Rising Fall

The fall theater season is upon us, with Broadway serving up its rather customary autumn mix: Earnest revivals, new Mamet, old Mamet, new Rebeck, old Albee and just a couple of surprises to keep TKTS hunters on their toes.

Season 2012-13 already began with September openings of the musical Chaplin and Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of An Enemy of the People, featuring tv and Broadway favorites Boyd Gaines and Richard Thomas. October continues New York’s current love affair with Chicago theater (Clybourne Park, Tracy Letts) with a Windy-City-imported revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Grace, a wild dark comedy from the mind of Craig Wright, a former writer for Six Feet Under and Lost. The tale of a young couple whose dream of building a chain of gospel motels (it goes horribly wrong) will play at the Cort Theatre and feature Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon, and in his first Broadway appearance in a quarter century, Ed Asner.

A few blocks away, New York’s other institutional Broadway theater, the Roundabout, revives Cyrano de Bergerac, Edmond Rostand’s classic tale of swashbuckling, ghostwriting and nose jokes. Douglas Hodge, who charmed the critics with his turn in the last La Cage, stars at the American Airlines Theatre, October 11 to November 25.

On the musical theater front, yes, Annie arrives, with the sun officially coming up October 3 at the Palace Theatre. Even more highly anticipated is the first Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Rupert Holmes’ Tony-winning 1986 musical based on Charles Dickens’ strange and unfinished stab at a whodunnit. The legendary Chita Rivera plays opium den proprietress Princess Puffer in the piece, which opens October 19 at the Roundabout’s Studio 54 theater.

Has enough time passed for theatergoers to forget Cherry Jones’ legendary performance in The Heiress, or at least to allow Jessica Chastain the opportunity to make her own mark as the plain but wealthy spinster wooed by a penniless bachelor? Audiences can decide November 1 to February 10 at The Walter Kerr Theatre. Meanwhile, only seven years have passed since the last Glengarry Glen Ross revival and its memorable turn by Liev Schreiber. Will Al Pacino (playing a different role from the one he assayed in the terrific Glengarry film), Bobby Cannavale and Scrubs doc John C. McGinley match the prior production’s comic energy? Only visitors to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre will know, starting October 16.

Finally, we move to the unknown via three brand-new works: The Performers, a comedy about an aging porn star (Henry Winkler(!)), giving advice to an up-and-cummer (Cheyenne Jackson), opening November 14 at the Longacre; the long-awaited musical adaptation of Rebecca, opening November 18 at the Broadhurst; and the real wild card, Scandalous¸ a musical biography of the life of religious figure Aimee Semple McPherson, opening November 15 at the Neil Simon Theatre and featuring a book and lyrics by none other than Kathie Lee Gifford. Carolee Carmello plays the lady preacher who revolutionized evangelism through media. But will they give her a grumpy Irish co-host?