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Director Sher trying his hand at opera

Bartlett Sher directs Diana Damrau at a rehearsal for ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’ (‘The Barber of Seville’), opening Nov. 10 at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

AP photo

NEW YORK — Director Bartlett Sher created a buzz on Broadway with his Tony-winning productions of “The Light in the Piazza” and “Awake and Sing!” Now he’s trying his hand at opera in a big way — directing the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” (“The Barber of Seville”). The production opens Nov. 10 at Lincoln Center. Sher, who is artistic director of Seattle’s Intiman Theatre, has brought along his design team from “Piazza” and “Awake and Sing!” for “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”: costumes, Catherine Zuber; lighting, Christopher Akerlind; sets, Michael Yeargan. Peter Gelb, the Met’s new general manager, also has hired another Broadway director, Jack O’Brien, who will stage “Il Trittico” later this season. The Puccini opera opens April 20. O’Brien, who runs the Old Globe in San Diego, has directed “Hairspray,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Henry IV” on Broadway. For more Met information, visit the Web site, www.metoperafamily.org.

Broadway ticket availability and capsule reviews of shows as of Oct. 30 follow. Unless otherwise noted, tickets are available at the theaters’ box offices for the shows listed. Details about how to obtain tickets appear at the end.

A Chorus Line: Michael Bennett’s classic musical about dancers auditioning for a big Broadway show is back. Gerald Schoenfeld. Telecharge.

Avenue Q.: Love blossoms among the 20-something set — a group that includes puppets — in this very funny, adult musical comedy. Golden. Telecharge.

Beauty and the Beast: For those who want a lavish, literal, live-action version of the delightful Disney animated feature, this is the ticket. Others may be content to rent the film. Lunt-Fontanne. Ticketmaster, a special Disney hot line, (212) 307-4747.

Butley: Nathan Lane stars in a revival of Simon Gray’s play about a university professor whose life is falling apart. Booth. Telecharge.

Chicago: An entertaining revival of the 1975 Bob Fosse musical with a sassy Kander and Ebb score. Broadway’s longest-running musical revival and deservedly so. Ambassador. Telecharge.

Company: Raul Esparza heads the cast in this revival of the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical about a bachelor who can’t make a commitment. Now in previews. Opens Nov. 29. Ethel Barrymore. Telecharge.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: A musical version of the popular children’s book about a green meanie who absconds with the holiday spirit. Now in previews. Opens Nov. 8. Hilton. Ticketmaster.

Grey Gardens: A musical version of the haunting film documentary about a reclusive mother and daughter who were relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson star. Walter Kerr. Telecharge.

Hairspray: The cult John Waters movie set in 1960s Baltimore has been turned into a hilarious, tuneful musical. Neil Simon. Ticketmaster.

Heartbreak House: Philip Bosco and Swoosie Kurtz head the cast of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s luminous revival of George Bernard Shaw’s Edwardian comedy set in a world about to change. American Airlines. 212-719-1300. Closes Dec. 17.

Jay Johnson: The Two and Only!: A look at the fine art of ventriloquism. Helen Hayes. Telecharge.

Jersey Boys: The musical story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Winner of four 2006 Tony Awards including best musical. August Wilson. Telecharge. Difficult.

Les Miserables: The musical version of Victor Hugo’s sprawling novel is back. Alexander Gemignani stars as the heroic Jean Valjean and Norm Lewis is Javert. Now in previews. Opens Nov. 9. Broadhurst. Telecharge.

Losing Louie: Two generations of the same family — and how one affects the other. The American premiere of a play by Simon Mendes da Costa. The cast includes Matthew Arkin, Mark Linn-Baker and Patricia Kalember. Biltmore. Telecharge.

Mamma Mia! The London musical sensation featuring the pop songs of ABBA makes it to Broadway. Die-hard ABBA fans will like it best; others may be puzzled. Cadillac Winter Garden. Telecharge.

Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me: The ever-energetic comedian explores celebrity in this very funny musical revue. Bernard B. Jacobs. Telecharge.

Mary Poppins: The world’s most famous nanny comes to the stage after her great success as a P.L. Travers book and a Disney movie. Now in previews. Opens Nov. 16. New Amsterdam. Ticketmaster, a special Disney hot line, (212) 307-4747.

Monty Python’s Spamalot: A musical inspired by that demented film comedy, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Shubert. Telecharge. Difficult on weekends.

Rent: Jonathan Larson’s touching and now nostalgic look at struggling artists in New York’s East Village. Loosely based on Puccini’s opera “La Boheme.” Nederlander. Ticketmaster.

Tarzan: A Disney musical about Edgar Rice Burroughs’ vine-swinging hero. The score is by Phil Collins. Richard Rodgers. Ticketmaster, a special Disney hot line, (212) 307-4747.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: A sweet-tempered, often hilarious new musical by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin about youngsters competing in a local spelling bee. Circle in the Square. Telecharge.

The Coast of Utopia: “Voyage,” the first part of Tom Stoppard’s trilogy about a group of 19th century Russian intellectuals. The large cast includes Brian F. O’Byrne, Billy Crudup and Ethan Hawke. Now in previews. Opens Nov. 27. Vivian Beaumont. Telecharge.

The Color Purple: A musical version of Alice Walker’s novel about one woman’s triumph over adversity. Broadway. Telecharge.

The Drowsy Chaperone: A big fan remembers his favorite musical from 1928 — and it joyously comes to life. Marquis. Ticketmaster.

The Lion King: Director Julie Taymor is a modern-day Merlin, creating a stage version of the Disney animated hit that makes you truly believe in the magic of theater. Minskoff. Ticketmaster, a special Disney hot line, (212) 307-4747. Difficult on weekends.

The Little Dog Laughed: Douglas Carter Beane’s comedy about an ambitious Hollywood agent and her closeted movie-star client. Now in previews. Opens Nov. 13. Cort. Telecharge.

The Phantom of the Opera: The one with the chandelier. The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about a deformed composer who haunts the Paris Opera House is the prime, Grade A example of big Brit musical excess. But all the lavishness does have a purpose in Harold Prince’s intelligent production, now the longest-running show in Broadway history. Majestic. Telecharge.

The Producers: A riotous stage version of the 1968 Mel Brooks movie. The musical is even better than the film, which is saying something. St. James. A special “Producers” Telecharge number (212) 239-5800.

The Times They Are A-Changin’: Director-choreographer Twyla Tharp uses the music of Bob Dylan in this show with a circus setting. Brooks Atkinson. Ticketmaster.

The Wedding Singer: A musical based on the Adam Sandler movie about a young man who sings in a wedding band and who has been jilted by his fiancee. Al Hirschfeld. Telecharge. Closes Dec. 31.

Wicked: An ambitious if problematic musical about the witches in “The Wizard of Oz” as young women. Based on the novel by Gregory Maguire. Gershwin. Ticketmaster. Difficult.

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