Three at the Flea

By John Rowell

The Flea Theater offers up its New Play Festival beginning April 20, with three world premieres set to hit the boards:

• The Electric LighthouseEd Himes’s jet-black comedy is set in Soho, London, and takes a look at post-punk bands, indie cinema and trying to hang onto yourself in a city that wants to re-write you. Kristen Seemel directs.

• The Wundelsteipen (And Other Difficult Roles for Young People): An evening of dark comedic pieces written by Nick Jones and directed by Thomas Costello, involves a slave responsible for waking Caligula in the morning, two adolescent brothers who are visited by a sex fairy from the Internet, and the story of Salome retold as a Disneyesque fairy tale. 

• A Letter From Omdurman: Jeff Jones’s play assembles stories that interweaves three historical periods: life in contemporary America, events leading up to the gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, and the Anglo-Sudanese War, which ended in the defeat of the Mahdi Army at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898. Page Burkholder directs.

The cast for the New Play Festival will be comprised of The Bats, the resident acting company of the Flea, and all performances take place at The Flea Theater on White Street. Visit


Those clever ladies of The Queen’s Company—NYC’s acclaimed all-female classical theater company—are up to their formidable tricks again next month when they present Shakespeare’s famously dark comedy As You Like It at Walkerspace in Tribeca. Directed by Queen’s Company artistic director, Rebecca PattersonAYLI explores the paradoxical powers of love, domination, revenge and forgiveness, and Queen’s single-sex cast is sure to deliver a surprising and refreshing, not to mention sexy and playful, retelling of this beloved work. Opening night is set for May 5, and performances continue through May 20.


Quick, what’s the longest-running play in New York history? It’s a most excellent question for theater buffs. That distinction would belong, believe it or not, to Perfect CrimeWarren Manzi’s romantic thriller, which has been pulling ‘em in for 25 years as of April 18. And how’s this for a factoid? The leading lady (and the play’s general manager) Catherine Russell has been with the show since it began—in the same role! And she’s never missed a performance, never taken a vacation day or called in sick! (Yes, the Guinness Book of World Records has taken note.) Success in this business is spelled a few ways, and Manzi’s play, and Russell’s longevity, must surely be counted as successful. You could call it New York’s answer to London’s The Mousetrap, and who knows? It may just run another 25 years. Congrats, Perfect Crime, on your silver anniversary milestone.


The Nowak family of Buffalo always thought they were special—ever since Clara’s father, an immigrant from war-torn Poland, had a miraculous vision in his barbershop. But 65 years later, Clara’s youngest daughter has stopped going to mass, her son is dating a Jewish girl, and a deathbed confession causes the family legend to unravel, with unexpected results. That’s the premise behind Tom Dudzick’s (Greetings!) new play Miracle on South Division Street, which receives its Off-Broadway premiere courtesy of Penguin Rep Theatre beginning April 25 at St. Luke’s TheatreJoe Brancato directs, and opening night is set for May 13.


He’s nine, almost ten, and he imagines tropical fish swimming in the city’s canals, torrential hailstorms raging in midsummer and Jesus stopping by every now and then for a chat. Thomas Klopper is the hero of The Book of Everything, a play for young people and their families set in post-war Amsterdam in 1951 by Australian playwright and director Neil Armfield, which runs April 20-29 at The New Victory Theater. For more info, visit


Playwrights Horizons finds itself with a hit on its hands this spring in the form of Dan LeFranc’s play The Big Meal, which has just been extended for the second time (through April 29). In a typical suburban restaurant on a typical night, Sam and Nicole meet. Sparks fly, setting in motion an expansive tale that traverses five generations of a modern family, from first kiss to final goodbye. Spanning nearly 80 years in a single sitting, The Big Meal is served up by Obie-winning director Sam Gold (whose last name is starting to prove prophetic for nearly everything he directs) and features David Wilson Barnes, Griffin Birney, Tom Bloom, Anita Gillette, Jennifer Mudge, Rachel Resheff, Cameron Scoggins, Phoebe Strole and Molly Ward. Performances take place at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater.