Since Gothamist usually tries to write about shows that are coming up or playing for extended periods so that you have chance to get tickets (if you make plans further in advance than we do, of course) but this week we’re making an exception in order to mention a few theatre events that are either one-night-only or closing soon, but worth trying to get to if you can.
Most immediately is the second of two developmental readings of a new musical at Playwrights Horizons, Grey Gardens, which Doug Wright, Michael Korie, and Scott Frankel adapted from a documentary about the rather bizarre, reclusive lives led by an aunt and cousin of Jackie Onassis, who will be played in the reading as well as in next spring’s production by Mary Louise Wilson and Christine Ebersole (seasoned director Michael Greif is at the helm). Gothamist just read about this on Playbill.com, which apparently didn’t know about it before yesterday, and we don’t have any info about how you can get into the reading, but maybe if you stand outside the theatre and try to look like an industry type they’ll let you in.
If that somehow doesn’t work out for you, though, you can still get some Jackie O glamour next Monday when Andrea Reese brings back her solo show Cirque Jacqueline as a benefit for the Red Cross/Hurricane Katrina. Gothamist didn’t get to see this when it ran originally, but Reese got high praise for the way she inhabits Onassis’ persona and reveals “the real Jackie.” One wonders how the Kennedys would have responded to Katrina; we imagine Jackie would be enthusiastic about this use of her seemingly eternal celebrity for a good cause.
Interestingly, on the same day there’s another Red Cross benefit involving stage representations of royalty (OK, Onassis was just quasi-royalty): a reading of Austin Pendleton’s new H6R3. Lynn Redgrave, B.D. Wong and Geraint Wyn Davies are the star names (aside from Pendleton, whose Orson’s Shadow was quite the hit this year) in this production, which combines 3 Shakespeare plays, Henry VI parts 1 and 2 with Richard III, and tops it off with a new ending. The event sounds somewhat swanky – if you get the most expensive ticket you also get to tipple champagne with the actors and playwright – but hey, as we said above, it’s a good cause, and it is real royalty we’re talking about, or at least actors playing it, so that's gotta count for something. Anyway, continuing on...
The realm of the Red Cross and the challenges of Katrina aren’t that far off from the little matter of the tangled healthcare system in the US, which is the subject of Damaged Care, a musical by two doctors that first played last year and is back for just two nights. The title pretty much tells you what the perspective is going to be – not an optimistic one – except that it is actually a comedy that at least tries to bring a lighter touch to a pretty painful subject. Laughter is the best medicine anyway, right?
But depression and sharp intellectual angst are often so interesting, which is one reason we love Dostoevsky and think the staged reading of his Notes From Underground sounds pretty great. It’ll be an intimate performance by Patrice Chereau, who’s famed in France and abroad for his work in film and opera as well as theatre, and is here for the Act French festival. Searing as Dostoevsky’s words are in print, hearing them presented in this stark live session will probably be even more affecting.
Finally, a couple shows we haven’t mentioned that are about to close, and that you should try to catch if possible before they do. The Safety Net, by Christopher Kyle, has gotten great reviews and was extended for a few shows, but it’s closing on Sunday. It’s about an up-and-coming NYC lawyer who returns home to Indianapolis after his adopted brother dies, in order to help the brother’s family and get some answers about his past while also confronting questions of race and class. On the lighter side, though not to say lightweight, is The Karma Cookie, by P. Seth Bauer. This is still in workshop mode, but it sounds quite intriguing; the synopsis given by The Drilling Company, which is producing, describes it as an absurdist comedy in which “two working class British brothers go on a search for meaning and destiny, following signs from a fortune cookie to a yellow kite” while following the “laws of the universe.” Gothamist doesn’t thinking looking for indications of destiny in a fortune cookie is all that absurd, but maybe that’s just us. In any case, it’s definitely worth checking out, as are all the others we’ve mentioned – now you just have to see about getting a seat.
Details: Cirque Jacqueline will play at the Triad Theater, 158 W. 72nd St., at 7pm on Monday, 10/10. Call (212) 501-2584 for ticket reservations.
H6R3 gets its reading at the Promenade, 2162 Broadway (between 76th/77th) on Monday, 10/10, at 8pm. Tickets are available at Smarttix.
Damaged Care is at Dillon’s, 245 W. 54th St., on Sat. at 6pm and Sun. at 2pm. Call 212-352-3101 for ticket reservations.
The reading of Notes From Underground is at Symphony Space (Broadway at 95th St.) on Tues., 10/11, at 8pm. Call (212) 864-5400 or go to the Symphony Space site for tickets.
The Safety Net’s final shows are tonight, tomorrow, and Sat. at 8pm and Sun. at 7pm. Call (212) 397-2918 or email reservations (at) brokenwatch.org for tickets. It’s at the Michael Weller Theater (formerly the Sande Shurin), 8th Ave. at 43rd St.
The Karma Cookie is at the 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236 W. 78th St., tonight through Sat. at 8pm. Call (212) 414-7717 for reservations.
Photo of Andrea Reese by Lisa Kapler.