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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  LATEST NEW YORK NEWS


By David Lefkowitz

  Mikhail Baryshnikov

He's been a bug on Broadway and babe bait on TV's Sex and the City, but come December, ballet luminary Mikhail Baryshnikov   will be braving Beckett. As part of the 2007-08 season of off-Broadway's New York Theater Workshop, Four One Act Plays by Samuel Beckett will be staged by JoAnne Akalaitis and feature Baryshnikov, alongside David Neumann, Bill Camp and Karen Kandel.

The four short plays chosen from the canon of the Waiting for Godot scribe are Act Without Words I and II, Eh Joe and Rough for Theater. Experimental pieces, they seem suitably matched to director Akalaitis, who has staged works by Schiller, Genet, Euripides and Strindberg, as well as an American Rep mounting of Beckett's Endgame in 1984. Composer Philip Glass, who scored that production, will do the honors for the one-acts as well. Also keeping things familial is actress Kandel, who garnered raves for her work in Peter and Wendy, a production of the Mabou Mines troupe - which was co-founded by Akalaitis.

Surprisingly, both Baryshnikov and Akalaitis have only one Broadway credit on their resumes. Not counting two stints with ABT, Baryshnikov's sole foray was as Gregor Samsa in 1989's Metamorphosis; Akalaitis staged 1993's In the Summer House.

Also set for the 2007-08 NYTW season is Betty Shamieh's  The Black Eyed, to be staged bySam Gold. Opening this July, the play takes a serio-comic look at four Arab women throughout the ages and promises to "skewer traditional views on sex, family and terrorism." Shamieh previously came to the fore with Roar.

Two iconoclastic auteurs are also skedded for New York Theater Workshop's season, with Rinde Eckert's Horizon slated for June. The fictional tale of a theologian who clashes with higher-ups at his seminary will feature Eckert's particular mix of storytelling, music and movement. The piece, by the creator of And God Created Great Whales, debuted at the University of Nebraska in 2005.

Although he hasn't chosen his play yet,Ivo van Hove  will also return to NYTW in September, marking his fifth production for the company. Controversial but visceral, van Hove's previous efforts included a bare-bones, tantrum-prone Hedda Gabler and a subtext-is-urtext Streetcar Named Desire.

In winter 2008, poet and playwright Naomi Wallace returns to the Workshop with Things of Dry Hours, a Depression-era drama about a black Sunday school teacher who considers helping a white factory worker on the run. Wallace's The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek played NYTW in 1999, two years after her Obie-winning One Flea Spare was staged at the Public Theater.

Ending the next season at NYTW will be an as-yet-unnamed piece by the dance-performance-theater troupe, Elevator Repair Service, the group best known for Room Tone. Their latest, expected in spring 2008, will be an adaptation of William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury."

Now in its 25th season, New York Theater Workshop is currently offering All the Wrong Reasons, a solo piece by actor-comedian John Fugelsang  that will run from March 23-May 6.


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