Below is a calendar of theater opening* in April 2023 in New York, including ten shows on Broadway featuring (sometimes radically) reworked versions of a Golden Age musical, a 1970s romantic movie, a Shakespearean tragedy, a beloved children’s story and an old red state TV show, as well as four wholly original new plays.
Beyond Broadway, there is Pulitzer winner Michael R. Jackson’s next musical, acclaimed novelist Zadie Smith’s first-ever play, and yet another new work by Suzan-Lori Parks at the Public (or rather a resumption of its run, cut short last year.) Terrence Blanchard’s opera about bisexual champion boxer Emile Griffith makes it to the Met, There are also three (unrevised) revivals of Broadway shows, including a stage adaptation of the movie “Some Like It Hot” that debuted fifty years before the current one.
This calendar is organized chronologically by opening date*, but we must consider the dates subject to change, because COVID-19 is ongoing and unpredictable.
Each title below is linked to a relevant website.
Key: Broadway: Red 🟥. Off Broadway: Blue 🟦. Off Off Broadway: Green 🟩.
Digital or Hybrid Theater: Yellow 🟨 Theater festival: Orange 🟧. Immersive and/or site-specific: Silver ⬜️ .
Puppetry: Brown 🟫 Opera: Purple🟪. Concert 🎶 Staged Reading 📖 Out of town 🚍
🟥Shucked (Nederlander Theatre)
Book by Robert Horn, score by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally
Directed by Jack O’Brien
Cast: John Behlmann, Kevin Cahoon,, Andrew Durand, Caroline Innerbichler, Ashley D. Kelley, Alex Newell
A worrisome alliance between a hick and a huckster featuring a naïve farmgirl, and a citified con man in this musical that is a collaboration between two Nashville songwriters and the Tony-winning book writer of “Tootsie”
First preview was March 8
🟦The Wife of Willesden (BAM)
Novelist Zadie Smith’s first play adapts an excerpt from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to give us Alvita, a local legend, married five times, a mother, a lover, an aunt, and a friend, a Jamaican-born British woman in her mid-50s holding court at a Northwest London pub.
In this new play by Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, especially relevant given the current advances in Artificial Intelligence, Elaine buys a “Jenny,” a smart device for her cantankerous, ailing mother, Ruth, who quickly feels like another member of the family. But what if Jenny isn’t the only one listening?
March 30-April 23
🟦White Girl in Danger (Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater)
Michael R. Jackson’s next musical after the Tony and Pulitzer-winning “A Strange Loop” tells the tale of Keesha, who is motivated to step out of the Blackground and into the center of the soap opera town Allwhite’s juiciest stories.
March 15 – May 21
🟪 Champion (Metropolitan Opera)
Composer Terrence Blanchard and librettist Michael Cristofer retell the story of boxer Emile Griffith. Ryan Speedo Green stars as the closeted young hatmaker-turned-prizefighter, who rises from obscurity to become world champion and, in one of the great tragedies in sports history, kills his homophobic archrival in the ring
April 10-May 15
🟩Walking with Bubbles (AMT Theater)
A single mother attempts to rebuild a home amidst the devastated terrain of an ex-husband, the father of her child, who has an untreated illness. An autobiographical play that’s been turned into a musical. (My review of the original play)
March 31-June 18 Fridays to Sundays
🟨The Tempest (Play On Podcasts)
Episode 1 of Kenneth Cavender’s modern English adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, with Jay O. Sanders as Prospero.
🟦Regretfully, So the Birds Are (Playwrights Horizons)
In Julia Izumi’s “farcical tragedy,” three adopted Asian American siblings search for pieces of their fractured identitie, as the stage becomes an airport in Guangzhou, China, Nebraska, the sky, a prison, a front yard where a snowman lists grim historical facts.
🟥Fat Ham (American Airlines Theater)
Written by James Ijames
Directed by Saheem Ali
In this Pulitzer Prize winning drama that riffs on “Hamlet,”, Juicy is a queer, Southern college kid, already grappling with some serious questions of identity, when the ghost of his father shows up in their backyard, demanding that Juicy avenge his murder. But here’s the rub! Revenge doesn’t come easy to Juicy, a sensitive and self-aware young Black man in search of his own happiness and liberation. My review of Fat Ham when it was Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, with the same cast as the one now on Broadway.
First Preview was March 21, Closing: June 25
🟫 Inflammatory Earthling Rants (with help from Kropotkin). (Bread and Puppet at Judson Memorial Church)
The Vermont-based theater company celebrates its 60th anniversary with this new mask and puppet political play
On national tour; only one performance in NYC, at 7:30 p.m.
🟥 Camelot (Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont)
Original book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, with additional book by Aaron Sorkin, music by Frederick Loewe.
Directed by Barlett Sher
Cast: Andrew Burnap as Arthur, Phillipa Soo as Guenevere, and Jordan Donica as Lancelot Du Lac
The musical closely associated with the Kennedy Administration is reimagined by the team that brought “To Kill A Mockingbird” to Broadway (Sher and Sorkin.)
First Preview was March 9, 2023
🟩Woman of the Year (J2 at Theatre Row)
A revival of the Kander and Ebb 1981 musical adaptation (starring Lauren Bacall and Harry Guardino) of the 1942 movie (starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) about the battle of the sexes between a famous TV reporter and America’s most famous cartoonist
🟩⬜️Cellino v. Barnes (Chashama New York)
A comedy lampooning the true story of the escalating feud between personal injury attorneys Ross Cellino and Steve Barnes , infamous in New York for their “888” advertising jingle. A site-specific show performed in a vacant office on 23rd Sreet.
April 14-May 7
🟦 Plays for the Plague Years (Public Theater)
On March 13, 2020, as theaters shut their doors and so many of us went into lockdown, Suzan-Lori Parks set out to write a play every day. This is the result, directed by Niegel Smith (artistic director of The Flea.) This was originally scheduled to run last November, but ironically shut down before it opened by COVID-19 in the production.
April 5 – 30
🟩All Because of Infidelity (The American Theater of Actors)
Four couples at different stages of life and types of infidelity
🟥Peter Pan Goes Wrong (Barrymore Theater)
Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields Music by Richard Baker and Rob Falconer; Based on “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie
Directed by Adam Meggido
The team behind The Play That Goes Wrong gives the same treatment to the J.M. Barrie classic Peter Pan: The much-loved members of The Cornley Drama Society once again battle against technical hitches, flying mishaps and cast disputes on their way to Neverland
March 17-July 9, 2023
🟩The Brutes (Players Club)
Backstage of an historic performance of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar featuring the renowned Booth family – brothers Edwin, Junius, and John Wilkes Booth
two nights only
🟥The Thanksgiving Play (Second Stage’s Hayes Theater)
Written by Larissa FastHorse
Directed by Rachel Chavkin
Cast: D’Arcy Carden, Katie Finneran, Scott Foley, Chris Sullivan
A troupe of really well-meaning theater artists dream of creating something revolutionary: a culturally sensitive, totally inoffensive Thanksgiving school pageant that finally gives a voice to Native Americans. (My review of the Off-Broadway production.)
March 25 – June 4, 2023
🟦Quarter Rican (Pregones/PRTT)
A hip-hop comedy by Gabriel Diego Hernandez about the ins and outs of new parenting, mixed heritage, and what makes or breaks your child’s Latinx identity, Danny visits the local kids’ playground engaging with another parent, with musical asides by Danny’s alter egos, MC Plátano, and DJ Quenepa. Performed in English and Spanish with titles.
April 20 – May 7
🟩Robin & Me: My Little Spark of Madness (Abingdon at Theater Row)
In this autobiographical play written and performed by Dave Drexler, Dave’s got a lot on his mind and the only person who can help him unpack it all is his imaginary friend and real life idol: Robin Williams.
April 15-May 14
🟩Broken Theater (La MaMa)
In this dance-theater piece by Bobbi Jene Smith, eleven artists meet in a ghost theater where they grapple with love, humiliation, and loss at the cost of each other.
🟦🟫Wink (New Victory Theater)
Inspired by Eugene Field’s 1889 poem “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” and geared for children ages four to seven, this 45-minute play with shadow puppetry brings you the adventures of a small girl and her teddy.
🟥Prima Facie (John Golden Theater)
Written by Susie Miller
Directed by Justin Martin
Jodie Comer (the star of “Killing Eve”) makes her Broadway debut in a one-woman play about a lawyer who specializes in defending men accused of sexual assault, until she is assaulted herself.
April 11 – June 18
🟥Good Night, Oscar (Belasco Theater)
Written by Doug Wright
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Cast: Sean Hayes as Oscar Levant, Ben Rappaport as Jack Paar, Emily Bergl, Peter Grosz, and John Zdrojeski .
It’s 1958 and “The Tonight Show.” host Jack Pear booked his favorAite guest, Hollywood actor and concert pianist Oscar Levant, who once famously proclaimed, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity, and I have erased that line.” In 90 short minutes, Oscar will have audiences howling, censors scrambling
First preview: April 7, 2023
🟥Summer, 1976 (MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman)
Written by David Auburn
Directed by Daniel Sullivan
Cast: Laura Linney, Jessica Hecht
As the Bicentennial is celebrated across the country, two young women in Ohio navigate motherhood, ambition, and intimacy, and help each other discover their own independence.
April 4 – May 28, 2023
🟥New York, New York (St James Theater)
Songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb, additional lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, book written by David Thompson and Sharon Washington
Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman
Loosely based on Martin Scorsese’s 1977 movie of the same name, but with a rewritten storyline: The characters portrayed by Liza Minelli and Robert DeNiro are not included; the show stars Colton Ryan and Anna Uzele as new characters. But it’s the same setting in 1946, and (crucially) the Kander and Ebb songs from the film, plus new ones by Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The focus is on New York in recovery
First preview was March 24
🟥The Sign in Sydney Brustein’s Window (James Earl Jones Theater)
A last-minute addition to the Broadway season, this second Broadway production by Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun) is returning to Broadway in a revival starring Oscar Isaac and Rachel Brosnahan that debuted at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in February. (My review)
April 25 – July 2
🟦The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Red Bull at Lucille Lortel Theater)
In this Elizabethan comedy by Francis Beaumont, a co-production with Fiasco Theater, a grocer and his wife interrupt a play about the elopement of star-crossed lovers, and insist the troupe of players put on a play about a different kind of hero.
April 17-May 13
🟩Sugar (J2 at Theatre Row)
A revival of the original 1972 Broadway musical adaptation of the movie “Some Like It Hot” (yes there was another one!), this one with music by Jule Styne and three-time Tony winning librettist Peter Stone.
April 27-May 7
🟩God of Carnage (TBTB at Theatre Row)
A revival of Yasmina Reza’s 2009 Tony-winning comedy about the breakdown in civilization when two couples meet for the first time to discuss the recent schoolyard incident between their sons
April 18 – May 20
🟩Hong Kong Mississippi (La MaMa)
In this play written and performed by Wesley Du, he portrays twelve characters in this story story of a young Chinese boy with an overbearing mother and an abusive father finds solace and understanding in the African American community.
April 27-May 14
Opening night is usually not the same as the first performance on Broadway and frequently Off-Broadway as well. There is usually a preview period, of anywhere from a few days to a few weeks (sometimes a few months), where the creative team tries out the show before an audience. (Ticket prices are the same during this try-out period in New York, although in other theater cities ticket prices are often cheaper before opening night.) Opening night is when 1. the producers throw a party for cast, crew and investors. 2. the show is “frozen” (no more changes), and 3. the reviews are published/posted/broadcast. Professional reviews are forbidden, indeed, from being published before then in what’s called an embargo. But theater festival offerings and Off-Off Broadway shows often have no preview period or official opening night; they just start. It can be hard to find the date of the opening night; productions rarely state it clearly on their websites. But for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, I organize this calendar by opening night (when it exists and when I can find it) rather than first performance, as a way to support the continuing relevance of theater reviewing. Check out my essay: Broadway Opening Night. What It Means. How It’s Changed. 7 Facts to Clear Up The Confusion and Crystallize the Outrage.
What Is Broadway 🟥, Off Broadway 🟦 and Off-Off Broadway🟩?
Off-Broadway theaters, by definition, have anywhere from 100 to 499 seats. If a theater has more seats than that, it’s a Broadway house. If it has fewer, it’s Off-Off Broadway. (There is a more sophisticated definition, having to do with contracts, and more elaborate distinctions, having to do with ticket prices, number and location of theaters, length of runs, willingness to take artistic risks, etc.)
(Several performing arts venues in New York City, such as The Shed, Little Island, Park Avenue Armory and NYU Skirball, technically exist outside these classifications; I list them as Off-Broadway, even though they have more than 500 seats.)