Author

Lisa Quintela

Martha Plimpton, Top Girls

”If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?” It’s an oft-asked question in job interviews — and a fitting jumping-off point for Caryl Churchill’s time-traveling 1982 play Top Girls. The show opens with an exuberant dinner party at which a collection of historical and fictional female guests celebrate Marlene (Elizabeth Marvel) and her promotion to managing director of — what else? — an employment agency.

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Jenn Colella, Beebo Brinker Chronicles

The stage adaptation of Ann Bannon’s 1950s lesbian pulp novels follows two Sapphic sorority sisters who part ways post-graduation. Although Beth (Autumn Dornfeld) pines for her bosom buddy, she settles for a life with husband and kids; meanwhile, a lovelorn Laura (Xanthe Elbrick) escapes to a pre-Stonewall Manhattan, where she dives right into the lesbian watering-hole scene.

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Peter and Jerry

Two one-acts by Edward Albee reflect his Woolf-ian perspective on two sad saps who fail to connect and feign indifference toward each other. In its NYC debut, Act 1’s Homelife depicts prudish Peter (Bill Pullman) and sardonic wife Ann (Johanna Day), who longs for a little chaos in their WASPy life. In Act 2’s Zoo Story, written in 1958, Peter meets eccentric bum Jerry (an exuberant Dallas Roberts), who recounts an interaction with a rabid dog that squeamishly parallels Peter’s twisted marriage.

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It’s no shocker that this drama, I Am Cuba, portraying four tragic sequences leading up to Castro’s 1959 revolution — is jammed with socialist, anti-American propaganda. Viewed today, the Cuban-Soviet collaboration seems bitterly ironic, as promises of prosperity and freedom have since been dashed. Political pedagogy aside, there’s a reason why, in a bonus feature, Martin Scorsese says this overlooked gem got him ”excited about filmmaking.” Handheld cameras glide into grandiose long takes that raise the question, how’d they do it?

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