It seems like every few months or so there’s a story in the news about how hard it is to produce a show on stage these days – hard to make it profitable, hard to get the audiences. From Broadway to off-off Broadway, it's the same story. Thankfully a few recent shows have done well enough that they’ve returned, or will be, for extended runs. The lucky recipients of this popular demand?
-- All Wear Bowlers, which Gothamist reviewed the first time around, is back starting today, through May 29, at HERE Arts Center. We can’t recommend this nouveau vaudeville show that takes inspiration from both Laurel & Hardy and Gertrude Stein highly enough. It’s funny, thought-provoking, and energetically well-acted all at once, and reminds you of why it’s just not worth it to pay the big bucks on Broadway.
-- Boozy is the creation of Les Freres Corbusier and, like Bowlers, was a hit earlier this year. As its lengthy subtitle indicates, it’s about “the life, death, and subsequent vilification of Le Corbusier, and, more importantly, Robert Moses”: in other words, a cheeky rock musical take on the history of urban planning in NYC. Got that? Just go see it: for its new run (May 1-28) it will be at 45 Bleecker. (For a little more intellectualizing, check out this interesting NY Times article about the current trend, of which Boozy and Bowlers are both part, toward comedy in avant-garde theater.)
-- One of the big hopes theater groups have when they go to the New York International Fringe Festival is that their show will be picked up by someone with the money for a regular run. That’s what happened for Sides: The Fear Is Real, a play about actors’ audition nightmares for which Mr. Miyagi Theatre Company won Best Ensemble in the 2004 Fringe Fest. The actors being portrayed on stage might be miserable, but that pain is audiences’ delight, and the company was rewarded with a turn at P.S. 122, which will continue until May 1.
-- Finally, The Blind, which first showed at unique venue The Frying Pan this past March, is going to be at Classic Stage just briefly in May (May 11-15) as part of the “On the Verge” series. In the first run, Maurice Maeterlinck’s play about a group of blind people stranded on an island, waiting for the arrival of a priest, was followed by a meal in which audience members mingled with the actors. Not so this time around, but hopefully the same rewarding sense of community arising out of utter darkness will be as palpable.
Even if you saw these shows in their original incarnations, in an extension there are often little changes and improvements; and if you didn’t see them then, don’t miss out this time!