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: Red. Off 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.
Nadia P. Manzoor portrays 21 characters in this solo show she wrote about her bifurcated life – modern London vs. conservative Pakistani Muslim home.
“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.
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.
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 Caan, Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker, written and directed by Andrew Bergman, who’s written the book for the musical. Music and lyrics are by Jason Robert Brown.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
Everybody Gets Cake (59E59)
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.”
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.
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.
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.