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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.”

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About New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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