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The Very Best of NYC Theater
by Gena Hymowech
February 6, 2013

Pop music icon Cyndi Lauper teams up with theatrical legend Harvey Fierstein to bring us Kinky Boots, a new musical adaption of the successful 2005 British film. In this quirky and somewhat risqué tale, a shoe factory owner named Charlie realizes he can save his struggling company if only he can switch to making footwear for drag queens. To pull it off he partners with drag queen Lola, who shares surprising similarities with him. This outrageous musical stars Stark Sands in the role of Charlie and Billy Porter as Lola. It opens Mar 3 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

The musical Sistas focuses on the rich history of African-American women in popular music. April Nixon, Jennifer Fouce, Conyer Lee, Amy Goldberger and Lexi Rhodes all bring to life the tuneful tale of five women who uncover a treasure trove of musical memories when they clean out Grandma’s attic. A hit of the Midtown International Theater Festival, Sistas is currently at the St. Luke’s Theater, and includes songs like The Shirelles’ “Mama Said,” Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” india.arie’s “I Am Not My Hair,” Erykah Badu’s “Tyrone,” and “A Women’s Worth,” from Alicia Keys.

Holland Taylor (of Two and a Half Men and The L Word) pays touching tribute to former Texas governor Ann Richards in the funny one-woman show Ann opening at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater on Feb 18. Richards was a complicated, outspoken and bold political pioneer known for her down-home, witty sense of humor and larger-than-life hairdo. This play celebrates her legend while also providing a closer look at her sometimes difficult life.

Written by the late Nora Ephron, Lucky Guy looks back at the life and times of Pulitzer Prize- winning reporter Mike McAlary. Tom Hanks, who previously worked with Ephron in Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, makes his highly anticipated Broadway debut here in the title role, joined by Maura Tierney of ER and Peter Scolari of Girls. McAlary died at 41 in 1998, and was perhaps best known for covering the brutal police torture of Abner Louima in the 1990s. Opening in previews at the Broadhurst Theater on Mar 1, Lucky Guy takes us back to a time when gossip ruled the papers and graffiti covered the subway cars.

Based on the children’s story by beloved British author Roald Dahl, Matilda follows the path of a brilliant young girl as she fights an evil headmistress using supernatural powers. A big hit on the London stage, this girl-power musical features the talents of four different child actresses in the starring role. The musical, which opens Mar 4 at the Schubert Theater, is a perfect choice for fans of Harry Potter.

The Teutonic Theater Project brings the emotionally-charged The Laramie Project Cycle to Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater from Feb 12-24. This two-part epic work, consisting of both The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, reflects on the notorious, hate-fueled 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. The theater piece utilizes hundreds of interviews done with the people of Laramie, as they attempt to deal with life after the tragedy. Matthew’s mother, Judy, will also be at BAM for an artist talk on Feb 16 with Laramie Project Cycle creator Moises Kaufman.

This winter The Women’s Project presents the world premiere of Laura Marks’ Bethany at City Center through Feb 16. Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera plays Crystal, a homeless single mother who has just lost her daughter to foster care because she can’t afford to take care of her. There is also a looming crisis on the horizon: Crystal’s job as a saleswoman is in jeopardy. When a shady buyer comes onto the scene, Crystal has to ask herself what she is morally capable of doing to get her daughter and her life back. See Ferrera shine in a performance The New York Times called “beautifully modulated.”

Call Me William: The Life and Loves of Willa Cather is a one-woman play starring Prudence Wright Holmes as the Nebraskan-born lesbian author. Cather came to New York City early on in her career to edit McClure’s Magazine and published many novels, short stories and poems before ultimately winning a Pulitzer in 1923 for the book One of Ours. She was a figure who frequently defied the stifling conventionality of her day while using her work to advocate for farmers and their families on the Great Plains. The show plays at The Center for a special one-night-only performance Mar 15.

The aptly-named winter theater festival Frigid New York blows into town Feb 20 through Mar 3. Over 30 shows are featured, tackling a wide variety of provocative subjects. Highlights include the lesbian-themed play Commencing; the music showcase A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup; the vaudevillian Bathtub Jen and the Henchmen and the burlesque show exHOTic other.


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