May 2018 New York Theater Openings

Yes, we now debate theater nominations and await the awards, but the shows must go on in May. That includes just one play on Broadway — the first of the 2018-2019 Broadway season and star-studded to boot. There is also a play by Tennessee Williams and a new play about him, as well as works by Caryll Churchill and Stephen Adly Giurgis

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Color key: Broadway: RedOff Broadway: Purple, Black or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.

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

May 2

Molasses in January (The Theater Center)

A musical based on the Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919, in which a tank containing two million gallons of molasses burst open flooding the Italian North End

May 3

Unexpected Joy (York)

A musical about three generations of female singers, long-held family tensions and a week together where change is in the air. In modern day Cape Cod

 Summer and Smoke (CSC)

Tennessee Williams makes his debut at Classic Stage Company with this play starring Marin Ireland about turn-of-the-century Mississippi, where the local minister’s daughter walks the line between piety and sensuality with the neighborhood doctor who grew up next door.

May 5

A Punk or a Gentleman (Theater for The New City)

In a play by Kymbali Craig, a Black, middle-aged Don Juan who loves to captivate women but falls victim to physical abuse by the women he loves

May 7

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (New York Theatre Workshop)

Written by Caryl Churchill (Love and Information, Cloud Nine), and directed by Rachel Chavkin (Great Comet, Hadestown) In 1647 England, power is shifting and, amid the chaos and confusion, revolutionaries across the country are dreaming of a new future.

May 8

Dance Nation (Playwrights Horizons)

Written by Clare Barron,co-winner of the first Relentless Award. Directed and choreographed by Lee Sunday Evans. Somewhere in America, an army of pre-teen competitive dancers plots to take over the world. And if their new routine is good enough, they’ll claw their way to the top at the Boogie Down Grand Prix in Tampa Bay.

May 9

Me and My Girl (Encores at NY City Center)

Christian Borle stars as Cockney everyman Bill Snibson, who wreaks havoc on high society after being unexpectedly elevated to the lofty position of Earl of Hareford.

May 10

The Gentleman Caller (Abingdon at Cherry Lane)

Before they became famous playwrights, William Inge, a dissatisfied newspaper critic, invites Tennessee Williams to his St. Louis apartment for an interview. “This sexy, fraught rendezvous sparks a relationship, which radically alters the course of their lives and the American Theatre.”

May 12

Long Day’s Journey Into Night (BAM)

Eugene O’Neill’s play about his family, via Bristol Old Vic and starring Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville.

May 13

Twelfth Night (The Acting Company at Polonsky)

May 14

Paradise Blue (Signature)

By Dominique Morisseau (Skeleton Crew, Pipeline). Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Jitney.) In 1949, Detroit’s Blackbottom neighborhood is gentrifying. Blue, a troubled trumpeter and the owner of Paradise Club, is torn between remaining in Blackbottom with his loyal lover Pumpkin and leaving behind a traumatic past. But when the arrival of a mysterious woman stirs up tensions, the fate of Paradise Club hangs in the balance

May 17

Bump (EST)

In a play by Chiara Atik, A car mechanic, ladies on a pregnancy message board, and a colonial midwife all attempt to grapple with the mystery and mechanics of childbirth.

Maple and Vine (NY Deaf Theater at The Flea)

In this accessible revival of Jordan Harrison’s play, a Manhattan couple has become allergic to their 21st-century lives and give it all up for a world that simulates the 1950s.

May 20


Our Lady of 121st Street (Signature)

By Stephen Adly Giurgis (Between Riverside to Crazy, Jesus Hopped the A Train, The M-F With the Hat.) and directed by Phylicia Rashad.  After the death of the beloved Sister Rose, a group of her former students return to their Harlem neighborhood to pay respects. But at the Funeral Home, there’s a problem—her dead body has been stolen

May 23

Peace for Mary Frances (New Group at Signature)

In a play written by Lily Thorne and directed by Lila Neugebauer, Lois Smith stars as Mary France, who at 90 is ready to die, her last wish to die peacefully at home surrounded by her family. Her dream collides with reality as three generations of explosive women flood her small New England home to battle for their family’s legacy.

May 31

The Boys in the Band (Booth)

The fiftieth anniversary of the landmark play by Matt Crowley about a group of gay men who gather in a NYC apartment for a birthday party. The nine-member cast includes Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer,and Andrew Rannells

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: