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Broadway theatre 'playlist'

Derick Edgren

Lana Del Rey could totally pass as Curley's wife.

A look at some of Broadway’s most promising dramas under the scope of pop radio.

College students looking to liven up their summers need look no further than their very own Broadway theatre playlist. Packed with guns, improvised ballads, and dinner parties, this playlist features a colorful taste of some of Broadway’s most successful plays—as compared to the songs on your summer playlist. It’s all in good fun, playwrights.

The City of Conversation (Problem by Ariana Grande)
The wild and yet somehow classy styles of Ariana Grande just might mesh with the successfully lustrous work of playwright Anthony Giardina. The pop hit of Broadway, “Conversation” is in part a tribute to the nation’s presidents over the past thirty years but, more importantly, more immediately, this is a political drama steeped in the conflicting views of extended family—suggesting that politics are more personal than we all might think. “The City of Conversation” is now showing at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York and closes July 26, 2014.

Of Mice and Men (Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey)
No, I wouldn’t dare compare the writing talent of Lana Del Rey to that of one of the twentieth centuries’ most talented novelists, John Steinbeck. But I will say this: “Of Mice and Men” contains an element of stagnancy relevant to the residual sadness experienced after yet another school year has passed. That’s right—the empty, do-nothing mentality of summer can feel like the Great Depression. Ask any teenager. With a not-so-subtle James Franco and a bubbly Chris O’Dowd (“The IT Crowd”, “Bridesmaids”), director Anna D. Shapiro has breathed life into a classic tale. You know the story, but not the performance. “Of Mice and Men” is now showing at the Longacre Theatre in New York and closes July 27, 2014.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Tessellate by alt-J)
That alt-rock song perfect for a stormy afternoon, and newly adapted from Mark Haddon’s novel of the same name, “Night-Time” is a murder mystery centered on a 15-year-old boy with Asperger Syndrome (hint: he wasn’t murdered; his neighbor’s dog was.) Two-time Olivier Award winner Simon Stephens has adapted a modern epic, taking us from Swindon to London. “Night-Time” opens on Broadway September 15, 2014 at the Barrymore Theatre in New York.

A Raisin in the Sun (Good Feeling by Flo Rida)
As history makes its rounds in Top-40 radio (Etta James’ “Something’s Gotta Hold On Me”), the 2014 revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s internationally successful play presents a story of continued relevance in 21st century America, that of a still existent racial prejudice toward African-American citizens. While this play will most definitely not produce “good feelings,” it will produce necessary ones. “A Raisin in the Sun” closed in mid-June; however, it’s never too late to read a classic, and this production was a reminder of that.

El Insomnio Americano (The American Insomnia) (We Can’t Stop by Miley Cyrus)
No twerking to be found in the dramedy about the struggles of immigrants from all over Latin America but, as these characters (singlehandedly portrayed by Saulo Garcia) attempt to uncover the meaning of the American dream, they instead realize the restlessness and unending greed of a land that is less than opportunistic. At the Gramercy Arts Theatre, “Insomnio” is showing until September 14, 2014.

Shuffle to your heart’s content.

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