December 2017 New York Theater Openings

Four shows are opening on Broadway in December, two musicals and two plays, placing Mark Rylance in 18th century Spain, Lea Salonga in the Caribbean of the 19th and 20th centuries, and a mix of Broadway veterans and newcomers in post-Apocalyptic England and the underwater community of Bikini Bottom.

Off-Broadway, Chloë Sevigny is a single mother in the Greenwich Village of the 1970s, Danny Burstein a Jewish writer in the Russia of 1920, Constantine Maroulis as the czar of New York, and the Bengson’s with just 100 days to live. Off-Off Broadway: the Emma Stone character from La-La Land in drag, Tennessee Williams re-oriented by Mabou Mines (in its new permanent home), and health through hallucinogens.  With shows by companies with names like Hedgepig and Fiasco, how can you go wrong?

Below is a selection of openings in November on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black. Off Off Broadway: Green.

For more information about the season in general, check out Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide, and Fall 2017 Off-Broadway Guide

December 3

Downtown Race Riot (The New Group at Signature)

Chloë Sevigny portrays a single mom living in Greenwich Village in 1976, as her son Pnut and his Haitian best friend Massive wrestle with their obligation to join a race riot in Washington Square Park.

Once on This Island (Circle in the Square)

A revival of the Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical about Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the Caribbean island. When their divided cultures threaten to keep them apart, Ti Moune, guided by the island gods, sets out on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart. The cast includes Lea Salonga and Phillip Boykin



It’s a Wonderful Life (Irish Rep)

A radio play based on the Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart movie about a small-town banker who wishes he’d never been born — and sees how many people

December 4

Hundred Days (New York Theater Workshop)

The Bengson’s Musical about embracing uncertainty, taking a leap, and loving as if you only had a hundred days to live.

SpongeBob SquarePants (The Palace)

New musical based on the hit Nickelodeon cartoon series
The score features original songs from a mix of classic and contemporary artists, including Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Panic! at the Disco, Aerosmith, and the late David Bowie.

Buy tickets to SpongeBob SquarePants

December 5

Describe the Night (Atlantic Theater Company)

A new play by Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger; Guards at the Taj), starring Danny Burstein: In 1920, the Russian writer Isaac Babel (Burstein) wanders the countryside with the Red Cavalry. Seventy years later, a mysterious KGB agent spies on a woman in Dresden and falls in love. In 2010, an aircraft carrying most of the Polish government crashes in the Russian city of Smolensk. Set in Russia over the course of 90 years, this new play traces the stories of seven men and women connected by history, myth and conspiracy theories.

December 6

Glass Guignol: The Brother and Sister Play (122CC)

The latest avant-garde work by Mabou Mines. “Employing DuChamp’s innovative strategies to give new meaning to familiar objects by placing them in an unexpected setting, “Glass Guignol” lifts iconic speeches from Tennessee Williams “Glass Menagerie,” among others of his classic and lesser known works, to create a new play that examines Williams’ close relationship to his sister Rose, who was both his confidante and muse.
This is the first production taking place in the first permanent theater for Mabou Mines, after 47 years of presenting their plays in other theaters.It’s a 99-seat black box located in the newly renovated 122 Community Center (122CC), formerly Public School 122, in the East Village. The production also coincides with Mabou Mines founder Lee Breuer’s 80th birthday.

December 7

So Long Boulder City (Subculture)

Jimmy Fowlie stars as the Emma Stone character from La-La Land performing her one-woman show.

December 11

Cruel Intentions The Musical (Le Poisson Rouge)

A jukebox musical adaptation of the 1999 movie that starred Ryan Philippe and Reese Witherspoon,

December 12

The Children  (Samuel J. Friedman)

A play by Lucy Kirkwood: In a remote cottage on the lonely British coast, a couple of retired nuclear engineers are living a very quiet life. Outside, the world is in utter chaos following a devastating series of events. When an old friend turns up at their door, they’re shocked to discover the real reason for her visit.

Bulldozer (Theatre at St. Clements)

Constantine Maroulis portrays Robert Moses, in this new rock musical about one of the most polarizing figures in New York political history, and was probably the most powerful unelected official ever in the United States

December 13

The Secret in the Wings  (Access Theater)

Dark fairytales by Mary Zimmerman performed by the Hedgepig Ensemble

December 14

Twelfth Night (Classic Stage Company)

Shakespeare’s tale of shipwreck and gender disguise as presented by the innovative Fiasco theater company

The Mushroom Cure (Theatre 80 St. Marks)

Adam Strauss wrote and stars in this true tale of his personal psychopharmacological journey, inspired by a scientific study showing that hallucinogenic mushrooms may cure obsessive-compulsive disorder.

December 17

Farinelli and the King (Belasco)

Mark Rylance plays King Philippe of Spain who is entranced by Farinelli, one of the greatest celebrities of his time – a castrato “with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who hear it.”

Buy tickets to Farinelli and the King

Buy tickets to Tiny, Beautiful Things at the Public

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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