August 2018 New York Theater Openings

Two shows are opening this month on Broadway, one a musical adaptation of a 1990 Julia Roberts movie, “Pretty Woman,” starring Andy Karl and Samantha Barks; the other, “Gettin’ The Band Back Together,” a musical comedy about a 40-year-old re-engaging in a Battle of the Bands.

Off-Broadway, there are musicals about a romance between neurotic New Yorkers, a revolution by redheads, the second man to walk on the moon, and an average teenager (portrayed by Dear Evan Hansen’s Will Roland) who swallows a supercomputer and becomes cool. The Mint is offering a rare revival of a rare flop by Lillian Hellman.  Off-Off Broadway, the Flea presents a play about the repercussions of a police shooting.

Yes, August is not the most crowded month for theater in New York, especially since the 21st New York Fringe festival has moved to October.  But a couple of other theater festivals are opening this month, and several more are still running

Below, shows with August openings arranged chronologically by opening date. Click on any title to get to its website.

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: blue. Off Off Broadway: Green. Theater festival: Orange

August 2

Mike Birbiglia: The New One  (Cherry Lane)

The solo monologuist of such comic pieces as “Thank God For Jokes” and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” won’t explain what “The New One” is about. “I hate it when people tell me what anything is about or really any details at all.

August 3

Less Than 50% (59E59)

Actor and stand-up comedian Gianmarco Soresi stars in this unromantic comedy based on true events.

August 4


Shame or the Doomsday Machine (Theatre for the New City

A new traveling musical, whose free performances will be presented in city streets, parks and playgrounds throughout all five boroughs through September 16.
A high school teacher gets pummeled with hard questions when his lecture on The Theory of Relativity rockets his class into unexpected places. The students apply the theory to fears of their own lives, stumping the prof with questions like “What’s the relative speed of your own blood–does it run faster when a cop shoots you in the back, or when you are hiding under a desk from a high school shooter?”
So the teacher takes the class on a trip through a black hole to find the truth.

August 6


Shakespeare in the Theater 2018 (The Brick) 

“An indoor Shakespeare festival with air conditioning!” Seven of the Bard’s plays told in new ways, plus “A Taste of Shakespeare,” a tasting menu by Hedgepig Ensemble Theater of Shakespeare’s greatest romances, with five actors performing three 20-minute adaptations — Tiny Tempest, 1/12th Night, and Midsummer: Tedious & Brief.

August 9

Be More Chill (Signature) 

Will Roland (Dear Evan Hansen) stars in a musical based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, as a nothing-special teenager who swallows a tiny supercomputer and becomes cool. .With music by Joe Iconis, the musical looks at depression, bullying, and anxiety via sci-fi films of the 50s, horror flicks of the 80s, and teen movies of the 90s

High School Musical (Theatre Row)

A staged version of the Disney movie musical.

August 13

Getting’ The Band Back Together (Belasco)

A musical about a laid off 40-year-old who finds that the only hope for his future lies in revisiting his rock and roll, forming a band out of “the math teacher who isn’t good at math, the Irish cop who dreams about being on Broadway, the dermatologist who can’t get a date, and a 16-year-old Jewish rapper who makes Vanilla Ice look cool.” With a book by Ken Davenport and songs by Mark Allen.

August 16

Pretty Woman (Nederlander Theater) 

Andy Karl and Samantha Barks star as a corporate killer and a prostitute who fall in love and change their spots in this musical with a score by Bryan Adams based on the Garry Marshall movie.

August 17

Neurosis the Musical (DR2 Theater) 

A musical about two neurotic New Yorkers wanting a relationship and finding one another

August 19

R.R.R.E.D. A Secret Musical (DR2 Theater) 

A secret redheaded revolutionary organization is taking matters into their own hands, fighting back against their imminent extinction and standing up for the rights of redheads everywhere.

August 26


Days to Come (Mint Theater at Theatre Row)

A revival of Lillian Hellman’s second play, which lasted on Broadway in 1936 for only seven performances, inbetween her massive hits The Children’s Hour in 1934 and The Little Foxes in 1939. The play is a family drama set against the backdrop of labor strife in a small Ohio town

Dream Up Festival (Theater for the New City) 

More than two dozen plays, including a new translation of Strindberg’s Creditors

August 28

1969: The Second Man (Next Door at NYTW)

A folk-rock fable about Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon.

August 30

Scraps (The Flea)

What we always hear: “Black Male Shot by White Police Officer.”
What we never see: how loved ones struggle to cope amidst their anger and grief.

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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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