SUBJECT: ENTREPRENEURSHIP (95%); VENTURE CAPITAL (91%); COMPUTER SOFTWARE (90%); GLOBALIZATION (77%); FOREIGN INVESTMENT (77%); EMERGING MARKETS (77%); ECONOMIC NEWS (76%); STOCK EXCHANGES (76%); NATIONALIZATION (75%); GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (73%); BUSINESS EDUCATION (73%); INSURANCE (71%); BIOMETRICS (69%); RESEARCH REPORTS (67%); COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS (50%)
GEOGRAPHIC:BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (94%) ANDALUSIA, SPAIN (79%) ARGENTINA (98%); SOUTH AMERICA (94%)
LOAD-DATE: December 26, 2008
GRAPHIC: PHOTOS: Daniel Caselles, left, and Felix Racca, founders of a software company in Mendoza, Argentina.
Employees of Globant, a software company, in a ''chill-out zone.''(PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOAO PINA FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)(pg. B2)
Business Skills for Women Overseas
BYLINE: By ELIZABETH OLSON
SECTION: Section B; Column 0; Business/Financial Desk; Pg. 3
LENGTH: 825 words
Finding time away from building a new business is never easy, but Ngozi Okoli-Owube gladly set aside her daily schedule earlier this year to go back to school to learn marketing, accounting and managerial skills she had never had the time to master.
For five months, Ms. Okoli-Owube, 31, alternated her work establishing a preschool for learning-disabled children in Lagos, Nigeria, with weeklong stints at the Lagos Business School, joining a class of two dozen women to earn a certificate in entrepreneurial management.
''I have a university degree, but I did not have the training in how to run a business,'' said Ms. Okoli-Owube, who had been struggling to get enough students to enroll at her ''Start Right'' school. ''I have to learn to keep the books, how to market and to get advice from women who've come out the other side.''
When she saw a local newspaper advertisement last spring for 10,000 Women, a global entrepreneurship program run by Goldman Sachs, she and about 100 other women jumped at the chance to apply.
The welfare of girls and women has long been on the agenda of international agencies. The World Bank, for example, announced steps earlier this year to increase support for women entrepreneurs by channeling some $100 million in commercial credit lines to them by 2012.
But corporations have also begun to take their economic power more seriously, especially in emerging markets.
Many corporate programs employ microloans, grants or gifts to promote business education. Goldman decided to take a different approach after its research showed that per-capita income in Brazil, China, India, Russia and other emerging markets could rise by as much as 14 percent if women had better management and entrepreneurial skills.
''It's not only philanthropy they're after,'' said Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the International Center for Research on Women. Goldman ''had the idea that investment in women means a return on the gross national product of the country, and on household income.''
The company set aside $100 million over five years to bring business education to 10,000 qualified women business owners in developing countries, a commitment that remains unchanged despite banking industry turmoil.
Ms. Rao Gupta said the long-term view that Goldman and others were taking in emerging markets might help form a new economic stratum in societies where women's participation in business traditionally had been restricted. Laws and customs in some countries, for example, bar women from opening bank accounts or require a husband's permission to set up a company.
''This is the next step for women because it's investing long term in business skills,'' said Ms. Rao Gupta, whose institute researches and provides technical assistance for women in developing countries.
The hurdles can be high. Few women in Africa pursue a business education, often the preserve of well-to-do students heading for corporate jobs. In 50 major business schools in Africa -- a continent of 900 million people -- only 2,600 women were enrolled in local M.B.A. programs, Goldman's research found.
To foster entrepreneurship and management education, business schools in developing countries are being paired with 50 universities and organizations in Europe and the United States.
Earlier this month, for example, 10,000 Women announced that the Yale School of Public Health would work with Tsinghua University to provide management and leadership education to Chinese women working in public health. Women remain at their jobs, allowing them to be with their families and apply their new skills on the spot.
''Women often don't have two years to get an M.B.A.'' said Dina H. Powell, who oversees Goldman's initiative. Family considerations as well as cultural differences make it difficult for many women to leave their home country for study abroad.
In Cairo, about 100 women annually can earn a business certificate by participating in the program, where they learn accounting, market research, e-commerce, fund-raising and how to structure a business plan.
In countries where attending school can be dangerous for women, a different tack is taken. The Thunderbird School of Management, using Goldman funds, brings Afghan women to its Phoenix campus for five weeks of training. The bank is also financing the training of local professors to teach business courses to women in Kabul.
AT&T donated $125,000 through a foundation this year to bring women entrepreneurs from developing countries to the United States for a three-week college-level business course and a week of mentorship with American women business owners.
''This is still a small part of what we do,'' said Laura Sanford, the foundation's president. ''But it's an area that's going to grow as it becomes more recognized that women are part of the economic landscape, and as business owners, they contribute to the economic welfare of their country.''
SUBJECT: ENTREPRENEURSHIP (90%); WOMEN (90%); EMERGING MARKETS (89%); EDUCATION (89%); DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (89%); BANKING & FINANCE (88%); BUSINESS EDUCATION (78%); WOMAN OWNED BUSINESSES (78%); CHILDREN (77%); STUDENTS & STUDENT LIFE (77%); WOMEN WORKERS (76%); RESEARCH INSTITUTES (75%); ENTERPRISE GLOBALIZATION (73%); LEARNING DISABILITIES (72%); NEWSPAPER ADVERTISING (72%); DEVELOPMENT BANKS (70%); BANKING & FINANCE SECTOR PERFORMANCE (70%); GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT (69%); ECONOMIC NEWS (69%); PHILANTHROPY (64%); INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORGANIZATIONS (64%); DISABLED PERSONS (56%)
COMPANY:GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP INC (56%)
TICKER: GS (NYSE) (56%)
INDUSTRY: NAICS523930 INVESTMENT ADVICE (57%); NAICS523920 PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT (57%); NAICS523110 INVESTMENT BANKING & SECURITIES DEALING (57%); SIC6289 SERVICES ALLIED WITH THE EXCHANGE OF SECURITIES OR COMMODITIES, NEC (57%); SIC6282 INVESTMENT ADVICE (57%); SIC6211 SECURITY BROKERS, DEALERS, & FLOTATION COMPANIES (57%)
GEOGRAPHIC: LAGOS, NIGERIA (90%) NIGERIA (93%); BRAZIL (79%); CHINA (79%); INDIA (78%)
LOAD-DATE: December 26, 2008
GRAPHIC: PHOTO: Ngozi Okoli-Owube of Lagos, Nigeria, has studied business through a program for women sponsored by Goldman Sachs.(PHOTOGRAPH BY MARC BRYAN-BROWN)
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
24 of 1231 DOCUMENTS
The New York Times
December 26, 2008 Friday
Late Edition - Final
BYLINE: By THE NEW YORK TIMES
SECTION: Section C; Column 0; Movies, Performing Arts/Weekend Desk; Pg. 27
LENGTH: 3824 words
Approximate running times are in parentheses. Theaters are in Manhattan unless otherwise noted. Full reviews of current shows, additional listings, showtimes and tickets: nytimes.com/theater.
Previews and Openings
'BECKY SHAW' In previews; opens on Jan. 8. Annie Parisse stars in Gina Gionfrido's twist-filled Humana Festival hit about, among other things, newlyweds who set up two friends on a blind date that goes bad (2:00). Second Stage Theater, 307 West 43rd Street, Clinton, (212) 246-4422.
* 'ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S THE 39 STEPS' An absurdly enjoyable, gleefully theatrical riff on the 1935 Hitchcock movie, directed by Maria Aitken and featuring a cast of four that feels like a cast of thousands. This fast, frothy exercise in legerdemain is throwaway theater at its finest (1:45). Cort Theater, 138 West 48th Street, (212) 239-6200.
'ALL MY SONS' The director Simon McBurney's baleful reimagining of Arthur Miller's 1947 drama about American guilt and self-delusion in the shadow of World War II. Plying the ritualistic formality and portentousness of Greek tragedy, Mr. McBurney steals every scene from his human props, a high-profile crew led by John Lithgow, Patrick Wilson, Dianne Wiest and Katie Holmes (2:10). Gerald Schoenfeld Theater, 236 West 45th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL' An exultant exploration of the urge to dance that both artfully anatomizes and brazenly exploits the fundamental appeal of musicals themselves. This film-based tale of a coal miner's son with ballet dreams has been staged with prodigious inventiveness by the director Stephen Daldry and the choreographer Peter Darling, with soulful music by Elton John (2:50). Imperial Theater, 249 West 45th Street, (212) 239-6200.
* 'BOEING-BOEING' Marco Camoletti's smirky French farce from the 1960s about a triple-timing roue has been given the makeover of the season by the director Matthew Warchus. This high-spirited production soars into an unpolluted stratosphere of classical physical comedy (2:30). Longacre Theater, 220 West 48th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'DISNEY'S THE LITTLE MERMAID' The motto for this charm-free musical blunderbuss, based on the charming 1989 Disney movie, might be ''You can't go broke overestimating the taste of preschoolers.'' Francesca Zambello directs an overwhelmed cast (2:20). Lunt-Fontanne Theater, 205 West 46th Street, (212) 307-4747. (Brantley)
'DIVIDING THE ESTATE' Horton Foote's tart and delicious comedy about a fraying, squabbling Texas family in financial straits features an ideally balanced ensemble and a portrait of true comic genius from Hallie Foote, the playwright's daughter. Michael Wilson directs a fine, funny cast that includes Elizabeth Ashley, Gerald McRaney and Penny Fuller (2:15). Booth Theater, 222 West 45th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'EQUUS' Peter Shaffer's upper-middle-brow psychodrama from 1973 returns in Thea Sharrock's oddly arid revival, enlivened by two fine performances: Daniel Radcliffe makes an impressive Broadway debut as the stableboy who commits crimes against horses, and Richard Griffiths is superb as his ambivalent psychiatrist (2:40). Broadhurst Theater, 235 West 44th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
* 'GYPSY' As the dangerously obsessed Momma Rose, Patti LuPone has found her focus. And when Ms. LuPone is truly focused, she's a laser, she incinerates. Directed by Arthur Laurents, this wallop-packing incarnation of the great musical showbiz fable, also starring the superb Boyd Gaines and Laura Benanti, shines with a magnified, soul-revealing transparency(2:30). St. James Theater, 246 West 44th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
* 'IN THE HEIGHTS' Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the bubbly Latin pop score for this musical about barrio life, also gives a captivating performance as the owner of a bodega who dispenses good cheer along with cafe con leche. Zesty choreography and a host of lively performers are among its other assets; its fundamental flaw is a vivid streak of sentimentality (2:20). Richard Rodgers Theater, 226 West 46th Street, (212) 307-4100. (Charles Isherwood)
'IRVING BERLIN'S WHITE CHRISTMAS' A bland, efficient stage retread of the 1954 Bing Crosby-Danny Kaye movie, with extra Irving Berlin songs stuffed in the stocking. Not for the kitsch-averse (2:30). Marquis Theater, 1535 Broadway, at 45th Street, (212) 307-4100. (Isherwood)
'PAL JOEY' Joe Mantello's joyless revival of the 1940 Rodgers and Hart classic seems to be in mourning for its own lifelessness. Matthew Risch, Stockard Channing and Martha Plimpton star in a production with no detectable pulse (2:20). Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street, (212) 719-1300. (Brantley)
'SHREK THE MUSICAL' This musical cavalcade of storybook effigies, adapted from the animated film of the same title, can feel like 40 blocks' worth of a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, accompanied by an exhaustingly jokey commentary. But Brian d'Arcy James and the hyper-talented Sutton Foster find a sweet, goofy chemistry as an ogre and a princess (2:30). Broadway Theater, 1681 Broadway, at 53rd Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'SLAVA'S SNOWSHOW' The Russian clown Slava Polunin uses the simplest of means -- a cadre of floppy-footed, big-nosed companions; a bubble machine; and a blizzard of fluffy white confetti --to elicit gales of giddy laughter and gasps of awe, especially from the under-10s in the audience (1:30). Helen Hayes Theater, 240 West 44th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Isherwood)
* 'SOUTH PACIFIC' Bartlett Sher's rapturous revival of this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic recreates the unabashed, unquestioning romance American theatergoers once had with the American book musical. (2:50). Vivian Beaumont Theater, 150 West 65th Street, Lincoln Center, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'SPEED-THE-PLOW' Neil Pepe's exhilarating revival of David Mamet's short and unsparing study of sharks in the shallows of Hollywood moves like a world-class roller coaster (1:25). Barrymore Theater, 243 West 47th Street, (212) 239-6200.
'13' This shiny, brassy and formulaic musical about the pursuit of popularity is unlikely to wow anyone who isn't in early adolescence. The bubbly score is by Jason Robert Brown, and the show's talented cast members and musicians are all under voting age (1:30). Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 242 West 45th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'THE ATHEIST' Campbell Scott stars as a corrupt reporter merrily recounting the misdeeds that made his name in this stale solo show by Ronan Noone. Mr. Scott's altar-boyish good looks make for a piquant contrast with his character's corroded soul, but the writing doesn't give him much to work with (1:45). Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow Street, West Village, (212) 352-3101.
'BACK BACK BACK' A disappointingly unjuicy drama about baseball's steroids scandal by Itamar Moses. Three players in the Major Leagues represent various attitudes to the use of suspicious substances. Unfortunately not one is a memorable or richly imagined character (1:35). Manhattan Theater Club, City Center, 131 West 55th Street, (212) 581-1212. (Isherwood)
'BEASLEY'S CHRISTMAS PARTY' The Keen Company presents a charming adaptation of Booth Tarkington's holiday story about a man who mysteriously rises to prominence while hardly saying a word (1:15). Clurman Theater, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton, (212) 279-4200. (Jason Zinoman)
'THE BLACK MONK' Inspired by a Chekhov short story, this sentimental, hackneyed chamber musical centers on a mad artist seeing ghosts (1:30). Beckett Theater, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton, (212) 279-4200. (Zinoman)
'THE CASTLE' Four ex-convicts tell how they returned to society in this simple and fascinating, if at times overearnest, production. In this nation of overcrowded prisons, its message that we reconsider our treatment of ex-felons is well worth considering (1:00). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200. (Andy Webster)
'THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN' In this fine revival from the Druid Theater, Martin McDonagh's 1997 comedy about Hollywood fever on an Irish island in 1934 emerges as a subversive charmer. Even non-McDonagh fans may respond to the show's hearthside warmth, though this being McDonagh, that warmth can turn scorching (2:20). Atlantic Theater, 336 West 20th Street, Chelsea, (212) 279-4200. (Brantley)
'DUST' Billy Goda's new thriller about the escalating conflict between a rich man and a janitor fails to generate much heat. The two excellent leads, Richard Masur and Hunter Foster, work hard to make their characters seem organic, but the play keeps reducing them to their grudges (1:45). Westside Theater, 407 West 43rd Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200. (Rachel Saltz)
'FORBIDDEN BROADWAY GOES TO REHAB' Having announced that it would be officially ending its merry reign of terror on January 15, Gerard Alessandrini's satirical revue has been blessed with that have-to-win energy that descends on weary racers near the finish line. The liveliest, sauciest and (given its imminent departure) saddest edition in years (1:30). 47th Street Theater, 304 West 47th Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS' Martha Clarke's theatrical meditation on a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch is one of the most haunting spectacles of flesh ever seen on a New York stage. This new, revised production of Ms. Clarke's 1984 dance drama explores notions of sin and salvation, sex and society in imagery that is dark, knotted and utterly spellbinding (1:15). Minetta Lane Theater, 18 Minetta Lane, Greenwich Village, (212) 307-4100. (Isherwood)
'HOME' Samm-Art Williams's memory play tells the story of Cephus Miles, a farmer from the South whose life is upended when he refuses to serve in Vietnam. Kevin T. Carroll plays the ever-hopeful central character, with January LaVoy and Tracey Bonner both excellent in a variety of roles (1:40). Signature Theater Company at the Peter Norton Space, 555 West 42nd Street, Clinton, (212) 244-7529. (Isherwood)
'IMPROBABLE FREQUENCY' A dizzyingly silly musical from the Rough Magic Theater Company in Ireland that's like a cross between early Tom Stoppard and a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. A British spy in Dublin in World War II mixes it up with the poet John Betjeman and the physicist Erwin Schrodinger, among others. Very clever -- Arthur Riordan's rhymed book and lyrics are impressive -- but definitely not for the whimsy-averse (2:15). 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, (212) 279-4200. (Isherwood)
'THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES' When the scheduled singers at a 1958 senior prom cancel, the title characters of this effervescent jukebox musical step in, and we're lucky that they do. The quartet sings hits of the era -- all from a female perspective -- and in the second act they return at their 10-year reunion, weathered and wiser. For a certain generation, and all fanciers of the girl-group sound, ''The Marvelous Wonderettes'' is an utter charm bomb (2:00). at the Westside Theater, 407 West 43rd Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200. (Webster)
'MY VAUDEVILLE MAN' The short but colorful life of the hoofer Jack Donahue is celebrated in this new musical, presented by the York Theater Company. Don't expect fireworks, but this two person, two-hour show aims to please, and mostly does (2:00). York Theater, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Lexington Avenue at 54th Street, (212) 935-5820. (Claudia La Rocco)
'NEW HOUSE UNDER CONSTRUCTION' Two frisky couples approaching 40 reunite in this lifeless soap opera (2:00). 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, (212) 279-4200.
'REWRITE' In three interrelated mini-musicals, Joe Iconis delivers the sly humor and incongruity he is known for. The best of the pieces is the first, a skewed take on the nerd-seeks-a-prom-date formula: Mr. Iconis builds to two perfect jokes, with the help of spot-on comic timing by the actors (1:30). Urban Stages, 259 West 30th Street, (212) 868-4444. (Neil Genzlinger)
'ROCK OF AGES' The great hair bands of the 1980s finally receive their due in this brash, comic jukebox musical, packed with songs by the likes of Twisted Sister, Poison and Bon Jovi. The flash-and-trash production values and high spirits are agreeable, and Will Swenson of this summer's Central Park ''Hair'' is terrific as a preening rooster of a rock star. But the show is ultimately undone by a bloodless sheen not unlike that of the songs it affectionately pokes fun at (2:15). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200. (Webster)
'SATURN RETURNS' Noah Haidle's wintry drama about an 88-year-old doctor, beautifully played by John McMartin, reckoning with the ghosts of the women he loved and lost. Elegantly structured and infused with a quiet melancholy, the play has problems of tone -- and plausibility (1:10). Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, 150 West 65th Street, (212) 239-6200.
'SLEEPWALK WITH ME' The stand-up comic Mike Birbiglia weaves an 85-minute monologue around his problems with sleepwalking, and his timing, delivery and pacing are just about perfect. The detours he makes from his main story are many and long, and always rewarding (1:25). Bleecker Street Theater, 45 Bleecker Street, at Lafayette Street, East Village, (212) 239-6200. (Genzlinger)
'STREAMERS' A mostly terrific, mostly young cast brings captivating emotional truth to David Rabe's 1976 drama about the sexual and racial tensions among soldiers getting ready to be shipped to Vietnam. The production, directed by Scott Ellis, builds slowly to an explosive climax (2:15). Laura Pels Theater, 111 West 46th Street, (212) 719-1300.
'LA VIDA ES SUENO/LIFE IS A DREAM' Repertorio Espanol's good-looking, nicely staged production of Pedro Calderon de La Barca's 17th-century classic is performed entirely in Spanish. Headsets with simultaneous translation are available for English-speaking theatergoers (2:15). Repertorio Espanol, Gramercy Arts Theater, 138 East 27th Street, (212) 225-9920. (Anita Gates)
'WHAT'S THAT SMELL: THE MUSIC OF JACOB STERLING' David Pittu portrays a luckless, talentless songwriter in this ingenious spoof of showbiz also-rans. Jacob fancies himself a Stephen Sondheim manque, but his hilariously bad compositions tell another story. Peter Bartlett is also a treat as the host of a cable television show leading Jacob down memory lane. The superbad show tunes feature Mr. Pittu's lyrics (he also wrote the book) and music by Randy Redd (1:20). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200. (Isherwood)
'WOMEN BEWARE WOMEN' A lively, colorfully acted production of Thomas Middleton's spicy brew of adultery, incest and murder, murder and more murder from the enterprising young Red Bull Theater. Kathryn Meisle leads a skilled cast in games of love and betrayal at the court of the Duke of Florence (2:15). Theater at St. Clements, 423 West 46th Street, Clinton, (212) 352-3101. (Isherwood)
Off Off Broadway
'CELEBRITY AUTOBIOGRAPHY: IN THEIR OWN WORDS' A rotating cast of comics and actors -- Kristen Johnston, Andrea Martin and a few ''Saturday Night Live'' alums among them -- read selections of the witless wisdom culled from the tell-all tomes of the rich and famous. A nice tonic for our fame-addled age (1:30). Triad Theater, 158 West 72nd Street, (212) 868-4444. (Isherwood)
'THE ONLY TRIBE' Despite some fine video projections by Reid Farrington, Roland Gebhardt's exploration of group dynamics, via masked dancers, never takes off (1:05). 3LD Art & Technology Center, 80 Greenwich Street, at Rector Street, Lower Manhattan, (212) 645-0374.
'POTATOES OF AUGUST' Potatoes grow brains, multiply and revolt in Sibyl Kempson's experimental drama: Ionesco's ''Rhinoceros'' for vegetarians (1:20). Dixon Place, 161 Chrystie Street, near Delancey Street, Lower East Side, (212) 219-0736. (Zinoman)
'SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE' This participatory production involves only four actors, and if you check it out, you'll be one. Participants portray characters from a film-noir narrative and are given hand-held media players, each loaded with an audiovisual file providing voice-overs, flashbacks, a script and a map spanning three Brooklyn blocks. If you can embrace the recreational spirit of the thing -- and if you like role-playing games with your ear buds -- you'll have fun (45 minutes). Brick Theater, 575 Metropolitan Avenue, near Union Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, (212) 352-3101. (Webster)
'BIG APPLE CIRCUS: PLAY ON!' Thoroughly entertaining (2:15). Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center, (800) 922-3772. (Lawrence Van Gelder)
'LIZA'S AT THE PALACE'Liza Minnelli's tributes to the influential nightclub act of her godmother, Kay Thompson, executed with a live-wire male quartet of singer-dancers, are electrifying variety-show turns. If her voice is in tatters and her dancing abilities limited, she still embodies give-it-all-you've-got showbiz fabulousness (2:00). Palace Theater, Broadway at 47th Street, (212) 307-4100. (Stephen Holden)
'WINTUK' The French Canadian juggernaut Cirque du Soleil brings its coolly professional, whimsy-filled kids' show about the search for a snow day back for the holiday season (1:30). WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, (212) 307-1000.
'ALTAR BOYZ' This sweetly satirical show about a Christian pop group made up of five potential Teen People cover boys is an enjoyable, silly diversion (1:30). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200. (Isherwood)
* 'AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY' Tracy Letts's turbocharged tragicomedy about an Oklahoma clan in a state of near-apocalyptic meltdown is the most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years (3:20). Music Box Theater, 239 West 45th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Isherwood)
'AVENUE Q' R-rated puppets give lively life lessons (2:10). Golden Theater, 252 West 45th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'CHICAGO' Irrefutable proof that crime pays (2:25). Ambassador Theater, 219 West 49th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'THE FANTASTICKS' A revival -- well, more like a resuscitation -- of the Little Musical That Wouldn't Die (2:05). Snapple Theater Center, 210 West 50th Street, (212) 307-4100. (Brantley)
'FUERZA BRUTA' A sensory bath aimed at clubgoing college kids in search of cultural diversion (1:05). Daryl Roth Theater, 20 Union Square East, at 15th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Isherwood)
'GREASE' As limp as yesterday's French fry (2:15). Brooks Atkinson Theater, 256 West 47th Street, (212) 307-4100. (Brantley)
'HAIRSPRAY' Fizzy pop, cute kids, large man in a housedress (2:30). Neil Simon Theater, 250 West 52nd Street, (212) 307-4100. (Brantley)
'JERSEY BOYS' The biomusical that walks like a man (2:30). August Wilson Theater, 245 West 52nd Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'THE LION KING' Disney on safari, where the big bucks roam (2:45). Minskoff Theater, 200 West 45th Street, at Broadway, (212) 307-4100. (Brantley)
'MAMMA MIA!' The jukebox that devoured Broadway (2:20). Cadillac Winter Garden Theater, 1634 Broadway, at 50th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'MARY POPPINS' P. L. Travers meets Dr. Phil (2:30). New Amsterdam Theater, 214 West 42nd Street, (212) 307-4747. (Brantley)
'THE NEW MEL BROOKS MUSICAL YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN' Monstrously underwhelming (2:45). Hilton Theater, 213 West 42nd Street, (212) 307-4100. (Brantley)
'MY FIRST TIME' Ken Davenport's venture into Web-theater synergy mines a site called MyFirstTime.com to cull stories of inaugural encounters with sex (1:30). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, (212) 239-6200. (Ginia Bellafante)
'THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA' Who was that masked man, anyway? (2:30). Majestic Theater, 247 West 44th Street, (212) 239-6200.
'SPAMALOT' A singing scrapbook for Monty Python fans (2:20). Shubert Theater, 225 West 44th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Brantley)
'SPRING AWAKENING' An explosively good new musical about teenage angst in 19th-century Germany, set to melodious, post-punk pop music by Duncan Sheik (2:00). Eugene O'Neill Theater, 230 West 49th Street, (212) 239-6200. (Isherwood)
'WICKED' Oz revisited, with political corrections (2:45). Gershwin Theater, 222 West 51st Street, (212) 307-4100. (Brantley)
'ARIAS WITH A TWIST' Eat your heart out, Madonna. The chanteuses who play Madison Square Garden have never experienced the imaginative heights of spectacle with which the puppet master Basil Twist surrounds the drag performer Joey Arias. Despite the presence of some enchanting marionettes, this is not, for the record, a kiddie show (1:10). Here Arts Center, 145 Avenue of the Americas, at Dominick Street, South Village, (212) 352-3101; closes on Wednesday. (Brantley)
'CALIGULA' Horizon Theater Rep has bitten off more than it can chew in staging ''Caligula,'' a grim take on the Roman emperor by Albert Camus. This 1938 play might work today with a no-holds-barred interpretation, but this one is thin on debauchery and long on inexperienced actors. Rafael De Mussa is overmatched by the title role, and since he also directed, this show has the feel of a vanity production (2:00). Kirk Theater, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton, (212) 279-4200; closes on Tuesday. (Genzlinger)
'CHAIR' Edward Bond's drama about a repressive future society is both weightless and ponderous, despite fine performances and a chilly, sharp production from the director, Robert Woodruff, for Theater for a New Audience (1:30). The Duke Theater, 229 West 42nd Street, (646) 223-3010; closes on Sunday. (Isherwood)
'GIMPEL TAM' Engaging and lively (1:35). The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, 344 Amsterdam Avenue, at 76th Street, (800) 595-4849; closes on Sunday.
'MINDGAME' Keith Carradine plays the proprietor of a cozy mental institution in this cheesy, old-fashioned thriller along the lines of ''Sleuth.'' The British film director Ken Russell doesn't seem to know whether to take this high-octane hokum seriously. Neither did I (2:20). SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street, South Village, (212) 691-1555; closes on Sunday. (Isherwood)
'THE RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR' Radiant and heartwarming (1:30). Radio City Music Hall, (212) 307-4100; closes on Tuesday. (Van Gelder)
'ROAD SHOW' The trimmed-down, toughened-up and seriously darkened new edition of the musical by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman formerly known as ''Wise Guys,'' ''Gold'' and ''Bounce.'' This musical biography of the entrepreneurial Mizner brothers, directed by John Doyle, still feels mighty slender. But it has terrific leading performances from Michael Cerveris and Alexander Gemignani (1:40). Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, (212) 967-7555; closes on Sunday. (Brantley)