Lila Downs

The Very Best of NYC Theater

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, This One Girl’s Story, Follies, Wonder Woman
Bette Midler presents Priscilla Queen of the Desert, an outrageously campy musical on Broadway now playing with an open run at the Palace Theater. This spectacular show tells the story of a trio of friends on a heart-warming, uplifting adventure aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship in the middle of the Australian outback. With over 500 dazzling costumes and a hit parade of dance-floor favorites including “It’s Raining Men” and “I Will Survive," Priscilla is a sensational journey to the heart of fabulous.

Playing at the McGinn/Cazale Theater Sep 27–Oct 9 as part of the New York Musical Festival 2011, This One Girl’s Story follows the journey of Patrice and her friends—four young women in search of a drama-free night filled with dancing and maybe a little romance. They decide to ditch their troubles in Newark to party in the Big City, but a shocking incident forces them to face difficult truths about themselves. Inspired by actual events, this powerful musical combines R&B, jazz, gospel, and hip-hop to sing a tale of love and courage.

Tony Award-winner Bernadette Peters and Olivier Award-winner Elaine Paige star in the revival of Steven Sondheim’s Follies opening at the Marquis Theater Sep 12. Echoing the songs, exuberance and romance of the vaudeville days between the two World Wars, the show follows the former members of the “Weismann Follies” as they reunite on the eve of their theater’s demolition. Reminiscing of their younger selves and the years gone by, the crumbling theater brings back memories of good times and bad. The score features some of Sondheim's best-known songs, including "Broadway Baby," "I'm Still Here," "Too Many Mornings," "Could I Leave You?" and "Losing My Mind."

Stage Left Studio presents writer/performer Cyndi Freeman in her one woman show Wonder Woman: A How To Guide For Little Jewish Girls on Oct 4 and 6. The show traces Freeman’s journey from a little suburban Jewish girl obsessed with Wonder Woman to a fabulous burlesque  queen in NYC. A veteran storyteller and Moth Slam winner, Freeman recounts personal tales of heroics and harrowing adventures while joyfully spewing trivia about America’s first and favorite female super heroine, Wonder Woman. Join her on a crusade to right wrongs while wearing fabulous outfits.

On Sep 19 an all-star cast is slated to perform a one night only Broadway staged reading and World Premiere of “8” at the Eugene O’Neill Theater. The new play by Dustin Lance Black is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case filed by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) to overturn Proposition 8. Black bases the play on the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families. Proceeds from the event will benefit the AFER.

Don’t miss The Speaker’s Progress at the BAM Harvey Theater starting Oct 6. SABAB—an international company composed of performers from the Middle East and beyond—brings a story of censorship, sexism, and insurrection inspired by the revolutionary spirit pervading the Arab world. In an unnamed totalitarian state, all forms of theater have been banned, but when a subversive play is discovered, it quietly comes to symbolize an entire movement of revolt. Runs through Oct 8 as part of the 2011 Next Wave Festival.

The irreverent Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!) teams up with San Francisco based Monster Girl Productions to present The Welfare Queen, playing at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center Sep 14–Oct 8. Erika Lopez writes and performs in this one-woman show adapted from her new book The Girl Must Die: A Monster Girl Memoir. The plot revolves around Kitten Lopez, the undisputed/reigning queen of the short-lived Boricua Noir film era. Kitten teeters atop some overly-ambitious imaginary high heels while swaggering out into the play’s starring role to tell us all to grow up, deal with reality, and just have fun. The show harks back to the heyday of East Village performance art with impossibly high ideals, campy production values, and lots of sleazy, shameful excitement.
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