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Experience the magic of theater

"Cyrano de Bergerac" at American Airlines Theatre, at 227 W. 42nd St., will feature Patrick Page (l.) and Douglas Hodge. Photo by JOan Marcus
TimesLedger Newspapers

For the past decade, the TimesLedger’s From the Footlights column has profiled Queens’ residents who have been cast as members of some of the most acclaimed Broadway and off-Broadway productions in the city.

The column has also profiled local singers and musicians — opera to cabaret — of classical, jazz, pop and world music. These artists have performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, Birdland and elsewhere.

From the Footlights has also focused on members of the backstage crews: theatrical dressers, stage managers and producers.

With each printing, the column’s Worth the Trip section also recommends theater, music and other entertainment that Queens’ residents might enjoy.

Footlights is designed to complement the Ledger’s comprehensive coverage of local artists and entertainment performing in the borough.

This week, From the Footlights will preview the fall Broadway and Off-Broadway seasons. In the next issue, we will look at music, opera, dance and other forms of entertainment, in and out of Queens.

Broadway

Annie — One of Broadway’s most beloved plays, first on stage in 1977, is being introduced to a new audience of theatergoers.

Annie is the rags-to-riches story of a gutsy redheaded orphan and her loyal mutt Sandy who make their way from a gloomy orphanage in Depression-era New York to the mansion of billionaire Daddy Warbucks.

Eleven-year-old Lilla Crawford was chosen from thousands of fledgling actresses to play the role of Annie.

The Tony-Award-winning musical features such songs as “Tomorrow,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” and “Little Girls.”

At the Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway. Go to www.AnnieTheMusical.com.

Elf — The story of Buddy, who hides out in Santa’s bag and is raised as an elf in the North Pole by the jolly old man and his band of elves. But Buddy turns out to be human and heads to New York City to find his real family.

This musical version of Elf is based on the book by Bob Martin and the film starring Will Ferrell.

At the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W. 45th St. Go to www.elfmusical.com.

Cyrano de Bergerac — Anyone who has ever felt self-conscious about their appearance can sympathize with the beloved Cyrano, who manages to compensate for his humongous nose with skills as a swordsman, poet and sage.

Cyrano yearns for the beautiful Roxane, but is too shy to pursue her. He comes to learn that Roxane is drawn to the handsome but inarticulate Christian. Cyrano decides to write fervid love letters to Roxane in Christian’s name.

The Roundabout Theatre Company production is playing at the American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. Go to www.roundabouttheatre.org.

Dead Accounts — Katie Holmes plays Lorna, a young Cincinnati woman who has been living at home taking care of her parents. Unexpectedly, her brother Jack returns home from New York City. The family is puzzled to say the least and wonders what’s behind Jack’s sudden appearance.

The comedy raises such questions as “what defines a person’s home?” and “can you go home again?”

At the Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St. Go to www.DeadAccountsOnBroadway.com.

Glengarry Glen Ross — David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama tells the story of a real estate firm where the older salesmen are fighting for their jobs in the face of both the company’s young bucks and a hostile, newly hired boss.

Al Pacino, who was nominated for his portrayal of the slick Ricky Roma in the 1992 film version of Glengarry, is now cast as Shelly Levene, a struggling salesman.

At the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St. Go to www.GlengarryBroadway.com.

Grace — The play starts with three murders and a suicide. The corpses suddenly rise up to act out the last moments of their lives.

Before the final curtain, the characters have reexamined their beliefs, with rather surprising results. Grace examines such elusive paradoxes as believing vs. knowing, and coincidence vs. fate, according to a publicity release for the production.

Steve, a minister, and his wife, move to Florida to start a string of Christian-themed hotels.

Their methodical world is turned on its head by a rocket scientist, as well as a German-born bug exterminator played by television icon Ed Asner, who returns to Broadway after nearly a quarter century.

At the Cort Theatre 138 W. 48th St. Go to www.graceonbroadway.com.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — The 50th anniversary revival of Edward Albee’s drama about a severely dysfunctional couple.

The play tells the story of George, an angry professor at a New England campus and his pushy wife Martha.

The twosome stages a night of drinking and marital tumult for a young professor and his wife, challenging the couple’s own relationship. At the Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St. Go to www.virginiawoolfbroadway.com.

Off-Broadway

Checkers — This play about Richard Nixon’s 1952 vice-presidential campaign couldn’t come at a more apropos time, as the country faces both a critical election and an era of dire uncertainty and cynicism about government and politicians.

The production seeks to illustrate Nixon’s mind and character, as well as his marriage to long-suffering wife Pat.

At the Vineyard Theatre, 108 E. 15th St. Go to www.vineyardtheatre.org.

Giant — This musical, based on Edna Ferber’s 1952 novel, is about competition and acrimony among Texas oil tycoons. Spanning generations, the production includes a company of 22 actors and a 17-piece orchestra.

At the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. Go to www.publictheater.com.

The Piano Lesson — A revival of August Wilson’s esteemed play about an African-American family that is torn about a decision to sell an old family piano.

Selling the piano would provide the Charles family with the money to make a fresh start. But the piano has powerful symbolic bonds to this family and to black history in America. The instrument was once traded for the family’s patriarch, during the slavery years.

At the Pershing Square Signature Center/Irene Diamond Stage, 480 W. 42nd St. Go to www.signaturetheatre.org.

The Whale — Charlie is 600-pound man, living as a recluse on the outskirts of Mormon County, Idaho. Desperate for some human contact, he reaches out to his long-estranged daughter, but discovers an unhappy teen who is not quick to give him the love and acceptance for which he yearns.

This sharp-witted comedy deals with the issue of redemption and challenges traditional concepts of beauty.

At the Playwrights Horizons/Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 W. 42nd St. Go to www.playwrightshorizons.org.

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