It's time for the local theatrics to gear up and people to start dancing. You will have your pick of performances to attend, from community theater shows in school gymnatoriums to visiting blockbusters --- along with a matching range in ticket price --- but here's what we're excited about.
We start out with a Mamet, a Parks, and a Fair Lady. Blackfriars will open their fall season with Boston Marriage, a play in which David Mamet tries on a woman's perspective --- in a Victorian drawing room, at that. The trademark Mamet dialogue ("Mametspeak": that clipped, repetitive, witty manipulation of American jargon) is there, just with a slight Oscar Wilde cast.
Shipping Dock Theatre opens with a Rochester premiere, Suzan-Lori Parks' Pultizer-winning Topdog/Underdog. It's the story of two brothers named Lincoln and Booth; the sibling rivalry that follows from that birthright is the staging for larger comments on the urban African American life.
We count on Rochester Broadway Theatre League to quell our Broadway jones, and this year doesn't disappoint. The always lovely My Fair Lady opens the season in October, followed by Peter Pan (with Cathy Rigby in her farewell tour), and finally Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in December. (And it's almost time to start salivating for The Lion King here in March.)
Geva is taking some new directions this fall. There is no A Christmas Carol. Not at Geva. Get your Dickens somewhere else. But that's OK, really. It gives our biggest professional theater a chance to try something new.
And what's new? First The Road Home: Re-Membering America, a new play (this is the world premiere) by Marc Wolf. Wolf's first, Another American: Asking and Telling, won a 2000 Obie, and here he continues his method of presenting a collection of Americans' narratives. The Road Home was born on Wolf's post-9/11, cross-country drive to his New York City home. Geva's wraps up 2005 with a full-circle production of the madcap-whodunit Shear Madness. Apparently, the American theatre staple had its start at Geva in 1976, as a mystery called Who Dunnit? Who knew?
We're happy to see The Big Voice: God or Merman return to the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre for a brief run at the end of September. Continuing the romance with Fringe darlings, DCT gives us The Slip Knot, a one-man show about mind-numbing work, in October. And look for the Noel Coward classic Private Lives. DCT will continue the audience-beloved triumvirate --- I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, The Water Coolers, and Sophie Tucker: Last of the Red Hot Mamas --- through the fall.
For homegrown talent, look at JCCenterstage, which will run Adele Fico's May God Strike Me Dead... If I'm Telling a Lie one weekend in September and one in December. Fico is an amazing character actor; her show ran at Blackfriars to good press and full audiences last year. The Shakespeare Company has The Tempest slated for its annual show; the community-run Dazzle School will present a Columbine-tribute Search Within the Soul; and the community all-ages theater A Magical Journey Thru Stages will be putting on A Christmas Carol (get your Dickens here!) in its cozy little home in the upstairs of the Auditorium Center.
You all get on the dance floor, now. First, the visitors: The American Repertory Ballet will be at SUNY Geneseo and Ballet Flamenco will be at Nazareth College in November; the Moscow Ballet will perform the Russian Nutcracker at the Auditorium Theatre in early December; and you can see traditional Indian dance, with live orchestra, at the India Community Center in October.
Now the local crop: the parade of dance through SUNY Brockport's Hartwell Dance Theater is always impressive, fed by the original choreography and fresh dancers coming out of the school's dance department. The Rochester City Ballet will of course dance the Nutcracker to the music of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra the last weekend in November. And finally, Garth Fagan Dance, 35 this year, will dance for one week at Nazareth College.
For a fuller preview, check the website at www.rochester-citynews.com. For details, see the calendar beginning on page 14.