Features NYCNYC Features Published 29 January 2018

Exeunt NYC Recommends: February

Our writers make their February selections of shows you should not miss.

Exeunt Staff
Returning to Reims comes to St. Anns Warehouse this February. (Photo: Arno Declair)

Returning to Reims comes to St. Anns Warehouse this February. (Photo: Arno Declair)

Off-Broadway and Beyond Picks

Party Face (Stage II at City Center) (January 11-April 8): Two words: Hayley Mills. (Curtis Russell)

Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo (Signature Theatre) (January 30-March 11): Director Lila Neugebauer’s staging of Annie Baker’s The Antipodes was a highlight of 2017, and she’s gone from strength to strength with After the Blast and the re-staging of her 2016 hit The Wolves, both at Lincoln Center. This Albee double-act (Homelife and The Zoo Story), last seen in NYC a decade ago, should be a perfect fit for Neugebauer’s dry directorial style, which finds universes in the spaces between words. (Curtis Russell)

Returning to Reims (St. Ann’s Warehouse) (February 4-25): Schaubühne Berlin’s stage adaptation of French philosopher Didier Eribon’s 2009 essay won critical praise in its UK run and should be on every thinking person’s radar during its NYC visit. Thomas Ostermeier directs Homeland star Nina Hoss in a lecture-style piece of political theater, offering us Eribon’s frank analysis of the shifting voting patterns of France’s working class in his hometown and how “multiple processes of domination intersect in a given life and in a given culture” (MIT Press). (Molly Grogan)

Is God Is (Soho Rep) (February 6-March 11): Aleshea Harris’s play, winner of the 2016 Relentless Award, was first introduced to me on the page by 3 Hole Press, a small publishing house that seeks expand our notions of plays, scripts, and scores, how we engage with them, and how we distribute them. Typography aside (it looks great in print), I can’t wait to see how the play translates on the stage; it’s dark, allegorical, a familial revenge story like none other I’ve yet encountered. Directed by Taibi Magar, the production features Teagle F. Bougere, Anthony Cason, Nehassaiu deGannes, Jessica Frances Dukes, Caleb Eberhardt, Alfie Fuller, Michael Genet, and Dame-Jasmine Hughes. (Dan O’Neil)

The Amateurs (Vineyard Theatre) (February 8-March 18): Jordan Harrison writes thought-provoking plays that attract actors I always want to see more of. In 2011, his play Maple and Vine introduced me to Jeanine Serralles, Marin Ireland, and Pedro Pascal. In 2015, his futuristic Marjorie Prime (which was also made into a film) starred acting legend Lois Smith. His newest play, The Amateurs, is about a theater troupe during medieval times. Harrison and director Oliver Butler have put together a cast worth seeking out which includes Off-Broadway favorites Kyle Beltran, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Michael Cyril Creighton, Greg Keller, Jennifer Kim, and Thomas Jay Ryan. (Nicole Serratore)

Jomama Jones. (Photo: Tammy Shell, Public Theater)

Black Light (Joe’s Pub) (February 12-March 25): Daniel Alexander Jones (Duat) is bringing back his goddess of wisdom and alter-ego Jomama Jones, for a return engagement of his show from last year’s Under the Radar festival.  This music-driven performance is personal, profound, and brings solace through storytelling and song. Jones has a talent for creating works that invoke the spiritual and mystical, but bring about healing from stories of pain and strife.  (Nicole Serratore)

The Low Road (Public Theater) (February 13-April 1): Following their collaboration on A Parallelogram at Second Stage last year, playwright Bruce Norris and director Michael Greif return with, in the Public’s words, a “wild new work” set in the 18th century. The distant past is new territory for Norris, so I’m interested to see how his contemporary sensibility fuses with the period. The cast totals sixteen actors in fifty roles and features a couple of my personal favorites: Harriet Harris and Chris Perfetti. (Lane Williamson)

Sound House and This Is the Color Described by the Time (New Georges/The Flea) (February 14-March 4): New Georges takes the often unappreciated design element of sound and puts it center stage in these two productions running in rep, by playwrights Stephanie Fleischmann and Lily Whitsitt. One looks at a British composer who invented the precursor to the synthesizer; the other goes inside the mind of Gertrude Stein. Both should be wild rides. (Loren Noveck)

Pollock at Abrons Arts Center

Pollock (Abrons Arts Center) (February 15-25): French playwright Fabrice Melquiot and the Normandy-based company L’héliotrope examine a New York story: the art and marriage of the 20th century abstract expressionist painters Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner. Director Paul Desveaux tried to tap into the theatricality of Pollock’s paint-slinging technique in the show’s French production, and it should be interesting to see what NYC actors Jim Fletcher and Birgitt Huppuch bring to the Gallic perspective in this US premiere. (Molly Grogan)

Admissions (Lincoln Center Theater/Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater) (February 15-April 29): Tony private schools have served as fertile playwriting ground for decades, from The Children’s Hour to The History Boys. In his Lincoln Center debut, popular young scribe Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews, Significant Other) explores the fallout that occurs when a high-minded education administrator’s plan to revitalize her dated institution butts heads with her son’s personal ambitions. Jessica Hecht leads a cast that includes Sally Murphy, Ben Edelman, and Andrew Garman, under Daniel Aukin’s direction. (Cameron Kelsall)

Good for Otto (The New Group/Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre) (February 20-April 1): David Rabe writes plays that are often epic in scope but intimate in theme. Good For Otto, his first new play in New York in six years, seems scaled as such. A review of the play’s premiere engagement in Chicago lists fifteen characters and a three-hour running time, suggesting that the 77-year-old author of Sticks and Bones and Hurlyburly hasn’t lost an iota of ambition over his six-decade career. It follows a psychiatrist (Ed Harris) whose drive to help his patients is sometimes at odds with his own mental health. Amy Madigan, Rhea Perlman, and F. Murray Abraham also star, under the direction of New Group artistic director Scott Elliott. (Cameron Kelsall)

Exeunt Staff is a contributor to Exeunt Magazine