Off Broadway Mix: Bully Boys, Emo Girls, Silent Lambs, in Drama, Comedy, Musicals

Once you venture away from the hypnotic bright lights of Times Square, you enter a different theatrical world. The subway stops are different too, they take you to parts of the city not on the usual tourist map.

Because off-Broadway theatres are often located some distance from the commercial world of Broadway, it has the courage to undertake plays about subjects that are pretty much taboo in other entertainment forms such as television and film. The Big Apple’s huge population allows for even esoteric plays to find an audience, as well as those that address non-mainstream ideas. Of course there are exceptions, such as The stage adaptation of Chaim Potok’s classic coming-of-age novel My Name is Asher Lev which appeared at Barrington Stage Company long before making it to New York. (This year they will undertake The Chosen as well.)

Nevertheless, you are hard pressed to find these kind of shows in the Berkshires, or in any rural community for that matter. Too bad they don’t trust the wide ranging tastes many theater-goers embrace. Curiosity and social engagement doesn’t just occur in cities, it happens anywhere minds are active. And that is everywhere.

These themes are all around us in real life. Like being afflicted with the onset of Alzeimers or its cousin, dementia, as we age. But what if it happens at midlife? The Other Place makes a mysterious and memorable evening of theatre of it.

Young girls have sexual and dating issues galore, and Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues has been tapped for a new play based on her best selling book, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World. A gloriously authentic young cast explores young ideas and provides a long needed contrast to the awful repression and fantasy world of Republican politicians and regressive preachers.

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Then there are two all-singing, all-laughing gay themed musicals, one with clothes, and one without, that give both a naughty (Naked Boys Singing) and nice (Bare) peek into the world that gay men and high school students live in. It’s true that Naked Boys Singing has been performed many times around the country for more than a decade, sometimes being shut down for its nudity – as in Milwaukee – and then reopened. But it is really just a good fun musical, certainly not porn except for those who see the human body as shameful.

The musical Bare has also been around for a while, but the spirited, if not perfect, version now on the boards makes light fun out of the serious subjects of bullying and coming out in a repressive Catholic High School. That its cast and choreographer have become known even in mainstream theatre is a testament to its bona fides.

In Silence: The Musical, a parody of Silence of the Lambs, we meet the truly demented Hannibal Lector and Buffalo Bill as the marvelously normal Clarice Starling tries to solve the puzzle of cannibalized humans. Horror and tragedy ensue, and they have never been funnier.

As usual, we can link you to specially priced tickets for these unusual shows, at savings up to half off the price you would play at the box office. All you need do is click our link and sign in with your email, and a world of inexpensive top quality theatre (and sports and other events) opens up to you. Just click the link that follows each description to access them.

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Emmy Award-winner and Tony nominee Laurie Metcalf (Rosanne, David Mamet’s November) teams with Tony-winning director Joe Mantello (The Pride, Glengarry Glen Ross) for this world-premiere play by rising star Sharr White. In this emotional thriller, Metcalf gives a “dazzling, must-be-seen peformance” (Variety) as Juliana Smithton, a successful neurologist whose glimpse of an enigmatic young woman during a lecture leads her into a deepening and disorienting mystery while her life disintegrates around her. This brilliantly crafted, nailbiting drama blurs the lines of fact and fiction, past and present as the truth about Juliana slowly unfolds. For discount tickets, Click me

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The title says it all — this is a unique evening of entertainment, even for New York City. Eight hunks display all of their charms as they celebrate the splendors of male nudity in comedy, song and dance. This sensational revue features 16 original songs, from the sassy opening number, “Gratuitious Nudity” to the hilarious “Bliss of a Bris.” Naked Boys Singing, which made its triumphant return to Off-Broadway last year, has been hailed by audiences and critics alike as a sure-fire crowd pleaser for bachelorette parties, girls and boys nights out or just a roaring good time for anyone who appreciates the male form, a good laugh and great music. Check it out. Click me

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In my review of Silence: The Musical, I wrote that it should run forever, and it is already on its second cast, and still going strong. Created by Jon and Al Kaplan as a parody of the 1991 Academy Award-winning thriller Silence of the Lambs. The project began in 2003 as an internet musical and became so popular that it was turned into a live show. It premiered at the 2005 Fringe Festival, where it won the award for Outstanding Musical. This wickedly amusing satire is strung together by a chorus of fluffy lambs who narrate the action as the creepy killer, Buffalo Bill, steals women to make himself a ladysuit. Meanwhile, the intrepid rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling matches wits with the evil, cannibalistic mastermind Hannibal Lecter to gain information that will help her identify and catch Buffalo Bill. The performers dance and sing their way to a finale that will have you rolling in the aisles and biting your nails at the same time. Save on tickets by going here: Click me

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bare, a provocative new musical set to a contemporary beat, comes to New World Stages in the heart of Times Square. Set in a Catholic boarding school, bare tells the story of the love between two boys: socially awkward and sensitive Peter, and Jason, the golden-boy popular jock. This touching modern love story features a pop-rock musical score by Damon Intrabartolo and book and lyrics by Jon Hartmere. Led by internationally renowned director Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz, Carrie) with Emmy-nominated choreographer Travis Wall (So You Think You Can Dance), bare follows its youthful characters and their teachers as they wrestle with issues of identity, sexuality, religion and love. Both deeply moving and heartwarmingly humorous, bare is for anyone who’s ever felt locked out while trying to fit in. For your discounted tickets (selected performances) Click me.

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The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre presents Emotional Creature, a powerful new play from Tony Award-winner Eve Ensler, the playwright behind the wildly popular The Vagina Monologues. Ensler continues her quest to empower women in this production that’s geared toward the younger set, as a talented ensemble of young girls perform original monologues and irresistible songs about and for girls. The pieces give full expression to their secret voices and innermost thoughts, highlighting the diversity and commonality of the issues faced by all females as they grow toward womanhood. The runaway success of The Vagina Monologues inspired Ensler to create V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. Her 2010 novel I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, from which she adapted this play, became a New York Times best-seller in 2010. Check it out. Click me

Ari Brand and Mark Nelson in 'My Name is Asher Lev.

Ari Brand and Mark Nelson in ‘My Name is Asher Lev.

Set in post-World War II Brooklyn, My Name is Asher Lev follows the title character through a captivating coming-of-age story that seamlessly explores the intersection of art, family and religion. Adapted by Aaron Posner from the novel by Chaim Potok, the play centers on a young art prodigy whose talent threatens to estrange him from both his parents and his community. Asher’s journey is by turns heartbreaking and exultant as he must choose between his art and his faith. This New York premiere, directed by Gordon Edelstein (The Road to Mecca, The Glass Menagerie), follows an acclaimed, sold-out run at Pittsfield’s Barrington Stage Company and the Tony Award-winning Long Wharf Theatre. Great ticket prices for you, too, just Click me.

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