5 Must-See Shows if You’re in New York This Month

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Next up is a revival of this 1996 drama about Saartjie Baartman, an African woman “of singular anatimy” who was exhibited in 19th-century European freak shows as the “Hottentot Venus.” (Zainab Jah, who played the warrior in “Eclipsed,” stars as Baartman; Lear deBessonet directs.) For Ms. Parks, drama is tangible, starting with the skin; no wonder she calls her Signature year a process of “resurrecting my body of work.”

Tickets: signaturetheatre.org

Kaye Ballard: “Lazy Afternoon” (Golden Apple Original-Cast) 1954 Video by SmilingPessimist

The Golden Apple

In 1954 it apparently seemed like a profitable notion to reset the story of Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey” in Washington State, circa 1900, and turn it into a musical. The result was a three-month Broadway bomb. Still, over time, the delicious through-composed score by Jerome Moross and John LaTouche, along with Mr. LaTouche’s clever book (Paris is a traveling salesman who runs off with Helen after an apple-pie-baking contest) turned the bomb into a cult.

Who knows what this Encores! concert production, directed by Michael Berresse and starring Lindsay Mendez as Helen, and Ryan Silverman as Ulysses, may do for the show’s reputation? In any case, the chance to hear the lush songs (including the standard “Lazy Afternoon”) in their full orchestrations is probably, sadly, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Tickets: nycitycenter.org

3/Fifths

Rachel Dolezal notwithstanding, most people don’t get to choose their race — or, therefore, what kind of racism they will experience or engender. That limitation on our power of perspective is temporarily corrected in this immersive production, conceived and written by James Scruggs, in which audience members, before entering a “dystopian theme park” called SupremacyLand, decide at the door what race they will be. (And no, you can’t change your mind once you’re in.) Incorporating large-scale video, text and music, the work (directed by Tamilla Woodard and Kareem Fahmy, at 3LD Art & Technology Center) may not be for the interactively squeamish, but perhaps that’s part of the point.

Tickets: 3ldnyc.org

Photo

Judith Moreland and Bo Foxworth in Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall,” at the Fountain Theater in Los Angeles. Ari Edelson directs a production of the play at New World Stages in New York this month. Credit Ed Krieger

Building the Wall

A built-in paradox of theater is that for all its immediacy in the playhouse, it can take forever to get there. That’s just one reason that this new drama by Robert Schenkkan (“The Kentucky Cycle,” “All The Way”) is an outlier and potentially a tonic. Written in one week and in a “white-hot fury,” as Mr. Schenkkan told The Times, it is a speculative fiction, set in 2019, in which a journalist (Tamara Tunie) interviews a Trump administration official (James Badge Dale) who is awaiting sentencing for his role in deporting immigrants after a terrorist attack.

Whether the speed of composition will prove to have served the drama remains to be seen, but the speed with which it is reaching audiences is already impressive. Aside from this New York production, directed by Ari Edelson at New World Stages, five theaters have taken it up or are scheduled to present it in the coming months.

Tickets: buildingthewallplay.com

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Amber Tamblyn, who will make her New York stage debut. Credit Matt Sayles/Invision, via Invision for PEN Center USA

Can You Forgive Her?

Gina Gionfriddo, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for both “Becky Shaw” and “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” has a scalding ear for satire. But there’s also something classical about the way she sets up and complicates her premises; the apparently humble but actually rather conniving title character of “Becky Shaw” couldn’t help invoking the similarly named Becky Sharp in Thackeray’s “Vanity Fair.”

Likewise, her latest play, about a woman unable to choose what kind of life (and man) to make, may remind you of the 1864 Trollope novel with which it shares a title. Not a bad model. Amber Tamblyn, making her New York stage debut, stars, along with the Off Broadway familiars Darren Pettie, Frank Wood and Ella Dershowitz, under the direction of Peter DuBois at the Vineyard Theater.

Tickets: vineyardtheatre.org

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