October 2015 Theater Openings Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

October is the  busiest theater month in New York during the fall and winter, with more shows opening than there are days in the month.

Six Broadway shows are opening, heavy on star power — Clive Owen and Keira Knightley are making their Broadway debuts; Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones are returning, together — albeit light on originality.  Five of the Broadway shows opening in October are revivals — plays by Pinter, Sam Shepard, D.L. Coburn, A.R. Gurney, as well as a musical that debuted Off-Broadway nearly half a century ago. The sixth is a new stage adaptation of a novel by Émile Zola.

Off-Broadway, the Public Theater has four separate new plays opening this month, all of which merit attention.  And a few new works Off-Off Broadway are especially intriguing, including a new piece by the new MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellow, puppeteer Basil Twist,  a musical by the indie band The Lisps,  a new play starring Mamie Gummer as a damaged war veteran, and the return of an ambitious science fiction trilogy by Mac Rogers.

But you can’t know for sure until you see the show, which is why I review.

Below is a selection of the plays, musicals and “immersive” theater pieces opening in October, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

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

To look at the Fall season as a whole, check out Broadway Fall 2015 Preview and Off-Broadway Fall 2015 Preview.

October 1

The Quare Land (Irish Rep at DR2)

In John McManus’s play, directed by Ciarán O’Reilly, an old Irish farmer is visited by a real-estate developer who wants to convert his land into a golf course.

Catch the Butcher (Cherry Lane)

Fascinated by a serial killer’s poems to his victims, Nancy sets out to find him. When she discovers herself in his basement she likes it. Co-starring Laura Luna Velez, one of the cast members of Dexter.

October 5

Cloud Nine (Atlantic Theater Company)

James Macdonald directs Caryl Churchill’s political drama from 1979, set in colonial Africa during the Victorian era and in contemporary London.

Schooled (Soho Playhouse)

Two students vie for a competitive grant from their roguish professor in a taut threesome that tests their romantic relationship and their ethics.

October 6

_OldTimesforcalendar Old Times (RTC at American Airlines Theater)

Clive Owen makes his Broadway debut in this Roundabout revival of Pinter’s 1971 dark comedy about a friendly visit from Deeley’s wife’s friend Anna that turns into a battle for power. Directed by Pinter specialist Douglas Hodge and co-starring Eve Best.

October 7

sisters-follies for calendar

 Sisters’ Follies Between Two Worlds (Abrons Arts Center)

Puppeteer and new MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Basil Twist stages a musical ghost story: Joey Arias and Julie Atlas Mus portray the sisters who founded the Abrons Playhouse a century ago and are now back to haunt it.

October 8


Fool For Love (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre)

Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell star in Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of Sam Shepard’s 1983 play about a brother and sister who share an unrequited love.


Barbecue (The Public Theater)

In this play written by Robert O’Hara, whose Bootycandy I found outrageously entertaining, uncomfortable and profound, the O’Mallerys have gathered in their local park to share some barbecue and stage an intervention with a family member in a spiral of drugs and recklessness.

October 10

Tinder Roulette: A Musical Memoir (13th Street Rep)

Mel Delancey’s autobiographical musical revue as the daughter of two compulsive gambler who grew up to engage in surreal Internet dating.


 Would You Still Love Me If… (New World Stages)

Kathleen Turner is directing and starring in this drama John S. Anastasi about what happens to a lesbian couple when one of the women reveals that she is grappling with her gender identity.

 October 11

Heather Smiley for President (Theatre for the New City)

In what sounds like a hardly veiled allusion to Hillary Clinton, Tom Attea and Arthur Abrams have written a musical comedy about a female presidential candidate and her campaign.

October 12

Clever Little Lies (Westside Theatre)

Marlo Thomas stars in this comedy by Joe DiPietro about a woman who notices her husband has come home on edge after a tennis match with their son, and invites them over for drinks, getting more honesty that anyone expected.

October 13


Ugly Lies the Bone (RTC)

Newly discharged soldier Jess (Mamie Gummer) uses virtual reality video game therapy to escape her pain.

The Honeycomb Trilogy (Gideon Productions at The Gym at Judson)

A three part sci-fi epic by Mac Rogers, following one American family through an extraterrestrial invasion and the occupation of Earth.

October 14

james-earl-jones-cicely-tyson in Gin Game

The Gin Game (John Golden Theater)

Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones team up for the revival of this Pulitzer-winning play about a man and a woman in a nursing home who turn a game of gin rummy into a battleground.

Eclipsed cast
Eclipsed cast

Eclipsed (The Public)

Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) stars in the play by Danai Gurira (co-author of In the Continuum and Michonne on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.) Amid the chaos of the Liberian Civil War, the captive wives of a rebel officer band together to form a fragile community – until the balance of their lives is upset by the arrival of a new girl. Directed by South African-born Liesl Tommy (Appropriate, Informed Consent)

Unseamly (Urban Stages)

In a play by Oren Safdie, Malina wants to press charges for harassment and assault against her boss in a clothing store where she works,  but her boss paints a picture of an opportunist he practically had to fight off.

October 15

Perfect Arrangement (Primary Stages at The Duke on 42nd Street)

In a play by Topher Payne, two gay U.S. State Department employees in 1950 have been tasked with identifying “sexual deviants” within their ranks.

In White America (New Federal Theater at Castillo)

In White America, a play by historian Martin Duberman,  traces the national journey from early colonial times through the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, with text drawn directly from historical records, including the narratives of former slaves

Travels With My Aunt (Keen Company at Theatre Row)

An adaptation of Graham Greene’s comic novel about a mild-mannered retired banker and his eccentric aunt, in which four actors play over 25 characters.

October 17

Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or How I Started The Iraq War (Actors Temple Theater)

Inspired by a true story, Who’s Your Baghdaddy? is a new musical comedy, presented as a support group for the mid-level spies who started the Iraq War.

October 18

Rothschild and Sons for calendar

Rothschild & Sons (York Theatre Company)

A one-act, re-imagining of ‘The Rothschilds,” a 1970, Tony-nominated musical by Sheldon Yellen, with music by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The downsized version focuses on the relationships between the patriarch of the family, Mayer Rothschild, his wife Gutele, and their five sons


Trip of Love (Little Shubert)

A jukebox musical featuring hit songs of the 60s,

October 19

Kill Floor (Lincoln Center)

In Abe Koogler’s first play, a mother returns from prison to a job at a slaughterhouse, which complicates her reconciliation with her 15-year-old vegetarian son.

October 20

Ripcord (MTC at City Center)

Holland Taylor, Marylouise Burke, and Rachel Dratch. David Hyde Pierce directs
David Lindsay-Abaire’s new play about two rivals who vie for a choice room in an assisted living facility

Futurity-photo by Ben_Arons for Calenday

Futurity (Ars Nova at The Connelly Theatre)

In this “avant-Americana” musical by indie band The Lisps, Julian is a Civil War soldier dreaming of a technological utopia. Ada is a mathematical genius thousands of miles away. Together, they’re going to invent a machine to end one of the darkest periods in our history

October 21

First Daughter Suite Public Theater/Anspacher Theater

First Daughter Suite (The Public Theater)

Michael John LaChiusa  (GiantThe Wild Party) has created a musical of mothers and daughters who’ve lived in the White House: 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.

October 22

Romance Language (Theater 511 at Ars Nova)

In a new play by Joe Godfrey, a wealthy Manhattan widow takes up private lessons with an alluring young Italian instructor, which makes her daughter suspicious.


Dames At Sea (Helen Hayes)

First revival of the 1968 musical pokes fun at movie musicals of the 1930s. The cast of Ruby’s first Broadway show learn that their theater is being demolished, so they decide to perform on a battleship

October 23

Hasan Minaj: Homecoming King (Cherry Lane Theatre)

The Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj’s one-man show chronicles his experiences growing up as a first-generation Indian-American.

Just Like A Woman Festival

October 24

Hell’s Belles (Elektra Theatre at The Times Square Arts Center)

In this musical, a fallen pop star lands in Hell and meets Salome, Lady Godiva, Lizzie Borden, Joan Crawford and Janis Joplin. (Janis Joplin?)

October 25

The Humans 1

The Humans (RTC)

A terrific cast including Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Arian Moayed and Sarah Steele star in the latest play by Stephen Karam (Sons of the Prophet). When Erik Blake (Birney) brings his Pennsylvania family to his daughter’s Manhattan apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving, strange things start happening.

October 26

The Hummingbird’s Tour (Theatre at St. Clement’s)

Three opinionated siblings in their 60s and their ancient childhood nanny,are thrown into a philosophical frenzy by an unexpected guest with a mysterious prediction.


Before Your Very Eyes (The Public Theater)

Created by the Gob Squad, working for the past two years with 9-14 year olds from around New York City, this play presents seven lives lived in fast forward, from angst-ridden teens to hunched geriatrics.

October 27

Sylvia 2

Sylvia (Cort Theater)

Annaleigh Ashford and Julie White star in this revival of A.R. Gurney’s 1995 comedy about a man who adopts a dog (Ashford) that causes a crisis in his marriage.

October 28

Dear Elizabeth (Women’s Project, McGinn-Cazale Theater)

In this play by Sarah Ruhl about the correspondence over thirty years between the famed correspondence between the poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, a stellar rotating cast includes Cherry Jones and John Douglas Thompson

Songbird (59e59)

In a musical based on Chekhov’s The Seagull, fading country star Tammy returns to the Honky Tonk that launched her music career to help the son she abandoned launch his own.

October 29


Thérèse Raquin (RTC – Studio 54)

A new stage adaptation of Zola’s novel. “In this tale of love, lust, betrayal, and guilt, Thérèse (Keira Knightley) has made peace with her loveless marriage to a weak man when her world is turned upside down by Laurent walking through the door

Thérèse Raquin Keira Knightley Matt Ryan
Thérèse Raquin
Keira Knightley
Matt Ryan

Author: 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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