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The Stalwarts and Revivals.

ChorusLinefinale.jpgOk, the ads for A Chorus Line make me tingle. Who doesn’t want to see leg-warmer wearing underdogs hold up headshots, make it to opening and don glittery hats? I do! (I’m serious.) The show resonated then and will again – all retro – I predict. The San Fran tryout got mostly raves. And, of course, there’s the limited return of Les Miserables. (or Les Miz!, as we’ve come to know it.) Can’t keep a good epic down. “One More Dawn/One More Day” indeed. Will the show – which will look, sound and revolve just like the original -– seem simply reheated? Interesting casting (Rent’s Daphne Ruben Vega as…Fantine!) should add sparks. Sondheim’s brilliance returns via a remount of the much-lauded Cincinnati Playhouse production of his Company, a complex look at love and marriage in modern NYC. I’m one of few who disliked the popular Sweeney revival, but Company seems wonderfully ripe for director John Doyle’s actors-as-musicians concept. (Yes, they sing, act and play…a casting director’s nightmare for sure).

Off-B’way: Good Things Also Come in Smaller Packages.

SUBURBIAtatoo.gifSome of the city’s best theatre is often its most intimate, and this fall offers quite the diverse buffet. Manhattan Theatre Club presents gay scribe Paul Rudnick’s Regrets Only, a modern comedy of Park Ave manners starring the always-fantastic Christine Baranski. Also at MTC, ever-popular writer/performer/icon Charles Busch pens the premiere of Our Leading Lady about an actress performing at Ford’s Theatre the night of Lincoln’s assassination. (Don’t expect Charles in drag. He decided a natural woman would be best.) Heterosexuals fear not – there’ll be plenty of Off-B’way boy-girl theatre to go ‘round. Bruce Norris’ The Pain and the Itch, a hit from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre about a family unraveling at Thanksgiving, opens at Playwrights Horizons. An updated production of Eric Bogosian’s anti-utopian look into the lives of seven deviants, Suburbia, plays at Midtown’s fabulously hip Second Stage. Kieran Culkin heads the cast. (Is he eclipsing Macaulay? I think maybe.) And, Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, a current regional favorite about a household a-flutter over a new maid, finally gets its local debut via Lincoln Center Theatre.

Not Just the Great White Way.

With playwright August Wilson’s passing in 2005, we lost a theatre god, but luckily his works will shine forever as a chronicle of the African-American experience – told so universally that anybody of any color can relate. The Signature Theatre continues its fifteenth anniversary celebration with The August Wilson Series. Catch Seven Guitars and Two Trains Running in 2006. I’ll bet you’ll be glad you did.

And, the sexy-sleek revival of Chicago, currently sizzling hot as ever at the Ambassador, celebrates its 10th anniversary this fall. A one-night-only full presentation of the hit show featuring past alums (Bebe Neuwirth, Brooke Shields, Chita Rivera, Melanie Griffith, Patrick Swayze, Huey Lewis, Joel Grey and  many more) benefiting Safe Horizon (a crime victims’ assistance organization) is slotted for November 14.

Here’s to a fantastic, diverse fall season in NYC. Make room for some theatre in your life, and enjoy the show(s)!

The Coast of Utopia, Vivian Beaumont Theater (Lincoln Center), Oct. 17 – March 3, www.lct.org
Heartbreak House, American Airlines Theatre, Previews Sept. 15, Opens Oct. 11, Closes Dec. 10,
www.roundabouttheatre.org
The Vertical Hour, Music Box Theatre, dates TBA, www.telecharge.com
Wrecks, The Public Theatre, September 26 – October 29, www.publictheater.org
Martin Short’s Fame Becomes Me, Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Aug. 17 – Dec. 31, www.telecharge.com
Butley, Booth Theatre, Previews Oct. 5, Opens Oct. 26, Closes Jan. 14, www.telecharge.com
King Lear, The Public Theater, dates TBA, www.publictheater.org
Grey Gardens, Walter Kerr Theatre, Previews Oct. 3, Opens Nov. 2
The Little Dog Laughed, Cort Theatre, Previews Oct. 26, Opens Nov. 13
Spring Awakening, venue TBA, dates TBA
Mary Poppins, New Amsterdam Theatre, Previews Oct. 14, Opens Nov. 16, www.disney.go.com/theatre/marypoppins
The Times They Are A-Changin,’ Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Previews Sept. 26, Opens Oct. 25, www.ticketmaster.com
A Chorus Line, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Previews Sept. 18, Opens Oct. 5, www.achorusline.com
Les Miserables, Broadhurst Theater, Previews Oct. 24, Opens, Nov. 9, Closes April 22, www.telecharge.com
Company, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Previews Oct. 30, Opens Nov. 29, www.telecharge.com
Regrets Only, City Center Stage I (Manhattan Theatre Club), Previews Oct. 19, Opens Nov. 14, www.manhattantheatreclub.org
Our Leading Lady, City Center Stage II, (Manhattan Theatre Club, Previews Nov. 30, Opens Dec. 19, www.manhattantheatreclub.org
The Pain and the Itch, Playwrights Horizons, Previews Sept. 1, Opens Sept. 26, Closes Oct. 8, www.playwrightshorizons.com
Suburbia, Second Stage Theatre, Sept. 6 – Oct. 22, www.secondstagetheatre.com
The Clean House, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater (Lincoln Center), Oct. 5 – Dec. 17, www.lct.org
Seven Guitars, Signature Theatre Company, Aug. 24 – Sept. 23, www.signaturetheatre.org
Two Trains Running, Signature Theatre Company, Nov. 7 – Dec. 31, www.signaturetheatre.org