2006_05_arts_race.jpgSo, as noted earlier this morning, the distance to Broadway’s mostly predictable yet hotly coveted trophies just got a little shorter for this year’s crop of shows, with feel-good musicals taking the lion’s share of recognition, though the reason for a theater climate in which History Boys so easily get beat down by Jersey Boys might also be that there are so few other History Boys. But we digress. So, turning back to our regularly scheduled roundup of shows that – and this is no put-down, in our view – don’t have a shot at the Tonys: too small, too short a run, too, ahem, interesting. At the Brits off Broadway festival, quirky delights continue to be served up, with one current offering being The Race, a “phenomenally athletic” telling of a man’s experience in the intense run-up to the birth of his first child. The company, Gecko, has an approach and ideas like nothing else that’s on stage now or that’s been on recently – how refreshing.
59E59 Theaters // 59 E. 59th St. // Through June 4, Tues.-Sat.8pm, Sun. 3pm // Tickets via Ticket Central

At the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Christopher Denham’s cagelove, about the unraveling of a relationship that’s supposed to be close to consummation, is being directed by Adam Rapp (whom we recently interviewed; Denham is currently starring in Rapp’s Red Light Winter). In this play, a woman has perhaps been raped by a former lover; her fiancé has to sort through her past to find the truth, but that process inevitably endangers their mutual happiness. Rattlestick productions are always no-holds-barred, and the suspense of this story sounds like it will invite a good share of adventure.
Rattlestick // 224 Waverly Place // Through June 18, Mon., Wed.-Sat. 8pm, Sun. 3pm // Tickets via Smarttix

Continuing with the disturbing and suspenseful side of things, Black Henna Productions is staging Lee Blessing’s Down the Road, about a husband and wife who take on the job of putting a serial killer’s personal narrative to the page, but who quickly become more than a little unsettled by the work, both because of the unsavory nature of their subject and because of the possibility that what they publish will only serve to glorify the man, rather than serve as testimony to the terror he inspired.
Altered Stages // 212 W. 29th St. // Through May 27, Thurs.-Sat. 8pm, Sat. 3pm // Email or call 212-330-8248 for ticket reservations

2006_05_arts_thief.jpgSure, it’s spring, but it’s cloudy and we’re going to stay with the dark vibe for the Gothamist pick of the week, I Will Come Like a Thief. A new play by Trish Harnetiaux, it successfully evokes, on the tiny black stage of the 78th St. Theatre Lab, a fully-fledged world of panic and confusion as eight characters deal with the news that their city is soon to be destroyed. A strong cast, particularly Carey Cromelin as a tourist who’s got more to her than meets the eye, and Jerry Zellers as the Mayor alternating between propaganda machine and authentic human, makes Harnetiaux’s troubling (but occasionally uplifting!) vision of people’s reactions to such threatening circumstances all the more immediate and important.
78th St. Theatre Lab // 236 W. 78th St. // Through June 4, Wed.-Sat. 8pm // Tickets via Smarttix
Photo by Jude Domski