January 2018 New York Theater Openings

Just one Broadway show is opening this month,  but January is as usual one of the most robust months for theater in New York, thanks in large part to the January theater festivals.

Together these festivals offer more than 100 shows; most are experimental, often hybrids that redefine what theater is; many are difficult to describe; some run only for one or two performances

Below is a selective list of Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway and festival offerings in January, organized chronologically by opening date (or, for a festival show, the first performance), with each title linked to a relevant website. Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black or Blue.Off Off Broadway: Green. January theater festival*: Orange

Below that, links to the home pages of seven of the festivals.



January 4

After (Under the Radar)

by Albert Schneider, the creator of the trickster theater piece YOUARENOWHERE (which is all I have to know)

Margarete (Under the Radar)

An artistic reconstruction of the life of a Polish woman based on 8 mm film reels found in a market near Poland.

Re-Member Me (Under the Radar) 

Dickie Beau as a human Hamlet mix-tape

January 5

 The Gates: An Evening of Stories with Adam Gopnik (Under the Radar)

Ninety minutes of true personal stories by the writer for the New Yorker magazine

How to Be a Rock Critic  (Under the Radar)

A solo play about the late Lester Bangs


January 6

Thunderstorm 2.0 (Under the Radar)

A modern take by a Beijing-based company on an early twentieth century play


January 8


Mankind (Playwrights Horizons)

Robert O’Hara’s play imagines a future society where women are extinct and men can get pregnant.

Antigonón, un Contingente Épico (Under the Radar)

A Cuban company’s over-the-top adaptation of Sophocles tragedy, incorporating figures from Cuban history.

January 9

Disco Pigs (Irish Rep)

Twentieth anniversary production of Enda Walsh’s play about two life-long friends who on their 17th birthday spiral violently out of control. The first of two plays by Enda Walsh this month. (See January 14)

Acquanetta (Prototype)

An operatic version of a 1940s horror movie. (Prototype is a festival of modern opera.)


January 10

The Echo Drift (Prototype)

Convicted murderer Walker Loats is trapped in a timeless prison.

January 11

John Lithgow: Stories by Heart (RTC’s American Airlines)

The actor tells personal stories mixed with short stories by Ring Lardner and PG Wodehouse.

The Hendrix Project (Under the Radar)

Fans in the balcony during a Jimi Hendrix New Year’s Eve concert in 1969.

Black Inscription (Prototype)

A diver descends into the depths of the ocean, never to resurface. As her terrestrial ties dissolve, she embarks upon an Odyssean journey

Pillowtalk (Exponential)

One night in the lives of Sam and Buck, a recently married interracial  gay couple.

January 12

Fellow Travelers (Prototype)

An illicit love story between two men set during the anti-gay “Lavendar Scare” the McCarthy-Era .

Jupiter’s Lifeless Moons (COIL)

A one-man “romp through nocturnal America” by Dane Terry, recounting his gig working in an Ohio zoo.

Femme Pathos (Exponential)

Claire Moodey’s dance theater piece explores how two people – the artist and her mother Mary – heal together.

January 13

Pursuit of Happiness (Under the Radar)

National Theater of Oklahoma (an acclaimed downtown theater company) collaborates with a Slovenian dance company for a dance-theater hybrid that examine American individualism and our “unalienable right” to happiness, starting in a Wild West saloon and ending in an Iraqi battlefield.

Secrets (Prototype)

Setting to music hundreds of anonymous testimonies from the general public

Gray Spaces: Clusterf*ck (Special Effects Festival)

An evening of new works and works-in-progress from six artists who are members of the Contemporary Performance network. Stage Jokes by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, for example, is “a collection of very short theatrical ruminations—most of which are not really jokes or meant to be staged. It is meant to be a bathroom book.”

The description of “Happy to See You” by Cara Francis begins: “Hi, I’m Happy To See You. You may be selected to dialogue with me, a friendly virtual assistant…”

January 14

Bally Turk (St Anna Warehouse)

Enda Walsh’s new play about the lives of two men who unravel quickly

January 15

IYOV (Prototype)

The story of the Biblical Job, told through a new sound

January 17

The Undertaking (59 E 59)

A piece about death by Steve Cosson of the documentary theater company The Civilians, based on interviews with “a near death experiencer, a prominent philosopher, and a cancer patient on a psilocybin trip among others”

January 18

Until the Flood (Rattlestick)

Dael Orlandersmith’s solo show in response to the death of Michael Brown.

Hindle Wakes (Mint at Theatre Row)

Revival of a 1912 play unsentimentally depicting two young people seeking pleasure without commitment

The Thing with Feathers (The Barrow Group)

A play about an underage teenager who is seduced by an older man on the Internet.

10-Minute Play Festival (The First This Time)

A program of six short plays by early-career playwrights of African and African American descent

Buffalo Bailey’s Ranch For Gay Horses, Troubled Teen Girls and Other (Exponential)

“There’s no place like Buffalo Bailey’s, where you can watch horsedrag all night at the discobarn..”

January 19

X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation (Theatre at St. Clement’s)

The Acting Company’s production of Marcus Gardley’s play about the assassination of Malcolm X


January 21

Party Face (City Center)

Hayley Mills stars as  a woman who brings her own food to her daughter’s party—and also the “right” person to be her daughter’s new best friend

Miles for Mary (Playwrights Horizons)

A comedy from The Mad Ones directed by Lila Neugebauer. Set in 1988, the play tracks the meetings and politics of the planning committee for Garrison High School’s ninth annual Miles For Mary Telethon.

January 30

He Brought Her Heart Back In A Box (TFANA at Polonsky)

Adrienne Kennedy’s first new play in a decade is set in Georgia and New York City in 1941,  and “braids together the indignities of Jim Crow, rising Nazism, sexual hypocrisy, Christopher Marlowe, and the lingering shadow of a terrible crime.”

January 31

Cardinal (Second Stage)

Greg Pierce’s new play about a rivalry in a Rust Belt town, directed by Kate Whoriskey , who directed Sweat.

For a complete list of Theater Festival offerings, check them out individually

Under the Radar (Jan 4-15)

The Exponential Festival (Jan 4-31)

Prototype (Jan 7-20)

American Realness (Jan 9-16)

COIL (Jan 10-Feb 4)

Special Effects Festival (Jan 11-15)

The Fire This Time Festival (Jan 15-28)


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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