A correction was made to this article on June 6, 2005.
So much for the summer reprieve.
The close of the Broadway season traditionally means three months of relative quiet before the new season cranks up. But Gotham theaters from now through August will be unusually active.
Helping to solve the problem of dark stages due to premature closings and new openings not scheduled until the fall, a number of limited-run engagements are booked.
These include London import “Primo,” Anthony Sher’s solo show adapted from Holocaust survivor Primo Levi’s Auschwitz memoir, at the Music Box in July; Hal Holbrook’s historic one-man portrait “Mark Twain Tonight!” returns to the Brooks Atkinson in a revised version in June; and at the same theater the following month, home-shopping priestess Suzanne Somers’ “The Blonde in the Thunderbird” arrives, its title a nod to the star’s early appearance in “American Graffiti.”
Two new musicals hoping to improve on tepid receptions during San Francisco tryouts will hit Gotham in August.
Opening at the Broadhurst Aug. 4 is “Lennon,” which depicts the life of the pop culture icon through his post-Beatles songs. Following at the Broadway Theater later that month is “The Mambo Kings,” a rare attempt to tap the Latin market with a musical based on Oscar Hijuelos’ Pulitzer-winning novel, “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love.”
Hoping to repeat the runaway success of its “Twelve Angry Men” revival, Roundabout will open Somerset Maugham’s comedy of 1920s upper-class London, “The Constant Wife,” June 16 at the American Airlines Theater, headlined by Lynn Redgrave and Kate Burton.
Off Broadway also has its share of summer contenders for ticketbuyers’ attention.
Again from Roundabout in June comes the New York premiere of Jon Robin Baitz’s sex, money and power saga “The Paris Letter,” at the Laura Pels, starring John Glover, Michele Pawk and Ron Rifkin. Doug Hughes (“Doubt”) will direct. Bob Balaban helms “Manuscript,” a new comedy about the quest for vengeance and fame by Paul Grellong, opening at DR2 this month. “Law and Order” star S. Epatha Merkerson heads the cast of Cheryl L. West’s reflection on love and marriage, “Birdie Blue,” opening June 23 at Second Stage.
New Yorkers get a chance to see Vanessa Redgrave back onstage in Tony Harrison’s new adaptation for the RSC of Euripides’ “Hecuba,” playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music June 17-26.
Aiming to become the Off Broadway home of offbeat mini-musicals after “Altar Boyz” and “The Musical of Musicals,” Dodger Stages ushers in “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” in August.
And the Public Theater’s annual Shakespeare in the Park series this year offers a double dose to mark its 50th anniversary. First up, starting June 25, is “As You Like It,” starring Brian Bedford and Lynn Collins; followed by a revival of John Guare and “Hair” composer Galt MacDermot’s 1971 musical version of “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” bowing Aug. 16. Director-choreographer is Kathleen Marshall (“Wonderful Town”).