Medieval Play (Signature Theatre, May 15–June 24): After debuting in 1996 with the potent three-character comedy-drama This Is Our Youth, Kenneth Lonergan hasn’t launched a new play in more than 10 years. His adventures in Hollywood during the interim have made for stories of their own, for instance regarding the fate of Margaret, a film finally released last year. Now Lonergan has returned to the stage with a play at Signature’s new facility, which he is also directing. Play info: http://www.signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=1956
Frankenstein (National Theatre Live, June 6–7): Opinion is divided among our contributors over the merits of NT Live presentations in television terms. It’s easier to report that Nick Dear’s script for this production (a reprise from last year) goes back to Mary Shelley’s novel for most of its themes and concerns, giving the creature much prominence. The director is Danny Boyle; Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who shared the 2012 Olivier Award for best actor, alternate as creator and created. Of the experience in the theater, Michael Billington wrote in The Guardian, “on the whole, this is a stunning evening.” http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/?id=61172 —JEB
February House (Public Theater, May 17—June 10): A new music theatre piece (based on Sheryl Tippin’s book) about a singular group of geniuses who briefly lived, loved, and worked together in a Brooklyn brownstone in the late 1930s. The rent roll included W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, Paul and Jane Bowles, and the multitalented Gypsy Rose Lee. Housemaster George Davis kept their collective noses to the grindstone, and swore to teach Ms. Lee to write (he did).
Illuminated by the political and sexual turmoil of the era, February House earned brilliant reviews during its workout at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven earlier this spring. www.publictheater.org —AG
Polisse. (IFC Center, May 18): Maïwenn‘s riveting policier with a difference; an intense, propulsive look at Paris’s Child Protection Unit that races along its multiple story lines, pausing only to snatch your heart with wrenching interludes based on real-life cases. The ensemble cast is superb—especially the filmmaker herself and Joeystarr (usually a pop-rocker/rapper). A Sundance Select film, Polisse has already taken the Cannes Jury Prize, and is a sure magnet for more. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfZz16K86i8 —AG