January 2015 Openings Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

If January is traditionally considered a kind of theatrical time out after the theatergoing intensity of the holidays — a time to take stock of the year ahead (here’s my Broadway Spring 2015 Preview Guide, and my Off-Broadway Spring 2015 Preview Guide) – the truth is that it has become one of the most robust months for theater in New York City. That’s because of the half dozen theater festivals that have sprung up over the past decade. Most of the shows in these festivals run for about a week; some for just a day. Although they can be considered Off-Off Broadway, I won’t include them in this post, because I’ve created a separate preview guide just for them: Winter Theater Festivals in New York City 2015.

Aside from the festival fare, two Broadway shows are opening this month, six Off-Broadway, and about a dozen Off-Off Broadway.

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Nothing, of course, is guaranteed about any of these shows, even those that seem the most promising. (This is why I write reviews.)

Color key: Broadway: RedOff Broadway: Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.

January 4, 2015

Winners and Losers (Walkerspace/SoHo Rep)

“On the cusp of turning 40, Marcus Youssef and James Long received an email from a mutual friend promoting a self-help pyramid scheme. This unexpected note inspired the two men to take a frank look at their own lives. Directed by Chris Abraham, Winners and Losers brings three of Canada’s most innovative and exciting theater artists to Soho Rep. for the first time.”

January 8, 2015

Dying For It (Atlantic)

Moira Buffini’s “free adaptation” of The Suicide, a Soviet era farce by Nikolai Erdman, tells the story of Semyon, who, when he decides to kill himself, is deluged by visitors who want to make him a martyr for their varied causes.

January 10

Burq Off (Teatro Circulo)

Nadia P. Manzoor portrays 21 characters in this solo show she wrote about her bifurcated life – modern London vs. conservative Pakistani Muslim home.

January 12

Villainous Company (Theater Row)

“When Claire returns from an afternoon of shopping, she discovers that one of her packages is missing. Before long, larceny and trickery abound when three women are drawn into a scintillating and suspenseful game of cat and mouse.”

Ham A Musical Memoir (Ars Nova)

Actor and singer Sam Harris performs a show based on his memoir, “HAM: Slices of a Life, a collection of stories and essays.

January 13

Constellations (Samuel J. Friedman Theater)

A chance meeting between a beekeeper and a physicist at a barbecue develops into a relationship with infinite outcomes that play out across multiple, alternate universes. Nick Payne is the playwright who last brought Gyllenhaal to a New York stage, “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet,” about a family and the world’s climate falling apart, most memorable for the stage flooded with water.

January 15

Honeymoon in Vegas (Nederlander Theater)

Jack Singer, a regular guy with an extreme fear of marriage, finally gets up the nerve to ask his girlfriend Betsy to marry him. But when they head to Las Vegas to get hitched, smooth talking gambler Tommy Korman, looking for a second chance at love, falls head over heels for Betsy.

The show is based on the 1992 Hollywood movie starring James CaanNicolas CageSarah Jessica Parker, written and directed by Andrew Bergman, who’s written the book for the musical. Music and lyrics are by Jason Robert Brown.

January 18

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (The Gym at Judson)

Shakespeare in the Square‘s second indoor production.

The Woods Man (59E59)

Based on stories by Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum, the play tells the story of the Tin Man, “the woman he loved, and the witch that would stop at nothing to keep them apart.”

January 20

I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard (Atlantic)

The latest play by Halley Feiffer (daughter of Jules Feiffer) is about an actress “whose sole aim in life is making her famous playwright father proud.”

January 22

Into The Woods (Steinberg Center for Theatre)

Decidedly lower budget than the current Hollywood film – ten actors, none of them movie stars; one piano — that is Fiasco’s trademark, and the charm of its previous productions.

Da (DR2)

The Irish Repertory Company’s revival of Hugh Leonard’s Tony-winning  play about a man who returns to his Dublin home after funeral to confront his memories and the ghost of his dead father.

Film Chinois (Theater Row)

Pan Asian Repertory Theater presents this play by Damon Chua that takes place in China in 1947, when an American operative on a secret mission meets a Chinese woman “his would-be adversary and lover.”

Winners (Ensemble Studio Theater)

A comedy by Maggie Bofill about family life spun out of control when the financial crisis hits and the Mackey family is forced to make big changes.

No One Loves Us Here (Urban Stages)

A play by Ross Howard offering “a black comic portrait of love and obsession,” after a young Native American is invited to the guest house of an upscale  couple.

January 23

Everybody Gets Cake (59E59)

Physical comedy

January 25

Nevermore (New World Stages)

Nevermore — The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe is “a whimsical and chilling musical play about the enigmatic writer.”

January 27

The Road to Damascus (59E59)

Tom Dulack thriller about the conflict over Syria between the first black African Pope the first 3rd party President in American history.

January 29

A Month in the Country (Classic Stage Company)

Ivan Turgenev’s meditation on unrequited love is likely to draw audiences who 1. like Russian classics, and/or are 2. fans of Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) or 3. Taylor Schilling (Orange Is The New Black) – not necessarily in that order. A handsome young tutor becomes the object of affection of his student’s mother, putting the household into disarray.

January 30

Home In Her Heart (Stage Left Studio)

Can the love of two women survive the black-white divide?” Set in 1939 London.

The Animal Kingdom (Theaterlab)

Hunger & Thirst Theatre Collective’s revival of Philip Barry’s 1932 comedy of manners.

Off-Broadway Spring 2015 Theater Guide

BRAC-Title-ImagesLive theater is supposed to exist only for the moment, but some of the biggest hits Off-Broadway are returning for the Spring 2015 season. Two of them, “Fun Home” and “Hand of God” are opening on Broadway. But Theater for a New Audience will be showing An Octoroon, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ inspired adaptation of a famous 19th century racial melodrama, which I saw at SoHo Rep, and Second Stage will present Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Between Riverside and Crazy, which I tried four times to see at the Atlantic without success – this time I’m determined to get in.

Other good bets, because of the track record of the production or of the artists involved:

The Iceman Cometh

The Iceman Cometh

The Iceman Cometh, the production or the play by Eugene O’Neill with Nathan Lane and Bryan Dennehy that originally appeared to extreme acclaim at the Goodman in Chicago, will be at the Brooklyn Academy of Music February 5 to March 15, 2015

Hamilton rehearsal

Hamilton rehearsal

Hamilton, written and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, and directed by Thomas Kail — the same team that brought us “In The Heights” —  will be at the Public Theater January 20 to March 22. This new musical uses hip-hop to tell the story of the “political mastermind” who began life as a “bastard orphan.”

Others that are sure to draw an audience:

Into-the-Woods-017_605x329

Into The Woods, by the Fiasco Theater, at the Roundabout’s Laura Pel Theater, which is in previews now, opens January 22, and is set to run through March 22.  Decidedly lower budget than the current Hollywood film – ten actors, none of them movie stars; one piano — that is Fiasco’s trademark, and the charm of its previous productions.

AMonthInTheCountry

A Month in the Country by Ivan Turgenev, at the Classic Stage Company from January 9 to February 22, is likely to draw audiences who 1. like Russian classics, and/or are 2. fans of Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) or Taylor Schilling (Orange Is The New Black) – not necessarily in that order. It is just one of CSC’s seasons offerings spiced with a celebrity.

There is no guarantee that any of these shows will prove as satisfying as expected — sometimes raised expectations can be counterproductive.  But time and time again, Off-Broadway has proven to offer rich, adventurous and diverse offerings. The trick is in finding the gems among the some 200 theaters/theater companies (depending on how you count), almost all of whom are far less publicized than anything on Broadway.

As in the past, I find the best way to preview what’s coming up Off-Broadway is to group the shows within the producing theaters that are presenting them, ranked roughly in order starting with my favorite theaters (determined by such factors as their recent track record, the promise of the new season, and by the overall experience I’ve had with the theater.) All offer season subscriptions or memberships.  Of course, some terrific shows pop up as one-offs from commercial producers, not non-profit theaters, and in other unlikely places.

 

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS playwrights horizons logo

416 W. 42nd St. Twitter: @PHNYC

One of the plays from last year’s season, Annie Baker’s “The Flick,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, but this theater consistently over the past few years has had some of the most original and most satisfying works of theater, including the Fall season’s Bootycandy.

Placebo by Melissa James Gibson
A new play about a woman working on “a placebo-controlled study of a new female arousal drug.”

Iowa, a musical by Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond
A musical play about a mother who finds her “soul-mate” on Facebook, and he lives in Iowa. So she uproots her life, and that of her teenage daughter.

The Qualms by Bruce Norris

By the same writer-director team that brought us the Pulitzer-winning Clybourne Park, this play introduces a couple into “an alcohol-fueled party for swingers, only to find themselves at odds with the idea of free love and, suddenly, each other.”

 

publictheaterlogoTHE PUBLIC THEATER

425 Lafayette Street. Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY

 

Public201415season

The Public Theater has been having a great year, with such premieres as Straight White Men and Fortress of Solitude.

Rock Bottom 

January 6, 2015 – February 20, 2015

Created and starring Bridget Everett, who “barrels through life tip-toeing toward disaster, wine bottle by wine bottle and man by man.” It features original songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (the team that brought us Hairspray and Smash), as well as Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Matt Ray This is one of those Off-Broadway shows that’s getting an encore presentation; it was at the Public in the Fall. A warning: Audience participation.

Hamilton

January 20 – March 22

Written and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, it includes a diverse cast of some two dozen talented performers, enough of whom are Broadway veterans (Brian d’Arcy James, Ariana DeBose, Christopher Jackson, Leslie Odom Jr, John Rua, Ephraim Sykes) to make one believe the talk they are aiming for Broadway.

JosephineandI

Josephine and I

February 27 – April 5

Written and starring Cush Jumbo (The River, Julius Caesar), this solo show featuring jazz and ragtime interweaves a story of an ambitious young woman in modern times with the life of the  Josephine Baker, the first African-American performer to rise to international prominence.

Buzzer 

March 24 to April 26

A play by Tracey Scott Wilson about a man who grew up in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood but i now a Harvard-educated lawyer, and his interactions with his rich best friend now in recovery, and a white girlfriend.

Toast By Lemon Andersen

April 21 – May 10

Lemon Anderson (County of Kings) tells the story of a group of inmates leading to the 1971 Attica prison riot.

The Sound and the Fury

May 14 – June 13

The Elevator Repair Service reads verbatim the first chapter of Faulkner’s novel, just as they read verbatim Fitzgerald’s entire novel The Great Gatsby (Gatz) and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises (The Select.) This is another one of those productions that is offering an encore performance; it was originally presented at the New York Theater Workshop.

 

 

new_york_01NEW YORK THEATER WORKSHOP

79 East 4th Street. Twitter: @NYTW79

Fall offerings included Scenes From A Marriage and The Invisible Hand, two of the season’s most intriguing productions.

The Events

Dael Orlandersmith ForeverFebruary 4 to March 22

A hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, this play by David Greig tells the story of a survivor’s search for compassion, peace and understanding in the wake of unthinkable violence.

Forever

Framed with the story of the pilgrimage  Dael Orlandersmith took to the cemetery where Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison are buried, she offer a semi-autobiographical exploration of the family we are born into and the family we choose.

vineyard_01VINEYARD THEATER

108 East 15th Street Twitter: @VineyardTheatre

Brooklynite poster

Brooklynite

January 30 – March 22

This musical directed by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, Hedwig) and based on characters created by husband and wife authors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, tells the story of a hardware store clerk who meets “Brooklyn’s most celebrated superhero” and together they try to save Brooklyn. Its impressive cast includes Nick Cordero (the best thing about Bullets Over Broadway), Matt Doyle and Ann Harada.

Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

 An ambitious group of editorial assistants at a notorious  Manhattan magazine hopes for a starry life of letters and a book deal before they turn thirty.

CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY (CSC)


csc_01
136 East 13th Street Twitter: @ClassicStage

 

 

 

AMonthInTheCountry

A Month in the Country

January 9 –

Peter Dinklage and Taylor Schilling star in Turgenev’s play about unrequited love.

hamlet_800x315

Hamlet

March 27 –

Directed by Austin Pendleton, starring Peter Sarsgaar

faustus Chris Noth

 

Dr. Faustus

May 29 –

Starring Chris Noth

A trilogy by Charles L. Mee
freely adapted from the works of EURIPIDES

June 15, 22 & 29, 2015

RATTLESTICK PLAYWRIGHTS THEATER


rattle_01
Address: 224 Waverly Place (though frequently also at the Cherry Lane)

Twitter:  @RattlestickNY

Rattlestick’s 20th anniversary season began in the summer with The Long Shrift, James Franco’s debut as a stage director, and Phoenix, co-starring Julia Stiles. and picked up with plays that reflect an interest in the world around us.

 

Shesh Yak Written by Laith Nakli; Directed by Bruce McCarty

January 15 – February 22

In the spring of 2011, five weeks into the civil uprising in Syria, we find Jameel, a 40-year-old Syrian-American writer in his New York apartment waiting for a houseguest to arrive from

EverythingYouTouchEverything You Touch Written by Sheila Callaghan; Directed by Jessica Kubzansky

January 28th-March 29th, 2015

A look at the fashion world in two different eras, the 1970s and now.

The Undeniable Sound of Right Now Written by Laura Eason; Directed by Kirsten Kelly

March 18-May 3, 2015

It’s 1992. Hank is struggling to keep his legendary rock club going amid changing times and changing tastes.

Hamlet in Bed Written by Michael Laurence; Directed by Lisa Peterson

May 14-June 18, 2015

Michael is a neurotic actor and adoptee obsessed with two things- finding his real mother, and playing the famous Gloomy Dane.

Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait Written and Directed by Daniel Talbott

In a not so distant future where children have never known a world without war, resources are vanishing and what’s left is controlled by minuscule factions

The New Group

at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street

Twitter: @TheNewGroupNYC

 

Actors turned playwright or director

Actors turned playwright or director

Rasheeda Speaking

January 27 – March 22, 2015

Cynthia Nixon makes her directorial debut with this tense workplace thriller starring Dianne Wiest and Tonya Pinkins as once-friendly co-workers who are driven apart by their white boss. Written by Joel Drake Johnson, the playexamines the realities of so-called “post-racial” America.

The Spoils

Jesse Eisenberg writes and stars in another play, this one about a man who sets out to win back his grade school crush after he finds out she is marrying a banker.

MCC Theater

Address: The Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street. Twitter: @mcctheater

The Nether

February 4 – March 15

Jennifer Haley explores modern digital life, her central character a young female detective

permissionPermission

by Robert Askins (playwright of Hand to God), directed by Alex Timbers.

A couple’s new commitment to “Christian Domestic Discipline” upends their lives.

Lincoln Center Theater*

The shows at Lincoln Center’s Off-Broadway venues are inexpensive (especially at the Claire Tow theater, where initial-run tickets cost $20) and often rewarding: Disgraced, the Pulitzer Prize winning play that opened on Broadway in the Fall, began here.

 

Verity

January 31 to March 15

In Nick Jones new play, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Josephine, a stay-at-home mom and struggling writer, is offered an unusual deal for her memoir: she has to make her life exciting enough to publish. As mysterious and even sinister events start happening to her, Josephine has to decide how far she is willing to go to make her life into art.

ShalhoubandLane

The Mystery of Love and Sex

February 5 to April 26

In this new play by Bathsheba Doran, directed by Sam Gold, Tony Shalhoub and Diane Lane play the parents of a college-age daughter whom they try to convince to end a romantic relationship.

 

ROUNDABOUT* LAURA PELS THEATER

Into The Woods

January 22 to March 22

Little Children Dream of God

January 24 – April 19

In Jeff Augustin’s play, a young immigrant mother from Haiti is determined to forge a better life in America for her unborn son

MTC THEATER* At City Center

WorldofExtremeHappiness131 West 55th Street

Twitter: @MTC_NYC

The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig

February 3 to March 29

Unwanted from the moment she’s born, Sunny is determined to escape her life in rural China and forge a new identity in the city.

The Swing of the Sea by Richard Greenberg

Greenberg’s 11th play with MTC is about the sons and lover or deceased patriarch who reunite for one evening of “secrets, passions and ghosts.”

 

SIGNATURE

signature_01

480 West 42nd Street. Twitter: @signaturetheatr

As the first New York theater to win the Regional Tony Award this year, the Signature now has some solid proof of what has been clear to its patrons for years.  What has distinguished this theater is not only its track record, but its commitment to keep the price of all tickets for initial runs to $25.  This used to be my favorite theater, and I’m hoping it will become so again, but despite the new recognition, the offerings have been uneven recently, and my interaction with the theater has not been positive.

This season’s “Residency One” playwrights are A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace

Big Love by Charles Mee

February 3 – March15, 2015

Fifty brides flee their fifty grooms and seek refuge in an Italian villa in this modern re-making of one of the world’s oldest plays, The Danaids by Aeschylus

The Liquid Plain by Naomi Wallace

February 17 – March 29, 2015

On the docks of late 18th century Rhode Island, two runaway slaves plan a desperate and daring run to freedom.

What I Did Last Summer by A.R. Gurney

May – June

With her husband overseas near the end of World War II, Grace fights to save the splintering bonds of her family by taking her teenage son and daughter to spend the summer on Lake Erie.

OTHER (POTENTIAL) HIGHLIGHTS

There are worthwhile theaters I do not attend regularly enough to list as my favorites, with at least one production each this season that sound promising, or at least intriguing:

TheWoodsman59E59The Road to Damascus (about an African Pope), The Woodsman (The untold story of The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz) — actually, the whole season looks good

The Atlantic -  Posterity,  by Doug Wright; Guards of the Taj by Rajiv Joseph

Irish Repertory Theater – revival of Da by Hugh Leonard

Primary Stages – Lives of the Saints, new one-acts by David Ives

Second Stage TheatreBetween Riverside and Crazy

There are also commercial shows put together by independent producers that appear in theaters for rent, such as:

Cherry Lane Theatre
Daryl Roth Theatre
Gym at Judson
Lucille Lortel Theatre
New World Stages
Orpheum Theater
The Players Theatre
Snapple Theater Center
Theatre Row – The Acorn
Union Square Theater
Westside Theatre

 

*THE ASTERISK: Off-Broadway AND Broadway

*Just to complicate matters, several of the resident theaters also present shows on Broadway –  Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Company (MTC), and the Roundabout Theater Company. Their Broadway offerings are listed in my Broadway Spring 2015 Preview Guide

What Is Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway?

Off-Broadway theaters, by definition, have anywhere from 99 to 499 seats. If a theater has more seats than that, it’s a Broadway house. If it has fewer, it’s Off-Off Broadway.

There are some terrific Off-Off Broadway theaters, sometimes confused for Off-Broadway. These include (but are not limited to) The Flea, Labyrinth Theater, and LaMaMa ETC. (And just to confuse things further, some Off-Broadway theaters have Off-Off Broadway spaces; and LaMaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater has 299 seats, making it Off-Broadway, though the rest of LaMaMa’s theaters are Off-Off Broadway.)

Because there are so many shows Off-Off Broadway, and their runs are so limited, I will include them in my monthly theater preview posted near the beginning of each month.

NEW YORK THEATER CALENDAR BY OPENING DATES

New York Theater Opening Night Calendar

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information about Off-Broadway, go to  The League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers (aka The Off-Broadway League).  This should not be confused with the Off-Broadway Alliance, which is a separate organization (though they should probably merge, no?)

Winter Theater Festivals in New York City 2015

Winter theater festivals in New York: COIL, Under the Radar, American Realness, Frigid Festival

Winter theater festivals in New York: COIL, Under the Radar, American Realness, Frigid Festival

January is the month for theater festivals in New York – more than at any time other than the summer –

The reason these festivals have blossomed over the past decade is the presence of the thousands of attendees from throughout the nation at the annual convention of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

If many of the productions are more reliably classified as performance art, the ticket prices are also much cheaper than most traditional theater.

Below are selections from seven festivals, all but one of them exclusively in January.

COIL

Performance Space 122

January 2 – January 17

Twitter feed: @PS122

Five of the 13 offerings are explicitly (although not always exclusively) labeled theater.

RoosevElvis

RoosevElvis

Jan 2 – 10

Vineyard Theater (108 E 15th St)

On a hallucinatory road trip from the Badlands to Graceland, the spirits of Elvis Presley and Theodore Roosevelt battle over the soul of Ann, a painfully shy meat-processing plant worker, and what kind of man or woman Ann should become.

 

RoosevElvis was originally at the Bushwick Starr, where it got raves.

sorry-robot-showpage-640x295

Sorry Robot

Jan 6 – 17
New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher St)

Robots long to feel the same things that their human masters feel in this first play by performance artist Mike Iveson, set in a shady Florida hotel in the near future.

Catch Coil

January 10th only
The Invisible Dog Art Center (51 Bergen St., Brooklyn)

Catch is a performance art showcase, where you see pieces of works in progress.

 

YOUARENOWHERE

January 8 – 17

The Invisible Dog Art Center (51 Bergen St., Brooklyn)

A multimedia theater piece that “experiments with the virtues of sensory overload.”

 

The Blind Date Project

January 7 – 17

Parkside Lounge (317 E Houston St.)

An improvised theater piece involving Australian actress Bojana Novakovic playing a character waiting at a karaoke bar for her date — a different performer every night.

 

Under the Radar

January 7 – January 18

Public Theater

Twitter: @UTRFestival

Now celebrating its 11th anniversary, the Under the Radar Festival this year offers 20 works from seven countries (Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.)  Almost half of these fall under a new festival within the festival. In partnership with LaMaMa ETC, Under the Radar is launching the Incoming Series, work-in-process presentations from the Devised Theater Working Group.

Here is a dizzying video collage of what’s in store:

 

Taylor Mac 1910s Kevin Yatarola

 A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1900-1950s

January 13 – 25

New York Live Arts (219 W 19th Street)

An ambitious project by the protean performance artist and playwright etc. Taylor Mac.  “Eventually, this work will become a 24-hour spectacle covering the last 240 years of popular music in America.” It’s currently in two parts, with separate admission.

FishonWallace

A (radically condensed and expanded) Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again

January 7 – 16
Public Theater

Daniel Fish creates a piece based on the works of the late novelist Daniel Foster Wallace. “Tennis balls fly as four actors wrestle with the relentless rush of words streaming from their headphones.”

 

Jardim1

O Jardim

January 7 – 11

LaMaMa Ellen Stewart

On a stage filled with moving boxes, stories from three generations of the same family unfold simultaneously.  Created by Brazil’s Companhia Hiato, founded by director and playwright Leonardo Moreira, the show is in Portuguese with English subtitles.

timeloss

Timeloss

January 16 – 18

Public Theater

A glimpse at life in Iran told by Iranian theater artist Amir Reza Koohestani creates a fictionalized reunion of the actors from his international hit of decade ago, Dance on Glasses. Performed in Farsi with English supertitles.

DarkMatter

#ItGetsBitter

January 8 only

LaMaMa Club

One of the eight shows in the new “Incoming” series, this evening of “poetry and politics” is created by DarkMatter,  a trans south asian art and activist collaboration comprised of Janani Balasubramanian and Alok Vaid-Menon.

Circus Now

January 8 to 10, 2015

Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place, part of New York University)

Twitter: @CircusNowUSA

A new festival this year, whose motto is: “3 nights. 6 countries. 9 companies. Over 50 artists. All pushing the boundaries of circus as an art.”

 

Special Effects

January 8 to 10, 2015

Adrienne Truscott

Adrienne Truscott

The Wild Project

195 E. 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B).

 

The second year of this festival features, among other works, “Gray Spaces,” an evening of (unnamed) new works described as “existing between the black box of experimental theatre and the white rooms of the art museum” and “Asking for It” by Adriane Truscott, “one-half of the infamous Wau Wau Sisters, dressed only from the waist up and the ankles down, undresses and dresses down the rules and rhetoric about rape, comedy and the awkward laughs in between.”

 

Prototype Festival

January 8 – 17, 2015

Twitter: @Prototypefest

Billing itself as the “premiere festival of opera-theatre and music-theatre,” the Prototype Festival, now in its third year, will feature seven works.

KansasCityChoirBoy

Kansas City Choir Boy

January 8 – 17

HERE (145 6th Avenue)

Rock singer Courtney Love stars with Todd Almond in Almond’s two lovers in small town America who separate.

The Scarlet Ibis

Set in rural North Carolina a century ago, the show’s singers, puppetry, and multimedia stagecraft tell the story of a  disabled boy whose older brother pushes him to be “normal.” It is written by composer Stefan Weisman and librettist David Cote, who is Time Out New York theater critic.

 

AMERICAN REALNESS FESTIVAL

Abrons Arts Center

466 Grand Street
January 8 – 18

Twitter: @AmericanRealnes

Some 20 works, primarily dance, although theater is certainly an accent in some of these works.

There is one exclusively theatrical piece:

Whitney Biennial

The Mother and Other Plays

January 15 – 18

An art collective called My Barbarian responds to Brecht’s 1932 play The Mother with masks made of old Soviet newspapers, musical numbers, improvised content, audience participation, and interruptions with scenes from their repertoire, “including Counterpiblicity (2014), a performance based on MTV’s The Real World: San Francisco (1994)”

 

FRIGID FESTIVAL

FrigidFestivallogo

The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A)
Dandy Darkly's Pussy Panic, at Frigid 2015

Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic, at Frigid 2015

February 18 – March 8

Twitter: @FrigidNewYork

“2 Theaters, 3 Weeks, 19 Days, 30 independent theater companies and over 150 performances.” Titles for the ninth annual Fringe Festival include Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic!, Hey ‘90s Kids, You’re Old, and I Was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot. (Yes, the origins of this festival are Fringe.)  In addition, “the artists are chosen by lottery, and 100% of ticket sales are returned to artists.”

Broadway Theater Spring 2015 Preview Guide

Below are the shows scheduled to open in Broadway theaters between January and April, 2015, listed chronologically by opening date. This is a work in progress. Some other shows will surely announce a Broadway theater and opening date in Spring 2015; some of those already scheduled may well drop out.

Tastes vary, and in any case my recommendations come after I’ve seen a show, but I do throw in a comment here and there below.

Also check out: Off-Broadway Spring 2015 Guide

January

Constellations

constellationslogoSamuel J. Friedman Theater

  • Playwright: Nick Payne
  • Director: Michael Longhurst
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ruth Wilson
  • First preview: December 16
  • Opening January 13, 2015
  • Closes: March 15

A chance meeting between a beekeeper and a physicist at a barbecue develops into a relationship with infinite outcomes that play out across multiple, alternate universes. Nick Payne is the playwright who last brought Gyllenhaal to a New York stage, “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet,” about a family and the world’s climate falling apart, most memorable for the stage flooded with water.

 website

Twitter: @MTC_NYC

honeymooninvegaslogoHoneymoon in Vegas

Nederlander Theater

  • Music and Lyrics: Jason Robert Brown
  • Book: Andrew Bergman
  • Director: Gary Griffin
  • First preview: November 18
  • Opening: January 15
  • Cast: Tony Danza, Rob McClure, Byrnn O’Malley

Jack Singer, a regular guy with an extreme fear of marriage, finally gets up the nerve to ask his girlfriend Betsy to marry him. But when they head to Las Vegas to get hitched, smooth talking gambler Tommy Korman, looking for a second chance at love, falls head over heels for Betsy.

The show is based on the 1992 Hollywood movie starring James CaanNicolas CageSarah Jessica Parker, written and directed by Andrew Bergman, who’s written the book for the musical.

website

Twitter: @HoneymoonBway

March

Fish-in-the-Dark-Larry-David-logoFish in the Dark

Cort Theatre

  • First Preview: February 2, 2015
  • Opening: March 5, 2015
  • Closing: June 7, 2015
  • Written by Larry David
  • Director: Anna D. Shapiro
  • Cast: Larry David, Jayne Houdyshell, Jake Cannavale, Johnny Orsini, Rosie Perez, Jerry Adler, Ben Shenkman, Lewis J. Stadlen, Marylouise Burke, Jennifer Lyon

A comedy about a death in the family by the co-creator of Seinfeld, and the creator and star of  Curb Your Enthusiasm, who said he hasn’t acted in a play since the eighth grade. Will his humor translate to the stage? I’m guessing yes.

 website

Twitter: @FishInTheDark

theaudiencelogoThe Audience

Gerald Schoenfeld Theater

  • First Preview: February 17, 2015
  • Opening: March 8, 2015
  • Written by Peter Morgan
  • Director: Stephen Daldry
  • Cast: Helen Mirren, Dylan Baker, Geoffrey Beevers, Michael Elwyn, Judith Ivey, Richard McCabe, Dakin Matthews, Rod McLachlan, Rufus Wright

For 60 years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace. The play imagines a series of sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive meetings between the Queen and everyone from Churchill to Cameron.
The always-fabulous Helen Mirren starred in the 2013 West End production, which got raves in the London press — but remember both critics and British audiences know (and care) more about British political history than U.S. theatergoers.

 website

Twitter: @TheAudienceBway

 

20centurylogoOn The Twentieth Century

American Airlines Theater

  • First Preview: February 12, 2015
  • Opening: March 12, 2015
  • Closes: July 5, 2015
  • Written by Cy Coleman (music) and Betty Comden & Adolph Green (book & lyrics)
  • Director: Scott Ellis
  • Cast: Kristin Chenoweth, Peter Gallagher, Andy Karl, Michael McGrath, Mark Linn-Baker, Mary Louise Wilson

A struggling Broadway producer tries to get a former lover, now a Hollywood star, to sign a contract to star in his latest (and as yet un-conceived) play as they travel on the luxury train Twentieth Century Limited from Chicago to New York.
A musical based on the 1933 plays Twentieth Century, which was made into a 1934 movie starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard, this musical comedy debuted on Broadway in 1979.

website

Twitter: @RTC_NYC

The Heidi Chronicles

heidichronicleslogo Music Box Theater

  • First Preview: February 23, 2015
  • Opening: March 19, 2015
  • Written by Wendy Wasserstein
  • Director: Pam MacKinnon
  • Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Jason Biggs, Bryce Pinkham, Tracee Chimo

This 1989 play by the late and much missed Wendy Wasserstein follows the awakening of art historian Heidi Holland in a changing cultural and political landscape. The casting of Moss is both well-timed (Peggy and the rest of the characters of Mad Men are soon to depart) and intriguing.

website

Twitter: @HeidionBroadway

The Heart of Robin Hood

HeartofRobinHoodlogo
Marquis Theater

  • First Preview: March 11, 2015
  • Opening: March 29, 2015
  • Closes: August 23, 2015
  • Written by David Farr
  • Director: Gísli Örn Garðarsson
  • Cast: TBA

We’re told this is a reimagining of the familiar story. The merry band do steal from the rich, but don’t give to the poor — until a crisis convinces Marion to step in and get them to change. This was originally produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company

website

Twitter: @RobinHoodBway

April

skylight logoSkylight

John Golden Theater

    • First Preview: March 16, 2015
    • Opening: April 2, 2015
    • Closes: June 14, 2015
    • Written by David Hare
    • Director: Stephen Daldry
    • Cast: Bill Nighy, Carey Mulligan, Matthew Beard

On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis (Mulligan) receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant ( Nighy), a successful and charismatic restaurateur whose wife has recently died. As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship, only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires.
London critics loved this production of Hare’s 1995 play.

website

Hand to God

handtogodlogoBooth Theater

 

      • First Preview: March 12, 2015
      • Opening: April 7, 2015
      • Written by Robert Askins
      • Director: Mortiz van Stuelpnagel
      • Cast: Steven Boyer, Geneva Carr, Michael Oberholtzer, Sarah Stiles, Marc Kudisch.

The good children of Cypress, Texas are taught to obey the Bible in order to evade Satan’s hand. But when students at the Christian Puppet Ministry put those teachings into practice, one devout young man’s puppet takes on a shocking personality that no one could have expected.
Producer Kevin McCollum, who brings this play to Broadway following runs at Ensemble Studio Theater and MCC Theater, says it will be changed for Broadway.

website

Twitter @

Gigi

GigilogoNeil Simon Theater

First Preview: March 19, 2015

Opening: April 8, 2015

Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe and book by Heidi Thomas

Director: Eric Schaeffer

Cast: Vanessa Hudgens
Victoria Clark
Corey Cott
Dee Hoty
Howard McGillin
Steffanie Leigh
Cameron Adams
Kathryn Boswell
Max Clayton
Madeleine Doherty
Ashley Blair Fitzgerald
Hannah Florence
Alison Jantzie
Brian Ogilvie
James Patterson
Justin Prescott
Jeffrey C. Sousa
Manny Stark
Tanairi Sade Vazquez
Richard White
Amos Wolff
Ashley Yeater

In this revival of the 1974 musical, the title character is being groomed to join the family business, as a courtesan. (The 1958 movie musical, which introduced the song”Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” won nine Oscars.)

@GigiOnBroadway

Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2

wolfhalllogo
Winter Garden Theater

      • First Preview: March 20, 2015
      • Opening: April 9, 2015
      • Written by Hilary Mantel (novels), Mike Poulton (adaptation)
      • Director: Jeremy Herrin
      • Cast: Ben Miles, Lydia Leonard, Nathaniel Parker

A stage adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Through the eyes and ears of Thomas Cromwell, the power, passion and politics surrounding Henry VIII’s relationship with Anne Boleyn are brought to life as two plays.
Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII have been characters in many works before, such as A Man For All Seasons. This two-part play, which originated at the Royal Shakespeare Company,is being touted as an epic theatrical event (akin to Nicholas Nickleby or Angels in America), which you can see on two separate days or in a marathon on the same day.

website

Twitter: @WolfHallThePlay

An American in Paris

The Palace Theater

americaninparislogo

      • First Preview: March 13, 2015
      • Opening: April 12, 2015
      • Written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin (music & lyrics), Craig Lucas (book)
      • Director: Christopher Wheeldon
      • Cast: Robert Fairchild, Leanne Cope, Veanne Cox, Jill Paice, Brandon Uranowitz, Max von Essen

Hoping to start a new life, World War II veteran Jerry Mulligan chooses newly-liberated Paris as the place to make a name for himself as a painter. But Jerry’s life becomes complicated when he meets Lise, a young Parisian shop girl with her own secret – and realizes he is not her only suitor. A classic American film about young souls in Paris is re-imagined for the Broadway stage.
This debuted in Paris in December 2014. The French loved it — and they don’t usually love musicals. Prepare to see the dancing emphasized. Director Wheeldon is a respected and innovative choreographer, Fairchild is a arincipal dancer with the New York City Ballet, and Leanne Cope is a First Artist of The Royal Ballet.

website

Twitter: @AmericanInParis

It Shoulda Been You

Itshouldabeenyou artwork
Brooks Atkinson Theater

  • First Preview: March 17, 2015
  • Opening: April 14, 2015
  • Written by Barbara Anselmi (music), Brian Hargrove (book & lyrics)
  • Director: David Hyde Pierce
  • Cast: Tyne Daley, Harriet Harris, Sierra Boggess, Lisa Howard, David Burtka, Edward Hibbert, Steve Rosen, Chip Zien, Montego Glover, Josh Grisetti

The bride is Jewish. The groom is Catholic. Her mother is a force of nature, his mother is a tempest in a cocktail shaker. And then the bride’s ex-boyfriend shows up.
The members of the cast have great track records.

website

Twitter:  @ShouldaBeenYou

 

Finding Neverland

findingneverlandlogoLunt-Fontanne Theater

  • First Preview: March 15, 2015
  • Opening: April 15, 2015
  • Written by James Graham (book), Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy (music & lyrics), Allan Knee (original play)
  • Director: Diane Paulus
  • Cast: Matthew Morrison, Laura Michelle Kelley, Kelsey Grammer, Carolee Carmello

J.M. Barrie’s last play was an abysmal failure and his career is threatened by crippling writers block. But then a chance meeting in a London park with a woman and her spirited young boys provides just the inspiration he needs.
After an unsuccessful London premiere, producer Harvey Weinstein replaced the entire creative team; the new version then premiered at the American Repertory Theater.

website

Twitter: @NeverlandBway

 

The King and I

kingandilogo

  • Vivian Beaumont
  • First Preview: March 12, 2015
  • Opening: April 16, 2015
  • Written by Richard Rodgers (music), Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics)
  • Director: Barlett Sher
  • Cast: Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe, Ruthie Ann Miles, Conrad Ricamora, Ashley Park, Edward Baker-Duly, Jon Viktor Corpuz, Murphy Guyer, Jakes Lucas, Paul Nakauchi, Marc Oka

In 1860s Siam, Anna, a British schoolteacher, is hired as part of King Mongkut’s drive to modernize his country.
Yes, this is the fifth production on Broadway, but it’s the King and I — one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s intensely tuneful musicals.

website

Twitter: @LCTheater

Fun Home

FunHomeLogo Circle in the Square

    • First Preview: March 27, 2015
    • Opening: April 19, 2015
    • Written by Lisa Kron (book), Jeanine Tesori (music & lyrics), Alison Bechdel (graphic novel)
    • Director: Sam Gold
    • Cast: Michael Ceveris, Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas, Beth Malone, Emily Skeggs, Joel Perez, Robert Colindrez, Zell Morrow, Oscar Williams

When her father dies unexpectedly, graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. Moving between past and present, Alison relives her unique childhood playing at the family’s Bechdel Funeral Home, her growing understanding of her own sexuality and the looming, unanswerable questions about her father’s hidden desires.
I loved the production of this show at the Public Theater, and it looks as if they might well be leaving it alone.

website

Twitter: @funhomemusical

LivingonLovelogoLiving on Love

Longacre Theatre,

      • First preview: April 1.
      • Opens April 20
      • Closes: August 20
      • Written by: Joe DiPietro
      • Director: Kathleen Marshall
      • Cast: Renee Fleming,

American opera star, soprano Renée Fleming makes her Broadway debut as a celebrated diva who deals with her philandering conductor husband’s transgressions by taking on a young lover of her own. The comedy is a loose adaptation of Garson Kanin’s 1985 play “Peccadillo” with its setting moved back to the 1950s.

website

Twitter: @LivingLoveBway

 

Dr. Zhivago

drzhivagologo

        • The Broadway Theatre
        • First Preview: March 27, 2015
        • Opening: April 21, 2015
        • Written by Lucy Simon (music), Michael Korie & Amy Powers (lyrics), Michael Weller (book), Boris Pasternak (novel)
        • Director: Des McAnuff
        • Cast: Tam Mutu, Kelli Barrett, Tom Hewitt, Paul Nolan

A young physician and his beautiful mistress get swept up in the danger and drama of the Bolshevik Revolution in this epic musical based on the classic novel by Nobel Prize author Boris Pasternak.

This musical has been bouncing around the world (Australia, Korea) since it premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in 2006 to a mixed response. Producers say they’ve changed it substantially.

website

Twitter: @zhivagomusical

Something Rotten

        • somethingrottenlogoTheatre: St. James Theatre
        • First Preview: March 23, 2015
        • Opening: April 22, 2015
        • Written by Wayne Kirkpatrick & Karey Kirkpatric (music & lyrics), Karey Kirkpatrick & John O’Farrell (book)
        • Director: Casey Nicholaw
        • Cast: TBA

It’s the 1590s, and brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but are stuck in the shadow of that Renaissance rockstar known as ‘The Bard.’ When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical.
After the quick closing of Side Show, the producers dropped the plan to premiere this musical in Seattle and bring it directly to Broadway.

 

Airline Highway

MTC logoSamuel J. Friedman Theater

        • First Preview: April 1, 2015
        • Opening: April 23, 2015
        • Written by Lisa D’Amour
        • Director: Joe Mantello
        • Cast: TBA

In the parking lot of The Hummingbird, a once-glamorous motel on New Orleans’ infamous Airline Highway, a group of friends gather – strippers, hustlers, and philosophers – to celebrate the life of Miss Ruby, an iconic burlesque performer who has requested a funeral before she dies.
This play marks the Broadway debut of Lisa D’Amour, who demonstrated her keen insight into the economic crumbling class and her for the eerie with Detroit.

website (from Steppenwolf, where it is playing through February, 2015)

Twitter: @MTC_NYC

The Visit

The Lyceum

  • First Preview: March 26, 2015
  • Opening: April 23, 2015
  • Written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, with Terrence McNally
  • Director: John Doyl
  • Cast: Chita Rivera, Roger Rees

The oft-widowed Claire Zachanassian (Chita Rivera), and richest woman in the world, returns to the hardship-stricken town of her birth.  The locals pray that her wealth will bring them a new lease on life, but her arrival carries a dreadful price.

New Year’s Eve in New York City 2015 Last Minute Plans

The Broadway show schedule for New Year’s week, and a list of other shows, parties, concerts, intimate dinners, cruises and outdoor events you can still do on New Year’s Eve 2015 (when 2014 turns into 2015) in New York City. Also free events — and TV listings.

“It’s so much more fun to stay home,” Anderson Cooper, the New Year’s Eve host on CNN, said around this time last year. “I don’t know anybody who has a fun time at a party at New Year’s Eve. That’s why I work on New Year’s Eve.”

That may also be why,  according to an Associated Press survey, only eight percent of American say they plan to go out on New Year’s Eve.

For those who plan to go out, but haven’t made those plans yet, here are some ideas:

TIMES SQUARE

The New Year’s Eve tradition in Times Square began in 1904 with a rooftop celebration to greet the New Year. Three years later, they started lowering a ball.

From the organizers comes this overview of New Year’s Eve in Times Square, so you know what is in store for you if you decide to stand at the Crossroads of the World for New Year’s Eve

3 p.m. Revelers start arriving late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve. By approximately 3:00 PM., the Bowtie of Times Square (42nd to 47th Sts. between Broadway & 7th Ave.) is fully closed to traffic.

6:00 PM to 6:03 PM
 Lighting and Raising the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball

6:04 p.m. to 6:18 p.m.
Opening Ceremonies – Chinese Cultural Performance

The schedule goes on like this in ten-minute increments, and includes Countdowns by hosts including Anderson Cooper, and a number of performances: Idina Menzel
performs Let It Go (aptly for New Year’s Eve, no?) from 8:26 to 8:30 p.m. Taylor Swift performs Welcome to New York and Shake It Off from 11:39 to 11:46 p.m (Think they’ll keep to this precise schedule?)

DINING OUT ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

Open Table lists some 800 restaurants  with “New Year’s Eve offers” Most of them offer a choice of seatings – either earlier in the evening, so that you can make it in time elsewhere for the stroke of midnight, or party-hat-equipped seatings that lead up to midnight, where you can often turn on a TV so that you can watch the ball drop in Times Square. Open Table enables you to look for one in your neighborhood.

THEATER ON NEW YEAR’S WEEK

Only nine of the 35 shows currently on Broadway will be offering performances on New Year’s Eve — all of them matinees. (They’re almost all in Times Square, remember) But, as you can see in the schedule below, almost every show has performances on Monday (a day when almost all shows are usually dark), and 11 have added matinees on the Friday after New Year’s.

 

BroadwayNewYears2015a

NewYearsEve2015b

NewYearsEve2015c

NewYearsEve2015d2NewYearsEve2015e

Keep in mind that a good number of these shows are closing soon, so this is your last chance to see them.

Closing January 3, 2015: Cinderella

Closing January 4, 2015:  Once, Pippin, This is Our Youth, The Real Thing, Side Show

Closing January 18, 2015: Motown, The River, Rock of Ages

 

NEW YEAR’S EVE NIGHTCLUB PARTIES

New Year’s Eve Central website lists more than 100 New Year’s Eve parties at New York nightclubs 

 

CABARET 

MarathonVarietyMetropolitanRoom

It doesn’t begin until Thursday evening but it’s worth mentioning first: The Metropolitan Room’s effort to break a Guinness Book of World Record for longest marathon variety cabaret show ever — 275 performers non-stop over three days.  (They shoot hoarse singers don’t they?)

54 Below

Charles Busch, 7 p.m.

Laura Benanti, 11 p.m.

LauraBenantisprayingpaintingnewyear

 Metropolitan Club

Marilyn Maye, New Year’s Eve is the first night of a two-week run

Joe’s Pub

Sandra Bernhard  #Blessed, 9 and 11 p.m.

SandraBernhard

 The Duplex

NatalieDouglas

Natalie Douglas – As the Bistro Awards put it in making her its pick for the evening, “Natalie Douglas at The Duplex on New Year’s Eve has become a New York institution. With her longtime musical director Mark Hartman at the piano.”

Concerts

December 29–30 and January 1–4 (every evening except New Year’s Eve)
The Temptations and the Four Tops at the Palace Theatre
“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” “Reach Out I’ll Be There.” “Bernadette.” The Temptations and the Four Tops are responsible for some of the 20th century’s most memorable melodies. Though only one original member survives in each band, the songs live on.

December 30–31
Erasure at Terminal 5

December 31
Elton John at Barclays Center

EltonJohn

The New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at The Cathedral Church of St. John, a tradition begun by Leonard Bernstein. A limited number of seats are available to the public for free.

Fireworks

GrandArmyfireworksNew Year’s Eve Fireworks at Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park


HARBOR CRUISES

Big selling point of all these cruises — a close-up of the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the water. Most include a buffet, open bar, and dancing with a dj.

Circle Line Sightseeing New Year’s Eve Cruise

 $169, leaves from Pier 83, off West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue.
$250, leaves from South Street Seaport

Paddle Wheel Queen New Year’s Eve Cruise

 Boarding at Skyport Marina (23rd/FDR) at 9:45 p.m. for $165 per person

New York Water Taxi’s New Year’s Eve Cruise

 $120 include hor d’oeuvres, open bar, champagne toast, and music. Tickets are $120

Affairs Afloat New Year’s Eve Cruise

$162 for dancing and snacks  (early bird discounts available).

World Yacht New Year’s Eve Cruise

$350 for 3-hour cruise including a five-course sit-down dinner, champagne toast, premium open bar, party favors and music for dancing.

New Year’s Eve Family Cruise

$250 family packages ($90/adult, $45/kids 3-12) include sweets, treats and snacks, as well as soft drinks. Cash bar available.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise on Yacht Manhattan

 $350 to join just 39 other people  aboard a 1920s style yacht where formal-wear is encouraged.
A MEDITATIVE ALTERNATIVE
The Kadampa Meditation Center in Chelsea, for just $25 for non-members, provides a way for you to “ring in the New Year “with compassion and beneficial intentions!” — hors d’oeuvres, meditation, and no alcohol.

WALKING AND RUNNING

MidnightRun13_EW_146_0

New York Road Runners’  Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park

Shorewalkers Happy New Year’s Day Hike

Hike through the parks and shoreline in Upper Manhattan. Meet 12 noon at 178th street and Broadway at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. This might be the ultimately nebbishy thing to do — I actually did it once — but it’s a perfect excuse to go to sleep early on New Year’s Eve.

And if you’ve looked at all this and thought “uh” or “um” or “[sigh]” here’s what’s on TV New Year’s Eve:
What to watch on Wednesday, December 31, 2014
MARATHON, 9pm, FXX
The Simpsons
Enjoy the first and last episodes of each season, airing in chronological order, during this 25-hour marathon.
8pm, ABC
Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2015
From Times Square, with Taylor Swift headlining the musical portion of the evening.
8pm, NBC
A Toast to 2014
Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford serve as hosts of a retrospective of 2014, interviewing Chris Pratt, Weird Al Yankovic, Ian Ziering, and many more.
8pm, PBS
Live From Lincoln Center
The New York Philharmonic rings in the New Year with a selection of songs by George Gershwin, accompanied by Dianne Reeves and Norm Lewis.
9pm, Fox
Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution
The rapper emcees a New Year’s shindig on Miami Beach, with guests including Enrique Iglesias, Fall Out Boy, and The Band Perry slated to perform.
10pm, NBC
NBC’s New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly
From Times Square, with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Seth MacFarlane, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and Pharrell Williams.
10pm, PBS
Michael Feinstein’s New Year’s Eve at the Rainbow Room
The musician leads a New Year’s concert with appearances by Darren Criss, Leslie Odom Jr., Christine Ebersole, and more.

9 PM to 12:30 AM, CNN
New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper And Kathy Griffin.
Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin in their annual New Year’s Eve show from Times Square, with reports from around the U.S. and  London, Moscow, Beijing and Calcutta, as well as a cruise ship off the Bahamas.

Broadway Christmas Week Schedule 2014. Holiday Shows

RadioCityChristmasSpectacular-ETS-Santas01-1

All but three of the 35 Broadway shows currently playing are offering Monday night performances on Christmas week, and many have scheduled matinees on the Friday after Christmas Day. (Scroll to the bottom for the complete schedule)

Of course, a show on Christmas is not necessarily the same thing as a Christmas show, of which there are plenty — and not all of them are happening on Christmas itself:  Several have already ended their runs this year. One, the 16th annual reading of Times Square Angel written by and starring Charles Busch at Theater for the New City, is happening tonight (Monday, December 15th.)

Below are a selection of holiday shows that vary in tone and intended audience; some are raunchy parodies of holiday shows not suitable for children.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular (pictured above)

November 7-December 31 at Radio City Music Hall

A Christmas Memory

Ashley Robinson, Silvano Spagnuolo and Alice Ripley

Ashley Robinson, Silvano Spagnuolo and Alice Ripley

November 25-January 4 at the DR2 Theatre

A Christmas Memory, featuring Alice Ripley, is a musical adapted from Truman Capote’s short story

The Asphalt Christmas through December 21, 2014

AsphaltChristmas2

The Bells of St. Mary’s meets The Exorcist in this outrageous satire that celebrates Hollywood Christmas movies, with a nod to the Carol Burnett Show.

Distorted Kristmess

Through December 19 at the Laurie Beechman Theater

The Nutcracker

Through January 3 at the David H. Koch Theater

09_Nutcracker_TPeck_C34802-08George Balanchine’s 1954 classic.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Through December 28 at Madison Square Garden

12557_show_landscape_large_02 Dr. Seuss tale put on stage.

Carolines Holiday Comedy Show

Through December 23 at Carolines on Broadway

Christmas with the Crawfords

Through December 27 at the Abrons Arts Center Playhouse

RLaeY49H_IvcfP6OTdaJtjcztzu5n8K8QBRJAW3Ys8lIMThauneG0fObaEizXYRwyRQbWIvgNNSnDEUB66d4MqWOysO5X5gAgBQDwW5N6esG1NQBqf2MpcpBTLArvWLQagA campy Mommie Dearest spoof that’s been around since 1992, starring Joey Arias as Joan Crawford

A Christmas Carol

Through December 21 at the Queens Theatre

New York Pops – Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays

December 19 and 20 at Carnegie Hall

KelliandMatthewM

New York Pops – Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

December 21 at Carnegie Hall

Jackie Beat on Ice

December 20 and 21 at the Laurie Beechman Theater

imageJackie Beat in her 17th annual Christmas show

Coca-Cola Winter Wonderland

December 20 at the Apollo Theater

The Snow Maiden

December 21 at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts

A Russian Christmas version of the Cinderella story.

A Christmas Carol: The Musical

Through December 30 at the Players Theatre

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Broadway Christmas Week Schedule

Show Title Mon Dec. 22 Tues Dec. 23 Wed Dec. 24 Thur Dec. 25 Fri
Dec. 26
Sat
Dec. 27
Sun Dec. 28
A Delicate Balance 7pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm
Aladdin 7pm 2pm, 7pm 2pm,8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 1pm,6:30pm
Beautiful: The Carole Kind Musical 7pm 7pm 2pm,7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7pm
Book of Mormon, The 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 7pm
Cabaret 7pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 8pm 2:00pm, 8pm 2pm,7:30pm
Chicago 8pm 8pm DARK 8pm 8pm 2:30pm, 8pm 3pm,7:30pm
Cinderella DARK 7pm 2pm,7:30pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Constellations 7pm 7pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 7pm
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The 8pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7pm
Disgraced 8pm 7pm 2pm,7pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7pm
Elephant Man, The 8pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, A 7pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7:30pm
Hedwig and the Angry Inch 8pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 7pm,10pm 3pm,7pm
Honeymoon in Vegas 8pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
If/Then 8pm 8pm 2pm,7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7:30pm
It’s Only A Play 7pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Jersey Boys DARK 7pm 2pm,7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7pm
Kinky Boots 8pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7:30pm
Last Ship, The 8pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Les Miserables 8pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Lion King, The 7pm 2pm, 7pm 2pm,7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 1pm, 6:30pm
Mamma Mia! 8pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 7pm
Matilda DARK 7pm 2pm,8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,8pm
Motown: The Musical 7:30pm 7:30pm 2pm 7:30pm 2pm, 7:30pm 2pm, 7:30pm 3pm
On The Town 8pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7:30pm
Once 7pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Phantom of the Opera, The 8pm 7pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,8pm
Pippin 8pm 8pm 2:30pm,8pm 8pm 2:30pm, 8pm 2:30pm, 8pm 3pm
Real Thing, The 7pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7:30pm
River, The 7pm 7pm 2pm,7pm 2pm,7pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Rock of Ages 8pm 7pm DARK 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 7:30pm
Side Show 8pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7:30pm
This Is Our Youth 7pm 7pm 2pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7pm
Wicked 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm,7pm
You Can’t Take It With You 7pm 7pm 2pm,8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm,7:30pm

December 2014 Openings Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

Two Broadway shows — The Illusionists and The Elephant Man – are opening in December, as are a handful of Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway# plays and musicals.

(The bulk of the openings this season occurred in October and November.)

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Nothing, of course, is guaranteed about any of these shows, even those that seem the most promising. (This is why I write reviews.)

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.

* Asterisks are next to those shows to which I have been invited (and plan) to review as of this writing.

December 2

Disenchanted (Theatre at St. Clements)

A “not-for-the-kiddies musical” about Snow White “and her posse of disenchanted princesses.”

December 4

*The Illusionists (Marriot Marquis Theater)

Seven illusionists perform magic and illusion. Broadway is a stop on their world tour.

 A Christmas Memory (DR2 Theater)

The Irish Repertory Theater production of a new musical based on the short story by Truman Capote, starring Alice Ripley.

December 5

The Asphalt Christmas (Theatre Row – Lion)

“The Bells of St. Mary’s meets The Exorcist in this outrageous satire that celebrates Hollywood Christmas movies, with a nod to the Carol Burnett Show. It’s the story of St. Celestine’s convent school’s annual Christmas pageant…”

December 7

*The Elephant Man (Booth Theater)

Based on the true story of John Merrick, a horribly deformed man in the 19th century who was treated abominably, this second Broadway revival of the 1979 play gives movie heartthrob Bradley Cooper a chance to show his inner beauty. (The deformity is not actually depicted. The audience is asked to imagine it.)

Peer Gynt (Alchemical Theatre Laboratory)

The Immediate Family theater troupe cuts down Ibsen’s sprawling four-hour opus to ninety minutes: “Peer Gynt is a Norwegian boy enamored of folktales about trolls, giant reindeer, and emperors wealthy beyond imagining. As he grows up, his gift for spinning fanciful lies takes him on many adventures all over the world, but he soon loses sight of his true self within the fantasies he creates.”

December 8

*The Invisible Hand (New York Theatre Workshop)

Ayad Akhtar, the author of Disgraced on Broadway, has written a play about bout an American stockbroker (portrayed by Justin Kirk) who is kidnapped and tortured in a remote area of Pakistan, and negotiates to save his life.

December 10

Horse Girls (The Cell)

“Twelve-year-old Ashleigh rules the Lady Jean Ladies, South Florida’s most exclusive horse club. News that her family’s stables are being sold and their horses killed for meat throws the Ladies into crisis in this dark comedy…”

December 11

All That Dies and Rises (IATI Theater)

“a theatrical experiment in the tradition of Grotowski and Meyerhold, finding ecstatic movement in the text of August Strindberg, Franz Kafka, Gertrude Stein and Charles Bukowski”

December 14

Soul Doctor (Actor’s Temple Theatre)

The musical about the guitar-strumming, folksong-composing rabbi, Shlomo Carlebach, and his unlikely friendship with Nina Simone, Soul Doctor had a brief run on Broadway, with a different cast.  My review of the Broadway production.

*Every Brilliant Thing (Barrow Street)

A play by Duncan Macmillan well-received in the UK: “1. Ice cream, 2. Water fights, 3. Things with stripes, 4. Christopher Walken’s voice, 5. Rollercoasters. In Every Brilliant Thing, a young boy attempts to ease his mother’s depression by creating a list of all the best things in the world. Everything worth living for. Through adulthood, as the list grows, he learns the deep significance it has on his own life.”

December 15

*Pocatello (Playwrights Horizons)

Written by Samuel Hunter, who just won one of the McArthur “genius” awards and whose past plays I love, Pocatello has a cast of nine featuring T.R. Knight as Eddie, who manages an Italian chain restaurant in Pocatello, Idaho — “a small, unexceptional American city that is slowly being paved over with strip malls and franchises.”

December 18

Beware of Young Girls (59E59 – B)

“Singer and storyteller, Kate Dimbleby, accompanied by Naadia Sheriff on piano, explores the extraordinary songbook and story of cult favorite Dory Previn. The queen of 70’s confessional songwriters, Previn sang songs of emancipation and sweet revenge.”

#The list includes only a small selection of the shows Off-Off Broadway, only those running more than two weeks and with official opening dates. There are some greatly promising shows that fit neither of these criteria. One I’m planning to see this month, for example, is Send For The Million Men.

For a look at the whole season, check out Fall 2014 Broadway Preview Guide and Off-Broadway Preview Guide

November 2014 Openings Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

Three Broadway shows — The River, Side Show and A Delicate Balance – are opening in November, as are some two dozen Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway# plays and musicals.   This makes for tough choices or a severely hectic schedule for avid theatergoers, especially since five of the shows are opening on November 16th alone – and four more the very next night!

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions of most of the shows. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Nothing, of course, is guaranteed about any of these shows, even those that seem the most promising. (This is why I write reviews.)

Color key: Broadway: Red or Gray✫. Off Broadway: Blue or Light Blue✫. Off Off Broadway: Green.

* Asterisks are next to those shows to which I have been invited (and plan) to review as of this writing.(This will likely change as the month progresses.)

November 3

*The Oldest Boy (Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater)

Sarah Ruhl’s latest play tells the story of Tenzin, the toddler son of an American woman (to be played by Celia Keenan-Bolger) and a Tibetan man (Joel de la Fuente) who is recognized as the reincarnation of a high Buddhist teacher

November 5

*Wiesenthal (Acorn Theatre)

Written by and starring Tom Dugan, the play tells the true story of Simon Wiesenthal, more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice.

November 6

*Sticks and Bones (The New Group at The Pershing Square Signature Center)

With a cast that includes Richard Chamberlain, Holly Hunter and Bill Pullman, the New Group opens its 20th Anniversary season with the first major New York revival of David Rabe’s Tony Award-winning play Sticks and Bones, “a savage and savagely comic portrait of an average American family pulled apart by the return of a son from the Vietnam War.”

You Got Older (HERE Arts Center)

Directed by Anne Kauffman, and featuring Reed Birney and Brooke Bloom: Mae comes home to take care of Dad.

The New York City Icon Plays: Love in Irish Pub (Quinn’s Bar)

Eight short plays presented in a real Times Square area Irish Bar

Powerhouse (New Ohio Theatre)

The life of idiosyncratic composer and electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott, whose  compositions were used in countless Looney Tunes cartoons of the 1940s and 1950s.

November 11

Lost Lake (MTC at New York City Center – Stage 1)

A new play by David Auburn ( Proof): Veronica (Tracie Thoms) rents a lakeside property and is pulled into the problems of its owner (John Hawkes).

November 12

*Grand Concourse (Playwrights Horizons)

Called to a life of religious service, Shelley is the devoted manager of a Bronx soup kitchen, but lately her heart’s not quite in it. Enter Emma: an idealistic but confused young volunteer, whose recklessness pushes Shelley to the breaking point.”

Written by Heidi Schreck and directed by Kim Fagan, the play features a four-member cast that includes Bobby Moreno, who was so amazing in The Year of the Rooster.

November 13

Lypsinka! The Trilogy (The Connelly Theater)

 

November 16

*The River (Circle in the Square Theatre)

A trout fisherman in a remote cabin tries to hook a woman into some night-time fishing. Two words: Hugh Jackman.

*Our Lady of Kibeho (Signature Theatre,The Irene Diamond Stage)

Katori Hall (The Mountaintop) is inspired a true story: In 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until others start to see her as well.

The Erlkings (Theatre Row- Beckett)

A look at the perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre.

Tamburlaine, Parts I and II (Polonsky Shakespeare Center)

The Elizabethan play by Christopher Marlowe, edited and directed by Michael Boyd, starring John Douglas Thompson

Major Barbara (The Pearl)

November 17

*Side Show (St. James Theatre)

The Hilton twins, Daisy and Violet, were in real life conjoined twins who were trained by their guardians to become performers, and became the highest paid performers on the vaudeville circuit. “Side Show” purports to tell their story.

This “reimagined” revival of the 1997 musical was well-received in D.C., and is one of the most anticipated shows of the season.

Punk Rock (MCC Theater)

Simon Stephens (who adapted The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) writes about a group of highly-articulate 17-year-old British private school students preparing for their A-Level mock exams, while hormones rage.

Straight White Men (Public Theater)

Young Jean Lee, an innovative downtown playwrights, “defies expectations with a conventionally structured take on the classic American father-son drama….When Ed (Austin Pendleton) and his three adult sons come together to celebrate Christmas, they enjoy cheerful trash-talking, pranks, and takeout Chinese. Then they confront a problem that even being a happy family can’t solve….what is the value of being a straight white man?”

Blank! The Musical (New World Stages)

“Each night, a talented ensemble takes to the stage—with no script, no rehearsal, and no idea what will happen—to perform a brand-new smash hit musical… that you help to create!”

November 18

By The Water (NY City Center – Stage II)

The play by Sharyn Rothstein looks at the effect of Hurricane Sandy on one family.

November 19

Allegro (CSC)

This revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s least known musical, written after their success with Oklahoma and Carousel, follows the life of a physician named Joe Taylor, Jr.

November 20

A Delicate Balance (Golden Theatre)

Glenn Close returns to Broadway in a cast that includes John Lithgow and Martha Plimpton in another one of Edward Albee’s caustic Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpieces, about a long-married couple who must maintain their equilibrium as over the course of a weekend they welcome home their 36-year old daughter after the collapse of her fourth marriage, and give shelter to their best friends who seek refuge in their home, all the while tolerating Agnes’ alcoholic live-in sister. The Edward Albee-Pam MacKinnon match-up, which brought us the priceless recent Broadway production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” holds great promise to repeat the feat.

Pitbulls (Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre)

Keith Josef Adkins, a playwright best-known as the founding artistic director of New Black Fest,writes about a pariah named Mary in a small black community in rural Appalachia — pitbull country – who is viewed suspiciously when a pitbull is killed on the Fourth of July.

On A Stool At The End Of A Bar (59E59 Theaters – B)

November 23

*A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations) (Signature Theatre)

Sam Shepard’s “dark, fragmented, modern-day take” on Oedipus Rex

Me, My Mouth and I (Cherry Lane)

Written and performed by Joy Behar.

November 24

Self Made Man: The Frederick Douglass Story (Arclight Theater)

Frederick Douglass arrives back to his place of birth where he is planning to murder his former owner. But first he tells us his life story.

* Asterisks are next to those shows to which I have been invited (and plan) to review as of this writing.(Consider this a work in progress.)

✫Grey means Broadway shows, and light blue means Off-Broadway shows, to which I’ve been invited past the opening.

#The list includes only a small selection of the shows Off-Off Broadway, with an emphasis on those running more than two weeks and with official openings.

For a look at the whole season, check out Fall 2014 Broadway Preview Guide and Off-Broadway Preview Guide

October 2014 Openings Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

Some of the shows opening in October. Click on any photograph to see it enlarged.

October is one of the three busiest theater months in New York, with some 40 shows opening sometime this month on Broadway,  Off-Broadway or Off-Off Broadway. This comes to at least one for each day of the month, although the schedule is more chaotic than that.  Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions of some that look promising or have gotten attention – but nothing can be guaranteed in advance (which is why I review.)

* Asterisks are next to those shows to which I have been invited (and plan) to review as of this writing. (Consider this a work in progress.)

Color key: Broadway: Red or Grey*. Off Broadway: Black or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.

October 1, 2014

Tail!Spin! (Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project)

*King Lear (NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts)

 October 2

*The Country House (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre) 

Blythe Danner stars in an adaptation by Donald Margulies (Dinner With Friends) of Chekhov’s The Seagull focuses on a family of thespians who gather in a house in the Berkshires during the Williamstown theater festival.

Riding The Midnight Express with Billy Hayes (Barrow Street Theatre)

Port Authority (DR2 Theatre)

October 4

Sleepy Hollow (The Players Theatre)

October 5

*The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Barrymore Theatre)

Fifteen-year-old Christopher, clinically awkward and brilliant, is suspected of killing the neighbor’s dog. He sets out on a life-changing journey to find the culprit.

This stage adaptation of a peculiarly-written novel I loved by Mark Haddon was well-received in London, winning 7 Olivier Awards (equalling the previous record-breaking Matilda.) It was especially praised for its design. The director and the designers are the same on Broadway, it is still a Royal National Theatre production, but the cast is different

October 7

The Killing of Sister George (TACT at the Beckett)

October 8

Jewish Chronicles (Soho Playhouse)

October 9

*It’s Only A Play (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre)

The cast of a show called “The Golden Egg” await the reviews in this revival of Terrence McNally’s 1982 comedy, which is likely to be most appreciated for its cast — especially the reunited duo Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane, as well as the Broadway debut of Harry Potter veteran Rupert Grint.

October 11

Lying (Interart Theater)

October 12

*While I Yet Live (Primary Stages)

Kinky Boots star Billy Porter turns playwright, writing about his family in Pittsburgh.

Generations (WalkerSpace)

October 13

Jacuzzi (Ars Nova Theater)

October 14

Found (Atlantic Theater Company)

Sweet, Sweet Spirit Three (The Theater at the 14th Street Y)

October 15

Lennon: Through a Glass Onion (Union Square Theatre)

Going Once, Laughing Twice (St. Luke’s)

October 16

*On The Town (Lyric Theatre)

Three sailors spend a day on leave in New York City, meeting some great dames in a revival of the musical by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

I have high hopes for this production, which features great choreography by Joshua Bergasse (based on the glimpses we’ve been given, in videos, in reports from pre-Broadway tryouts, and at Broadway in Bryant Park), and such standards as “New York, New York (It’s a Wonderful Town)” “Come Up to My Place” and “Lonely Town,” as well as some jazzy surprises like “I Can Cook Too.”

Powwow Highway (HERE Arts Center)

October 19

*The Belle of Amherst (Westside Theatre)

Joely Richardson(“Nip/Tuck,” Side Effects) portrays poet Emily Dickinson in this one-woman show made famous by Julie Harris.

My Son the Waiter, a Jewish Tradgedy (Triad Theatre)

*Excuse My Dust (SoHo Playhouse)

In homage to the writer Dorothy Parker, who once wrote that she wanted her epitaph to read “Excuse my dust”) Jennifer Engstrom explores New York’s most celebrated wit, by writing and performing scenes involving characters from five of Parker’s short stories.

October 20

Brownsville Song (b-side for tray) (LCT’s Claire Tow Theater)

Billy & Ray (Vineyard Theatre)

That’s film director Billy Wilder and novelist Raymond Chandler: The play, written by Mike Bencivenga and directed by Garry Marshall (Happy Days, etc.),  is about their contentious collaboration on the noir film based on Chandler’s novel, “Double Indemnity.” The four-member cast includes Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell in “Mad Men”) as Wilder and Larry Pine as Chandler.

October 21

Deliverance (59E59)

James Dickey’s famous novel of a traumatic trip down a river in the South  is adapted by Sean Tyler

October 22

Fortress of Solitude (Public Theater)

Jonathan Lethem’s coming-of-age novel about 1970s Brooklyn is adapted by songwriter  Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and bookwriter Itamar Moses, and features an 18-member cast that includes  Kyle Beltran, Adam Chanler-Berat, and André De Shields.

October 23

*Disgraced (Lyceum Theatre)

Pakistani-American lawyer Amir and his white, artist wife Emily gives a dinner party that starts off friendly and turns ugly. The play, Akhtar’s first, was produced at Lincoln Center in 2012, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Shatter (Urban Stages)

October 24

Miss Julie (Gene Frankel Theatre)

October 25

Hereafter Musical (The Snapple Theater Center)

October 26

The Last Ship (Neil Simon Theatre)

Gideon leaves his hometown to travel the world, returning 14 years later to discover that the love he left behind is engaged to somebody else, and the town’s shipbuilding industry is endangered. The show is said to be inspired by Sting’s own childhood experiences.

Shut Up, Sit Down and Eat (Snapple Theater Center)

The Brightness of Heaven (Cherry Lane Studio Theatre)

October 28

Lift (59E59)

Father Comes Home From The War 1,2, &3 (Public Theater)

October 29

Lips Together Teeth Apart (Second Stage)

October 30

*The Real Thing (American Airlines Theatre)

Henry is a successful writer who is attempting to balance his professional and personal lives in this comedy about marriage and betrayal.

Ewan McGregor and Maggie Gyllenhaal are both making their Broadway debuts in this second Broadway revival of Stoppard’s play.

Click for a preview guides to the entire Broadway Fall 2014 Season and the Off-Broadway Fall 2014 Season.

*Grey with asterisks mean Broadway shows to which I’ve been invited past the opening.

Off Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide

Lin-Manuel Miranda in front of quick summary of Public Theater's 2014-2015 season, including his "Hamilton"

Lin-Manuel Miranda in front of quick summary of Public Theater’s 2014-2015 season, including his “Hamilton”

Lin-Manuel Miranda, eating a banana, posed in front of a succinct summary of the 2014-2015 season at the Public Theater – including (fifth from the top) “Hamilton,” an original hip-hop musical created by and starring Miranda, who will portray the American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

It’s one of the most anticipated Off Broadway shows –  along with…

Taylor Schilling and Peter Dinklage (CSC)

Taylor Schilling and Peter Dinklage (CSC)

– Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” directed by Robert Falls at the Brooklyn Academy of Music starting in February.

– “Scenes From a Marriage,” starting in September at the New York Theatre Workshop, based on Ingmar Bergman’s compelling TV series.

– Stage adaptations of Jonathan Lethem’s “The Fortress of Solitude” (The Public Theater) and James Dickey’s “Deliverance” (59E59), and a comic behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film noir classic “Double Indemnity” (Vineyard.)

New plays by Ayad Akhtar, Katori Hall, Samuel Hunter, Suzan Lori-Parks, Bruce Norris, Sam Shepard

And yes, some familiar faces from movies and television as well as the stage.

If only the entire Off-Broadway season could be summed up as simply as that poster for the Public Theater. Broadway is much easier – 40 theaters, about 40 new shows a year. Off-Broadway is more chaotic,

Richard Chamberlain (New Group)

Richard Chamberlain (New Group)

more spread out, more numerous (some 200 theaters/theater companies, depending on how you count) less publicized. As most serious theatergoers will tell you,  Off Broadway also has far richer, more adventurous and more diverse offerings, at a lower price. (Dozens of shows from September 9th to 28th will charge just $20 if you get tickets 20 minutes before the show begins as part of the 20at20 promotion.

Once again, I find the best way to preview what’s coming up Off-Broadway is to group the shows within the producing theaters that are presenting them, ranked roughly in order starting with my favorite theaters (determined by such factors as their recent track record, the promise of the new season, and by the overall experience I’ve had with the theater.) All offer season subscriptions or memberships. Of course, there is never a guarantee, and some terrific shows pop up in unlikely places.

 

Jesse Eisenberg , Billy Porter, Cynthia Nixon - actors turned playwrights, director.

Jesse Eisenberg , Billy Porter, Cynthia Nixon – actors turned playwrights, director.

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS playwrights horizons logo

416 W. 42nd St. Twitter: @PHNYC

One of the plays from last year’s season, Annie Baker’s “The Flick,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, but this theater consistently over the past few years has had some of the most original and most satisfying works of theater.

PlaywrightsHorizonsFall2014

Booty Candy

August 22 – October 12

Writer and director Robert O’Hara presents “a kaleidoscope of sketches that interconnect to portray growing up gay and black”

Grand Concourse

October 17 – November 30

“Called to a life of religious service, Shelley is the devoted manager of a Bronx soup kitchen, but lately her heart’s not quite in it. Enter Emma: an idealistic but confused young volunteer, whose recklessness pushes Shelley to the breaking point.”

Written by Heidi Schreck and directed by Kim Fagan, the play features a four-member cast that includes Bobby Moreno, who was so amazing in The Year of the Rooster.

Pocatello

November 21 – January 4

“Eddie manages an Italian chain restaurant in Pocatello—a small, unexceptional American city that is slowly being paved over with strip malls and franchises.”

Written by Samuel Hunter, whose past efforts (e.g. The Whale) I have loved, this play features a nine-member cast including T.R. Knight.

In 2015:

Placebo by Melissa James Gibson

Iowa, a musical by Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond

The Qualms by Bruce Norris

 

publictheaterlogoTHE PUBLIC THEATER

425 Lafayette Street. Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY

 

Public201415season

Public Works’ The Winter’s Tale

September 5 – 7, 2014

With music and lyrics by Todd Almond, conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet, this Shakespeare in Central Park is presented as a happening, with a blend of professional performers like Lindsay Mendez and some 200 regular New Yorkers up on the stage.


Rock Bottom 

September 9 – October 11, 2014

Created and starring Bridget Everett, who “barrels through life tip-toeing toward disaster, wine bottle by wine bottle and man by man.” It features original songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (the team that brought us Hairspray and Smash), as well as Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Matt Ray

FortressofSolitude1

The Fortress Of Solitude 

September 30 – November 2, 2014

Jonathan Lethem’s coming-of-age novel about 1970s Brooklyn is adapted by songwriter  Michael Friedman (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and bookwriter Itamar Moses, and features an 18-member cast that includes  Kyle Beltran, Adam Chanler-Berat, and André De Shields.

Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2, & 3)

October 14 – November 16, 2014

Suzan-Lori Parks (Top Dog/Underdog) has written three plays set during the Civil War presented in a single performance. In Part 1, “A Measure of Man,” Hero, a slave who is accustomed to his master’s lies, must now decide whether to join him on the Confederate battlefield in exchange for a promise of freedom. Part 2, “The Battle in the Wilderness” follows Hero and the Colonel as they lead a captured Union solider toward the Confederate lines as the cannons approach. Finally, in Part 3, “The Union of My Confederate Parts,” the loved ones Hero left behind question whether to escape or wait for his return.

StraightWhiteMen

Straight White Men

November 7 – December 7, 2014

Young Jean Lee, an innovative downtown playwrights, “defies expectations with a conventionally structured take on the classic American father-son drama….When Ed (Austin Pendleton) and his three adult sons come together to celebrate Christmas, they enjoy cheerful trash-talking, pranks, and takeout Chinese. Then they confront a problem that even being a happy family can’t solve….what is the value of being a straight white man?”

In  2015

 

Hamilton

January 20 – March 22

Written and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, and directed by Thomas Kail — the same team that brought us “In The Heights” —  this new musical uses hip-hop to tell the story of the “political mastermind” who began life as a “bastard orphan.”

 Stew And Heidi Rodewald’s The Total Bent

Toast By Lemon Andersen

 

 

new_york_01NEW YORK THEATER WORKSHOP

79 East 4th Street. Twitter: @NYTW79

Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes from a Marriage

Scenes From A Marriage

September 12 – October 26

Innovative Flemish director Ivo van Hove (who is also directing “Angels in America” in BAM this season) directs McCarter Theater artistic director Emily Mann’s adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s popular 1974 TV mini-series that traces a complicated (which is to say, normal) marriage. “Audience members will move from room to room to experience an intimate look into the marriage of Johan and Marianne.”

The Invisible Hand

November 19 – January 4

Ayad Akhtar, whose play Disgraced won the Pulitzer Prize and is opening on Broadway this season, pens a play about an American stockbroker who is kidnapped and tortured in a remote area of Pakistan, and negotiates to save his life.

 2015

The Events

Forever

 

vineyard_01VINEYARD THEATER

108 East 15th Street Twitter: @VineyardTheatre

BillyandRayposter

Billy and Ray

October 1 – November 9

That’s film director Billy Wilder and novelist Raymond Chandler: The play, written by Mike Bencivenga and directed by Garry Marshall (Happy Days, etc.),  is about their contentious collaboration on the noir film based on Chandler’s novel, “Double Indemnity”

The four-member cast includes Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell in “Mad Men”) as Wilder and Larry Pine as Chandler.

2015

Brooklynite

January – February

This musical directed by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, Hedwig) is about a hardware store clerk who meets “Brooklyn’s most celebrated superhero” and together they try to save Brooklyn

Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkin

 

CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY (CSC)


csc_01
136 East 13th Street Twitter: @ClassicStage

 

allegro_800x315

Allegro

November 1

This revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s least known musical, written after their success with Oklahoma and Carousel, follows the life of a physician named Joe Taylor, Jr.

2015

AMonthInTheCountry

A Month in the Country

January 9 –

Peter Dinklage and Taylor Schilling star in Turgenev’s play about unrequited love.

Hamlet

Dr. Faustus

 

RATTLESTICK PLAYWRIGHTS THEATER


rattle_01
Address: 224 Waverly Place (though frequently also at the Cherry Lane)

Twitter:  @RattlestickNY

Rattlestick’s 20th anniversary season began in the summer with The Long Shrift, James Franco’s debut as a stage director, and Phoenix, co-starring Julia Stiles. 

Juarezpic

Juarez

September 4 – October 5

As part of the second annual Theater: Village Festival – whose theme this year is “E Pluribus” –  this play conceived by Theater Mitu’s Artistic Director Rubén Polendo (a native of Juarez) is  based on hundreds of interviews, is meant to “an artistic and emotional map” of the Northern Mexican city.

Pit Bulls

November 6 – December 13

Keith Josef Adkins, a playwright best-known as the founding artistic director of New Black Fest, writes about a pariah named Mary in a small black community in rural Appalachia — pitbull country – who is viewed suspiciously when a pitbull is killed on the Fourth of July.

In 2015

Shesh Yak Written by Laith Nakli; Directed by Bruce McCarty

Everything You Touch Written by Sheila Callaghan; Directed by Jessica Kubzansky

The Undeniable Sound of Right Now Written by Laura Eason; Directed by Kirsten Kelly

Hamlet in Bed Written by Michael Laurence; Directed by Lisa Peterson

Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, America, Kuwait Written and Directed by Daniel Talbott

 

The New Group

at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street

Twitter: @TheNewGroupNYC

Sticks and Bones

October 21 – December 14

Richard Chamberlain, Holly Hunter and Bill Pullman star in this revival of David Rabe’s “savagely comic” look at a family torn apart by the Vietnam War.

In 2015

Rasheeda Speaking

Cynthia Nixon makes her directorial debut with this tense workplace thriller starring Dianne Wiest and Tonya Pinkins as co-workers. Written by Joel Drake Johnson, the playexamines the realities of so-called “post-racial” America.

The Spoils

By Jesse Eisenberg.

MCC Theater

Address: The Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street. Twitter: @mcctheater

MoneyShotposter

The Money Shot

September 4–October 12, 2014

Neil LaBute’s play about “Karen and Steve, glamorous movie stars with one thing in common: desperation.”

Punk Rock

October 29 – December 7

Simon Stephens (who adapted The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) writes about 
a group of highly-articulate 17-year-old British private school students preparing for their A-Level mock exams, while hormones rage.

In 2015

The Nether

Permission

Lincoln Center Theater*

The shows at Lincoln Center’s Off-Broadway venues are inexpensive (especially at the Claire Tow theater, where initial-run tickets cost $20) and often rewarding: Disgraced, the Pulitzer Prize winning play that is opening on Broadway October 23, began here.

brownsville song (b-side for tray)

October 4 – November 16

The play by Kimber Lee “moves fluidly through time as the family of Tray, a spirited 18 year-old whose life is cut short, navigate their grief and find hope together.”

The Oldest Boy

October 9 – December 28

In this new play by Sarah Ruhl, Celia Keenan-Bolger (The Glass Menagerie)  portrays an American mother who lives with her Tibetan husband and their three-year-old son, whom Tibetan monks suddenly tell her is the reincarnation of an important Lama — and want to take him away for training.

2015

Verity

The Mystery of Love and Sex

 

ROUNDABOUT* LAURA PELS THEATER

Indian Ink

September 4 – November 30

Rosemary Harris stars in a revival of Tom Stoppard’s play about a free-spirited English poet in India, and her sister 50 years later.

 

In 2015

Into The Woods

 

MTC THEATER* At City Center

131 West 55th Street

Twitter: @MTC_NYC

They seem to have a water theme this season.

Lost Lake

Opens November 11

Written by David Auburn and directed by Daniel Sullivan (the team that brought us Proof and The Columnist), this play focuses on two strangers who meet at a rundown lakeside rental.

By The Sea

Opens November 18

In Sharon Rothstein’s play, Hurricane Sandy has just ravaged the lifelong home in Staten Island of Marty and Mary Murphy, who are determined to rebuild; then their sons return home.

In 2015

The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig

The Swing of the Sea by Richard Greenberg

 

SIGNATURE

signature_01

480 West 42nd Street. Twitter: @signaturetheatr

As the first New York theater to win the Regional Tony Award this year, the Signature now has some solid proof of what has been clear to its patrons for years.  What has distinguished this theater is not only its track record, but its commitment to keep the price of all tickets for initial runs to $25.  This used to be my favorite theater, and I’m hoping it will become so again, but despite the new recognition, the offerings have been uneven recently, and my interaction with the theater has not been positive.

This season’s “Residency One” playwrights are A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace

 

And I And Silence by Naomi Wallace

August 5 to September 14

Two women who met as teenagers in prison struggle to make ends meet in 1959.

 

The Wayside Motor Inn by A.R. Gurney

August 12, 2014 – September 28, 2014

Five stories told simultaneously in a motel room outside Boston.

StephenReainAParticleofDread

A Particle of Dread (Oedipus Variations) by Sam Shepard

A “dark, fragmented, modern-day take on Oedipus Rex” starring Stephen Rhea

Our Lady of Kibeho by Katori Hall

ln 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until the impossible starts happening again and aga

In 2015:

Big Love by Charles Mee

The Liquid Plain by Naomi Wallace

What I Did Last Summer by A.R. Gurney

OTHER (POTENTIAL) HIGHLIGHTS

the iceman cometh

The Iceman Cometh, the production with Nathan Lane and Bryan Dennehy that originally appeared to extreme acclaim at the Goodman in Chicago, will be at the Brooklyn Academy of Music February 5 to March 15, 2015 (which means I really should just put it in my Spring 2015 Preview Guide, but by then it will be sold out.)

AngelsInAmerica_613x463

Angels in America at BAM

Always worth checking out: Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival which focuses on avant-garde experimental and European works that are sometimes hard to categorize.

This year the 17 theater pieces include Ivan van Hove’s reimagining of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Samuel Beckett’s radio play Embers and Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of An Author.

 

 

There are worthwhile theaters I do not attend regularly enough to list as my favorites, with at least one production each this season that sound promising, or at least intriguing:

Barrow Street Theater – Waiting for Godot in Yiddish (with English subtitles)

Irish Repertory Theater – Port Authority by Conor McPherson

Primary StagesWhile I Yet Live by Billy Porter (Kinky Boots star turned playwright)

Second Stage Theatre – revival of Terence McNally’s Lips Together, Teeth Apart; stage adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel American Psycho

59E59 -  James Dickey’s Deliverance, based on his acclaimed novel, adapted by Sean Tyler, October 10 – November 9

Lift, novelist Walter Mosley‘s first full length play, about two workers stuck in a skyscraper elevator. October 17-November 30

Then there are theaters that actively discourage my coverage:

The Atlantic – Found

There are also commercial shows put together by independent producers that appear in theaters for rent, such as:

Cherry Lane Theatre
Daryl Roth Theatre
Gym at Judson
Lucille Lortel Theatre
New World Stages
Orpheum Theater
The Players Theatre
Snapple Theater Center
Theatre Row – The Acorn
Union Square Theater
Westside Theatre

 

*THE ASTERISK: Off-Broadway AND Broadway

*Just to complicate matters, several of the resident theaters also present shows on Broadway –  Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Company (MTC), and the Roundabout Theater Company. Their Broadway offerings are listed in my Broadway Fall 2014 Preview Guide

What Is Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway?

Off-Broadway theaters, by definition, have anywhere from 99 to 499 seats. If a theater has more seats than that, it’s a Broadway house. If it has fewer, it’s Off-Off Broadway.

There are some terrific Off-Off Broadway theaters, sometimes confused for Off-Broadway. These include (but are not limited to) The Flea, Labyrinth Theater, and LaMaMa ETC.

Because there are so many shows Off-Off Broadway, and their runs are so limited, I will include them in my monthly theater preview posted near the beginning of each month.

NEW YORK THEATER CALENDAR BY OPENING DATES

New York Theater Opening Night Calendar

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information about Off-Broadway, go to  The League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers (aka The Off-Broadway League).  This should not be confused with the Off-Broadway Alliance, which is a separate organization (though they should probably merge, no?)

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