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January Preview Picks

At the turn of the year, our chronological monthly tip sheet forecasts what to look forward to in 2002.

By Lucy Komisar

Jan 8. "Brutal Imagination," by Cornelius Eaddy, music by Diedre Murray, director Diane Paulus, theater piece inspired by Susan Smith case. Imaginary African American man she invited to cover up the murder of her children comes to life to tell his side of the story. Vineyard Theatre, 108 E 15 St .

Jan 10. "Hobson's Choice" by Harold Brighouse, director David Warne, witty 1915 comedy, following changing fortunes of imperious English merchant who struggles as one of strong willed daughters, forced to work in his boot shop, takes her life into own hands by making surprising choice. Hilarious confrontation Brian Murray stars as the patriarch, and Martha Plimpton plays the daughter. Hobson's Choice was the basis for the musical Walking Happy. Atlantic theater Company, 336 W 20 St. Starts Dec 18.

Jan 20. "Cymbeline," by Wm. Shakespeare, directed by Bartlett Sher. Minimal set. Costumes juxtapose cultures. Music ranges from Japanese percussion to folk songs. Production connects ancient world of myth with modern sensibility. Theatre for a New Audience, Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St. Jan 15 to Feb 24. ((212) ) 339-2819 x 0 mon to fr 1 to 5.

Jan 20. "Historically Inaccurate" A stage biography of the writer Carson McCullers by Sarah Schulman, directed by Marion McClinton. Weathering a rocky marriage, pervasive small-mindedness & unrequited love, Lula Mae Carson found success as one of the most renowned playwrights -novelists of 20th cent. epic investigation into woman's fascinating tumultuous life. Produced by Playwrights Horizons and the Women's Project and Productions. Theater Four, 424 West 55th Street. Jan. 10 to Feb. 3. (212) 239-6200 www.playwrightshorizons.org

Jan 21. "The Phantom Lady," Pedro Calderon de la Barca, English translation. The cherished values of chivalry and honor are upended and the stronger enticements of love and mystery are indulged. An upstanding family, a distinguished courtier, a chance encounter with a beautiful, mysterious lady, and a revolving mirror in the family's grand home provide the framework for the adventures of a sheltered widow unafraid to assert her right to act freely as a woman in love. Pearl Theater, 80 St. Marks Place, near First Ave. Jan 10 to Feb 17, (212) 598-9802.

Jan 27. "Monster" An adaptation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," by Neal Bell. Directed by Michael Greif. A vessel churns slowly through the Arctic as it sails for the Pole. Canning the horizon, the captain spots a lone figure on an ice floe: Victor Frankenstein, inventor, scientist, student of the occult. He tells of stitching together a man from cadaver parts, then jolting him to life with electricity. Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street. Jan 15 to Feb 17 (212) 677- 4210, ext. 13 www.classicstage.org,

Feb 5. "Further Than the Furthest Thing," by Zinnie Harris, directed by Neil Pepe. Begins on a remote island off the coast of South Africa. When a volcanic eruption forces the evacuation of the small group of islanders to an industrial town in South Hampton, the close knit family of refugees struggles to retain their customs in an unfamiliar world. As the play unfolds, old wounds are opened and a cataclysmic secret is revealed. The play is loosely based on the real life experiences of the inhabitants of Tristan Da Cunha who, in 1961, were forced to leave their home while the British government used the island for darker purposes. Premiered last year in a production co-produced by the Tron Theatre Company, Glasgow, and the Royal National Theatre. Stage I at City Center, 131 West 55th Street). January 15 - March 31, 2002, (212) 581-1212 . www.ManhattanTheatreClub.com

Feb 7. "An Almost Holy Picture" by Heather McDonald, one- man play about a minister whose daughter has a rare disease. Roundabout Theater Company the American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street. (212) 719-1300.

Feb. "Sorrows and Rejoicings" By Athol Fugard. Now playing in Johannesburg, this is about a white woman and a black woman who loved the same man and meet on the day after his funeral. David Olivier, a white liberal who returns home to die after 17 years of exile in London. He finds "a young, new South Africa standing on its still wobbling legs" and a mixed-race daughter who hates him. Directed by the author. Second Stage, 307 West 43rd Street. Previews begins Jan. 15. (212) 541-4516. www.secondstagetheatre.com

Feb. "I Think Back Now On André Gide" The world premiere of a new play by Edward Albee, presented by the Signature Theater Company. Peter Norton Space, 555 West 42nd Street. Feb. 5 - March 17. (212) - 244-7529 www.signaturetheatre.org.

Feb. "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller. 1953 drama about the Salem witch trials (or the McCarthy hearings on Communism). Director Richard Eyre, former artistic director of the Royal National Theater. Virginia Theater, 245 W 52 St, starts end of Feb. (212) 239-6200.

Feb 28. "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?" by Edward Albee. An architect in the week he gets an international prize and a big contracted and turned 50 confesses to his wife and son that he's involved in a relationship which will likely destroy his marriage, career and life. Belasco Theater, 111 W. 44 St. Begins Feb. 7. (212) 239-6200.

Mar 14. "Sweet Smell of Success," new musical based on the 1957 movie about J.J. Hunsecker, the most powerful gossip columnist who creates celebrities and ruins lives with his poison pen. Martin Beck Theater, 302 W. 45 St, starts Feb 23. (212) 239-6200 www.sweetsmellthemusical.com

Mar 14. "The Man Who Had All The Luck" by Arthur Miller's. Directed by Scott Ellis. Miller's first play, written when he was 25, closed after four performances on Broadway. About a young man guilt-ridden by his lifelong good fortune. Roundabout Theater Company , American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street. Previews begin Feb. 8. (212) 719-1300.

Mar 18. "Far Away" by Caryl Churchill , directed by Stephen Daldry . ran at the Royal Court and the Albery Theater in the West End in 2000. An end-of-the-world vision, set in a chilly cottage in the hills. New York Theater Workshop, 79 East Fourth Street. Previews begin Feb. 20.

Mar 21. "Oklahoma!" directed by Trevor Nunn, choreographed by Susan Stroman. the 1998 Royal National Theatre revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical,. Gershwin Theatre, 1633 Bway, Starts Feb. 23. (212) 301-4100.

March, 'Neill's "Long Day's Journey Into Night" by Eugene O'Neill, directed by Robert Falls, " Broadway.

Apr 2. "Franny's Way," written and directed by Richard Nelson. Greenwich Village, 1957. two teenage sisters from country visiting married cousin in city. Soon the 3 women are off on private missions involving love, forgotten child, and a lost mother. Playwrights Horizons. March 8-Apr 14, Atlantic Theater 336 w 20 St. (212) 279-4200.

Apr 4. "The Underpants" by Carl Sternheim (1910), adapted by Steve Martin, directed by Barry Edelstein, Thebald Maske has an unusual problem: his wife's underpants won't stay on. One Sunday they fall to her ankles in the middle of town. Theo swears to keep her home till she can find better garments. Mar 20 to Apr 28, Classic Stage, 136 E 13 St. (212) 677-4210.

Apr 7. "Andorra" by Max Frisch, translation by Michael Feningold, Theatre for a New Audience, Lucille Lortel theatre, 121 Christopher St. tkts (212) 339-2819 x 0 mon to fr 1 to 5.

Spring: "Into The Woods," 1988 musical by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, directed by Lapine. Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W 44 St, (212) 239-6200.


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