“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” wrote one observer at the world premier of Miss Witherspoon. This wickedly funny, thoughtful, “fractured fable for our time” from Christopher Durang (Sister Mary Ignatious Explains it All for You) opens with heroine Veronica finding out that suicide didn’t uncomplicate things in quite the way she’d hoped. She is sent back to earth to try again – and again – by her spiritual guide Maryamma. Veronica stubbornly resists the lesson the universe has for her until finally, emerging as Miss Witherspoon, she finds her own personal way to make sense of it all. Named one of the Ten Best Plays of 2005 by Time Magazine and Newsday.
Bluebird by Simon Stephens
Spare, honest and surprising, each of the scenes in Stephen Simon’s Bluebird will leave you “feeling as if you've met a real person rather than a theatrical invention” wrote David Sheward in his Backstage review of the off-broadway production. London mini-cab driver Jimmy McNeill becomes privy to other people’s lives and secrets in the time it takes to drive them to their destinations. The stories they share range from sorrowful to sublime, and the tellers from a grieving father to a laid-back hooker, from a hilariously offbeat young man to a despairing woman on the prowl. Jimmy drives through the night, getting closer to the core of his silences, to the tragedy of his own life, and to where he goes when there’s no one in the back seat of his cab. Bluebird brilliantly displays Stephens' concern with the constant battle between despair and hope that characterizes our lives.
The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh
Darkly affecting yet wildly funny, The Beauty Queen of Leenane was nominated for an Olivier Award as Best Play and won four Tony awards in 1998. Beauty Queen is the tale of Maureen Flan, a 40-year-old spinster, who takes care of her “diabolically helpless” 70-year-old mother Mag. Stuck at home long after her sisters have married and flown, Maureen finally finds romance with Pato Dooley – only to find her first and possibly last chance at love endangered by her mother’s interference. A story laced with deceptions, secrets and betrayals, The Beauty Queen of Leenane alternately raises and dashes hopes as it races toward an explosive finish: “…expect yourself to be clutching your chair in angst and suspense and laughing while you do.”
stanley laughs wd.jpg
Wildest Dreams by Alan Ayckbourn
"Alan Ayckbourn hops across the border and capers around like a clown in a minefield while you in the audience hold your breath” wrote critic John Peter in the Sunday Times, at the world premier of Wildest Dreams. Ayckbourn’s debut of his 1994 Royal Shakespeare Company is played out in a typical suburban living room, where four misfits play a fantasy role-playing game. It is a chance for them to be beautiful, wise and heroic; qualities they will never possess in real life. Repressed Hazel and her meek husband Stanley, emotionally challenged Warren and reserved lesbian Rick are unexpectedly joined by Marcie, who is escaping from her violent husband. Her presence blows the foursome apart and has unforeseen consequences as confusion ensues, secrets spill and, by the end of the play, all of the characters are irrevocably transformed. At turns harrowing and funny, cruel and compassionate, Wildest Dreams is always brilliant, and a must-see.
The Columnist by David Auburn
Originally starring John Lithgow in the 2012 Broadway production at the Manhattan Theater Club, The Columnist is a drama about the press and power, sex and betrayal from the Pulitzer and Tony award–winning author of Proof, David Auburn. At the height of the Cold War, Joe Alsop is the nation's most influential journalist, beloved, feared and courted by the Washington world. But as the '60s dawn and America undergoes dizzying change, the intense political dramas Joe is embroiled in become deeply personal as well. Based on the real-life story of Joe Alsop, whose columns at the time of his 1974 retirement were running three times a week in more than three hundred newspapers. The Columnist is a deft blend of history and storytelling, and a powerful portrait of an ideologically complex man.