Below is a selection of New York theater opening* in June, presented in a day-by-day calendar and featuring two Broadway shows (one a comic solo play about antisemitism, the other a Britney Spear jukebox musical), at least nine theater festivals (including the very last Ice Factory Festival) and a range of queer-oriented works marking LGBTQ Pride Month. It’s the summer season so some shows (especially in the festivals) are free.
There are Off-Broadway musicals about early rock n roll and about 70’s punk music,loose adaptations of plays by Shakespeare, Arthur Schnitzler and Thornton Wilder, two Off-Broadway shows about alcoholics, two Off-Off Broadway solo plays about the rise and fall and rise again of the performer, but plenty of one-of-kind theater pieces: An homage to Whitney Houston that’s a meditation on her cultural meaning, a night of magic tricks that’s a meditation on magic tricks, and a theatrical adaptation of the Alexander Dumas novel that became the opera La Traviata, which is taking place in an actual castle.
This calendar is organized chronologically by opening date*, but we must consider the dates subject to change, thanks to the vagaries of COVID-19 even now, when the COVID emergency is officially over.
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 🚍
🟧Global Forms Theater Festival (Rattlestick)
This FREE 12-day festival (through June 11), in its fourth year, focuses on works by immigrant artists, with offerings both in person and online. Three “global stage workshop productions” “The Discarded,” by Tianding He (China), THE SACRIFICE OF CASSAMBA BECKER By João Victor Toledo (Brazil)
STEPPE By Mariia (Masha) Makutonina (Ukraine)
🟦Torched (Puerto Rican Traveling Theater)
This investigative theater production delves into the harrowing Bronx fires of the 1970s
🟩The Village: A Disco Daydream (Dixon Place)
The play is loosely based on Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, but set in Greenwich Village in 1979. Now on its third run, it is being performed twice a week in June
🟩I Just Want To Tell Somebody (Theater for a New City)
A return of the solo show that dramatizes Smokey Stevens’ meteoric rise in the entertainment industry and his life long battle with drugs.
🟩Stop Kiss (Murmuration at 3 Dollar Bill)
The 25th anniversary production of Diana Son’s play (originally starring Sandra Oh and Jessica Hecht) about two women who are assaulted on the street after their first kiss, leaving one in a coma.
3 Dollar Bill, which bills itself as Brooklyn’s premiere queer bar and performance venue has queer events nightly through the month of June.
🟩Tennessee Rising (AMT Theater)
The return of this solo play by Jacob Storms as the young Tennessee Williams
🟧NuWorks 2023 (Pan Asian Rep at Theatre Row)
A series of experimental new works by Asian American artists.The first of the four programs features Dream Reunion by Lyra Nalan and SELL ME: I am From North Korea by Sora Baek. Through June 11
🟦Love and Science (New York City Center)
Two gay medical students must navigate their love, careers, and loyalties at the height of the 1980s HIV/AIDS crisis.
🟦This Land Was Made (Vineyard)
A new production of Tori Sampson’s play (originally named If Pretty Hurts, Ugly Must Be A Muhfuck) takes place in a bar in Oakland in 1967, where the regulars don’t expect the revolution to step inside the building.
🟦Days of Wine and Roses (Atlantic)
A new musical starring Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James as a couple who succumb to alcoholism, adapted from the 1962 film starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick, and the original 1958 teleplay, with a book by Craig Lucas, music and lyrics by Adam Guettel, directed by Michael Greif. May 5-July 16
🟦The Comeuppance (Signature)
In Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ new play, agroup of friends reconvenes to catch up before their 20th high school reunion
🟩The Shylock and the Shakespeareans (New Ohio)
A darkly humorous retelling of The Merchant of Venice, written and directed by Edward Einhorn
🟦Wet Brain (Playwrights Horizons)
In this new play by John J. Caswell, a family haunted by addiction in a crumbling house in Arizona wrestles with the alcoholic ruin of its patriarch, who may or may not be repeatedly abducted by aliens. May 17- June 25
🟩The Whitney Album (Soho Rep)
A ritual performance that honors the legacy of Whitney Houston among many other Black women artists beloved—and consumed—for their work. Through July 2
🟧Rogue Theater Festival (Theatre Row)
A six-day festival of six new works by emerging playwrights.
🟧🟨Downtown Urban Arts Festival (Playwrights Horizons)
The 21st annual festival is launched with a conversation between Savion Glover and Reg E. Gaines. Through June 24
🟧Chain One-Act Festival (Chain Theater)
In-person and online.
🟫Our Bodies Like Dams (Mabou Mines)
Sarah Finn’s adaptation of her film as a puppet show, about a woman’s unexpected metamorphosis in the face of romantic and coastal decay, as her apartment floods
🟩Teenagers in Love (Chain Theater)
In this drama by Sean O’Connor, Harp and Becca, New Jersey high school sweethearts in the 1970s, meet again for the first time since Harp was accused of killing Becca’s brilliant but troubled brother Donnie on graduation night 47 years earlier. June 2-17
🟩The Serials by The Fled (The Flea)
The latest edition of the bi-monthly late-night new play series. Five teams of performers premiere five short plays. The audience votes for three to return the following week with a sequel
⬜️73 Seconds (En Garde Arts at Jefferson Market Library)
One night only FREE performance by Jared Mezzocchi — Obie award-winning creator, director, video designer, and digital theater pioneer — telling the true story of his relationship to his mother after finding out that she has been invited by NASA to go into outer space.
🟧🟨ANT Fest (Ars Nova)
The fifteen annual edition presents 13 shows, 12 of which will premiere in-person and on Ars Nova Supra (its digital streaming platform) and the 13th digital only. Through June 24.
🟦The Doctor (Park Avenue Armory)
In wunderkind director Robert Icke’s adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s 1912 play Professor Bernhardi,Juliet Stevenson portrays a Jewish doctor who is pilloried after she refuses a priest’s request to administer last rites. June 3-August 19
🟦A Simulacrum (Atlantic Theater Company)
Lucas Hnath’s latest experimental theater piece (after Dana H.) is something of a conversation with illusionist Steve Cuiffo, who performs magic tricks.
🟦Lizard Boy (Prospect Theater Company at Theatre Row)
A “queer-indie-rock-action-romance” about Trevor, a young man with green scaly skin who feels like a monster, and rarely braves the city outside his apartment — until a powerful voice calls to him in a dream, he impulsively finds a date (on Grindr) and begins an adventure beyond his wildest apocalyptic nightmares. June 1- July 1
🟧📖FreeFest (New Group at Signature)
A new festival of FREE play readings and panel discussions,
🟧Queerly Festival (Kraine/Under St Marks)
The ninth annual edition. June 15-July 3.
⬜️The Lady of the Camelias (Shakespeare Downtown theater company at Castle Clinton)
This FREE production performed inside the open-air walls of Castle Clinton National Monument at The Battery in Lower Manhattan adapts Alexander Dumas’ novel and parts of the libretto from the opera “La Traviata” to tell the tragic love story between Marguerite Gautier (Billie Andersson), a courtesan suffering from consumption, and Armand Duval (Zack Ignoffo), a young bourgeois.
🟦Good Vibrations (Irish Arts Center)
This punk-rock musical based on a film of the same name, featuring a 12-person cast of actor-singer-musicians , tells the story of the titular record-store/label, which served as a musical haven and inspiration during the sectarian strife of 1970s Belfast, bringing to the “Teenage Kicks” (by The Undertones), “Just Another Teenage Rebel (the Outcasts)) and “Alternative Ulster” (Stiff Little Fingers.)
🟦Rock and Roll Man (New World Stages)
Constantine Maroulis as trailblazing DJ Alan Freed in this new featuring the music of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, LaVern Baker, Buddy Holly,Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, as well as original songs by Gary Kupper. Begins June 3.
🟩Black Mother Lost Daughter (National Black Theater at The Flea)
Playwright Fedna Jacquet’s portrait of two black women reeling and dealing with an inconceivable loss
🎶 The Light in the Piazza (New York City Center)
An Encores! concert version of Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas’ 2005 musical, with a cast led by Ruthie Ann Miles as an American mother on vacation in Florence in 1950.
🟥Once Upon a One More Time(Marquis Theater)
Cast: Briga Heelan, Justin Guarini, Jennifer Simard, Adam Godley, Brooke Dillman, Aisha Jackson, Ryann Redmond, Tess Soltau
Writers: Britney Spears (music), Jon Hartmere (book)
Directors: Keone & Mari Madrid
A jukebox musical featuring the hits of Britney Spears are woven into a feminist spin on fairy tales, after a reading group for Cinderella, Snow White and other fairy tale princesses read Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique”
🟦Hamlet (Shakespeare in the Park)
Directed by Kenny Leon and starring Ato Blankson-Wood. June 8 – August 6
🟥Just For Us (Hudson Theater)
First Preview: June 22, 2023
Closing: August 19, 2023
Written and performed by Alex Edelman
Director: Adam Brace†
Stand-up comic Alex Edelman’s Obie-winning solo show is about his visit as a Jew to a meeting of antisemites. My review of Just For Us Off-Broadway.
🟩In Corpo (The Assembly Theater at Theatre Row)
In this new musical, the last corporation on the planet makes everybody happy until an outsider arrives and starts asking questions. June 21-July 8.
🟩Triple Threat (Theatre Row)
The actor James T. Lane’s journey from his against-all-odds rise in entertainment to near death cataclysmic fall, and his extraordinary return. June 17-July 30
🟧🟨The Ice Factory Festival (New Ohio Theater)
The final iteration after thirty years will feature seven new works over seven weeks, both live in-person performances as well as livestreams and on-demand. June 28 – August 12, First up: “Deadclass, Ohio,” a seance of the living and a love story of the dead at a Jewish cemetery in Ohio, inspired by Tadeusz Kantor’s 1975 Polish play Umarła klasa (The Dead Class)
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.)