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February 2018 New York Theater Openings

No shows are opening on Broadway in February, but there are many snippets of Broadway musicals all on one stage — a 25th anniversary celebration of Encores! concert series creates a new musical out of old musicals. (See February 7.)

It’s not the only show with a starry cast. So is a revival of Edward Albee’s first hit, altered late in life.

Off-Off Broadway, there are provocative plays about lynching, drone warfare, and gender transition; Off-Broadway about a right-wing takeover of the working class (in Europe), and a political power play (in DC).  Martyna Majok has written “Queens”; Sarah Burgess has written “Kings.” Eve Ensler brings to the stage her memoir about surviving a life-threatening illness; Martin McDonagh imagines an executioner who’s been forcibly retired.

Below is a selective list of (no Broadway), Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway and festival offerings in February, organized chronologically by opening date, with each title linked to a relevant website.

Color key of theaters: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black or Blue.. Off Off Broadway: Green. Theater festival: Orange

To look at the Spring season as a whole, check out my Broadway Spring 2018 Preview Guide and my Off Broadway Spring 2018 Preview Guide

February 1

Fire and Air (Classic Stage Company)

The tempestuous relationship between dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and Diaghilev, the impresario of the Ballet Russes.

Series of One (LaMaMa)

A solo performance festival

February 2

Draw The Circle (Rattlestick)

Solo show by Mashuq Mushtaq Deen told entirely from the point of view of Deen’s family and friends, as portrayed by Deen, bringing to life the often-ignored struggle that a family goes through when their child transitions from one gender to another.

February 4

FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL (The Flea)

A new play by Steph Del Rosso. Breakups are hard. But Joni’s taken her breakup to the next level, physically feeling holes all over her body. From acupuncture to threesomes,

Bright Color and Bold Patterns (SoHo Playhouse)

The one-character show by Drew Droege now stars Jeff Hiller as a gay visitor to a wedding, furious that the invitation said “Please refrain from wearing bright colors or bold patterns.”

February 5

Hangmen (Atlantic)

Written by Martin McDonagh (The Beauty Queen of Lenane), directed by Matthew Dunster. A play about the second-best hangman in England hanging out in a pub on the day they’ve abolished hanging.

February 6

In The Body of the World (MTC)

Directed by Diane Paulus and starring Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues) in a play based on her memoir: While working with women suffering from the ravages of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ensler was stunned by a life-threatening diagnosis.

February 7

Hey Look Me Over (City Center)

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Encores concert series, this new musical features Bob Martin, as his beloved Man in Chair character from The Drowsy Chaperone, plays an opinionated Encores! subscriber who leads the audience on a guided (and sometimes mis-guided) tour of his favorite scenes and songs from musicals he’s always wanted to see at City Center: All American, George M!, Greenwillow, Jamaica,Mack & Mabel, Milk and Honey, Sail Away, and Wildcat.  The cat includes Reed Birney, Carolee Carmello, , Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, Tam Mutu, Bebe Neuwirth, Vanessa Williams (and that’s not everybody.)

February 8

A Small Oak Tree Runs Red (Billie Holiday Theater)

The true story, told as a memory play by LeKethia Dalcoe. of a young African American woman whose 1918 lynching, while eight months pregnant, prompted the NAACP to ask Missouri Republican Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer to craft the 1922 Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, whose passage was halted by a Southern Democratic filibuster in the US Senate.

Against The Hillside (Ensemble Studio Theater)

A play by Sylvia Khoury on the hidden human costs of drone warfare. What happens to a drone pilot who is spending full days watching a young Pakistani woman and her family?

February 11

Returning to Reims (St Ann’s Warehouse)

Based on the memoir by Didier Eribon. Directed by Thomas Ostermeier. Philospher Didier Eribon, returning to his childhood home, discovers that the left-wing and liberal middle-class have abandoned the working-class, and workers are running into the arms of the right-wing National Front. How is this possible?

February 18

 

Daniel Beaty: Emergency (Kumble)

Daniel Beaty portrays more than 40 characters. When a slave ship emerges out of the Hudson River in present-day New York Harbor, the city and the nation are sent into near-hysteria

February 20

A Walk with Mr. Heifetz (Primary Stages)

A play by James Inverne, based on a true story that began in 1926 when Jascha Heifetz, the most celebrated violinist in the world, played a series of concerts in Palestine.

 

Kings (Public Theater)

Written by Sarah Burgess (Dry Powder), directed by Thomas Kail (Hamilton,) A comedy about a lobbyist named Kate who worries that her Congresswoman client is so high-minded it will ruin her career. But then for the first time Kate is faced with a choice that might change everything for her: back the system, or back what she believes in?

Terminus (NYTW Next Door)

A play by Gabriel Jason Dean that stars Deirdre O’Connell as Eller, a white matron, who lives with her mixed-race grandson, Jaybo (Reynaldo Piniella),  down by the railroad tracks in rural Georgia. When Eller’s mind begins to fade, her violent past in the segregated South haunts her

February 21

At Home At The Zoo (Signature)

Directed by  Lila Neugebauer. A new production of Albee’s two-act play that incorporated his older, and seminal, The Zoo Story. In act one, Homelife, we meet Peter and his wife, who live a comfortable but vaguely unhappy bourgeois existence; in the second act, The Zoo Story, Peter is forever altered by an oddly persistent stranger in Central Park. Cast: Katie Finneran, Robert Sean Leonard,Paul Sparks

February 22

Jerry Springer the Opera (New Group)

An opera about the politician turned talk show host
starring Terrence Mann and Will Swenson.

Some Old Black Man (59E59)

Wendell Pierce stars in a play by James Anthony Tyler, as College Professor Calvin Jones who moves his 82-year-old father Donald (Roger Robinson)  — an ailing but doggedly independent, blue-collar Southern farmer — from Greenwald, Mississippi into his Harlem penthouse. An argument over what to eat for breakfast turns into a generational clash over race, opportunity, and a decision that Calvin made years ago.

February 24

The Brobot Johnson Experience (Bushwick Starr)

A solo show by Darian Dauchan. One hundred years from now, a race of Hip Hop androids known as Brobots will form a unit, The Tribe Called Space Quest, to spread their message of peace, love, and dopeness

February 25

Relevance (MCC)

Written by JC Lee. Directed by LIesl Tommy (Eclipsed.) Jayne Houdyshell (The Humans) portrays a celebrated author and veteran feminist warrior who may have met her match in a promising young writer (Pascale Armand from Eclipsed) who is quickly becoming the leading cultural critic on race, class, and gender for a new generation — and far more conversant in social media.

February 26

An Ordinary Muslim (New York Theatre Workshop)

Written by Hammaad Chaudry his professional playwriting debut, and
directed by Jo Bonney. A Pakistani-British couple struggle to straddle the gap between the doctrines of their Muslim community and the demands of secular Western culture.

 

February 27

The Amateurs (Vineyard)

A play by Jordan Harrison, directed by Oliver Butler. An intrepid troupe of pageant players races across medieval Europe, struggling to outrun the Black Death.

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About 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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