May 2019 New York Theater Openings

May is not just the month that theatergoers debate nominations and await awards. Shows do open. That includes just one play on Broadway — the first of the 2019-2020 Broadway season, starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon. Off-Broadway, Susan Sarandon and Marin Ireland start in a new play by Jesse Eisenberg

Below is a selective list of Broadway, Off-Broadway, and other New York theater offerings opening in March, 2019, organized chronologically by opening date, with each title linked to a relevant website.
Color key of theaters: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black, Blue, or Purple. Off Off Broadway: Green. Theater festival: Orange. Puppetry: Brown. Immersive: Magenta.

To look at the Spring season as a whole, check out my Off Broadway Spring 2019 preview guide and my Broadway 2018-2019 season guide

May 1

The Brothers Paranormal (Pan Asian Rep)

In this play by Prince Gomolvilas, two Thai brothers who launch a business to investigate paranormal activities. When they investigate the home of an African-American couple, who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina, their notions of reality, fantasy, and sanity clash against the shocking truth

May 2

Lockdown (Rattlestick)

A look at the effect of longtime incarceration, inspired by playwright Cori Thomas’s time with people serving life sentences at San Quentin Prison

Playing Hot (Pipeline)

A play/brass band concert that conjures up old New Orleans.

May 9


In a play directed by Robert O’Hara that marks the playwriting debut of poet Aziza Barnes, three New York women in their 20s “hunt for intimacy and purpose in a city that doesn’t seem to care.”

May 13

Curse of the Starving Class (Signature)

A revival of Sam Shepard’s play about the Tate family, who live a stagnant, unhappy existence in rural California. Directed by Terry Kinney

May 14

Proof of Love (Minetta Lane)

Written by Chisa Hutchinson and directed by Jade King Carroll, the play stars Brenda Pressey as Constance, who thought she had a happy life and a loving husband. Suddenly, a tragic accident splinters her upper-class black family—and forces Constance to face uncomfortable truths about her marriage and herself.

May 15

The Pink Unicorn (The Episcopal Actors Guild Hall)

Alice Ripley(Next to Normal, etc.) stars in this solo play by Elise Forier Edie  about a Christian widow ln a conservative Texas town whose 14-year-old daughter announces she is “gender queer” and starting a chapter of the Gay and Straight Alliance at her high school.

May 16

Enter Laughing: The Musical (York)

Based on Carl Reiner’s semi-autobiographical novel and Joseph Stein’s stage adaptation, this  musical comedy careens through the misadventures of star-struck, stage-struck, woman-struck teenager David Kolowit

Happy Talk (New Group at Signature)

Susan Sarandon and Marin Ireland star in Jesse Eisenberg’s new comedy about a saint of the suburbs who takes on the role of matchmaker for her mother’s home aide, Serbian immigrant Ljuba.

May 19

Octet (Signature)

A new musical by Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre) written for an a cappella chamber choir, inspired by  “Internet comment boards, scientific debates, religious texts, and Sufi poetry, Octet explores addiction and nihilism within the messy context of 21st century technology.

The Best We Could, A Family Tragedy (MTC)

A daughter’s road trip with her father becomes a theatrical journey across more than just state lines

Macbeth (Red Bull)

Shakespeare’s tragedy adapted and directed by Erica Schmidt.

May 21

Lunch Bunch (Clubbed Thumb)

Seven public defenders on a quest for crumbs of joy.

Continuity (MTC)

The description doesn’t tell us very much — A sheet of ice sits in the desert of New Mexico. A mad eco-terrorist plants a bomb in order to save humankind. A beleaguered film crew tries to get in one last shot before losing the light….storytelling and science collideit is written by Beth Wohl (playwright of the odd but satisfying Small Mouth Sounds) and directed by Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown; Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812).


May 30

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune (Broadhurst)

Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon star as a lonely waitress and a short order cook whose first date turns into a one-night stand – and maybe more — in the Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s 1987 play, directed by Arin Arbus

Something Clean (Roundabout)

Playwright Selina Fillinger’s new drama explores the aftermath of a sex crime —the guilt, the grief, and the ways we grapple with the unthinkable.

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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