Playbill reported yesterday that South Pacific, the only Rodgers & Hammerstein musical not yet revived, will be back next year. No surprise there – every other hit show from the 20th century has had a second stint now, so it’s more a wonder that this one has taken so long. A Chorus Line just closed in 1990 and is already scheduled to reappear this fall; there are even rumors of Cats embarking on a second life in the not-too-distant future, and it only closed in 2000. This is why we would keep going to off-off-Broadway shows even if we could afford the big tickets: while there are certainly plenty of small troupes that perform from a standard repertoire of old classics, these are often adapted beyond recognition, and in general at any given time there are far more brand-new works than warmed-over, recycled stuff.

2006_01_arts_harvest This week, as usual, the offerings are from every part of the new-old spectrum; there’s so much interesting stuff on it’s hard to know where to begin, so we’ll go with one of the several shows at ever-innovative La MaMa. Harvest, by Manjula Panamanabhan, tackles a tough subject – relations between the first and third worlds – with an even tougher topic: the organ trade. Only, in the play's world, that trade isn’t the black market thing it is now, but rather has become a formalized pact between advanced nations and developing ones. The play tells the story of a Mumbai man whose American beneficiary/benefactor pays him to live “cleanly” so she can have his organs at any time she needs them; her power over him and his family soon grows excessive, laying the groundwork for mutiny. It’s a dark one, for sure, but there’s leavening irony and humor, so you’ll likely leave filling disturbed but not suicidal.

Even if Harvest isn’t unrelentingly depressing, you might want something more lighthearted overall. We understand. If that’s the case, you could check out Bag Fulla Money, a “comic caper” by Scott Brooks that opened yesterday; it’s about what happens when a haul of stolen cash is left unattended in a fancy hotel’s kitchen. Everyone in the play is trying to best the others in order to be the one who makes off with the money. Embellishing the basic premise of the farce is rapid-fire dialogue that should make the show a ball to watch.

If titles mean anything, there looks to be a lot of fun in Matt Morillo’s Angry Young Women in Low Rise Jeans With High Class Issues. It’s a hybrid of sitcom, stand-up, and sketch comedy that happens in five parts, some monologue and some play (part one: "My Last Thong"). In case the title doesn’t spell it out for you, the show follows the modern trials and traumatic tribulations of various New York women, a topic that doesn’t seem to have gotten too overdone yet in audiences' opinion.

Those three are new plays through and through; the Foundry Theatre’s Major Bang: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Dirty Bomb moves a little on the spectrum, as it takes bits of (guess!) Dr. Strangelove, The Bodyguard, and Lenny Bruce bring to life the true story a Boy Scout who built a nuclear reactor to earn a badge. Steve Cuiffo of the Wooster Group and Maggie Hoffman of Radiohole are the actors, so you know it’s going to be engaging and off-the-wall in a very good way.

New works based on old material make up the Poe-Fest at the Metropolitan Playhouse. There are thirteen performances, appropriately, and they include musicals, dance pieces, straight plays, and monologues. The festival is broken up into seven “vaults,” some with multiple events in them and all celebrating, in one way or another, everyone’s favorite 19th century master of the wonderfully creepy.

Finally, among off-off’s various current versions of plays from long ago is Bee Sting Theater Company’s resurrection of Brecht’s Drums in the Night. Nominally about a young man who’s returned from fighting in World War I only to find everything at home falling apart, so that instead of recuperating and getting back to normal he (and everyone else) has to deal with the intense anomie of the homeland, this version will undoubtedly aim to demonstrate modern echoes of the plot. Even without relocating it in our era, we guess that it probably won’t be too hard for the actors and director Deborah Wolfson to evoke present-day anxieties.

Details after the jump...

2006_01_arts_majorbang.jpgHarvest is at La MaMa (74A E. 4th) from this Thurs. through Feb. 5. Shows are Thurs.-Sun. 7:30pm, Sun. also 2:30pm. Tickets are here.

Bag Fulla Money is at the Clurman Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St., through Jan. 29. Shows are Monday and Wed.-Sat. at 8pm, Sun. at 2pm. Tickets at Ticket Central.

Angry Young Women... is at DUO Theatre, 62 E. 4th St., starting this Thurs. through Feb. 12; shows are Thurs.-Sat. at 7:30 and 9:30pm, and Sun. at 3pm; tickets via Smarttix.

Major Bang is at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn (38 Water St.), through Feb. 19. Shows are Tues.-Sat. 8pm, Sat. and Sun. 4pm. Tickets via Ticketweb.

Drums in the Night is at the Flea Theater, 41 White. St., from Thurs. through Jan. 28. Shows are Thurs.-Sat. 10pm; tickets at Theatermania.