CIRCUIT PARTY: Resonance Ensemble is currently in the midst of celebrating its 10th Anniversary Season with a double bill of two shows paired under the umbrella title Connecting Circuits, which begins January 9 at Theatre Row’s Beckett Theatre. Comprising the bill (performed in rep) are Karel Capek’s R.U.R. and Richard Manley’s The Truth Quotient, with both plays being directed by Eric Parness. R.U.R. is, of course, an old classic which is known for originating the context of the word “robot” (great piece of trivia) and which has been translated into every major language on the planet. The lot is centered on a factory that makes artificial beings used in the service of humans. ( Think of how many other modern classics can be traced back to R.U.R.! Invasion of the Body Snatchers, “The Twilight Zone,” A.I….) In fact, R.U.R. was first seen in NYC in 1922! The second play in the bill, The Truth Quotient, is a futuristic drama, taking place in a foreseeable future when overcoming loneliness and feeling loved are no less of a challenge, but technology offers more solutions to those who can afford them. Oh, Brave New World indeed! For more information on Connecting Circuits and Resonance Ensemble, visit www.resonanceensemble.org.
SCROOGE REDUX: More indicative of the season, perhaps, is Summoners Ensemble Theatre’s take on that old holiday chestnut A Christmas Carol, performed as a solo performance by actor/adapter John Kevin Jones under Rhonda Dodd’s direction. One actor, fifteen characters: Summoners’ aim is to highlight Dickens’ beautiful, fanciful Christmas imagery and wry humor, while bringing ghosts, graveyards, goodness and redemption to life once again. Performances take place December 12-15 at The Studio Theatre on Theatre Row. www.summonersensemble.org.
WAR GAMES: Another one-person show, though one of a decidedly different nature, turns up in the form of Soldier, a World Premiere production from The Plowmen written and performed by Jonathan Draxton. A German officer, Heinrich Weiss, finds himself trapped on the banks of the River Styx, where he desperately searches for coins so that he and his men can secure passage across the waters. As he searches, he reveals his own personal history as well as the origins and facets of man’s love affair with war. Kevin O’Rourke is the director, and performances run now through December 22 at HERE. Fifty percent of the box office proceeds from the show will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. For more info, visit www.Facebook.com/CoinsForASoldier.
THE BULL GETS A FOX: One of the funniest old farces of yore has to be Ben Jonson’s Volpone (or The Fox), an ancient madcap chestnut about rich old Volpone, whose ingenious schemes and farcical scams dupe his wealthy friends into showering him with gold—he robs the rich to feed the richer! This merciless world-class satire of greed gets a rare revival from Red Bull Theater, a company whose reputation seems to build exponentially with each new production. And they’ve assembled an impressive cast of both new and established vets for this outing: Alvin Epstein, Tovah Feldshuh, Michael Mastro, Sean Patrick Doyle, Christina Pumariega, Peal Rhein, Rocco Sisto, Alexander Sovronsky, Teale Sperling, Stephen Spinella, Raphael Nash Thompson, Gregory Wooddell. Jesse Berger directs this wildly talented group of actors, and performances have just begun at Lucille Lortel Theater. www.redbulltheater.com.
IF IT’S DECEMBER, IT MUST BE…THE TONY AWARDS? Whoa, whoa, what is that crazy talk? Have I had an end-of-the-year breakdown from too much shopping, traffic, tourism and, um, egg nog (not necessarily in that order) and suddenly think that every Christmas tree I see is decorated with Tony Awards? That the Salvation Army Santa on every corner is really Neil Patrick Harris, not just ringing a bell but welcoming us all to the New York theater’s biggest celebration of itself? But, no, gentle readers, it’s simply that I’ve come across the Uprights Citizens Brigade’s latest effort, a show entitled The 2017 Tony Awardz, billed as “a parody of musical proportions,” which receives a reading on Monday, December 17 at the company’s theater on West 26th Street. This is a new show that dares to ask: what musical (presumably not yet written, let alone cast) will receive the Tony Award for Best Musical, 2017? Will it be a jukebox show, a show based on an historical figure, or—and this is novel—a musical based on a movie? Evan Greenspoon directs; www.UCBTheatre.com.