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The Very Best of NYC Theatre
by Juliet Macey
December 13, 2007

Plunge “Under the Sea” with the Jan 10 opening of the brand-new musical The Little Mermaid, now in an open-ended run at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Unless you were living under a rock in the late ‘80s, you probably know Disney’s animated version of this classic fairy tale and its clever songs by heart, but for those of you who missed out, here’s a quick rundown. The Little Mermaid takes place in a magical kingdom beneath the sea, where a young mermaid named Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. But first, she’ll have to defy her father, the king of the sea, escape the clutches of an evil sea witch and convince a prince that she’s the girl with the perfect voice.
 
Jan 9–19, Under the Radar 2008, a twelve-day festival tracking new theater from across the U.S. and around the world, hits The Public Theater and other venues. Now in its fourth year, Under the Radar is an explosively diverse kaleidoscope of new theater works that spotlight artists ranging from emerging talents to masters in the field. Highlights include LOW: Meditations Trilogy Part 1, a riveting hip-hop infused portrayal of one woman's struggle with mental illness; and small metal objects, a breathtaking theatrical gem that unfolds amidst the pedestrian traffic of the actual Whitehall Ferry Terminal.

Hypocrisy, greed and secret passions threaten to tear apart a wealthy but dysfunctional Mississippi family in Tennessee Williams' stunning American masterpiece, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Debbie Allen directs an all-African American cast in this groundbreaking new adaptation of Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, at the Broadhurst Theatre starting Feb 12. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof searingly portrays the larger-than-life characters of Maggie "the Cat," her alcoholic husband, Brick, and the dominating family patriarch, Big Daddy.

New Amsterdames, at HERE Arts Center through Dec 16, reveals the diversity of the women and industries that made up the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, taking a satirical look at early ventures in New York Commerce, including the beaver trade. Circa 1659, the land deed to Manhattan (legend says Peter Minuit bought it from the Lenape for $24 and some beads) is nowhere to be found. Will any of these entrepreneurial 17th-century ladies be able to unearth it?

Now through Dec 23, out director Leigh Silverman stages David Henry Hwang's new play Yellow Face at The Public Theater. In this backstage comedy, Hwang puts himself center stage with alter-ego DHH, telling his side of the explosive controversy stirred up when he led the protest against the hiring of Jonathan Pryce in the original Broadway production of Miss Saigon. Truth and fiction are hard to separate as Hwang gives us a funny and moving backstage look at his search to confront the roles that race and ethnicity play in America.
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