You saw the musical numbers on the Tonys Sunday and thought: That looks great, maybe I should get a ticket. But what of the straight plays that (as usual) didn’t get showcased? That’s why I highlight four of the plays that won 2023 Tony Awards, three of which are closing July 2nd; the fourth, in an open run, needs a spike.in ticket sales to keep going. All of them are worth your time — but hurry!
The so-called Tony Bump — an increase in ticket sales after the televised ceremony — goes largely to the musicals, which I list at bottom (along with a fifth straight play), with links to their websites and to my reviews
Closing July 2
Tony wins:Best Play. Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role (Brian Uranowitz):Best Direction of a Play (Patrick Marber); Best Costume Design of a Play (Brigitte Reiffenstuel)
My review: Four generations of a single extended family in Vienna (inspired by playwright Tom Stoppard’s own) is a straightforward if sprawling epic about a dark history that also winds up both intimate and ultimately moving. It’s hard not to see it as the 85-year-old playwright’s attempt at a personal reckoning.
Reason to see it: It’s a smart, fascinating look at history; it’s also making history. It’s the chance to see what may be the last play written by one of the most heralded playwrights in our lifetimes..
Digital Lottery: $47
General Rush: $35
Student Rush: $25
details about discounts
Life of Pi
Gerald Schoenfeld Theater
Tony wins: Best Scenic Design of a Play (im Hatley & Andrzej Goulding), Best Lighting Design of a Play (im Lutkin, Life of Pi), Best Sound Design of a Play (Carolyn Downing)
My review: Whether or not his fantastical tale of sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger for 227 days on the open seas will “make you believe in God,” as the 17-year-old shipwreck survivor named Pi Patel promises, the stage adaptation of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel “Life of Pi” will give you faith in the power of puppetry and in the magic of stagecraft.
Reason to see it: It’s gorgeous and innovative, as much a landmark in puppetry as The Lion King. It’s as spectacular as any Broadway musical, but because it’s a play, it didn’t get to show off on TV.
Digital Lottery $45
General Rush $40
The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window
James Earl Jones Theater
Closing July 2
Tony win: Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play (Miriam Silverman)
My review: The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” must have surprised Broadway theatergoers in 1964 who had seen “A Raisin in the Sun” five years earlier, not least because most of its cast of characters are white and Bohemian, but also because it is more freewheeling and humorous than Hansberry’s tightly plotted and largely earnest story. Still, in light of the work for which she is best known, “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” — in turns witty, silly, awkward, erudite and explosive — remains surprising, although not entirely for the same reasons as it was six decades ago.
Reason to see it: It’s star-powered, but the biggest star is the playwright, Lorraine Hansberry. This is her seldom produced second Broadway play, a glimpse into a major talent whose life and work were cut short at age 34.
Digital Lottery $40
Digital Rush $40
General Rush $47
John Golden Theater
Closing July 2
Tony win: Jodie Comer
My review: In her remarkable Broadway debut, Comer gives an emotionally raw and physically demanding performance that drives home the humiliation, betrayal, and feelings of helplessness that accompany sexual assault and its aftermath. Comer’s bruising portrayal of Tessa goes a long way towards persuading us to accept a set of circumstances that seem deliberately chosen to test our level of enlightenment about the issue.
Reason to see it: Jodie Comer. When will you ever see her on stage again?
Digital Lottery $10 details
Here are the other shows that won 2023 Tony awards and are still running, with links to their websites and to my reviews.
(Check out: Broadway on the Cheap: How To Get Rush and Lottery Tickets)
Good Night, Oscar through August 27 and My review
Kimberly Akimbo and My Kimberly Akimbo Review
New York, New York and My review
Parade through August 6 and My review
Shucked and My Shucked review
Some Like It Hot and My review
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and My review