15 Summer Theater Festivals in New York City 2015

NYCSummerFestivals2015Even New Yorkers who abandon the city for the summer know of the three most celebrated summer theater festivals:

Free Shakespeare in the Park, begun by Joseph Papp in 1962 in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater which was built for that purpose. This usually has two plays by Shakespeare, but occasionally there will be a Sondheim or other modern classic.

Lincoln Center Festival is not exclusively a theater festival, but always includes a couple of theater pieces, most often from overseas.

The New York International Fringe Festival, with some 200 plays, musicals and experimental works, half of which seem to be trying to repeat the success of Urinetown, which became a hit on Broadway.

But there are many other theater festivals in New York during the summer – so many that there is arguably more theater to see during the “off season” than during the regular theater season, and it is often cheaper (even free), and frequently cutting-edge.

Not all of it is worth seeing, of course, and among the bigger festivals it can be intimidating to choose, although that’s also part of the fun. (Tip: Talk to people on the lines.)

This is the fourth year I’m offering a run-down on New York’s most reliable summer theater festivals (2012,  2013 and 2014). Below is a list arranged more or less chronologically by the month in which the festival begins. (Several continue through the summer.)  Click on the festival titles below to be taken to their websites. It’s a good idea to check out their Twitter feeds as well.

May

Clubbed Thumb 

Begun in 1996, this festival has consistently offered three new quality, cutting-edge plays each summer. This is the 20th annual Summerworks. @ClubbedThumb D DEB DEBBIE DEBORAH by Jerry Lieblich, May 20 to 30. CARD AND GIFT by Kate E. Ryan, June 4 to 14. MEN ON BOATS by Jaclyn Backhaus, June 19 – 29

June 

Ant Fest 

Started by Ars Nova (most celebrated recently for originating Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812), Ant Fest is a grab-bag of delights.  June 1 to 26. Twitter: @arsnova

The New York Public Theater Shakespeare in the Park

Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY THE TEMPEST starring Sam Waterston and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, May 27 to July 5 CYMBELINE,  starring Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater, July 23 to August 23

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

New York’s premiere eco-friendly/socially conscious not-for-profit arts festival. Twitter: @PCTFNYC

River to River Festival

Held in the downtown business district, this festival has only a handful of what can be called strictly theater pieces, but the hybrids are worth exploring, and all events are free. Twitter: @R2RFestival

Ice Factory Festival

Twitter: @newohiotheatre This year it’s June 24 to August 8, but they haven’t listed the offerings as of this writing.

July

Brick Theater’s Game Play Festival 

Theater pieces that lie at the intersection of video gaming and performance.  Twitter: @bricktheater . This year, July 10 to July 25.

Hot Festival 

NYC celebration of queer culture. At Dixon Place, July 7 to August 5.  @HotFestNYC My favorite title in this year’s offerings:  Michael Jackson Was Innocent and I Didn’t Kill Jonbenet Ramsay, But I Was There The Night She Died, by Michael Cross Burke.

Lincoln Center Festival 

July 6 to August 2. Twitter: @LincolnCenter 

Among the theater offerings this summer:

DruidShakespeare: The History Plays Mark O’Rowe distills Richard II, Henry IVparts I and II, and Henry V into a single narrative, directed by Garry Hynes.

Miss Julie In this edgy staging set in present-day Russia, Strindberg’s ground-breaking “modern woman” blooms in the hands of renowned director Thomas Ostermeier.

Ramona A tragic tale of two trains in love conceived by Rezo Gabriadze, who marries humor and heartbreak in a world of marionettes.

Ubu Roi Cheek by Jowl Director Declan Donnellan and designer Nick Ormerod return with their company to bring an ingeniously re-imagined version of Alfred Jarry’s absurdist play.

New York Musical Theater Festival

Some 300 new musicals have premiered at this festival since 2004, including “Next to Normal,” “Altar Boyz” and “title of show” Twitter: @nymf

East to Edinburgh Festival

A preview of American productions that will be presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, at 59E59 Theaters. Twitter: @59E59 

Fresh Fruit Festival

celebrates LGBT culture. Twitter: @FreshFruitFest

Midtown International Theater Festival

Twitter: @NYMITF

August

New York International Fringe Festival

August 14 to 30. Twitter: @FringeNYC They’re whetting our appetite with a page full of this year’s show titles.

Dream Up Festival

Twitter: @TNCinNYC 

The Public Theater 2015-2016 Season

PublicTheaterSeason201516New musicals by Stew and Michael John LaChiusa (about the daughters of U.S. presidents), new plays by Robert O’Hara and Tarell Alvin McCraney (inspired by the Book of Job), and a musical adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey by Lear deBessonet are among the season’s offerings at the Public Theater, which has been on a roll — not just because of the success of Hamilton and Fun Home. (Hamilton director Thomas Kail is one of the first-class directors helming work in the new season.)

Below is the schedule and descriptions provided by the theater:

THE ODYSSEY

Public Works at the Delacorte Theater
Musical Adaptation of Homer’s THE ODYSSEY
Conceived and directed by Public Works Director Lear deBessonet
Music, lyrics, and book by Todd Almond
September 4 – 7, 2015

BARBECUE

Written by Robert O’Hara  (playwright of Bootycandy)

Directed by Kent Gash
September 22 – November 1, 2015

The O’Mallerys have gathered in their local park to share some barbecue and straight talk with their sister Barbara, whose spiral of drugs and recklessness has forced her siblings to stage an open-air intervention. But the event becomes raucous and unpredictable as familial stereotypes collide with hard realities, and racial politics slam up against the stories we tell—and maybe even believe—about who we were and who we become. Kent Gash directs this new play that proves family can be a bigger vice than any other addiction.

MOBILE SHAKESPEARE UNIT (Fall)
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah
November 2 – 22, 2015

Kwame Kwei-Armah, who directed The Public’s 2013 production of Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit ’67 and the 2013 Mobile Shakespeare Unit’s Much Ado About Nothing, returns to direct the fall Mobile Shakespeare Unit tour of ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL. This romantic fairytale will tour the five boroughs followed by a limited three-week engagement at The Public.

World Premiere
FIRST DAUGHTER SUITE
Written by Michael John LaChiusa (creator of Giant)
Directed by Kirsten Sanderson
October 6 – November 15, 2015

Tony nominee Michael John LaChiusa imagines the inner lives and dreams of America’s best-known daughters with a funny and moving follow-up to his 1993 Public musical First Lady Suite. A historical fantasia in four parts, FIRST DAUGHTER SUITE follows Patricia Nixon and daughters Tricia and Julie, Roselyn and Amy Carter, Betty and Susan Ford, Patti Davis and mom Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush and daughter-in-law Laura as they strive to live meaningful lives in the public eye, while dealing with the complex private relationships all of us face with our parents and children. Directed by Kirsten Sanderson/

Initial casting for this world premiere musical includes Rachel Bay Jones, Theresa McCarthy, Betsy Morgan, Isabel Santiago, Carly Tamer, Mary Testa and Barbara Walsh.

American Premiere
BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES
Created by Gob Squad
October 17 – November 29, 2015

Gob Squad returns with BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES, created over the course of the past two years with 8-14 year olds from around New York City. From behind the safety of one-way mirrors, the audience witnesses seven lives lived in fast forward, from angst-ridden teens to hunched geriatrics. As we adults try to stop the process of aging and preserve youth as long as we can, the children peer into the future and nostalgically back at their recent past, as they prepare to leave childhood behind forever.

UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL – 12th EDITION
January 6 – 17, 2016

Curated by Co-Directors Mark Russell and Meiyin Wang, this 12-day festival in January showcases cutting-edge theater from around the U.S. and the world.

GERMINAL (First Show Announced of the Festival)
Halory Goerger and Antoine Defoort
Produced by L’Amicale de production (Belgium/France)

On an empty stage, four intrepid performers begin to construct the world from scratch. With ingenious theater magic, they gleefully invent laws of physics, philosophy, music, language and codes for social interaction.

World Premiere
DRY POWDER
Written by Sarah Burgess
Directed by Thomas Kail
March 1 – April 10, 2016

DRY POWDER is a new drama about the people molding and messing with the American economy. The same week his private equity firm forced massive layoffs at a national grocery chain, Rick threw himself an extravagant engagement party, setting off a publicity nightmare. Fortunately, Seth, one of Rick’s managing directors, has a win-win deal to invest in an American-made luggage company for a song and rescue his boss from the company’s PR disaster. But Jenny, Seth’s counterpart, has an entirely different plan: to squeeze every last penny out of the company, no matter the human toll. The game is on in Sarah Burgess’ gripping, razor-sharp new play about the price of success and the real cost of getting the deal done. Thomas Kail directs.

New York Premiere
HEAD OF PASSES
Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney (the Brother/Sister plays)
Directed by Tina Landau
In a co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre
March 15 – April 24, 2016

Tarell Alvin McCraney, MacArthur Award-winning playwright of the acclaimed Brother/Sister Plays, returns to The Public with a new drama about family, acceptance and the power of faith. At the mouth of the Mississippi River, Shelah’s family and friends have come to celebrate her birthday and save her from a leaking roof. But in this contemporary parable inspired by the Book of Job, unexpected events turn the reunion into the ultimate test of faith and love. As her world seems to collapse around her, Shelah must fight to survive the rising flood of life’s greatest challenges.

World Premiere
THE TOTAL BENT
Text by Stew
Music by Heidi Rodewald and Stew (authors of Passing Strange)
Directed by Joanna Settle
May 10 – June 19, 2016

Stew and Heidi Rodewald, creators of the Tony Award-winning show Passing Strange, team with director Joanna Settle to bring you their thrilling new musical, THE TOTAL BENT. A riotous new show at the crossroads of the sacred and profane, survival and liberation, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll. When a British record producer arrives in Montgomery, Alabama to hook Marty Roy, a young black musical prodigy, he launches us back into Marty’s tumultuous upbringing. The son of a gospel star and self-proclaimed healer, Marty spent his childhood writing the songs that have made his charismatic father famous. But in an America on the verge of social upheaval, with an unrelenting appetite for celebrity, Marty finds himself at odds with his spiritually forceful father as he strives to make a name for himself—no matter the cost. A funny, fiery, one-of-a-kind show, THE TOTAL BENT is about the passions that divide a father and son as they make their music and make their choice between salvation and selling out.

MOBILE SHAKESPEARE UNIT (Spring)
ROMEO & JULIET
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Public Works Director Lear deBessonet
May 10 – May 29, 2016

This spring, The Mobile Shakespeare Unit, which strengthens community engagement with the arts by bringing free, world-class productions of Shakespeare to communities all across New York City, will present Shakespeare’s timeless tale of ROMEO & JULIET. This production will tour the five boroughs followed by a three week sit-down engagement at The Public.

May 2015 New York Theater Openings and Awards

Some may see May as the month when theater people are waiting for the Tony Awards in June, but don’t be fooled. There are at least 21 shows opening in New York this month, including one on Broadway. AND there are a half dozen major New York theater awards announcing their winners in May. Below is a list of May awards by the date when the winners are announced, and May shows organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each show title is linked to a relevant website. (And each award is linked to a list of nominees — for those awards that announce nominees in advance.) Nothing, of course, is guaranteed about any of these shows, even those that seem the most promising. (This is why I write reviews.) There are always surprises. Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: PurpleOff Off Broadway: Green. Awards: Orange

May 2

Love Me (Funny Sheesh at The 4th Street Theater) It’s the mid-1990s in New York City, and underachieving writer/motivational speaker Charlie Styptic  searches for love and artistic achievement.

May 4

New York Drama Critics Circle winners announced

Fred and Estelle Astaire nominees announced Forever (New York Theatre Workshop)Dael Orlandersmith Forever Framed with the story of the pilgrimage that Dael Orlandersmith took to the cemetery where Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison are buried, she offers a semi-autobiographical exploration of the family we dwb-danare born into and the family we choose. Dinner With The Boys (Theatre Row – Acorn) Written by and starring Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years, Lombardi), this comedy tells the story of two wise guys from the old neighborhood who find themselves at odds with the Family, and prepare them dinner to make amends.

May 5

Theatre World Awards announced

Toast0374RToast (The Public Theater) Lemon Anderson (County of Kings) tells the story of a group of inmates “fighting to keep their minds free amidst the 1971 riots that rocked Attica Prison.”

 May 7

 Melissa’s Choice (Theatre Row, The Lion) A passionate lawyer must decide between two men, and is helped by her unlikely guides at a local campsite. Cool Hand Luke (59e59) Under the scorching Florida sun, Boss Godfrey watches the chain gang and keeps his eye on Cool Hand Luke – war hero, trouble-maker, and inspiration to his fellow inmates – just the kind of man the Boss needs to crush. (They make no mention of the Paul Newman movie. Both are based on the novel by Donn Pearce.)

 May 9

Summer and Smoke (T. Schreiber Theatre Studio) The Tennessee Williams play is directed by Terry Schreiber

May 10

Lucille Lortel Awards ceremony

One Hand Clapping (59e59) Adapted from Anthony Burgess’ (author of ‘A Clockwork Orange’) 1961 novel, this darkly comic story about the winner of a TV quiz show who makes a sinister proposition to his wife.

May 11

Outer Critics Circle winners announced

PaintedRocksatRevolverCreek The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek (Signature) A  new play by Athol Fugard inspired by the life of outsider artist Nukain Mabusa.

May 14

The Glass Menagerie (47th Street Theatre) The Tennessee Williams play presented in the inaugural season of the Masterworks Theater Company. The multicultural cast includes Olivia Washington, Denzel Washington’s daughter, as Laura.

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May 15

Drama League Awards

May 17

 AR Gurney By Gregory CostanzoWhat I Did Last Summer (Signature Theatre) The latest in the Signature season of plays by A.R. Gurney: 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. Starring the fabulous Kristine Nielsen, with the up-and-comer Noah Galvin.

May 18

Obie Awards

The Flick (Barrow Street Theatre) A new production of last year’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Annie Baker about three employees of a movie theater. (My review of original production.)

May 19

TheWayWeGetBy The Way We Get By (Second Stage) Amanda Seyfried and Thomas Sadoski in Neil Labute play about the morning after a one-night stand.

May 20

permissionpicPermission (MCC Theater) Written by Robert Askins (playwright of Hand to God), directed by Alex Timbers: A couple’s new commitment to “Christian Domestic Discipline” upends their lives.

Macbeth (Public Theater)

May 21

The Other Thing  (Second Stage Uptown) Kim is a journalist, writing what she thinks will be a run-of-the-mill article about a father and son team of ghost hunters in rural Virginia.

May 24

Incognito (MTC at New York City Center) A new play by Nick Payne (Constellations) about a pathologist who steals the brain of Albert Einstein; a neuropsychologist embarks on her first romance with another woman; a seizure patient forgets everything but how much he loves his girlfriend

May 28

AnActofGod An Act of God (Studio 54) Jim Parsons stars in a ” 90-minute comedy where the Almighty and His devoted angels answer some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation.” Cagney (York Theatre Company) A musical about the actor from his humble beginnings in New York City’s Lower East Side through his rise as a vaudeville song-and-dance man, to his superstardom in Hollywood.

May 31

Drama Desk Awards

R/Evolution (Robert Moss Theater) A new musical set 150 years in the future, when governments have been replaced by corporations.

April 2015 Openings Broadway, Off and Off Off Broadway

April is the month to binge-watch on Broadway.  Fourteen shows are opening on Broadway within 21 days — set in Paris, London, Bangkok and Moscow; and Cypress, Texas;  Airline Highway, New Orleans; and Beech Creek, Pennsylvania. They represent two-thirds of the entire Broadway Spring season!

And there are more than a dozen additional shows opening Off and Off-Off Broadway. This is more than one show a day; indeed, three plays are opening on April 23rd alone, which (not coincidentally) is the cut-off date this year for Tony eligibility.

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.) There are always surprises.
Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple. Off Off Broadway: Green.

To check out the entire Spring 2015 season, see my Broadway and Off-Broadway preview theater guides.

April 2

skylight logoSkylight (John Golden Theatre)

On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis (Carey Mulligan) receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant (Bill 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.

The Undeniable Sound of Right Now (Women’s Project/Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre)

In this play by Laura Eason, “it’s 1992, Chicago, and Hank is struggling to keep his legendary rock club going amid changing times and changing tastes.”

My Name is Rachel Corrie (Culture Project at Lynn RedgraveTheater) 

“On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, a twenty-three-year-old American, was killed in Gaza as she was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home.” This one-woman play is composed from Rachel’s own writings.

handtogodlogoApril 7

Hand To God (Booth Theatre)

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.

Disenchanted (Westside Theatre)

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

April 8

Gigi (Neil Simon Theatre)Gigilogo

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.)

Buzzer (The Public Theater)

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

 The Happy Family (Theatre Row Beckett)

This play by Christopher Latro centers around three couples whose lives are provocatively intertwined with scandalous results, including a mother and step-father of one couple whose relationship eerily mirrors their daughter’s, especially with regard to feelings about the family business, an underground quasi–Ponzi scheme involving high art.

April 9

Wolf Hall Parts 1 & 2 (Winter Garden)

wolfhalllogoA 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.

39 Steps (Union Square Theatre)

The 39 Steps is a spoof of the 1935 Hitchcock film, with only 4 actors portraying more than 150 characters. Three of the four in the cast are from the original Broadway production.

Clinton The Musical (New World Stages)

A “ribald” look at the 42nd president of the United States, featuring three Clintons — Hillary, “WJ” (“the wholesome, intelligent” Bill Clinton), and “Billy” (“the randy, charming” Bill Clinton).

Broken (Shetler Studio Theaters)

Kevin McFadden hasn’t spoken to anyone since he killed 17 people at a shopping mall three weeks ago. But when a prison doctor takes an unexpected interest in his case, Kevin decides to meet with him – revealing a troubled past that unites them both.

April 11

Underland (terraNova at 59E59) 

A play by Alexandra Collier about two girls bored by their small town Australian high school, until a new teacher arrives. “reveals mythic beasts, Chekhovian love triangles and big sky blues, while giving the finger to everything you thought you know about ‘Down Under.'”

April 12

americaninparislogoAn American in Paris (Palace Theatre)

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.

April 13

Iowa (Playwrights Horizons)

A musical play by Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond 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.

April 14

Itshouldabeenyou artworkIt Shoulda Been You (Brooks Atkinson Theatre)

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: Tyne Daley, Harriet Harris, Sierra Boggess, Lisa Howard, David Burtka, Edward Hibbert, Steve Rosen, Chip Zien, Montego Glover, Josh Grisetti

April 15

findingneverlandlogoFinding Neverland (Lunt Fontanne)

Based on the movie starring Johnny Depp about J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan. 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.

April 16

kingandilogoThe King and I (LCT Vivian Beaumont Theater)

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 most lovely, tuneful musicals.

April 19

Fun Home (Circle in the Square)

FunHomeLogoWhen 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.
loved the production of this musical at the Public Theater, and the changes for Broadway reportedly involve recasting some of the children and adjusting to the theater-in-the-round of the Circle in the Square theater.

The Unexpected Guest ( TBTB at Theatre Row – Clurman)

“In a dark and foggy evening, a lost stranger seeks refuge in a nearby country
estate only to discover that he has stumbled onto the scene of a murder.” Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB) launches its 2015 season with a revival of Agatha Christie’s  1958 thriller

April 20

livingonlovelogoLiving On Love (Longacre Theatre)

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.

April 21

Doctor Zhivago (Broadway Theatre)

drzhivagologoA 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.

 April 22

somethingrottenlogoSomething Rotten (St. James)

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.

Although this is written by three Broadway neophytes, it stars Brian d’Arcy James and Christian Borle, and it is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Aladdin)

April 23

Airline Highway (Samuel J. Friedman)

airlinehighwaylogo2In 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.

The Visit (Lyceum Theatre)

thevisitlogoThe 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.

The Belle of Belfast (Irish Repertory Theatre at DR2)

“In 1985 Belfast, fiery and profane Anne Malloy… turns to her parish priest, Father Reilly, seeking the comforts of the flesh in addition to the comforts of the soul.”

April 26

Grounded (The Public Theater)

Anne Hathaway stars in George Brant’s play about an ace fighter pilot reassigned to a remote-controlled drone, facing “twelve-hour shifts hunting targets from her Air Force trailer followed by twelve in the suburbs with her family.”

Tis Pity She’s A Whore (Red Bull Theater at The Duke)

“What if Romeo and Juliet were brother and sister? Find out in this…bloodiest and sexiest of all Jacobean tragedies.” The 17th century play was written by John Ford

Nirbhaya (Lynn Redgrave Theatre)

A play by Yael Farber about gender-based violence. “On the night of December 16th 2012 a young woman and her male friend boarded a bus in urban Delhi heading for home. What followed, changed the lives of these two people and countless others forever.”

March 2015 Openings Broadway, Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway

Four Broadway shows are opening in March, marking the return of Dame Helen Mirren after 14 years and Larry David’s first stage appearance since the eighth grade. Another 18 openings are happening Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. Some of the shows focus on real-life figures such as entertainers Josephine Baker and Joan Baez (and other folk singers);  playwrights Eugene O’Neill and Henrik Ibsen; the father of the atom bomb, and the Queen of England. Judging by many of the plays and musicals, March is a month for love, sex, marriage and family.

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.) There are always surprises.
Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple. Off Off Broadway: Green.

To check out the entire Spring 2015 season, see my Broadway and Off-Broadway preview theater guides.

 March 1

FashionsforMenFashions For Men (Mint Theater)

First produced at Budapest’s National Theater in 1917. In 1922 it appeared on Broadway in an English translation, about a saintly haberdasher whose wife steals his last dollar and runs off with his top salesman,.

Abundance (TACT at The Beckett Theatre, Theatre Row)

The 1990 play by Beth Henley focuses on two mail-order brides who are lured to the plains of Wyoming by the promise of new beginnings.

March 2

The Mystery of Love and Sex (Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater)

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.

March 4

The Feast (Flea)

Matt and Anna’s relationship is going swimmingly, until the sewers under their apartment open up and begin to speak

 March 5

Fish In The Dark (Cort Theatre)

Larry DavidA comedy about a death in the family by Larry David, 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? The huge advance sale says his fans are betting it will.

Woyzeck, FJF (New Ohio Theatre)

A modern classic by the 19th century German dramatist Georg Buchner, re-imagined as the story of a condemned man desperate to uncover the truth in a dangerous world.

March 7

ONeillsGhostsPoster011615O’Neill’s Ghosts (TBG Theater)

Set in 1950’s in the coastal Connecticut family home of Eugene O’Neill, as the famed playwright struggles to complete his autobiographical play Long Day’s Journey Into Night. He is forced to deal with his troubled, alcoholic son and his possessive wife.

March 8

The Liquid Plain (Signature Theatre – The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Stage)

On the docks of late 18th century Rhode Island, two runaway slaves plan a desperate and daring run to freedom in this play that continues the season of playwright Naomi Wallace.

The Audience (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre)

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.

A Happy End (Abingdon Theatre Company)

In 1932, a Jewish family considers leaving Berlin amid the imminent rise of the Nazi Party, in this play by Iddo Netanyahu

 March 10

Josephine and I (The Public Theater – Joe’s Pub)

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.

Long Story Short (Prospect Theater Company at 59E59)

Adapted from the two-character play An Infinite Ache by David Schulner, this musical covers a romance and 50-year marriage in 90 minutes and 17 songs.

March 14

Irreversible (Red Fern Theater Company at The Theater at the 14th Street Y)

Robert Oppenheimer and his brother Frank are desperately racing to beat the Nazis to the world’s first nuclear bomb in the throes of World War II, but when they finally see the power of their new weapon, the two men are torn apart in a battle between conscience and ambition.

March 15

On the Twentieth Century (American Airlines Theatre)

Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Gallagher star as a struggling Broadway producer who 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 play Twentieth Century, which was made into a 1934 movie starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard, this musical comedy debuted on Broadway in 1979.

Posterity (Atlantic Theater Company)

In a new play by Doug Wright, Norway’s most celebrated sculptor is hired to create the last official bust of its most famous writer, but Henrik Ibsen proves to be an irascible, contentious sitter, as the two men wage war over both his legacy and his likeness

 March 16

Placebo (Playwrights Horizons)

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

March 17

TheaterA_Small_LonesomeTrav_WideLonesome Traveler (59E59)

Nine singer/musicians dramatize key moments in the history of the American folk revival, portraying characters from Pete Seeger to Leadbelly to Joan Baez

I OF THE STORM (Playroom Theatre)

Richard Hoehler performs the debut of a new solo riff by RJ Bartholomew about an unlikely success story.

March 18
Possum Dreams (Shetler Studios Theatre 54)

A play about a married couple caught in the unraveling illusions that have held them together for eighteen years.  “feels like a kinky, unhinged cousin to “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

March 19

The Heidi Chronicles (Music Box Theatre)

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 Elisabeth Moss in the title role is both well-timed (Peggy and the rest of the characters of Mad Men are soon to depart) and intriguing.

March 23

SmallMouthSounds

Small Mouth Sounds (Ars Nova)

In the overwhelming quiet of the woods, six runaways from city life embark on a silent retreat, confronting inner demons, in this play by Bess Wohl (well-known actress as well as a playwright), directed by Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812; Three Pianos; Taylor Mac’s Lily’s Revenge).

 

 March 31

Music Hall (TUTA Theater Chicago at 59E59)

A story about three fading performers who act, sing, and dance every night, and endure year after year.

February New York Theater Openings

Nothing is opening on Broadway in February, which gives center stage to some very exciting Off-Broadway shows, including:

Hamilton at the Public, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop take on Alexander Hamilton

The Iceman Cometh at BAM with Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy

Rasheeda Speaking, the New Group at Signature Theater Center, Cynthia Nixon’s directorial debut, starring Tonya Pinkins and Dianne Wiest.

And I finally am getting to see Between Riverside and Crazy, which I tried unsuccessfully four times to see at the Atlantic Theater. It is now opening in the more welcoming Second Stage.

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.) There are always surprises.

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

*Asterisk – Shows I plan to review as of this writing.

February 5, 2015

Texas In Paris (York Theatre Company)

Tony-winning powerhouse performer Lillias White stars in this story (based on a true one) of two Americans, one white, one black, brought together in France, who find a common bond through their songs.

February 8, 2015

Snow Orchid (Theatre Row – Lion)

Robert Cuccioli and Angelina Fiordellisi star in this play by Joe Pintauro about a stressed-out family in 1964 Brooklyn.

Pretty Filthy (The Playhouse, Abrons Arts Center)

The investigative theater company The Civilians this time look at the San Fernando Valley, world capital of porn

*The Lion (Lynn Redgrave Theater)

Benjamin Scheuer returns with his much-praised solo musical that tells his coming-of-age story.
The animation has helped promote the show (but is not part of it.)

February 9, 2015

LOVE/SICK (Royal Family Performing Arts Space)

John Cariani, the playwright of Almost, Maine,  has written “a one act, nine-play cycle about love and loss – but mostly loss. Each play has its own arc and tells the story of a couple at a crossroads in their relationship.” Together they chronicle “the lifecycle of a typical relationship.”

Brian Dykstra $elling Out (The Playroom Theatre)

A solo comedy by the HBO Def Poet,  playwright and actor.

February 10, 2015

ApplicationPending0285-150x150*Application Pending (Westside Theatre – Downstairs)

“A new comedy about the cutthroat world of kindergarten admissions at a New York private school. One actress portrays rookie admissions officer Christine and over forty other roles, including all the wild personalities that she has to deal with on her first day on the job.”

February 11, 2015

*Rasheeda Speaking (The New Group at The Pershing Square Signature Center)

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 play “examines the realities of so-called “post-racial” America.

*Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage)

BetweenRiverside2“For ex-cop and recent widower Walter “Pops” Washington and his recently paroled son Junior, the struggle to hold on to one of the last great rent stabilized apartments on Riverside Drive collides with old wounds, sketchy new houseguests, and a final ultimatum.” The terrific talent connected to this play includes the playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis (The MotherF–er With The Hat), the director Austin Pendleton, and the star Stephen McKinley Henderson, who is, among other things, one of the foremost interpreters of the work of August Wilson.

February 12, 2015

*The Iceman Cometh (Brooklyn Academy of Music)

The production or the play by Eugene O’Neill with Nathan Lane and Bryan Denne originally appeared to extreme acclaim at the Goodman in Chicago. It is an event — almost five hours long, with three intermissions.  will be at the Brooklyn Academy of Music February 5 to March 15, 2015

The Events (New York Theater Workshop)

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.

Animals Out of Paper (McAlphin Hall At West Park Presbyterian Church)

A new production of an early play by Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo) “When a world-renowned origami artist opens her studio to a teenage prodigy and his school teacher, she discovers that life and love can’t be arranged neatly.”

 Everything You Touch (Rattlestick at Cherry Lane)

EverythingYouTouch2Sheila Callaghan’s look at fashion and the fashion industry in two different time periods, “a ruthless fashion designer in the 1970s” and then “a generation later, a woman grappling with a healthy dose of self-loathing must wrestle her own family demons to find her way through the world of fashion that won’t give a woman her size a second look

 February 13, 2015

You On The Moors Now (HERE)

“a grand theatrical examination of four well-known literary heroines of the 19th-century and their shocking rejection of the men who so ardently loved them”

February 14, 2015

Five Times in One Night (Ensemble Studio Theatre)

Chiara Atik’s “comic survey of sexual relations throughout human history, features actors Dylan Dawson and Darcy Fowler playing five different couples in five different time periods.”

 February 15, 2015

*The Subtle Body (59 E 59 – B)

The Subtle Body“In 1702, an eccentric English doctor travels to China with hopes that traditional Chinese medicine holds the key to unlocking the mechanics of the human pulse. But it’s his wife who makes a momentous discovery when she falls for their translator and discovers that there is more than one way to fill the heart.” In Mandarin and English with subtitles.

February 16, 2015

Kill Me Like You Mean It (Stolen Chair at Fourth Street Theatre)

KillMe2015-086BW_600-600x400“Ben Farrell, Private Investigator, discovers that his cases are appearing on the pages of a popular pulp serial… but the crimes are being penned before they happen in real life. The mystery grows darker still when Farrell reads his own death in the prophetic pages.”  A film noir for the stage.

February 17

*Hamilton (Public Theater)

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, and Lin-Manuel Miranda

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.”

Little Children Dream of God (Roundabout Underground, Black Box Theatre)

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

 February 18

veriteshowposter.jpg__284x50000_q85_subsampling-2Verite (LCT3 – Claire Tow)

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.

Churchill (New World Stages)

ChurchillWinston Churchill “discusses his failures and his successes; his love of art, liquor and women; and the bravery of Britain’s finest hour.”

The Groundling (Axis Theatre)

“After stumbling upon a small outdoor production of a Shakespeare play in Manhattan, Long Island landscaper Bob Malone is inspired to write a play about his troubled marriage. He hires two reluctant New York theatre professionals to spend a week at his home and stage the play in his garage with a cast of colorful locals.”

February 19

One Day the Musical (3LD Art & Technology Center)

A new rock musical based on journal entries spanning two decades that tells the “journey of eight teenagers as they face ravaging internal struggles and exhilarating triumph.”

Pillow On The Stairs (The Cell Theatre)

“An unplanned pregnancy sets off a chain of events in the lives of three people….Every decision has lasting consequences.”

 February 20

Dutchman (Castillo Theater)

A revival of the best-known play by Amiri Baraka, “set on a New York City subway train, where Lula, a young white woman, strikes up a conversation with Clay, a young middle-class black man.”

 February 22

Winter's Tale at The PearlThe Winter’s Tale (The Pearl)

“Shakespeare’s later-career wise and winsome fairytale”

February 23

*Big Love (Signature Theatre)

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

*The Insurgents (Labyrinth at Bank Street Theatre)

lab_insurgents_1216b_700x700Lucy Thurber writes about a woman who, having lost her athletic scholarship, returns home and “buries herself in books about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, John Brown, and Timothy McVeigh. She begins escaping into an interior world where their spirits talk to her, telling stories of their resistance to injustice.”

Rocket to the Moon (Peccadillo at St Clement’s Theater)

Revival of the 1938 play by Clifford Odets about a dentist whose business and marriage are both failing as he begins a love affair with a young dental assistant.

February 24

Lives of the Saints (Primary Stages at The Duke)

A new collection of short plays by David Ives (Venus in Fur), directed by John Rando (Urinetown, On The Town.)

The Nether (MCC Theater)

Jennifer Haley explores modern digital life, her central character a young female detective played by Merritt Wever (the young nurse Zoey Barkow in Nurse Jackie.)

WorldofExtremeHappinessThe World of Extreme Happiness (MTC at New York City Center – Stage 1)

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.

February 25

Bright Half Life (Women’s Project Theater at New York City Center Stage II)

In a play by Tanya Barfield, “Erica meets Vicki. Vicki marries Erica. Lives collide. Rewind. Pause. Fast forward.”

*BROOKLYNITE (Vineyard Theatre)

features-large_brooklynite-keyartThis 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 13-member cast includes Nick Cordero (the best thing about Bullets Over Broadway), Matt Doyle and Ann Harada.

February 26

John & Jen (Keen Company at Theatre Row – Clurman)

Kate Baldwin and Conor Ryan in the 20th anniversary revival of Andrew Lippa’s chamber musical about a brother, a sister, and her son.

February 28

Delirium’s Daughters (Triumvirate Artists at Theatre Row – Studio Theatre)

A new farce. “A kind old gentleman believes his deceased wife has forbid their three daughters to marry, until one of the suitors plays a series of tricks that helps him deal with his loss and recover his sanity.”

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 to 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 offers 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(This has been postponed)
Marquis Theater

  • First Preview: March 11, 2015
  • Opening:
  • Closes:
  • 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: Brian d’Arcy James, Christian Borle

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.

airlinehighwaylogo2Airline Highway

Samuel 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

thevisitlogoThe 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.

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