Broadway is busy with the Tony Awards on June 9th, but June is bustin’ out all over with new shows on other New York stages. A good number of the openings mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement.
Several acclaimed plays are getting encore productions in other theaters, including the Pulitzer-winning “Fairview.” Two different one-woman shows adapting the character Molly Bloom from James Joyce’s Ulysses for the stage. The Shed is offering a new Kung Fu musical, and the Atlantic a musical adapted from The Secret Life of Bees.
Below is a list of openings in June, 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. Immersive: Magenta. Shows marking Stonewall and those on gay themes will include the Stonewall 50 logo:
Many of the gay plays take place in non-traditional venues, and are of limited runs, often just a single performance. They and the theater festival offerings often don’t have official opening nights, so I list them by first public performance.
Underground Railroad Game (Ars Nova at Greenwich House)
An encore presentation of the award-winning play inspired by an actual game that co-creator Scott Sheppard was forced to play in fifth grade, when his school re-enacted a bizarre version of the Civil War.
Zen A.M. (Theatre for the New City)
After years of struggling, Bruno finally books a once in a lifetime project, only to develop major misgivings about participating and completing his painting
Five courses. Five personal stories from a diverse and intergenerational team of LGBTQ+ chefs. A month long pop-up theatrical dining experience
Dying City (Second Stage)
Revival of Christopher Shinn’s 2007 play, set in a spare Manhattan apartment, where a young widow receives an unexpected visit from the twin brother of her deceased husband. The play explores the human fallout of global events
Nomad Motel (Atlantic)
A play by Carla Ching, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, about kids raising themselves and making something out of nothing in the land of plenty.
Everything that happened and would happen (Park Ave Armory)
Artist and composer Heiner Goebbels reenacts 100 years of history to show a world in strife through performance, sound, movement, and moving image
Ant Fest (Ars Nova)
The 12th annual month-long festival begins with A People’s History of Silicon Valley, described as “a synth-pop send-up of techno-utopianism and startup bros.”
Long Lost (MTC at City Center)
A play by Donald Margulies (Dinner with Friends) directed by Daniel Sullivan. “When troubled Billy appears out-of-the-blue in his estranged brother David’s Wall Street office, he soon tries to re-insert himself into the comfortable life David has built with his philanthropist wife and college-age son. What does Billy really want?”
Little Women (Primary at Cherry Lane)
Kate Hamill’s take on Louise May Alcott’s novel
“The Bear.Mozart, Salieri and The Bear (West End Theater)
A double bill of short Russian plays: Pushkin’s little tragedy “Mozart and Salieri” challenges the question of who murdered Mozart. It is partnered with Chekhov’s vaudeville,ieri-the-bear”>
Global Gay (La Mama)
Dramatizes the plight of queer people around the world
Part of LaMama’s Stonewall 50 celebration
You Never Touched The Dirt (Clubbed Thumb @ Wild Project)
A play about economic transformation, the dreams it enables, and those it crushes. “The Lis, the Zhaos, the ghosts and the animals engage in a land feud.”
Public Servant (TBTB at Theatre Row)
Theater Breaking Through Barriers kicks off its 40th Anniversary season with this world premiere drama by Bekah Brunstetter (“This Is Us”) about a county commissioner and a woman who needs his help.
Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare in the Park)
Kenny Leon directs an all-black staging of Shakespeare’s comedy of romantic retribution and miscommunication
The Iron Lady. The Queen. Born six months apart, each woman had a destiny that would change the world. But when the stiff upper lip softened and the gloves came off, which one had the upper hand?
The Secret Life of Bees (Atlantic)
A musical adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s beloved novel, with music by Duncan Sheik and book by Lynn Nottage, about two runaways in 1960s South Carolina, taken in by beekeeping sisters.
Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom (Irish Rep)
Aedín Moloney performs as Molly Bloom in a stage adaptation of the Penelope chapter of Ulysses written by James Joyce
Molly Bloom (Fusion at Theater 244)
Irish actress Eilin O’Dea performs her one woman show as Molly Bloom from the Penelope chapter of James Joyce’s “Ulysses”
Using an ensemble of 40 actors, the play tells the true story of the 1944 Democratic National Convention; when the people’s favorite, progressive incumbent Vice President Henry Wallace, was denied nomination as FDR’s running mate in favor of the moderate Senator Harry Truman.
13 Fruitcakes (La MaMa)
13 staged musical vignettes about 13 significant LGBTQ figures (e.g. Leonardo daVinci) along with a song cycle based on poems by queer poets such as Wilde, Whitman and Lorca
Part of Stonewall 50 at La MaMa
Alex and Bruno’s differences seem insurmountable but they fall in love
Veil Widow Conspiracy (Next door at NYTW)
This play by Gordon Dahlquist offers nested versions of a story that begins as a political murder mystery in 1922 China; then 2010 Hollywood; winding up in dystopian Brooklyn of the future.
Fairview (Theatre for a New Audience)
An encore presentation of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Pulitzer prize-winning play about race and identity
Life Sucks (Wheelhouse at Theatre Row)
Aaron Posner’s acclaimed reimagining of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” is re-opening Off-Broadway
A Strange Loop (Playwrights Horizons)
Michael R. Jackson’s musical about a black, gay writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical: a piece about a black, gay writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical
Ode to Juneteenth (National Black Theatre)
Emancipation Jones tells us the true story of “Juneteenth”, the day two an a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation when Union Soldiers finally rode into Texas to announce the end of slavery.
Mel Brooks (Lunt Fontanne)
The first of two performances as part of the so-called In Residence on Broadway series.
Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson (A.R.T. NY)
A play written by Rob Ackerman and directed by Theresa Rebeck based on a true story about the making of a TV commercial in which a film director puts a movie star’s life in the hands of a very jittery props guy.
Leap and the Net Will Appear (New Georges at Flea)
What happens when Margie (raised to be a good girl; wants to be a lion) leaves home: twenty years whiz by like a moving train
Imminently Yours (Negro Ensemble Company at Theatre 80)
Descendants of American slaves resist expropriation of their inherited properties.
Out of Line: No Agenda Genda (High Line)
Antonio Ramos presents a sci-fi piece of interactive dance theater dedicated to the legacy and memory of queer icons and movement-maker
The festival begins with The Shoebox, in which four high school best friends write letters to their future selves — and then open them ten years later.
Toni Stone (Roundabout’s Laura Pels)
A play by Lydia Diamond directed by Pam McKinnon, based on a true story about the first woman to go pro in the Negro Leagues,
Pride Plays (Rattlestick)
More than a dozen play readings from celebrated LBTQIA voices, including Paula Vogel, Terrence McNally and the Five Lesbian Brothers, will be presented from June 20th through 24th
Contradict This! (LaMama)
The Bearded Ladies Cabaret presents a spectacle that is part trial, part birthday, part funeral, featuring original music performed by a host of misfits, drag artists, queers, and a local choir.
Part of Stonewall 50 at La MaMa
Stonewall (NYC Opera)
A new American opera by Iain Bell and Mark Campbell “that captures the rage, grit, humor and, finally, hope of the LGBTQ community’s uprising in a Greenwich Village dance club on one hot night in June 1969. The work is divided into three parts and follows a diverse group of characters whose lives collide at that pivotal moment in history when the police push them too far and they find the courage to fight back.”
King Phillip’s Head is Still on That Pike Just Down the Road (Clubbed Thumb @ The Wild Project)
The councilmen of Plymouth Colony determine how to be Good in the New World.
The Stonewall 50 Plays (Queens Museum)
The One-Minute Play Festival has organized 50 new Queer One-Minute Plays, which will be presented from 2 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Quilt (Judson Memorial Church)
A musical celebration of those who died of AIDS and those who survived.
Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise (The Shed)
The story of a secret sect in Flushing, Queens, that possesses the magical power to extend human life, and the twin brother and sister caught in the struggle to control it. Directed by Chen Shi-Zheng and written by the creators of the Kung Fu Panda movies, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger.
Working (Encores Off Center)
This concert version of Nina Faso and Stephen Schwartz’s 1978 musical based on Stud Terkels est-selling book feaures a cast that includes, Helen Hunt, Christopher Jackson, Javier Muñoz and Andréa Burns
Outside of Eden (New Ohio)
The Ice Factory Festival begins with this mix of opera and theater about the Byzantine Empresses.
In The Green (Lincoln Center’s LCT3)
Grace McLean’s new musical tells the origin story of one of Medieval history’s most powerful and creative women: Hildegard von Bingen. Before she became a healer, a composer, an exorcist, and finally a saint, she was a little girl locked in a cell with her mentor, Jutta.
We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time (Public Theater)
Writer/performer David Cale’s memories of growing up, escaping his parents’ fraught marriage by singing in his bedroom, and tending to birds in his backyard animal hospital. Until one day things change.