Three shows opening this month on Broadway bring to the stage adaptations of three landmarks of American culture: “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Network,” and “The Cher Show.”
The three Chers in the Cher musical are not the only Chers in a musical. Off Broadway, Disney star Dove Cameron is playing Cher Horowitz in The New Group’s adaptation of “Clueless.”
Clueless might be a good description of the audience before it attends “Nassim,” the first production of Barrow Street Theatricals after leaving its home on Barrow Street after 15 years. We’re given very few clues as to what “Nassim” is about. I
It’s one of the several new plays Off-Broadway that promise a novel experience, at venues that often fulfill that promise — “The Head and the Load” at Park Avenue Armory, “The Jungle” at St. Ann’s Warehouse, “Slave
Play” at New York Theatre Workshop, and much of the work at BAM’s Next Wave Festival and Soho Rep’s Fringe Encores series.
In “Noura” at Playwrights Horizons, a family that fled Iraq eight years ago plans the perfect Christmas dinner. But “Noura” is in no way a “Christmas show.” There are plenty of those, some included below in my selection of openings in December, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website for more information.
Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green. Theater Festival: Orange. Christmas Show: Gold (A post later in the month will offer a fuller list of holiday shows)
Damon Chua’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Nightingale,” set in 18th-century China, employing traditional lion dance, puppetry, 18th century Chinese songs. The future Qianlong Emperor befriends a magical bird who helps him learn what he must do to be King.
The musical traces the career of pop star Cher, who is played by three performers at different ages of her life.
For just three performances, Austin Pendleton directs and adapts the story of Richard III, combining Shakespeare’s text from ‘Henry VI, Part 3’ and ‘Richard III.’
The annual adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s short story, with new and old songs.
The title is a play on the Ghanaian proverb, “the head and the load are the troubles of the neck.” William Kentridge’s collaborative combination musical piece, performance art and art installation is about the nearly two million African porters and carriers used by the British, French, and Germans who bore the brunt of the casualties during the First World War in Africa.
Print of Fringe Encores Festival: A woman struggles to find a balance between her own needs and being a full-time caregiver to her husband, a veteran severely mentally and physically injured in the Iraq war.
Part of the Next Wave Festival: An “in-your-face operatic retelling of the Oedipus tale,” set in 1980s London.
Directed by Ivo Van Hove, Bryan Cranston stars as Howard Beale the network anchor who’s mad as hell and can’t take it anymore, in the stage adaptation of the 1976 film.
The old South lives on at the MacGregor Plantation in this antebellum fever-dream written by Jeremy O. Harris and directed by Robert O’Hara.
Meet the hopeful, resilient residents of the Jungle – a sprawling refugee camp in Calais, France. Take a seat inside the bustling Afghan Café to experience how, with minimal resources in a cold, inhospitable environment, refugees and volunteers built a warm, self-governing society out of nothing
A play written by and starring Heather Raffo as Noura, who eight years ago, fled her home in Iraq along with her husband and family. Today, she plans the perfect Christmas dinner to celebrate their new life in New York. But the arrival of a visitor stirs up long-buried memories. Inspired by the Nora in Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House.”
A revival of a satire by Lynn Nottage: After her husband steals her fortune, successful African-American publicist Undine must move back into her childhood home in the Brooklyn projects
Amy Heckerling adapts her 1995 movie into a musical, directed by Kristin Hanggi(Rock of Ages), choreographed by Kelly Devine(Come from Away) and starring Dove Cameron (he star of the Disney Channel teen sitcom Liv and Maddie) as Cher Horowitz, a girl “so psychotically optimistic she can’t see that her bungling attempts at playing Cupid disguise her own fashion-plated isolation.”
Officially called Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show,Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken
reunite on Broadway 15 years after their run on the second season of “American Idol.”
“Nassim” marks the return of Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour (White Rabbit Red Rabbit) — and of Barrow Street Theater, now renamed Barrow Street Theatricals, since it lost its theater on Barrow Street after a stellar 15-year run. (Our Town, Tribes, Every Brilliant Thing, Sweeney Todd,etc.) Now at New York City Center, the theater presents a show that we’re told has played in 10 countries, but aren’t told what it’s about: “No rehearsals. A different guest actor at every performance. A sealed envelope. And some surprises.” We do now the guest actors will include Michael Shannon, Cush Jumbo and Michael Urie.
Part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival: The latest tech-heavy work by Andrew Schneider, “a high-tech bird’s-eye view of everyday life.”
Part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival: The Builder Association’s adaptation of Henry James’s gothic tale.
A comedy of an unlikely friendship between the feisty 9-year-old Rory and her septuagenarian neighbor Bernard (Richard Masur.)
A play written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Bartlett Sher, based on Harper Lee’s beloved novel about virtuous Southern lawyer Atticus Finch (portrayed by Jeff Daniels) at a time of racial bigotry
Christmas In Hell (York)
On Christmas Eve, little 8-year-old Davin is mistakenly taken down to Hell. When he returns, not only has he missed Christmas, but he is devilishly changed.
Through a series of participatory experiments guided by chaos scientist Dr. Genevieve Saoch (writer and performer Jessica Ellen Creane), audience members are invited to embrace their inner chaos agent as they embody facets of chaos theory
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