The Week in Theater: Hanoi Jane Invades BroadwayS

This week has been dominated by finance and media critique, so why not flip the switch in your brain this weekend and go see a play or something. Or just read about some.

  • Don't worry! In these times when Jim Cramer has single-handedly robbed you blind and stolen your house, Broadway theatre still soldiers on. For example, West Side Story is performing well, grossing over $2 million for the two weeks it's been in previews.
  • Plus big stars are filling the stages this spring, from Susan Sarandon to James Gandolfini to Joan Allen to Jane Fonda herself. The traitorous actress got pretty solid notices for her performance as a dying Beethoven scholar in Moises Kaufman's limp-sounding play 33 Variations.
  • Been a lady in war, or just curious what female soldiers' experiences have been like? Go check out The Lonely Soldier Monologues (Women at War in Iraq), at Theater for the New City in the E-Vill. Supposedly parts of it are "revalatory and disturbing." I, for one, don't wanna sit around watchin' a bunch of gals cookin' Army food! Right??
  • If you think your parents are clowns (they are), meet Lorenzo Pisoni, whose pops actually was one. He discusses what it was like growing up in that strange sort of household, and does some of the routines, in his one man show at MTC, Humor Abuse. His physicality is, evidently, "breathtaking."
  • Well, here you go. Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura on the O.G. Little House On the Prairie TV show, will be playing Ma in a tour of the stage musical based on Laura Ingalls Wilder's famous book series. Set to begin after the show a ends five week run at the Paper Mill in NJ, the 30-city extravaganza starts in Minnesota, where it first premiered. (Patty Noons, if you're reading this, I hope you made the tour.)
  • The new Catch Me If You Can musical, based on the movie, with music by Scott Wittman and Mark Shaiman and a book by Terrence McNally, will premiere this summer at the increasingly-popular-for-tryouts 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle. Cutiepants Aaron Tveit will play the Leonardo DiCaprio part, with seasoned veteran Norbert Leo Butz stepping into the Tom Hanks role. If the whole production basically just looks like the opening credits sequence, then I can forgive the show for being yet another movie adaptation.
  • Casting has begun for the New Georges and the Hip-Hop Theater Festival's co-production Angela's Mixtape, a play by Eisa Davis. You may have seen Davis as the mother in the terrific Passing Strange, on both East and West coasts, or as Bubbles' sister on The Wire.
  • Go see Martha Clarke's dance (sort of) piece Garden of Earthly Delights at Minetta Lane before it closes on March 29th.
  • In other regional news: Chicago's Theo Ubique Theatre Company is apparently doing good things with a "vest-pocket-sized" production of Evita. Go see the "huge talents" at the No Ext Cafe, in Roger's Park. In LA, the Road Theatre Company's well-reviewed The Bird and Mr. Banks at the Lankershim Arts Center just got extended to May 2nd. Now you have even more opportunities to see Bernard from Lost (also known as Sam Anderson) as a murderous CPA with a bird obsession. If you want to go see something pretty, but flawed, in Boston, head over the Huntington for Two Men of Florence, a play about Galileo that has a "beautiful set" if not a moving script.

Enjoy.