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BAREFOOT IN THE PARK Neil Simon’s plays have not aged well. Worse yet, Scott Elliott has directed the show as if it was a “Method” class at the Actor’s Studio. It has a leaden seriousness that takes whatever sparkle there might have been right out of the show. The actors try valiantly, for the most part. Tony Roberts, as the artistic neighbor, and Amanda Peet seem lost, and they are talented actors with wonderful comic potential. Jill Clayburgh as Corie’s mother is charming and does a funny drunk—but not funny enough. Only Patrick Wilson comes close to achieving the paper heart of the script with a rampant physicality and an inherent timing. Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St. $26.25-$96.25 at 212-239-6200 (Christopher Byrne)

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Bridge and Tunnel In putting together “Bridge and Tunnel,” poet/playwright Sarah Jones demonstrates that she is an accomplished technician and mimic—and not very much more. Her ability to assume accents and to do them consistently is impressive. However, like any mechanical trick, it quickly loses its power to fascinate. Jones portrays a variety of characters who have come to a poetry slam in South Queens—all immigrants who have somehow come together through the Internet—the force of poetry being sufficient to eradicate all preconceptions, racial or religious stereotypes. Would that it were true. Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 W. 44th St. Through Jul. 9. $26.25-$86.25 at 212-239-6200. (Christopher Byrne)

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The Color Purple Spousal abuse. Rape. Incest. Murder. Not exactly the stuff of which Broadway musicals are made. At least not musicals that expect to recoup their investment. But in bringing “The Color Purple” to the stage, at a cost of $10 million, lead producer Scott Sanders knew better. He assembled a crack creative team that was able to amplify the uplifting themes from the landmark 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker—faith, overcoming adversity, finding self-love—and turn the doleful epic into a toe-tapping, knee-slapping feel-good fest. Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway. $26.25 - $101.25 at 212-239-6200. (David Kennerley)

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CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY With corn-fed good looks, Mormon ultra-brite smile, and chiseled Chelsea physique, Steven Fales seems made-to-order from Central Casting, especially in a skimpy pair of black 2(x)ist undies. It’s not until the end, when he steps off the stage, shedding his Mormon persona, that we fully connect with this tortured soul. Perhaps if this eager-to-please talent imagined himself on a tiny Fringe stage instead of playing Off-Broadway, this production would achieve the authenticity this Mormon Boy has been seeking his entire life. Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St. $50-$55 at 212-523-5056. (David Kennerley)

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DEFIANCE A Pulitzer Prize. Four Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Director. The highest-grossing Broadway play of all time. That’s the glory that is “Doubt,” the 2005 provocative stunner authored by John Patrick Shanley and directed by Doug Hughes. And it’s still going gangbusters. But what’s this—the duo back with another work? And it’s not just any old play, but “Defiance,” the second in a proposed trilogy of “hierarchy plays” in which Shanley exposes the decay and hypocrisy of once-sacred institutions. New York City Center Stage 1, 131 W. 55th St. Through Apr. 30. $65 at 212-581-1212 (David Kennerley)

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GREY GARDENS Beyond the structure and writing, the power of this show comes from the breathtaking performance of Christine Ebersole as Edith in the first act and Little Edie in the second. Ebersole does things with her beautiful soprano that can only be called alarming, and if you’ve seen the movie, she perfectly captures the cadence and vocal placement of Little Edie. What is most remarkable about both performances is the way in which she sustains the inherent tension of the characters and their inner lives. Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St. $65 at 212-279-4200. (Christopher Byrne)

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THE ODD COUPLE Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick give command performances in this classic comedy. Expect no surprises as the stars fight it out as two co-habitating, very different characters, the anal-retentive versus the common slob. It is charming though—particularly in the performances by Brad Garrett as Murray the Cop, Lee Wilkof as Vinnie, and Olivia d’Abo and Jessica Stone as the Pigeon sisters. Brooks Atkinson Theatre 256 W. 47th St. Through Jun. 4. $60-$100 at 212-307-4100. (Christopher Byrne)

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THE PAJAMA GAME Kathleen Marshall’s bold, bright and exuberant revival of “The Pajama Game” is the perfect antidote to the midwinter blues. This classic show from 1954 that generally inspires groans when people talk about it—conjuring as it does images of bad high school and summer stock productions—is much more likely to inspire awe in the energetic and carefree production. Don’t ask for anything but to be entertained. The Roundabout Theater Company, American Airlines Theater, 227 W. 42nd St. Through Jun. 11. $66.25-$111.25 at 212-719-1300. (Christopher Byrne)

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RABBIT HOLE Largely a meditation on grief and the confusing warren of emotions surrounding the death of a child, this is a solid workmanlike play with strong performances by Tyne Daly, Cynthia Nixon, and John Slattery. But David Lindsay-Abaire’s play seems to skim the surface, keeping the grief neat and impersonal. There are affecting moments. But the writing and Daniel Sullivan’s mostly competent direction trade largely on the assumptions of what the audience “should” feel in a situation. Biltmore Theater 261 W. 47th St. Through Apr. 9. $54-90 at 212-230-6200. (Christopher Byrne)

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RED LIGHT WINTER When sex is commoditized, is love possible? Does anyone care? These are the questions that haunt one long after the end of Adam Rapp’s most mature drama to date. What makes the play so amazing is that Rapp, who also directed beautifully, has balanced the simplicity of a love triangle with the complexity of the emotions and the larger-scale sense of a world that has spun out of control. There is no happy ending for any of the characters, and the tragedies have an almost classic purity brought down to a paltry human scale. Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow St. at Seventh Ave. So. $65 at 212-239-6200. (Christopher Byrne)

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RING OF FIRE The so-called tribute to the music of Johnny Cash is an almost intolerably tedious jukebox musical, rattling around with “Good Vibrations” at the bottom of the cracker barrel. Richard Maltby Jr., who rustled up this mess, has strung a lot of Cash songs together and pretended it was a show. He assembled a talented cast of singers, but by the end of the first act, it’s apparent that Johnny Cash recorded the same song over and over and over. Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. $86.25-$101.25 at 212-239-6200. (Christopher Byrne)

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Updated 5:17 pm, July 20, 2018
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