HOT LUNCH APOSTLES

This is a revival of The Talking Band's 1983, perhaps prophetic show, which imagined millions unemployed in an economically ravaged USA, where carnival stripper troupes, competing against religious fervor, began performing stories from the Bible.  The entire theater will be transformed into a giant fairground, with game booths, food stands and geek shows. Paul Zimet directs a cast of 10, including the very talented singer/songwriter, Loudon Wainwright III, aka Rufus's dad.
 
The Ellen Stewart Theater, 66 E. 4th St., (212) 475-7710. Mar. 1-18. Tickets here.
 
THE BIG MEAL

Playwrights Horizons presents a new play by the sterling Dan LeFranc (Sixty Miles to Silver Lake), staged by New York's most sought after director, Sam Gold (Seminar).  The story starts small: a man and a woman meet in a restaurant, sparks fly.  But then it turns into a tale that encompasses five generations of an ordinary, modern American family, 80 years of parents, kids and family life experiences in one sitting.
 
Peter Jay Sharpe Theater, 416 W. 42nd St., (212) 279-4200. Previews Mar. 1, opens Mar. 21-Apr. 8. Tickets here.
 
THE LADY FROM DUBUQUE

Who better to write a play about a late night party, where alcohol flows, games are played, and things get out of control, than Edward Albee, who penned the great American classic, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  This is a revival, directed by David Esbjornson, featuring Tony Award winner Jane Alexander in the title role.  Here, in a cast of eight, Sam and Jo invite a few friends over for a few, late night drinks and a game of 20 Questions.  An unexpected guest and her mysterious companion arrive, more questions.  An architectural bonus is that the show is the inaugural production at Signature Theatre's new home, designed by Frank Gehry.
 
The End Stage Theatre, 480 W. 42nd St, (212) 244-7529. Previews Feb. 14, opens Mar. 3- 25. Tickets here.
 
PAINTING CHURCHES

Tina Howe's 1983 Pulitzer Prize finalist play is not about men on ladders sprucing up the outside of a cathedral.  It's about the Church family: mom and dad are moving to a new beach home on Cape Cod, and their New York artist daughter comes to help them pack and paint their portraits.  The excellent Keen Company, who did a fine production of Howe's Museum in 2002, will again be directed by Carl Forsman.  The strong cast features Kathleen Chalfant as the mother, John Cunningham as the father, and Kate Turnbull as their offspring.  Life, art and family overlap.
 
The Clurman Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St., (212) 239-6200. Previews Feb. 14, opens Mar. 6. Tickets here.
 
TRIBES

This comedy/drama comes to us from a glowing premiere at London's Royal Court Theatre; written by Nina Raine, and directed by David Cromer, who helmed the recent year-long running revival of Our Town.  The cast of six includes seven-time Emmy nominee, Mare Winningham.  It's about a boy who is born deaf, into a hearing family who are unconventional and politically incorrect.  They pay him little mind, but he adapts and gets along.  Then he meets a woman who is about to go deaf herself, and his eyes are opened.
 
Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow St., (212) 868-4444. Previews Feb. 16, opens Mar. 4. Tickets here.