As temperatures cool down in September, New York’s fall cultural season heats up, with something new (a new production at the Metropolitan Opera), something familiar (well-known actors take to local stages) and something decidedly blue (“A Clockwork Orange” live and in person).
Forbidden passion, pagan rituals, human sacrifice: Vincenzo Bellini’s 1831 bel canto masterpiece, “Norma,” is grand opera at its grandest. Little wonder the Metropolitan Opera has chosen Sir David McVicar’s new production of the work for the opening night of its 2017–2018 season on Sept. 25. Set designs are by Robert Jones, who conjures up the forbidding ancient forest in which Druids do battle with an invading Roman army. Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky sings the title role of the tragic Druid priestess in love with a Roman soldier, who abandons her for another. The stage is definitely set for high drama. | “Norma,” Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, Columbus Ave., btw W. 63rd & W. 64th sts., 212.362.6000
Stars from TV and film take their places on Off-Broadway stages this month, adding another string to their already significant bows.
• Before he became a household name as George Costanza in “Seinfeld” (1989–1998), Jason Alexander won a 1989 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Alexander returns to his roots in John Patrick Shanley’s latest comedy. | “The Portuguese Kid,” MTC at New York City Center–Stage 1, 131 W. 55th St., 212.581.1212
• The world fell in love with the little girl in “Little House on the Prairie” (1974–1983), but Melissa Gilbert is all grown up now. In Thomas Klingenstein’s play, set during and after the American Civil War, the Actor’s Studio member plays a woman involved in an interracial love affair. | “If Only,” Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., 866.811.4111
• On Sept. 17, Carrie Coon may walk off with an Emmy Award for FX’s “Fargo.” Whether she wins or not, NYC audiences can catch the actress onstage as a sympathetic mom. | “Mary Jane,” New York Theatre Workshop, 79 E. 4th St., 212.780.9037
• With her 85th birthday looming on the horizon, you would think Oscar, Tony and Emmy winner Ellen Burstyn would slow down. Hardly. Burstyn puts on the pants as melancholy Jaques in a jazzy version of a Shakespeare fave. | “As You Like It,” Classic Stage Company, 136 E. 13th St., 866.811.4111
British actor Jonno Davies is about to raise hell when he makes his New York stage debut in Alexandra Spencer-Jones’ high-energy adaptation of “A Clockwork Orange,” the Anthony Burgess novel and Stanley Kubrick film. Davies is Alex DeLarge, a study in contrasts: a psychopathic thug with a cultivated, even charming exterior. But like the milk he guzzles at the infamous Korova Milk Bar, he’s spiked: unpredictable, demonic, animalistic, untamable and totally buff. “[Alex] is like a simmering pot that could go off any minute, and that’s very exciting to work with,” Davies has said. Exciting for audiences, too. | “A Clockwork Orange,” New World Stages, Stage 4, 340 W. 50th St., 212.239.6200