What's Hot in New York City Now
The History Boys The History Boys is an award-laden British import about staffroom rivalry, the anarchy of adolescence, and the purpose of education.  It's received rave reviews here and a slew of Tony nominations (it's the odds-on-favorite to win at least Best Play).  Our verdict?   Extremely clever and often amusing, occasionally hilarious (the scene done in high school French, one student's definition of history), but the flurry of ideas and at times, soft or flatly spoken dialog, require a lot of concentration.  I kept missing things, in spite of my best efforts, and I overheard similar comments from others in the audience.  And the ending, at least for me, didn't provide the needed emotional wallop.  8-9 out of 10.   At the Broadhurst.
The Drowsy Chaperone The Drowsy Chaperone is about a die-hard musical-theatre fan whose favorite show literally bursts into life in his living room, telling the rambunctious tale of a brazen Broadway starlet trying to find and keep her true love.   Nominated for 13 Tony's including Best Musical, Best Actor (Musical), Best Actress (Musical), and Best Director (Musical).   At the Marquis.
Shining City Shining City focuses on a guilt-ridden man (Oliver Platt) who visits a therapist after seeing the ghost of his recently deceased wife.  What starts out as an everyday exchange becomes a gripping struggle to survive that will change both men for the rest of their lives.  Nominated for 2 Tony's: Best Play, and Best Performance by a Leading Actor.   At the Biltmore thru July 16.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore The Lieutenant of Inishmore is a scorchingly black comedy about an Irish terrorist with an obsessive attachment to his beloved cat, Thomas.  Nominated for 5 Tony's including Best Play, Best Actor, and Best Director.   At the Lyceum.
Faith Healer Faith Healer returns Ralph Finnes to Broadway as a charismatic healer who travels the back roads of Scotland and Wales with his long-time lover (Cherry Jones) and his devoted manager (Ian McDiarmid), peddling miracles .  Nominated for 4 Tony's including Best Play (Revival) and Best Actor.   At the Booth through July 30.
Jersey Boys Jersey Boys is the "crowd goes wild" musical that follows the rags-to-rock-to-riches tale of four blue-collar kids working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom - the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.   At the Virginia/August Wilson Theatre.
Poster for Monty Python's Spamalot Telling the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and their quest for the Holy Grail, Monty Python's Spamalot features a chorus line of dancing divas and knights, flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and one legless knight who create unforgettable musical production numbers that Python-alum/book writer Eric Idle promises will be " as good as or quite likely better than any other show with killer rabbits and a legless knight opening on Broadway this season."  Directed by Mike Nicols.  At the Shubert.
Poster for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Based on the hugely popular 1988 film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels stars Jonathan Pryce and Norbert Leo Butz as two con men with conflicting work habits who compete to control the action and scam gullible blonde Rachel York on the French Riviera.  But who's conning whom in this likeable but bawdy show?  At the Imperial.
Artwork for John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt Set against the backdrop of a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, playwright John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt is the story of a strong-minded woman faced with a difficult decision.  Should Sister Aloysius voice her concerns that the school principal, the charismatic Father Flynn, may be a pedophile, even if she’s not entirely certain of the truth?   At the Walter Kerr Theatre.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee   Six young people on the edge of puberty strive to become adults in this funny, tender, sardonic musical by the composer of Falsettos.  These outsiders use competition to define themselves, apart from their crazy families, while their struggle to escape childhood is overseen by grown-ups who never completely succeeded in escaping it themselves.   Circle in the Square Theatre.

Wicked Wicked  Long before Dorothy drops in, two girls meet in the land of Oz.  One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood.   The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular.  This fantasy-filled musical tells the story of how these two unlikely friends grew to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.  NOTE:Not recommended for children under 8 and children under 4 will not be admitted.  Gershwin Theatre.

The Grocery, BrooklynMake your reservation far in advance to see why this tiny Brooklyn restaurant was named one of New York City's top seven restaurants by Zagat.  Read about it on NPR or the New York Times.

Cesna Restaurant Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema picks these three NYC restaurants that "celebrate the simple", and so do the diners who rated them on www.NewYorkCityMetro.com:  'Cesca on the Upper West Side,  the East Village's Hearth, and 'Inoteca on the Lower East Side.