In this eclectic opening month of the New York Fall theater season laid out below, legendary theater artists Mac Wellman (74),JoAnne Akalaitis (82), and Peter Brook (94) each get showcases for their work; Wellman a whole festival. Three shows are opening on Broadway, including a Harold Pinter revival that marks the Broadway debut of Tom Hiddleston (best-known to movie fans as Loki), and a new play by Florian Zeller starring Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins. Off-Broadway, there’s a new play by “Harry Potter” playwright Jack Thorne as well as the latest installments in Mfoniso Udofia nine-play cycle about Nigerian-American immigrants, and a new musical by Filipino-born novelist Jessica Hagedorn. .
The shows described below — on mothers, wives, or infidelity; on AIDS, anxiety or immigration; or on no other subject than theater itself — are organized chronologically by opening night, except the festivals and those shows that don’t have official opening nights. Each title is linked to a relevant website for more information
Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple, blue or black. Off Off Broadway: Green.Theater festival: Orange.Puppetry: Brown. Immersive: Magenta.
Dream Up Festival (Theater for the New City)
The tenth annual Dream Up Festival continues, presenting 25 shows through September 15. One of its shows premiere today: Shirley Chisholm, Robert E. Lee & Me
Felix Starro (Ma-Yi at Theatre Row)
A musical with book and lyrics written by Filipino-born novelist Jessica Hagedorn (“Dogeaters”) about a Filipino faith healer peddling hope to sick people in San Francisco’s Tenderloin Distric
Tech Support (59E59)
In this time travel comedy by Debra Whitfield, Pam’s world is soon turned upside down when, instead of providing assistance with her printer, the tech support guy offers her choices for different centuries
Betrayal (Bernard Jacobs Theater)
The fourth Broadway production of Harold Pinter’s enigmatic play that tells the story of an extra-marital affair in reverse order. It stars Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton, and Charlie Cox, all of whom are making their Broadway debuts.
Dust (New York Theatre Workshop)
Milly Thomas’s solo play about a woman who is forced to watch the aftermath of her own suicide
Boogieban (13th Street Rep)
The lasting effect of war on two soldiers of different eras, who go on parallel journeys.
Performance For One (Untitled Theater Co #61)
Edward Einhorn’s Untitled Theater Company #61, celebrating its 25th anniversary, presents this one-on-one theater performance (one performer, one audience member) in 10 minute slots at various venues across Manhattan. (See schedule at link)
The Ringdove (Mettachee at St. John’s)
Puppet artist Ralph Lee’s Mettachee River Theatre Company presents this show at Cathedral of St. John’s the Divine drawn from THE PANCHATANTRA, a collection of allegorical tales whose origins reach back over 2,000 years, to ancient India. The central characters are a crow, a rat, a turtle and a gazelle, whose adventures, behavior and relationships reflect many aspects of human nature.
Bad News: I Was There (Skirball Center)
JoAnne Akalaitis creates a site-specific processional performance exploring the monumental impact of the messenger character from classic drama.
Sincerity, Forever and Bad Penny (The Flea)
Two of the five plays from The Flea’s “Mac Wellman: Perfect Catastrophes “festival.” In Bad Penny, “ “a man and a woman sit in a park. They appear to be a couple, but aren’t. The man is clutching a car tire. The woman has picked up a penny and put it in her pocket.” It gets crazier from there. “Sincerity, Forever” is a comedy about a group of young residents from the fictional southern town with a prominent community of KKK members. Part of ”
American Moor (Red Bull at Cherry Lane)
In this two-character play written and performed by Keith Hamilton Cobb, an African-American actor in an audition room responds to the demands of a white director presuming to have a better understanding of Shakespeare’s iconic black character, Othello.
Lois Robbins’ solo show explores what goes on behind closed doors and between the sheets.
Play! and Theatre in the Dark: Carpe Diem (TINATC at Theater Lab)
The theater company that calls itself This Is Not A Theatre Company presents two plays in repertory — “Play!” an interactive homage to the importance of radical play for a healthy society, and “Theatre in the Dark: Carpe Diem,” which takes place in the dark: Hear, smell, taste, and touch your way through this nourishing ode to joy
En El Ojo De La Aguja (The Tank)
The Spanish-language version (with English supertitles) of In The Eye of the Needle, a personal, social, and political exploration of conflict resolution (or the lack of it).
As Much As I Can (Joe’s Pub)
hundreds of gay and bisexual men from Jackson, MS, and Baltimore, MD contributed their stories to this piece about the AIDS epidemic now, which has a five-day run.
Certain Woman of An Age (Minetta Lane)
A one-woman show by Margaret Trudeau, Former First Lady of Canada, mother of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and international mental health advocate. It’s only for three days but it will be recorded by Audible.
The Talmud (Target Margin Theater)
Drawing from a century of kung fu films and a single chapter of The Talmud–a 5th century text of Rabbinic Judaism — the show explores “sacred wisdom and how ancient traditions survive the dangerous journey across generations.”
Darren Brown: Secret (Cort)
British mentalist and illusionist Derren Brown brings his mind reading, persuasion, and psychological illusion to Broadway for the first time.
Wives (Playwrights Horizons)
From the brawny castles of 16th Century France, to the rugged plains of 1960s Idaho, to the strapping fortresses of 1920s India, all hail the remarkable stories of Great Men! — and their whiny, witchy, vapid, vengeful, jealous wives. Playwright Playwright Jaclyn Backhaus untethers history, and language itself, from the visions made by men.
All The Rage (The Barrow Group)
A revival of Michael Moran’s solo show about a crime he experienced as a child that made him set out on a quest around the globe to answer the question:How is it that one moment we might reach out in compassion and the next…kill?
Who Killed Edgar Alan Poe? ( RPM Underground.)
Subtitled “The Cooping Theory 1969,” the immersive show has the audience join a new generation of the Poe Society at a cocktail party to commemorate the anniversary of the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe. Then a cc seance goes awry.
Fern Hill (59E59)
Three couples in their golden years who are close friends gather at Sunny and Jer’s farmhouse to celebrate milestone birthdays that span three decades. Their companionship is put to the test, however, when a marital betrayal is discovered.
Novenas for A Lost Hospital (Rattlestick)
A communal experience to remember, honor, re-imagine, and celebrate St Vincent’s Hospital. a medical facility founded in Greenwich Village in 1849 and shut down in 2010.
18 Stanzas Sung to a Tatar Reed Whistle (FiveMyles)
The dramatization through puppetry of a Chinese epic poem written by the woman poet Ts’ai Yen 2,000 years ago. It tells the story of a young Han woman who returns home 12 years after being abducted by the victorious Tatars. The show is free, but reservations are required.
This piece written by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne features actors Hayley Carmichael, Kathryn Hunter, and Marcello Magni, and pianist
Laurie Blundell in a combination performance, lecture and bioplay about experimental Russian director Vsevolod Meyerhold, who was executed in 1940. The play asks: “Why theater? What is it for? What is it about?”
Kingfishers Catch Fire (Irish Rep)
In this play by Robin Glendinning, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty pays a visit in 1948 to the man who was his adversary during World War II, the infamous Nazi Herbert Kappler, in the Italian prison where Kappler is serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity.
In this play written by Jack Thorne (“Harry Potter…”), friends gather for a book group, anxious to prove their intellectual worth, but that anxiety gets the better of any actual discussion as emotional truths come pouring out
Runboyrun and In Old Age (NYTW)
Two new plays from Mfoniso Udofia’s nine part The Ufot Cycle,” which follows a Nigerian family who immigrated to the US.
The Height of The Storm (MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman)
Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins star in a play by Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother) about a couple who for 50 years have been filled with the everyday pleasures and unfathomable mysteries of an enduring marriage, until suddenly their life together begins to unravel,
Caesar and Cleopatra (Gingold at Theatre Row)
A rare revival of George Bernard Shaw’s comedy about these two historic figures who did indeed meet. “An early draft of the Eliza/Higgins relationship in Shaw’s Pygmalion.”
Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (WP Theater)
In this play by Alexis Scheer that’s a co-production of WP Theatre and Second Stage, a gang of teenage girls gathers in an abandoned treehouse to summon the ghost of Pablo Escobar.
Mothers (Playwrights Realm at the Duke)
In this play by Anna Moench, the moms at Mommy-Baby Meetup are used to competing — whoever’s the most devoted to her family, has the best-behaved child, and the most satisfied husband wins. But as the chaos of the outside world encroaches on their turf, passive-aggression falls by the wayside, and each mom will have to decide just how much she loves her child.
The Green Room (Sargent Theater)
A backstage musical illustrating the journey of four best friends in college determined to make it out of the Green Room and on to the Off-Broadway Stage.
Basic Principles of Incantation (Sinking Ship @ Greenwich House Music School)
A performance-based interactive theater game about linguistics and magic. Players take on the role of students of the Esoteric Arts at their first lesson conducted by Professor A. Sibly.