage Returns With a New Play

Plus Derek Jacobi, the Shaggs, and other spring theater picks

Peter and Wendy
Performances begin May 6
As a general rule, the avant-garde isn’t particularly child-friendly. And yet Mabou Mines, one of the most rigorous and challenging exemplars of the Theater of Images movement, has created a gorgeous and inviting adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s story about the boy who wouldn’t grow up. Using Bunraku-style puppets, innovative staging, and Karen Kandel’s rather wondrous narration, Mabou Mines transports New Victory spectators from Times Square straight to Neverland. It should delight both those who won’t grow up and those who already have. New Victory Theatre, 209 West 42nd Street, newvictory.org

The Extinction Method
Performances begin May 10
As child-rearing systems go, “the extinction method” has a rather malign ring to it. Though it sounds like an invitation to infanticide, it’s really just a form of sleep training. It’s also the title of Daniel Goldfarb’s new play, produced by Manhattan Theatre Club, which concerns two thirtyish couples in adjacent brownstone apartments. As one pair attempts to put the baby down, the other tries to rev their romance up. Either way, it’s no sleep ’til Brooklyn Heights. City Center, 131 West 55th Street, mtc-nyc.org

The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World
Performances begin May 12
In retrospect, it isn’t a surprise that “My Pal Foot Foot” never dominated the charts. Actually, this tune about a missing housecat stands as one of the better songs by the Shaggs, a ’60s family band long hailed as one of the worst and strangest of girl groups. In a co-production of Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop, writer Joy Gregory and composer Gunnar Madsen re-create the Wiggin sisters’ history, haircuts, and Art Brut lyrics. Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street, playwrightshorizons.org

One Arm
Performances begun May 19
Tennessee Williams’s One Arm was not the cinematic sensation of 1972. In fact, the film of his screenplay—based on an early short story about an amputee hustler in New Orleans—was never made at all. Now, Moisés Kaufman brings his own stage adaptation of the script to the New Group. Following productions of Green Eyes and The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, Kaufman’s effort confirms the resurgence of interest in late Williams. Will audiences give it a hand? Acorn Theatre, Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, thenewgroup.org

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