Terrence McNally’s busy year continues, Davy Rothbart’s “Found” magazine gets the musical treatment and Joely Richardson brings to the stage a “fun” Emily Dickinson. Here’s a look at three shows currently making news Off-Broadway.
"Lips Together, Teeth Apart"
By: Terrence McNally, with direction by Peter Dubois. At Second Stage Theater, 305 W. 43rd St.
Starring: America Ferrara (“Ugly Betty”), Tracee Chimo (“Bad Jews”), Michael Chernus (Lisa Kron’s “In the Wake”) and Austin Lysy (“The American Plan”)
Synopsis: Two straight couples gather for a weekend in the Fire Island Pines in McNally’s three-act 1991 drama about grief and isolation. Ferrera is a woman whose younger brother has recently died from AIDS complications, leaving behind a beachfront house filled with memories.
What the critics are saying: Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News says Chimo, in particular, “snags lots of laughs,” but others were disappointed with the production as a whole. “The middling revival … doesn’t fully excavate the rich seams of feeling in this, one of McNally’s finest plays,” wrote Charles Isherwood in The New York Times.
Tickets: $79. Call (212) 246-4422 or visit 2st.com
By: Hunter Bell (“title of show”), Lee Overtree and Eli Bolin, with direction by Overtree. At the Atlantic’s Linda Gross Theater, 336 W. 20th St.
Starring: Nick Blaemire (“Godspell”), Danny Pudi (TV’s “Community”) and Barrett Wilbert Reed (“Heathers”)
Synopsis: Davy (Blaemire) and his two best friends are lost and broke. When he finds a note on his windshield meant for someone else, it sparks an outlandish idea that finds him and his compatriots on a comedic journey. Based on the “Found” books and magazines by Davy Rothbart.
What the critics are saying: Variety’s Marilyn Stasio believes the “exhilarating show would have a better chance of attracting eyeballs … if it shed two members of a 10-body cast and cut about 20 minutes of lame jokes from the playing time." Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly’s Thom Geier says “serendipity and missed connections …are put to clever use in the fact-based chamber musical, (but) it's too bad that the show's conceit isn't matched by the plot.”
Tickets: $75. Call 866-811-4111 or visit atlantictheater.org.
“The Belle of Amherst”
By: William Luce, directed by Steve Cosson
Starring: Joely Richardson (“Nip/Tuck”)
Synopsis: Emily Dickinson welcomes audiences into her lifelong Amherst homestead in mid-19th century Massachusetts. Playwright Luce weaves her poems, diaries, and letters into a one-woman portrait, originally created for Julie Harris in 1976.
What the critics are saying: “Richardson proves to be a deliciously spry tour guide through the poet’s life and letters. Whoever expected to use ‘fun’ and ‘Emily Dickinson’ in the same sentence,” joshes Elisabeth Vincentelli of The New York Post. Adds AP’s Jennifer Farrar: “Joely Richardson breathes new life into Dickinson with an impish, high-spirited enactment.”
Tickets: $79 and up. Call 212-239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com.