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The Footlights: Fall Theater Preview

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Watchcentury_l

Watchcentury_lThe hot weather is supposed to be behind us (damn you, global warming!) and chillier nights should play host to the new wave of shows. And while it would be utterly loco of me to include everything between now and early December, I figured it would be a good idea to give you some choice highlights, both in and out of the Big Apple, of the upcoming theater season.

EQUUS
Direct from London, here comes the heartwarming tale of a boy (Daniel Radcliffe), horsies, and how he likes to blind said horsies. Buzz is deafening. And you can even nab onstage seats to get a better view of Harry Potter, uh, up close and personal. (Broadhurst Theatre on Broadway, in previews, opens 9/25, www.telecharge.com)

FIFTY WORDS
Playwright Michael Weller is busy this season (he also has Beast at New York Theater Workshop right now), but any play with both Norbert Leo Butz and Elizabeth Marvel(ous, always), playing a couple immersed in marital woes, gets the edge. (Lucille Lortel Theatre Off Broadway, in previews, opens 9/28, http://www.mcctheater.org/tickets.html)

TURN OF THE CENTURY           
Nine-time Tony winner Tommy Tune directing Jeff Daniels (who finally gets to showcase his musician skills)and Rachel York (Victor/Victoria) in an American Songbook-laced (IrvingBerlin, Rodgers & Hart) musical from the writers of Jersey Boys? Count me in. (Goodman Theatre in Chicago, begins 9/19, http://www.goodmantheatre.org)

ALL MY SONS            
Yeah, yeah…Katie Holmes is in this and anti-Scientologists arealready picketing the theater. But why is everyone ignoring the factthat John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, and Patrick Wilson are in this as welland this is a kick-ass Arthur Miller play? (Schoenfeld Theatre onBroadway, begins 9/18, opens 10/16, http://www.telecharge.com)

BACK BACK BACK           
Itamar Moses is a very cool young playwright (The Four of Us) and thisclubhouse-set tale of three ball players sounds like another home run.(Sorry, had to.) And this pic might make it interesting for the ladies and gay gents too. (The Old Globe in San Diego, begins 9/19, http://www.theoldglobe.org/tickets/)

BLACK WATCH           
I kicked myself right in the keister for missing this Scottish Armydrama when it played last fall. I won’t make the same mistake again.(St. Ann’s Warehouse Off Broadway, plays 10/9 to 11/30, http://www.stannswarehouse.org/buy_tickets.php)

ROCK OF AGES            
Okay, this will be either be a unintentionally hilarious piece o’crapor prime mullet good times, but either way, this ConstantineMaroulis-led rock jukebox fest — featuring the tunes of Bon Jovi,Styx, Journey, and Whitesnake, among many — should be a hoot. Andthey’d better have “Mr. Roboto” in it. (New World Stages Off Broadway, previews begin 9/30, opens 10/10, http://www.telecharge.com)

BILLY ELLIOT            
There’s a reason Elton John has been razzed in both The Drowsy Chaperone and Gutenberg! The Musical!for his composing skills, but after all of its West End success andgoodwill, one has to think this Thatcherville-set story of thelittle-ballet-dancing-boy-that-could will cross the pond with class.(Imperial Theatre on Broadway, previews begin 10/1, opens 11/13, http://www.telecharge.com)

SPEED-THE-PLOW / AMERICAN BUFFALO           
Two David Mamet plays on Broadway simultaneously? And two really wild casts? (STP has Jeremy Piven, Raúl Esparza, and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss; AB has John Leguizamo, Cedric the Entertainer, and the boy, now grown, who saw dead people? Strange, yet vaguely awesome. (PLOW: Barrymore Theatre on Broadway, previews begin 10/3, opens 10/23, www.telecharge.com ; BUFFALO: Belasco Theatre on Broadway, previews begin 10/31, opens 11/17, www.telecharge.com)

ROAD SHOW           
Three words: New. Stephen. Sondheim. If that doesn’t make your heartbeat faster, I can never, ever be your friend. (Public Theater OffBroadway, previews begin 10/28, opens 11/18, http://www.publictheater.org)

DIVIDING THE ESTATE            
I saw this one last year and was jazzed to hear of its Broadwaytransfer (and it’s not just me who’s excited — theater editor MelissaBernardo had it at a ripe #2 on last year’s Best of Stage). So I cantell you sincerely that this Southern family dramedy about how moneyissues all but consume an unwieldy brood is unmissable, and HortonFoote (The Trip to Bountiful), at age 92 (!), is still at his peak. (Booth Theatre on Broadway, previews begin 10/23, opens 11/20, http://www.lct.org/showMain.htm?id=182)

DUBLIN CAROL / THE SEAFARER            
Steppenwolf takes on two terrific Conor McPherson plays in rep: August: Osage County star Amy Morton directs the former with a fresh-from-CSI William Petersen as a reflective alcoholic; John Mahoney (Frasier)gets drunk and plays cards with the boys (including one mysterious newpoker buddy) in the latter. Sure to be better than aged Irish whiskey,and just might warrant a Footlights field trip…(Steppenwolf Theatrein Chicago, Carol begins 11/7, Seafarer begins 12/4, http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/)

SHREK
Okay, throw your brickbats; I hate the damn movies, but the team behind this — Avenue Q’sdirector Jason Moore, composer Jeanine Tesori, stars Brian d’ArcyJames, Sutton Foster, Chester Gregory III and John Tartaglia — I wouldfollow into the murkiest swamp. (Broadway Theatre on Broadway, previewsbegin 11/8, opens 12/14, www.telecharge.com)

So, PopWatchers, any of these sound good to you? Anything you wannapummel me for leaving out? Any shows in your neck of the woods we needto know about? The ghostlight is on…

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