Actor Forest Whitaker and playwright Stephen Karam make their separate Broadway debuts this month in the only two Broadway shows opening in February — a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie,” and “The Humans.” Playwrights Sam Shepard and Lydia Diamond will be represented among the more than a dozen off-Broadway shows opening,
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: 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
Utility (The Amoralists at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre)
“Amber has two jobs, three kids and an eight-year-old’s birthday party to plan. The house needs fixing up and her on-again, off-again husband, Chris just can’t help but make things worse. As Amber struggles to keep things from boiling over, she finds herself a stranger to the person she once was and the person she thought she might be.”
Rock And Roll Refugee (Royal Family Arts Center)
Based on the life of Genya Ravan, a Holocaust survivor and immigrant who became a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer.
Burning (Resonance Ensemble at Theatre at St. Clements)
Playwright Ginger Lazarus takes her inspiration from Cyrano de Bergerac: Cy is a woman kicked out of the Army for being gay, who, like Cyrano, suffers from insecurity that prevents her from pursuing love. She blogs from her country store in a remote Western town near the base where she last served.
Shown in repertory with Cyrano de Bergerac (See February 8)
The Wedge Horse (Fault Line at IATI Theater)
When tragedy strikes, siblings Maddy and Bobby must decide whether to use the memory of a loved one for violence or healing.
Bedlam’s Sense and Sensibility (Gym at Judson)
Return engagement of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, adapted for the stage by Kate Hamill,
Broadway and the Bard (Amas at Theatre Row)
Stage and screen veteran Len Cariou combines his two great loves – Shakespeare and American Musical Comedy – into one evening of soliloquy and song.
The Woodsman (New World Stages)
The origin story of the Tin Woodsman from the Wizard of Oz – “the woman he loved, and the witch that would stop at nothing to keep them apart.”
Cyrano De Bergerac (Resonance Ensemble Theatre at St. Clements)
Shown in repertory with Burning (see February 3)
Prodigal Son (MTC at City Center)
John Patrick Shanley’s new play, which he directs, stars Robert Sean Leonard, and Timothée Chalamet as a brilliant, troubled young man from the Bronx at a New Hampshire private school.
Encores: Cabin in the Sky
Presented over a long weekend as part of the Encores series of Broadway “concerts” “Originally produced in 1940, Cabin in the Sky followed Porgy and Bess in celebrating African-American music and dance traditions. Cast includes Chuck Cooper, LaChanze
Smart People (Second Stage)
Written by Lydia Diamond and directed by Kenny Leon — the same team that brought us Stick Fly – the comedy focuses on four Harvard intellectuals who find themselves entangled in a complex web of social and sexual politics on the eve of Obama’s first election.
Mike Birbiglia: Thank God for Jokes (Lynn Redgrave Theater)
Buried Child (New Group at Signature Theatre Center)
Revival of Sam Shepard play with a stellar cast including Ed Harris and Amy Madigan.
Old Hats (Signature Center)
A return of Bill Irwin and David Shiner signature clowning.
The Humans (Helen Hayes)
Playwright Stephen Karam makes his Broadway debut in this play about a Pennsylvania family celebrating Thanksgiving at the daughter’s apartment in lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside the ramshackle pre-war duplex, eerie things start to go bump in the night.
My review of The Humans, when it was Off-Broadway, with the same cast.
Nice Fish (St. Ann’s Warehouse)
Mark Rylance stars in a play he co-wrote with his favorite poet, Louis Jenkins, about two men ice-fishing.
Smokefall (MCC at Lucille Lortel Theatre)
“Magical realism collides with manic vaudeville in a family drama” written by Noah Haidle and directed by Anne Kauffman. The cast includes Zachary Quinto.
Angel Reapers (Signature)
Playwright Alfred Uhry and choreographer/director Martha Clarke team up on this “theatrical collage” about the Shakers, the early American religious sect best-remembered now for their furniture, whose members were committed to celibacy. Actual traditional Shaker songs and movement are incorporated.
Her Requiem (LCT – Claire Tow)
“Caitlin takes her senior year off from high school to compose a full-scale requiem. Inspired by her dedication, her father, Dean, becomes obsessed with requiems and the people who love them, while her mother, Allison, becomes concerned about Caitlin’s isolation from everyone aside from her music teacher.”
Dot (Vineyard Theatre)
Written by Colman Domingo and directed by Susan Stroman, “Dot” examine’s Dotty’s struggles to navigate life with dementia, while her children fight to balance care for their mother and care for themselves.
The Body of an American (Primary Stages at Cherry Lane)
“Two men, a war photojournalist and playwright, journey from some of the most dangerous places on earth to the depths of the human soul.” Based on a true story
Insignificance (Langham Place Hotel)
Joseph McCarthy, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio, and Albert Einstein
gather in a hotel room in 1953 l and debate power, sex and politics.
First performed in 1982, the play will be staged entirely within a hotel room on the 5th floor of Langham Place Hotel.
Hughie (Booth Theatre)
Forest Whitaker makes his Broadway debut in a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s short play as small-time gambler and big-time drinker who is in a hotel lobby in 1928 with a new night clerk (Frank Wood) on duty; he is forced to confront his personal demons and discover the real end to his own story
A Room of My Own (Abingdon Theater Company at June Havoc Theatre)
Playwright and director Charles Messina recounts growing up with his eccentric Italian-American family in Greenwich Village. Cast includes Ralph Macchio and Mario Cantone
Women Without Men (Mint Theatre at NY City Center
The revival of the 1938 play by Hazel Ellis about the clash of conflicting natures and petty competitions that erupt amongst the cloistered teaching staff of an all-girls boarding school.
Straight (Theatre Row – Acorn)
Ben is a 26-year investment banker, who likes beer, sports, and Emily — and Chris.
The Wildness, Sky-Pony’s Rock Fairy Tale (Ars Nova)
“An ‘all-in’ experience for all five of your senses.”