Fall Theater Preview

August 31 through October 16
Atlantic Theater Company, 336 West 20th Street, 212-239-6200

Rolin Jones's new play centers on an average American girl who, desperate to find her birth mother in China, makes innovative use of spare missile parts she's snatched from the U.S. Army. A staff writer for Showtime's new series Weeds, the playwright scored a success last year with his play The Jammer.

September 7 through October 15

Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street, 212-279-4200

The protagonist of Laura Wade's drama (a Martha Stewart–perfect homemaker played by Judith Light) has been given the task of a lifetime: planning her own funeral. It's an intriguing tragicomic premise for a play that was much touted in London and a must-see for anyone suffering from Six Feet Under withdrawal.

Upcoming Events

Previews September 13, opens October 6
American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street, 212-719-1300

Starting over again, Jill Clayburgh returns to the stage as a successful cookbook author whose life is thrown into chaos when her two adopted children decide to tie the knot. Richard Greenberg's comedy received only middling notices last spring at South Coast Rep, but the author has had plenty of time to rework his doozy of a plot—and how nice to have back one of our top five '70s movie actresses.

September 20 through 24
NYU, Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 La Guardia Place, 212-992-8484

Mabou Mines and Basil Twist join forces under the intrepid direction of Lee Breuer in this multimedia fantasia based on a Siberian folktale about an adolescent girl's rather violent ascent into womanhood. The high-flying aesthetic synthesis includes aerial acrobatics, ancient Japanese ceremonial dance, and wind puppetry.

Previews September 20, opens October 17
Second Stage Theatre, 307 West 43rd Street, 212-246-4422

This first major New York revival of Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize winner may not have the star power of the Negro Ensemble Company's premiere in 1981 (which starred Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson). But director Jo Bonney is a master at creating ensembles, and she's enlisted the prepossessing talents of Taye Diggs and Steven Pasquale.

George Saunders's PASTORALIA
September 21 through October 9
P.S.122, 150 First Avenue, 212-477-5288

Yehuda Duenyas (founder of the National Theater of the U.S.A.) has adapted Saunders's twisted comedy about two amusement park employees whose job is to simulate the daily lives of cave-dwelling humans. Auteur and author make for an intriguing matchup of oddball sensibilities.

October 4 through 9
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100

This intra-African collaboration between South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company and the Sogolon Puppet Troupe of Mali scales the heights of theatrical possibility to tell a far-flung story that's mostly true. The situation, revolving around the arduous delivery of a gift from the Egyptian pasha to France's King Charles X in 1826 of a Sudanese giraffe, promises to be both aesthetically and historically eye-popping.

October 11 through November 20
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-260-2400

This musical by Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party) boasts a terrific cast of local stalwarts (Idina Menzel, Henry Stram, Marty Testa) in a piece that threads "New York stories of faith, loss, and redemption."

October 12 through 15
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100

German auteur Michael Thalheimer, a devout minimalist, confronts Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's 1772 drama about a bourgeois beauty whose flirtation with the noble class leads to shameful consequences. A rare opportunity to experience this four-hour Teutonic epic in a Deutsches Theater Berlin production that clocks in at a courteous 75 minutes.

October 15 through 30
P.S.122, 150 First Avenue, 212-477-5288

The New York premiere of Israeli playwright Hanoch Levin's dramatic meditation on the cyclical nature of violence and revenge, adapted and directed by Michael Weiselberg, promises to provoke as much debate here as it already has worldwide.

October 19 through 30
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100

Didn't we just see Sarah Kane's final play in Brooklyn? Indeed we did, in a superb Royal Court production last fall at St. Ann's Warehouse. Still, this latest Brooklyn showing has a secret weapon to overcome even the disadvantage of an English dramatic poem translated into French: the astonishing, burning-cold talent of Isabelle Huppert.

November 1 through December 4
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, 212-260-2400

Artistic director Oskar Eustis makes his debut at his new home, staging the New York premiere of Rinne Groff's much praised play about a woman inventor trying to perfect the first television system and her writer-daughter who decades later struggles to do justice to the TV version of the story.

Previews November 10, opens December 6

Manhattan Theatre Club at New York City Center Stage 1, 131 West 55th Street, 212-399-3030

Playwright Ariel Dorfman (Death and the Maiden ) explores the reality of war—and love—in a drama zeroing in on a couple who spend their time identifying military casualties, never suspecting the effect that peace might have on their relationship. Blanka Zizka directs.

Previews December 13, opens January 9
Second Stage Theatre, 307 West 43rd Street, 212-246-4422

Douglas Carter Bean's new comedy involves a Hollywood agent, plenty of eye candy, and lots and lots of dish. Scott Ellis directs this satiric send-up of movie biz mishegoss we can never seem to get enough of.

Previews December 15, opens January 10
Manhattan Theatre Club at New York City Center Stage 2, 131 West 55th Street, 212-399-3030

Nilo Cruz's new drama involves a young woman whose journey to Spain to reconcile with her estranged father is threatened by a young Moroccan suitor. If the setup sounds a tad soapy, rest assured that Cruz will find the lyrical heart. Michael Greif directs.

December 20 through January 1
St. Ann's Warehouse, 38 Water Street, Brooklyn, 718-254-8779

Mark Rylance's Shakespearean swan song as artistic director of London's Globe Theatre features (characteristically) an all-male cast and period music and costumes. Directed by John Dove, the production has one other authentic element: Rylance himself in the role of Duke Vincentio.

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