January 2016 Theater Openings Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

If at first glance January seems a relatively fallow time for theater in New York – just two shows opening on Broadway this month, some half dozen Off-Broadway – the truth is that it is one of the most robust times for theater in the city, thanks to some 15 theater festivals. There are easily more than 100 works of theater on offer, although they each run for only a handful of performance. Most can be considered Off-Off Broadway, but I won’t include them in this preview, because I’ve created a separate guide just for them: Winter Theater Festivals in New York City 2016.

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with each title linked to a relevant website. Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.
To look at the Spring season as a whole, check out my Broadway Spring 2016 Preview Guide and my Off Broadway Spring 2016 Preview Guide

January 7



Sanctuary (Theatre Row – Lion)

Susanne Sulby’s solo show about the effect of war on women through the ages.

January 9

The Offending Gesture (Connelly Theater)

Mac Wellman’s new play uses the true stories of Hitler and his dog, Blondi, and the international incident caused by Finnish businessman’s Tor Borg having taught his own dog Jackie to do the Nazi Party Salute, which the Nazis interpreted as an insult.

January 10


The Changeling (Red Bull at The Lucille Lortel Theater)

The Jacobean tragicomedy by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley explores the follies of love and the nature of madness.

MDLSX 1 - Photo by Theo Cote


Silvia Calderoni from Motus company stars in this solo show about a person of fluid gender.

January 11


Maurice Hines Is Tappin’ Thru Life (New World Stages)

Through song and dance, Maurice Hines pays tribute to his brother and longtime dance partner, the late Gregory Hines, by taking the audience on a journey through his  career, working in homages to Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne and Judy Garland.

January 13

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Key Change

A portrayal of incarcerated women, devised by women from Her Majesty’s Prison Low Newton, in the North of England.

January 14


Noises Off (American Airlines Theater)

An impressive cast of the go-to Broadway stars of the moment (Andrea Martin, Megan Hilty, et al) undertakes the third Broadway production of this backstage comedy. “The Opening Night performance of the farce Nothing On is just hours away, and as the cast stumbles through their final dress rehearsal, things couldn’t be going any worse.”

January 15


Collaborators (The Storm Theatre Company at Grand Hall)

The story of the brilliant dissident writer Mikhail Bulgakov, who is chosen by Joseph Stalin to write a celebratory bio play titled Young Joseph

January 19


Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Stage 2)

In Dominique Morisseau’s third play in her Detroit trilogy, a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure. Power dynamics shift, and they are pushed to the limits of survival. When the line between blue collar and white collar gets blurred, how far over the lines are they willing to step?



Mother Courage and Her Children (Classic Stage Company)

Originally scheduled to open January 7, it was reschedule because of the departure by lead Tonya Pinkins due to creative differences. Now Kecia Lewis stars in this production of Brecht’s play set in the Congo.


January 20


Our Mother’s Brief Affair (MTC Samuel J. Friedman Theatre)

On the verge of death for the umpteenth time, Anna (Linda Lavin) makes a shocking confession to her grown children: an affair from her past that just might have resonance beyond the family.

January 21

Wide Awake Hearts (59E59 – B)

Truth and fiction begin to blend when four friends make a movie about love, infidelity and the complexities of human interaction.


The Glory of the World at Brooklyn Academy of Music

A new play by Charles Mee, about Catholic monk, author and philosopher Thomas Merton.

January 24


The Burial at Thebes (Irish Rep at DR2)

A version of Sophocles’ Antigone by Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney written in 2003 in response to the attack on Iraq

January 25


Death of the Liberal Class (New Ohio Theater)

Inspired by journalist Chris Hedges’s book, Robert Lyons writes a dark domestic comedy about a burnt out leftist journalist  who retreats to the family farm for some peace, but doesn’t get it when his family follows.

January 27


I And You (59E59)

The night before a class assignment is due, Caroline and Anthony plumb the mysteries of a Whitman poem…unaware that a deeper mystery has brought them together. Winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for playwright Lauren Gunderson.

January 28

Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo (Urban Stages)

An adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo by Jared Reinmuth.



Sojourners (Playwrights Realm at Peter Jay Sharp Theater)_

A Nigerian immigrant wants to return home after she gets her degree; her arranged-marriage husband wants to stay.

January 30


The Very Hungry Caterpillar (47th Street Theatre)

A 60-minute show that uses 75 puppets to adapts four children’s books by celebrated author Eric Carle for the stage: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar



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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