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NYC's 5 Best Off-Broadway Shows

Where can you witness a perfect crime and watch a therapy session? Off-Broadway, of course. Witness the perfect crime or be privy to a therapy session designed to engage - it's all off-Broadway. Talented stage performers abound in the best picks of 2012. By Denise DiTrani.
Freckleface Strawberry
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Based on the best-selling book by well-known actress Julianne Moore, "Freckleface Strawberry" teaches people how to enjoy the skin they're in. A message for children and a reminder for adults, the show leaves viewers with a feel-good joy. Strawberry is played by Canadian actress Francesca McGrory. She graduated high school a year early so she could attend NYC's Acting Conservatory. McGrory's film and TV achievements include the lead in E.X.A, which screened at Cannes in 2010, and "I Just Want My Pants Back" on MTV.

Mike Daisey

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The one-man docudramedy, performed by Mike Daisey, explores the effect of Steve Jobs' technological obsessions and contributions to the world. Daisey also shares stories of his travels, during which he investigated factories producing millions of iPhones and iPods. Dubbed "the master storyteller," Daisey created and delivered more than 15 groundbreaking monologues since 1997. He'll make you think, laugh and possibly cry over the course of the show. This performance has been declared "the best new play of the year" by the Washington Post and was recognized as one of the year's best theater pieces by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Perfect Crime

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CSI-based shows are as popular as ever. If you're a fan, you'll love the off-Broadway production, "Perfect Crime." The wealth/death theme is familiar, but the surprising turns and purposeful tension will keep you guessing until the end. The female lead, Catherine Russell, has secured her place in the Guiness Book of World Records as a result of this play – she's performed every show but four since it's opening in April 1987, more than 10,115 shows. The four missed days were due to her siblings' weddings. Her dreams of becoming an actress began in early childhood and have ardently continued: Sleeping a mere four hours a night, Russell teaches at NYC, acts in and produces other shows (while doing this one), and manages the theater. Suffice it to say, she puts on a perfect show.

Psycho Therapy

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Three-way therapy is theme to this off-Broadway comedy. Laurence Lau, one of the two male leads in this production, formerly played Inspector James Ascher in the aforementioned, "Perfect Crime." Fans may recognize him from his soap stints: He played Greg Nelson on "All My Children," Dr. Jamie Frame on "Another World," Sam Rappaport on "One Live to Live" and Brian Wheatley on "As the World Turns." Lau's TV credits include guest appearances on "Frasier," "JAG" and "Diagnosis Murder." Fun fact: Lau earned a black belt in karate in 1998.

Related: NYC's 5 Best Museums for Dates

59E59 Theaters
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Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil — names we know as well as our own. The culture's commonplace usage has moved pharmaceuticals seamlessly from the lab to the living room. "RX," an off-Broadway comedy about a woman who volunteers for a clinical trial for a new drug that promises to eradicate workplace depression, falls in love with her doctor, who is in need of medications to cure his heartbreak. A well-needed dose of comedy is delivered by Michael Bakkensen. A Yale University alum and poetry writer, Bakkensen lives to make audiences laugh, cry, stand and applaud. The baby-faced actor has been working for 25 years on stage and screen (both big and small). Bakkensen is well on his way to winning a Tony.

Related: NYC's 6 Best Movie Theaters

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Denise DiTrani is a freelance writer and has lived in New York City for 15 years. Her work can be found at

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