Below is a selection of New York theater opening in December, organized chronologically by opening date, including the one Broadway musical, “Jagged Little Pill,” with songs by Alanis Morissette and the one Broadway holiday concert, Cole Porter sung by Harry Connick Jr. Off-Broadway, there are new plays by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Lucas Hnath, Samuel D. Hunter, one Donja R. Love, and the team that created “Once” comes back with another Irish musical based on a movie. La MaMa is building an entire festival around the revisiting of its 1974 production of an Ancient Greek tragedy, Folksbiene is bringing back an 1878 Yiddish musical fairy tale, and Park Avenue Armory is pulling out the stops for a 1937 German-language drama adapted by Christopher Shinn.
December is of course the month for holiday shows, and lots of puppets! — including by such masters as Basil Twist, and Bread & Puppet’s Peter Schumann.
Each title below is linked to a relevant website. (A reminder that the opening date is often not the same as the first performance for the public; most shows have a preview period, before an official opening.)
Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple, blue or black.Off Off Broadway: Green.Theater festival: Orange.Puppetry: Brown. Immersive: Magenta.Christmas Show: Gold
Check out the whole 2019-2020 Broadway season and the Fall 2019 Off Broadway offerings.
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A Christmas Carol The Musical (Players Theater)
The 11th annual holiday staging of Dickens’ tale, one of a half dozen such projections this year, including one already opened on Broadway. (Look for a separate post on all the holiday shows.)
Flying Lessons (The Pit)
On a dark night, as a storm brews on the horizon, three women take refuge in an abandoned house. Their presence awakens a strange and shadowy world of memory and desire where fantasies are possible…if only for a night
La Cucarachita Martina (Teatro Sea)
in rock-n-roll musical based on a popular Cuban and Puerto Rican children’s tale of a little roach who learns many lessons on her journey to find true love.
Winter Puppet Parlor (HERE)
HERE’s annual celebration of puppets, in time for the wonders of winter, featuring musical guest Yoko Reikano Kimura. With performances by Basil Twist, Admiral Grey, Glenn Marla (with Hana Malia and Jezebel Express), Julie Atlas Muz, and Peekaboo Pointe
Cosmos Within Us (New York Live Arts)
The piece explores the intricate connection between memory and the senses, drawing us inside the mind of Aiken, a 60-year-old man who suffers from Alzheimer’s, a
Barber Shop Chronicles (BAM)
Nigerian-British playwright Inua Ellams presents black barbershops in six cities, with stories set to an Afrobeat score.
Harry Townsend’s Last Stand (NY City Center)
Len Cariou and Tony Craig Bierko star in this comedy about a father and son
MsTrial (New World Stages)
A renowned trial lawyer and his young associate celebrate a legal victory in a drunken party that causes everyone “o question what they know about desire, consent, winning, and losing.
Keep (St. Ann’s Warehouse)
Daniel Kitson returns to St. Ann’s Warehouse with his latest solo piece ,about how much past the present can reasonably contain.
Amahl and the Night Visitors
This opera is being performed at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen on Ninth Avenue
Jagged Little Pill (Broadhurst)
An original story by Diablo Cody (Juno) that incorporates the songs from Alanis Morissette’s 1995 album of the same name. A suburban family and the community in which they live have more problems than are apparent on the surface, including addiction and rape culture.
Anything Can Happen in the Theater (York)
Gerard Alessandrini (creator of Forbidden Broadway) showcases the songs of Maury Yeston.
The Honey Lets Go Home Opera (Theatre for the New City)
A raucous fantasy on the perils and promises of 2-dimensionality in contemporary life,
presented by the legendary Bread & Puppet theater company.
The Trojan Women (La MaMa)
A recreation of Andrei Serban and Elizabeth Swados’s take on the Euripides tragedy, featuring a cast which includes members of the original 1974 cast, along with artists from Guatemala, Cambodia and Kosovo. Part of the Trojan Women Project Festival
The Sorceress (folksbienne at Jewish Heritage)
Written in 1878, The Sorceress (Di Kishefmakherin) is one of the earliest works by Avrom Goldfaden, the acknowledged father of modern Yiddish theatre. It was brought to America in 1882 by a 14-year old Boris Thomashefsky, who would go on to become one of Yiddish theatre’s biggest stars.
Halfway Bitches Go Straight To Heaven (Atlantic)
Stephen Adly Guirgis (“Between Riverside and Crazy“) explores the harrowing, humorous, and heartbreaking inner workings of a women’s halfway house in New York City, helmed by John Ortiz (LAByrinth Artistic Director) in his off-Broadway directing debut.
Greater Clements (Lincoln Center)
Samuel D. Hunter’s new play takes place in the fictional town of Greater Clements, Idaho, a mining community where properties are being purchased by wealthy out-of-state people, forcing out lifelong residents. Judith Ivey portray Maggie, ready to shut down her family-run Mine Tour and Museum, when an old friend pays a visit. Although I’ve never been to Idaho, I’ve liked every Hunter play I’ve ever seen, from Whale to Lewiston/Clarkston.
Judgment Day (Park Ave Armory)
Christopher Shinn adapts Ödön von Horváth’s
1937 play that is part moral fable, part sociopolitical comedy, and part noirish thriller. A cast of 16 is led by Luke Kirby (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Slings and Arrows) who portrays a stationmaster momentarily distracted, resulting in a tragic train crash.
One in Two (The New Group at Signature)
Donja R. Love, inspired by his 10th anniversary of being HIV positive, offers an unflinching portrait of being Black and queer today
The Thin Place (Playwrights Horizons)
In this new play by Lucas Hnath (A Doll’s House Part 2), a friendship develops between two women—one who’s recently experienced a strange loss, and another who communicates with the dead.
Harry Connick Jr. A Celebration of Cole Porter (Nederlander)
London Assurance (Irish Rep)
A parade of eccentric characters and merry mishaps ensue in Dion Boucicault’s 1841 comedy of manners.
Sing Street (NYTW)
The “Once” team has turned another movie into a musical. With a book by Enda Walsh, “Sing Street” takes us to Dublin in 1985 where 16-year-old Conor and his schoolmates, turn to music to escape troubles at home and impress a mysterious girl. Rebecca Taichman (Indecent) directs.
Gaz (La MaMa)
Workers prepare their powerful commodity, a futuristic gas that has become the only source of energy for the entire industrial world.
Up Close (New Ohio)
Guided by Jane Jacobs’ rules for a healthy community in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, 30 artists offer family-friendly immersive theater experiences.
I loved this last year