Movie fans will “heart” New York’s fall theater season

Posted Wednesday, Sep. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Splashy ads around the city are featuring names like Daniel Craig, Mary-Louise Parker and Big Fish.

Now it’s time to check out the musicals, comedies and dramas vying for audiences’ attention and cash — both on and off Broadway — this fall. Here’s a selection of the most enticing.

Popular film comedies as musicals

• On Broadway, Big Fish, with songs by Andrew Lippa ( The Addams Family) and book by John August ( Frankenweenie), rolls in from its Chicago tryout with optimistic advance word for stars Norbert Leo Butz as a yarn spinner, his adoring wife (Kate Baldwin) and his skeptical son (Bobby Steggert).

Susan Stroman directs and choreographs.

Details: Now playing at the Neil Simon Theatre;

• And off-Broadway’s estimable Second Stage will present Little Miss Sunshine, about the girl who would be a beauty queen.

The show reunites James Lapine (direction and book) with songwriter William Finn; their collaborations include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Falsettos.

Details: Previews begin Oct. 15;

Vegas and Harlem

• While Jason Robert Brown’s The Bridges of Madison County isn’t due until later in the season, his long-gestating Honeymoon in Vegas gets a tryout across the Hudson at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse.

Details: Previews begin Sept. 26;

• Harlem’s Cotton Club era is recalled in After Midnight, a collaboration by Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Wynton Marsalis, City Center’s Jack Viertel and fashion designers Isabel and Ruben Toledo.

Warren Carlyle does double duty as director and choreographer.

Details: Previews begin Oct. 18 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre;

Revivals with bold-face names

• Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad (you can choose which one’s prettier) have begun previews in Romeo and Juliet, staged by David Leveaux in a production that retains Shakespeare’s language but updates the action.

Details: Opens Sept. 20 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre;

• Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Rafe Spall are starring in Mike Nichols’s revival of Betrayal, Harold Pinter’s tale-told-backward of a good marriage and the affair that wrecks it.

Details: Previews begin Oct. 1 at the Barrymore Theatre;

• John Grisham makes his Broadway debut with Rupert Holmes’ adaptation of A Time to Kill. Staged by Ethan McSweeny, the drama stars Fred Dalton Thompson and Tonya Pinkins.

Details: Previews begin Sept. 28 at the Golden Theatre;

• The incomparable Cherry Jones plays Tennessee Williams’ frightened mother Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, in a revival staged by John Tiffany and Steven Hoggett, the team behind Once.

Details: Now playing at the Booth Theatre;

Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart will lead rotating productions of Pinter’s No Man’s Land and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, staged by Sean Mathias. Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley also star.

Details: Previews begin Oct. 26 at the Cort Theatre;

Not to be outdone, Mark Rylance ( Jerusalem) will alternate in leading roles in all-male productions of Richard III and Twelfth Night, directed by Tim Carroll.

Details: Previews begin Oct. 15 at the Belasco Theatre;

Not to be outdone, Part II: The Public Theater will present the last of Richard Nelson’s brilliant, intimate “Apple Family” plays — this one set in real time on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. All four will run in rotating rep with the same extraordinary ensemble of actors.

Details: Previews begin Oct. 22;

• Muhammad Ali is the subject of Will Power’s Fetch Clay, Make Man, about the champ’s friendship with the actor known as Stepin Fetchit. Des McAnuff ( Tommy) directs at the New York Theatre Workshop.

Details: In previews;

And also consider

Mary-Louise Parker in The Snow Geese at the Friedman … Betty Buckley and Lois Smith as Texas grandes dames in the late Horton Foote’s The Old Friends at the Signature … Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins in Beckett’s radio play All That Fall at 59E59 … Jeanine Tesori’s new musical Fun Home at the Public … Trudie Styler in The Seagull, by Culture Project.

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