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Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide

 

Harry Potter, Olaf the snowman and Spongebob Squarepants all plan to perform on Broadway this season, as will Michael Moore, Mark Rylance and Elizabeth McGovern; new plays by Ayad Akhtar and Tracy Letts; and revivals of My Fair Lady, M. Butterfly, and Carousel.

Below is a list of Broadway shows that have nailed down their opening dates and/or theaters for the 2017-2018 season. This list, which is organized chronologically by opening date, will be updated periodically, because the schedule is sure to change – shows will be added, especialy in the Spring; some will drop out; opening dates will be delayed or moved up. If theater is evanescent, this list is even more so.

 

JUNE

1984

Theater: Hudson
Author: Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan
Director: Robert Icke
First Preview: May 18, 2017
Opening: June 22, 2017
Cast: Reed Birney, Tom Sturridge, and Olivia Wilde
Website:
Twitter feed: @RevisedTruth
Stage adaptation of George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel

Marvin’s Room

Theater: American Airlines
Author:  Scott McPherson.
Directors: Anne Kauffman, Whitney White.
First Preview: June 8
Opening: June 29
Cast: Janeane Garofalo, Lili Taylor, Celia Weston
Website
Twitter feed: @RTC_NYC 

The play by Scott McPherson (who died in 1992 at age 33) that was turned into the 1997 star-studded film. “Estranged sisters Lee and Bessie have never seen eye to eye. Lee is a single mother who’s been busy raising her troubled teenage son, Hank. Bessie’s got her hands full with their elderly father and his soap opera-obsessed sister. When Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia, the two women reunite for the first time in 18 years.”

 

 

AUGUST

The Terms of My Surrender

Theater: Belasco

Author: Michael Moore

Directors:  Michael Mayer and Noah Racey

First Preview: July 28

Opening: August 10

Cast: Michael Moore

Website

Twitter feed: @MooreBroadway

Michael Moore makes his Broadway debut in what promises to be a stand-up routine to take down Trump.

 

Prince of Broadway

 

Theater: Samuel J. Friedman

Author: David Thompson

Directors: Harold Prince and Susan Stroman

First Preview: August 3

Opening: August 24

Cast:

Website

Twitter feed: @MTC_NYC 

A look at the career of director and producer Harold Prince through musical numbers from shows he helmed, including West Side Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Evita, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, The Phantom of the Opera.

 

 

OCTOBER

 

Time and the Conways

 

Theater: American Airlines

Author: J. B. Priestley

Director: Rebecca Taichman

First Preview: September 14

Opening: October 10

Cast: Elizabeth McGovern

Website

Twitter feed: @RTC_NYC

A revival of a play that was last on Broadway in 1938. Elizabeth McGovern will play Mrs. Conway, who in 1919 Britain, is full of hope at her daughter’s lavish 21st birthday celebration. Jump 19 years ahead, and the Conways’ lives have transformed unimaginably

 

M. Butterfly

Theater: TBA

Author: David Henry Hwang

Director: Julie Taymor

Opening: October 26

Cast: Clive Owen

Website

Twitter feed:

Owen will play a married French diplomat in China who carries on a 20-year affair with a mysterious Chinese opera singer—all without realizing that the singer is a man. Producers said the author will introduce “new material inspired by the real-life love affair between French diplomat Bernard Boursicot and Chinese opera singer Shi Pei Pu that has come to light since the play’s 1988 premiere.”

 

NOVEMBER

 

Junk

Theater: Vivian Beaumont

Author: Ayad Akhtar

Director: Doug Hughes

First Preview: October 5

Opening: November 2

Cast: Steven Pasquale

Website

Twitter feed: @LCTheater

 

From the Pulitzer winning author of Disgraced. Set over 30 years ago, “Junk” – as in “junk bonds” — is a play about “how money became the only thing of real value.”

 

The Band’s Visit

Theater: Ethel Barrymore

Authors: Itamar Moses, book; David Yazbek, songs.

Director: David Cromer

First Preview: October 7

Opening: November 9

Cast: TBA

Website

Twitter feed: @TheBandsVisit

The widely acclaimed Off-Broadway musical moves to Broadway! Based on the 2007 independent film, it follows an Egyptian police band that arrives in the wrong town Israel to play a concert.

My review when it was Off-Broadway.

 

 

DECEMBER

 

Once on this Island

Theater: Circle in the Square

Authors: Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty

Director: Michael Arden,

First Preview: November 9

Opening: December 3

Cast:

Website

Twitter feed: @OnceIslandBway 

A revival of the musical about Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the Caribbean island. When their divided cultures threaten to keep them apart, Ti Moune, guided by the island gods, sets out on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart.

 

 

Spongebob Squarepants

Theater: Palace

Author: Kyle Jarrow and Tina Landau

Director: Tina Landau

First Preview: November 6

Opening: December 4

Cast:

Website

Twitter feed: @SpongeBobBway

New musical based on the hit Nickelodeon cartoon series

The score features original songs from a mix of classic and contemporary artists, including Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Panic! at the Disco, and the late David Bowie.

 

The Children

Theater: Samuel J. Friedman

Author: Lucy Kirkwood

Director: James Macdonald

First Preview: November 28

Opening: December 14

Cast: Francesca Annis, Ron Cook, Deborah Findlay

Website

Twitter feed: @MTC_NYC

In a remote cottage on the lonely British coast, a couple of retired nuclear engineers are living a very quiet life. Outside, the world is in utter chaos following a devastating series of events. When an old friend turns up at their door, they’re shocked to discover the real reason for her visit.

 

Farinelli and the King

Theater: Belasco

Author:  Claire van Kampen

Director: John Dove

First Preview: December 5

Opening: December 17

Cast: Mark Rylance

Website

Twitter feed: @FarinelliBway

 

Mark Rylance plays King Philippe of Spain who is entranced by Farinelli, one of the greatest celebrities of his time – a castrato “with a voice so divine it has the power to captivate all who hear it.”

 

 

MARCH

 

The Minutes

Theater: TBA

Author: Tracy Letts

Director: Anna D. Shapiro

First Preview: February 6, 2018

Opening: March 8, 2018

Cast:

Website

Twitter feed:

“A town’s proud history, the legend of a local hero, the coveted privilege of reserved parking: nothing is sacred during the town council meeting at the heart of Tracy Letts’ new play.”

 

Escape to Margaritaville

Theater: Marquis

Authors: Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley

Director: Christopher Ashley

First Preview: February 16

Opening: March 15

Cast: Paul Alexander Nolan, Alison Luff as Rachel and Lisa Howard

Website

Twitter feed: @buffettmusical 

 

 

APRIL

 

My Fair Lady

 

Theater: Vivian Beaumont

Authors: Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe

Director: Bartlett Sher.

First Preview: March 22

Opening: April 19

Cast: TBA

Website

Twitter feed: @LCTheater

 

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Theater: Lyric

Author: Jack Thorne

Director: John Tiffany.

First Preview:

Opening: April 22

Cast: TBA

Website

Twitter feed: @HPPlayNYC

 

 

A play written by Jack Thorne based on an original story by him, directory John Tiffany and Harry Potter novelist J.K. Rowling “While an adult Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. “

 

Sometime in Spring

 

Carousel

Theater: TBA

Author: Rodgers and Hammerstein

Director: Jack O’Brien

First Preview: March 23, 2018

Opening: TBA

Cast: Jessie Mueller, Joshua Henry, Renee Fleming

Website

Twitter feed:

 

Frozen

Theater: St. James Theater

Author: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, Jennifer Lee

Director: Michael Grandage

First Preview: TBA

Opening: TBA

Cast:  Caissie Levy (Elsa), Patti Murin (Anna), Jelani Alladin (Kristoff), Greg Hildreth (Olaf), John Riddle (Hans) and Robert Creighton (Duke of Weselton)

Website

Twitter feed: @FrozenBroadway

 

Check out last season’s Broadway guide

Broadway 2016-2017

Also:

What Broadway Shows Should I See? Top 10 Suggestions.

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2017 Tony Awards Cheat Sheet

The 71st annual Tony Awards, honoring the shows that opened in the 2016-2017 season in the 41 Broadway theaters of New York, will be presented starting at 8 p.m. tonight, June 11, 2017 at New York’s 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall.

How To Watch

Most Americans who watch will do so on CBS as a television broadcast that is scheduled to last three hours.

A total of 8.7 million viewers tuned into last year’s Tony Awards broadcast, which was the highest number in 15 years, pumped up by excitement over Hamilton. There is no similar juggernaut this year.

(There are ways as well to watch the Tonys online.)

Info for international viewers and intense fans (who don’t think the three-hour broadcast is enough.)

Host Kevin Spacey

The host will be Kevin Spacey, the Oscar-winning movie actor, currently the star of House of Cards on Netflix portraying a devious homicidal president of the United States (expect at least one Trump joke based on that.)  Spacey is also an eight-time Broadway veteran who won the Tony for best featured actor in 1991 for Lost in Yonkers and was nominated for best actor in 1999 for The Iceman Cometh. Few realize he is also a song-and-dance man, glimpses of which are available in his portrayal of Bobby Darin in the 2004 film Beyond The Sea.

Scheduled Performances

Musical numbers from nominated shows “Bandstand,” ″Come From Away,” ″Dear Evan Hansen,” ″Falsettos,” ″Groundhog Day The Musical,” ″Miss Saigon,” “Natasha,Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” with Josh Groban,″Hello, Dolly!” without Bette Midler,“War Paint”

plus Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom Jr. (last year’s Tony winners for The Color Purple and Hamilton, respectively.)

and the Radio City Rockettes

Scheduled Presenters

Lea Salonga and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Orlando Bloom, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Josh Gad, Taraji P. Henson, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Wilde, Scott Bakula, Sara Bareilles, Rachel Bloom, Glenn Close, Brian d’Arcy James, Sally Field, Sutton Foster, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Groff, Mark Hamill, Allison Janney, Nick Kroll, John Legend, John Lithgow, Patina Miller, John Mulaney, David Oyelowo, Chazz Palminteri, Sarah Paulson, Lea Salonga, Tom Sturridge and Tommy Tune.

There will also be an appearance by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

What To Watch For

Both Best Musical and Best Play categories are competitive this year. Look to see how many of its 12 nominations Great Comet nails as the evening progresses, and Dear Evan Hansen’s nine, and Come From Away’s seven.

Also, see what the Tonys do to celebrate an unusually strong season of straight (non-musical) plays. Normally, they’re given short shrift.

Tony Nominations

Below is the list of Tony nominations organized by category. (And below that is a list of the number of nominations each show received.)

(For a rundown on which I feel SHOULD win, plus links to my reviews, click here)

Best Play
A Doll’s House, Part 2
Indecent
Oslo
Sweat


Best Musical

Come From Away
Dear Evan Hansen
Groundhog Day The Musical
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812


Best Book of a Musical

Come From Away
Irene Sankoff and David Hein

Dear Evan Hansen
Steven Levenson

Groundhog Day The Musical
Danny Rubin

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Dave Malloy


Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Come From Away
Music & Lyrics: Irene Sankoff and David Hein

Dear Evan Hansen
Music & Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

Groundhog Day The Musical
Music & Lyrics: Tim Minchin

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Music & Lyrics: Dave Malloy


Best Revival of a Play

August Wilson’s Jitney
John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Present Laughter


Best Revival of a Musical

Falsettos
Hello, Dolly!
Miss Saigon


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
Chris Cooper, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Corey Hawkins, John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
Jefferson Mays, Oslo


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Cate Blanchett, The Present
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
Laura Linney, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Christian Borle, Falsettos
Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Michael Aronov, Oslo
Danny DeVito, Arthur Miller’s The Price
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Richard Thomas, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
John Douglas Thompson, August Wilson’s Jitney


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Johanna Day, Sweat
Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Condola Rashad, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Michelle Wilson, Sweat


Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen
Andrew Rannells, Falsettos
Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos


Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
Jenn Colella, Come From Away
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia


Best Scenic Design of a Play

David Gallo, August Wilson’s Jitney
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
Michael Yeargan, Oslo


Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Korins, War Paint
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!


Best Costume Design of a Play

Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson’s Jitney
David Zinn, A Doll’s House, Part 2


Best Costume Design of a Musical

Linda Cho, Anastasia
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Catherine Zuber, War Paint


Best Lighting Design of a Play

Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
Jane Cox, August Wilson’s Jitney
Donald Holder, Oslo
Jennifer Tipton, A Doll’s House, Part 2


Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Howell Binkley, Come From Away
Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen


Best Direction of a Play

Sam Gold, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson’s Jitney
Bartlett Sher, Oslo
Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent


Best Direction of a Musical

Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen
Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!


Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day The Musical
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812


Best Orchestrations

Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

 

* * *

 

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

 

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre

James Earl Jones

Special Tony Award

Gareth Fry & Pete Malkin, Sound Designers for The Encounter

Regional Theatre Tony Award

Dallas Theater Center

Dallas, TX

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Baayork Lee

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre

Nina Lannan

Alan Wasser

 

Tony Nominations by Production

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 – 1

Hello, Dolly! – 10

Dear Evan Hansen – 9

A Doll’s House, Part 2 – 8

Come From Away – 7

Groundhog Day The Musical – 7

Oslo – 7

August Wilson’s Jitney – 6

Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes – 6

Falsettos – 5

War Paint – 4

Indecent – 3

Present Laughter – 3

Sweat – 3

Anastasia – 2

Bandstand – 2

The Front Page – 2

John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation – 2

Miss Saigon – 2

Arthur Miller’s The Price – 1

The Glass Menagerie – 1

Heisenberg – 1

Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical – 1

The Play That Goes Wrong – 1

The Present – 1

What Broadway Shows Should I See? Top 10 Suggestions

“I just want you to pick the shows for me,” an out-of-town friend, planning a visit to New York, said to me recently, exasperated that I was trying to determine his taste in theater before making some recommendations.

This is the time of year when people turn their attention to Broadway, for two reasons — it’s the summer, a good time to visit New York; and their interest is piqued thanks to the annual three-hour TV commercial for Broadway known as the Tony Awards broadcast.

Below are some suggestions, listed alphabetically under several categories, starting with long-time hits. They are recommendations based largely on my taste.

 

FOUR LONG-TIME HIT MUSICALS

These musicals have proven to be audience favorites, but a caveat: The original casts have long since moved on.

THE BOOK OF MORMON
The Eugene O’Neill Theater
Opened: March 24, 2011
Director: Jason Moore and Trey Parker
Twitter feed: @BookofMormonBWY
This musical by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (book), the creators of South Park, and Robert Lopez, one of the composer-lyricists for “Avenue Q” and “Frozen” (music and lyrics) is about the founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints and his modern disciples. It is outrageous, irreverent in one way, but also deeply reverent to (even while parodying) the best traditions of the Broadway musical.

My review of The Book of Mormon: Ridiculing Religion, Worshiping The Great White Way

Tickets to Book of Mormon

 

THE LION KING

Minskoff Theater (200 West 45th Street)
Opened: November 13, 1997
Twitter: @TheLionKing
Based on the 1994 Disney animated film about the coming-of-age of a young lion in the African jungle, this musical offers African-inflected music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice and the visual magic of Julie Taymor. Taymor is the director, a composer and lyricist for some of the songs. But above all, she is the designer of the costumes, masks, and puppets — and it is these visuals that make this show a good first theatrical experience.

Tickets to Lion King

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Majestic Theater (247 West 44th Street)
Opened: January 26, 1988
Twitter: @PhantomBway
The Phantom of the Opera, based on a 1911 French novel by Gaston Leroux, is about a disfigured genius named Erik who lives in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House and falls in love with Christine, an aspiring singer whom he helps…until an old flame of Christine’s named Raoul steps back into the picture.
However, the story in the musical, written and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber — with more than its share of 1980′s heavy power ballads — is starting to take second place to the story of the musical, which is the longest-running Broadway musical of all time, and the most profitable. I find this show too loud and overwrought for my taste, but it is the one exception I’m making to the list of recommendations based on my personal taste, because it’s a tourist favorite, and admittedly visually stunning – people still ooh at the falling chandelier.

 

Tickets to Phantom of the Opera

 

Wicked NY

WICKED
Gershwin Theater (222 West 51st Street)
Opened: October 30, 2003
Twitter: @WICKED_Musical
The musical tells the story of “The Wizard of Oz” from the witches’ perspective, more specifically from the Wicked Witch of the West, who was not, as a child, wicked at all, but just green-tinted, taunted, and misunderstood. There is so much to like about this musical, the clever twists on the familiar tale, the spectacular set, and music that is a lot more appealing in context (such as the song “Defying Gravity”) that I will forgive the contortions necessary to tack on a happy ending.

Tickets to Wicked

FOUR GREAT NEW PLAYS

Broadway is full of “straight” (non-musical) plays, which don’t tend to have long runs and aren’t publicized as much, but can be more substantive, stimulating and satisfying (and less expensive.)

laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper and Jane Houdyshell

A DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2
John Golden Theater (252 West 45th Street)
Opened: April 27, 2017
Twitter: @DollsHousePart2

The main pleasures in A Doll’s House, Part 2, are rooted in the chance to watch four accomplished performers in this compelling, and surprisingly humorous sequel to Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, written 138 years after that first play by Lucas Hnath, making his Broadway playwriting debut. Laurie Metcalf is magnificent as Nora, returning home 15 years after she left her husband and children, with an urgent ulterior motive, and encountering Chris Cooper as Nora’s husband Torvald, Jayne Houdyshell as her former nanny Anne Marie, and Condola Rashad as her daughter

More on A Doll’s House Part 2

Tickets to A Doll’s House Part 2

INDECENT
Cort Theatre (138 West 48th Street)
Opened: April 18, 2017
@IndecentBway

There are many reasons to find deep satisfaction in Indecent, a fascinating backstage tale strikingly staged about a century-old Jewish drama entitled “God of Vengeance,” which featured a scandalizing kiss between two women that caused its Broadway cast to be prosecuted for obscenity. It marks the long-delayed Broadway debut of Paula Vogel, who at 65 is one of the theatre community’s most admired playwrights and playwriting teachers.

It is proof that a play can explore a range of frighteningly relevant issues and be simultaneously enlightening, moving and entertaining. There is so much delightful music in the show that it often feels like a musical.

More on Indecent

Tickets to Indecent

OSLO
Vivian Beaumont Theatre
150 West 65th Street
Opened: April 13, 2017

@LCTheater

“Oslo” explores the little-known story of how a Norwegian couple instigated and pushed along the secret negotiations that led to the famous moment when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands at the White House in 1993. The play offers a lucid refresher course on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, provides entertainment that is both surprisingly funny and suspenseful. It also leaves us with a sense that maybe even the world’s most unsettling situations can someday be settled.

More on Oslo

Tickets to Oslo

Khris Davis and Will Pullen

SWEAT
Studio 54 Theatre (254 West 54th Street)
Opened: March 26, 2017
Twitter; @SweatBroadway

Playwright Lynn Nottage won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Drama for this play about a group of friends and family members who hang out in a bar in Reading, Pennsylvania, which was identified in 2010 as the poorest city in America. Like Grapes of Wrath, it offers a devastating look at social and economic breakdown, told not with rants or statistics, but through a riveting tale about good people in a bad situation.

More on Sweat

Tickets to Sweat

TWO BELOVED NEW MUSICALS

DEAR EVAN HANSEN
Music Box Theatre
239 West 45th Stree
Opened: December 04, 2016
Twitter: @DearEvanHansen

Ben Platt gives an extraordinary performance as Evan Hansen, an anxious high school student with no real friends who becomes the center of attention when a classmate he barely knew commits suicide and, through a misunderstanding, people think that Evan was his best friend.  Evan turns that misunderstanding into a lie, and the lie gets out of hand. The musical offers insights into an array of issues, from adolescent insecurity to the downside of social media, while keeping us emotionally engaged with the characters. The songs by Pasek and Paul are tuneful and deeply felt.

More on Dear Evan Hansen

Tickets to Dear Evan Hansen

Lucas Steele as Anatole and Denee Benton as Natasha

NATASHA, PIERRE AND THE GREAT COMET OF 1812
Imperial Theatre  (249 West 45th Street)
Opened: November 14, 2016
Twitter: @GreatCometBway

They’ve made a party out of what looks on paper like unlikely material —  a sing-through musical with  an unwieldy title based on  70 pages of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. But Dave Malloy’s eclectic score is tuneful, the performances are terrific, and the stagecraft is groundbreaking.  Director Rachel Chavkin and set designer Mimi Lien in particular deserve kudos for re-creating on Broadway something very close to the kind of immersive theater that’s lately been intriguing theatergoers all over the world. (Josh Groban as Pierre leaves in July.)

More on Great Comet

Tickets to Great Comet

 

WHAT ABOUT GREAT CHOREOGRAPHY?

 

Check out Bandstand and On Your Feet (which is closing August 20),

 

WHAT ABOUT HAMILTON?

Javier Munoz and cast

I loved Hamilton,  Off-Broadway ,  on Broadway  and now with the new cast , finding it ground-breaking and breathtaking. You have to decide whether it’s worth spending the kind of money that it would take to get a ticket this summer — and not just from the resellers, but from the show itself, where top ticket prices are $849. My feeling is you shouldn’t need to choose between seeing a show and taking a trip to Europe.

There IS a daily lottery online  where you can try your luck at snagging one of the tickets for only  $10 (because Hamilton’s face is on the ten-dollar bill.)

Tickets to Hamilton

WHAT ABOUT HELLO, DOLLY! AND COME FROM AWAY?

This is my taste, remember?

More on Hello, Dolly!

Tickets to Hello, Dolly!

More on Come From Away

Tickets to Come From Away

 

ON A LIMITED BUDGET?

There ARE ways to get affordable tickets to Broadway shows, especially if you are willing to 1. Wait until the day of the performance, and 2. Live with uncertainty. Getting tickets to a hit Broadway show for as little as $10 (and no more than $80) takes time, luck, knowledge and/or ingenuity. Most shows now have digital lotteries and “rush” tickets. For a show-by-show breakdown on the discounts available, check out Broadway for Broke People

 

DON’T FORGET OFF-BROADWAY

Some of the best shows on Broadway began Off-Broadway. Off-Broadway shows tend to be more adventurous and less expensive. But they also tend to have more limited runs, and be less publicized. Off-Broadway shows don’t get the attention they deserve. A willingness to hunt a little will pay off in a satisfying discovery, and bragging rights possibly for years to come.

Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello

To pick one current example of a terrific show Off-Broadway: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s glorious murderous musical, began in 2014 in Harrington’s, one of London’s oldest working pie shops. An impressively detailed replica of Harrington’s has now set up shop Off-Broadway at the Barrow Street Theater, including the pies

More on Sweeney Todd (The show now has an All-American cast, led by Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello.)

Tickets to Sweeney Todd

LOOK OUT FOR THE NEXT HIT

Check out my latest monthly calendar of openings to what’s newly available on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway.

 

June 2017 New York Theater Openings

Below is a preview  of the shows opening on New York stages in June — including the first two shows of the 2017-2018 Broadway season — organized chronologically by opening date. Each show title is linked to a relevant website.

Keep in mind that some of the hottest theater this month is at the summer theater festivals (which I’m not listing below, with one exception.)
Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple, blue or black. Off Off Broadway: Green.

June 1

The Government Inspector (Red Bull  at The Duke)

Michael Urie stars in Nikolai Gogol’s satire of small-town corruption, adapted by playwright Jeffrey Hatcher

Sweetee (Signature Center)

OOB

“An outcast minister leads a young street singer and a ragtag band of orphans as they struggle to make music and find their place in the world amid the bigotry and poverty of the 1930’s south.”

June 5

The End of Longing (MCC at The Lucille Lortel)

A play written by and starring Matthew Perry: “An alcoholic, an escort, a self-diagnosed neurotic and a well-intentioned dimwit walk into a bar… Broken and deeply flawed, they find their lives irreversibly entwined no matter how hard they try to break free of one another

June 6

Animal (Atlantic Theater Company, Stage 2) 

OOB

A darkly comic play by Clare Lizzimore
“Her husband thinks she needs time; her psychiatrist suggests positive thinking. But then Rachel’s visions start”

Somebody’s Daughter (Second Stage Uptown)

A play by Chisa Hutchinson. Alex is a fifteen year old Asian-American girl going to extremes to get her own mother to notice her.

June 7

Cost Of Living (MTC at City Center Stage I)

A play by Martyna Majok (“Ironbound”) about the realities of facing the world with physical disabilities. “Truck driver Eddie is struggling to rebuild a relationship with his estranged wife Ani and Jess is trying to navigate the day-to-day with John, her new boss in a job that she desperately needs.”

June 8

Woody Sez (Irish Rep)

The life and music of Woody Guthrie

June 12

Bella : An American Tall Tale (Playwrights Horizons) 

Book, music and lyrics by Kirsten Childs (Bubbly Black Girl
As a wanted woman of mythic proportions looks to begin life anew out west, Bella takes us on the trip of a lifetime to escape her scandalous past and bounce into the arms of her awaiting Buffalo Soldier.

Julius Caesar (Shakespeare in the Park)

Public Theater artistiShakespeare’s play of politics and power, last seen in the Park 17 years ago.

June 13

Expecting Isabel (TBG Theatre) 

OOB

A comedy by Lisa Loomer about the adventures of a New York couple trying to have a baby—by any means necessary

Invincible (59 E 59)

Part of Brits Off-Broadway, the play by Torben Betts pits Emily and Olive, who have decided to downsize and shift their middle- class London lifestyle to a small town , against the new neighbors Dawn and Allan whom they have invited over, in “a disastrous evening of olives, anchovies, Karl Marx and abstract art” where class and culture collide

June 15

Attack of the Elvis Impersonators (Theatre Row)  OOB

A satire by Lory Lazarus (author of “Courage the Cowardly Dog.”) “When Drac Frenzie, a burnt-out world famous heavy metal icon decides to save himself from self-destruction by impersonating Elvis, a miracle occurs — which leads him to not only saving himself, but also the world.”

June 20

Fulfillment Center (MTC at NY City Center)

Deirdre O’Connell, Bobby Moreno, Frederick Weller and Eboni Booth star in a play by Abe Koogler. Four lonely lives come together in the search for fulfillment at a giant online retailer’s shipping center in the New Mexico desert.

June 22

1984-logo

1984

A stage adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel, starring Tom Sturridge, Olivia Wilde and Reed Birney.

 

The Traveling Lady (Cherry Lane)

A play by Horton Foote directed by Austin Pendleton. An intrepid woman who journeys to a small town in 1950’s Texas to reunite with her husband upon his release from prison.

June 26

The Crusade of Connor Stephens (Jerry Orbach Theater )
A teenage recruit of a conservative Texas megachurch kills the six-year-old granddaughter of the preacher before killing himself. The girl’s parents are a gay couple. The family must come to terms with this act of violence that thrusts them into a national debate.

June 29

Marvin’s Room (American Airlines Theatre) 

Broadway

Janeane Garofalo makes her Broadway debut, co-starring Lili Taylor and Celia Weston, in the play by Scott McPherson (who died in 1992 at age 33) that was turned into the 1997 star-studded film. “Estranged sisters Lee and Bessie have never seen eye to eye. Lee is a single mother who’s been busy raising her troubled teenage son, Hank. Bessie’s got her hands full with their elderly father and his soap opera-obsessed sister. When Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia, the two women reunite for the first time in 18 years.”

Me The People (The Triad) OOB

Subtitled “The Trump America Musical”

12 Summer Theater Festivals in New York City 2017

Summer in the city offers theater that is cheaper (often free), more cutting-edge and even more abundant than what you can see during the regular theater season — thanks largely to the perennial summer theater festivals. The shows are not necessarily better, of course, and finding the right ones for you can be intimidating, especially among the bigger festivals.

This is the sixth year I’m offering a run-down on New York’s most reliable summer theater festivals (2012,  20132014  2015 and 2016). Below is a list arranged more or less chronologically by the month in which the festival begins. (Several continue through the summer.)  Click on the festival titles below to be taken to their websites. It’s a good idea to check out their Twitter feeds as well.

MAY

Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks

Begun in 1996, this festival has consistently offered three new quality, cutting-edge plays each summer. This  is the 22nd annual Summerworks. @ClubbedThumb

The World My Mama Raised writtenby Ariel Stess, directed by Kip Fagan May 20 – May 30

Of Government, written by Alex Borinsky, directed by Jeremy Bloom June 5 – June 15

What The Constitution Means to Me, written by Heidi Schreck directed by Oliver Butler, June 21 – July 1

The New York Public Theater Shakespeare in the Park

Delacorte

Joseph Papp began Free Shakespeare in the Park in 1962 in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater, which was built for that purpose. The two-play summer season usually only offers Shakespeare, but occasionally there will be a Sondheim or other modern classic.

Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY

Julius Caesar,  directed by Oscar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public Theater,  with a large cast that includes  Nikki M. James,, Elizabeth Marvel, Corey Stoll and John Douglas Thompson May 23 to June 18.

A Midsummer’s Night Dream directed by by Lear deBessone, with a large cast that includes Annaleigh Ashford, De’Adre Aziza, Kyle Beltran, Danny Burstein, July 11 to August 18

JUNE

Ant Fest

Started by Ars Nova (most celebrated recently for originating Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812), Ant Fest is, according to the organizers, “four non-stop, throw-down weeks of live entertainment mayhem, featuring fresh material from the next wave of dynamic, indie-theater makers. All New Talent, all the time.”  June 5 to 29. Twitter: @arsnova

Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

New York’s premiere eco-friendly/socially conscious not-for-profit arts festival. Twitter: @PCTFNYC. This year’s festival runs from June 14 to July 9.

 

River to River Festival

Held in the downtown business district, this festival has only a handful of what can be called strictly theater pieces, but the hybrids are worth exploring, and all events are free.

Of particular interest this year: HARBORED, En Garde Arts’ new site-specific theatrical experience about immigration, featuring a cast of more than 50 performers. Immigration stories will also be gathered each day from passersby and incorporated into the script that night. June 22 to June 25, Winter Garden.

A MARVELOUS ORDER, a multimedia opera about the battle between city planning czar Robert Moses and civic reformer Jane Jacobs.

Twitter: used to be @R2RFestival, now their parent org, @LMCC  with hashtag !. This year’s festival runs from June 14 to June 25.

 

Ice Factory Festival

Twitter: @newohiotheatre This year the festival at New Ohio Theater runs from June 28 to August 12. Among the seven offerings are True Right, “A reimagining of Sam Shepard’s True West–featuring George and Jeb Bush, as played by two ethnic ladies”

JULY

Hot Festival 

The festival is billed as the longest-running LGBTQ festival in the world, now in its 26th year celebrating queer culture. At Dixon Place, July 5 to July 29.  @HotFestNYC. or @DixonPlace . This year, trans Sri-Lankan American comic D’Lo headlines the festival in “To T, or Not to T.”

Lincoln Center Festival 

This is not exclusively a theater festival, but always includes a couple of theater pieces, most often from overseas.

July 10 to July 30. Twitter: @LincolnCenter 

There are five offerings explicitly labeled theater this summer:

Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century by Improbable Theatre

While I Was Waiting by Mohammad Al Attar, portrait of Syria through one family. July 19–22

Yitzhak Rabin: Chronicle of an Assassination,Text by Amos Gitai and Marie-José Sanselme. July 19

Il N’est Pas Encore Minuit, by Compagnie XY July 19-22

To the End of the Land. The Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv / Ha’Bima National Theatre. July 24–27

New York Musical Festival

Some 300 new musicals have premiered at this festival (originally named the New York Musical Theater Festival) since 2004, including “Next to Normal,” “Altar Boyz” and “title of show”

Twitter: @nymf

This year’s festival runs July 10 to August 6, and features 22 full productions, as well as almost as many concerts and readings.

 Fresh Fruit Festival

Celebrates LGBT culture. Twitter: @FreshFruitFest July 10-23

Midtown International Theater Festival

Twitter: @NYMITF July 15 to August 6.

August

Dream Up Festival

Twitter: @TNCinNYCAugust 27 – September 17 at Theater for a New Audience.

New York International Fringe Festival

The New York International Fringe Festival is celebrating its 21st year — by taking a hiatus. That’s right — there’s no New York Fringe this summer. @FringeNYC  Those of us who stay in New York every August in part to attend the Fringe may be looking for summer theater festivals outside NYC, (15 specific to the US in 2017)

May 2017 New York Theater Openings

May is a month when Broadway is on the brain, but not on the stage. Theatergoers focus on the Tonys and many other theater awards, but there are more than a dozen Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway shows opening this month.

Below is a schedule of May theater openings organized chronologically by opening date. Each show title is linked to a relevant website.

Color key: Broadway: Red. (none this month)  Off Broadway: Purple, blue or blackOff Off Broadway: Green.

May 1

Baghdaddy (St. Luke’s Theater)

Inspired by a true story, Baghdaddy? is a new musical comedy, presented as a support group for the mid-level spies who started the Iraq War.

It has mercifully shortened its title since the time I saw the 2015 production (“Who’s Your Baghdaddy, or How I Started the Iraq War.”)

May 2

Ski End (Piehole at Ohio Theatre)

An abandoned ski shop becomes the center of the universe. A group of urbanites finds itself stuck in a flood-damaged building with a makeshift skate ramp, dead birds, and the tattered banner of a final blowout sale. From these clues they ritualistically reanimate a bygone world of Ski, until they incite a cosmic force

 

May 4

Pacific Overtures (Classic Stage Company) 

George Takei stars in a revival of the musical by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman about a samurai and a fisherman who are caught up in the westernization of the East, at a time when Commodore Matthew Perry sailed to Japan on a U.S. mission to open trade relations at any cost.

Marry Harry (The York Theater Company) 

A new musical. “On a block in the East Village where graffiti comes to life, mannequins dance, and angels sing, big-dreaming cook Harry and frustrated real estate agent Sherri meet — and sparks fly.”

Happy Days with Dianne Wiest

Happy Days (Theatre for a New Audience)

The Yale Rep’s production of Beckett’s play, starring Dianne Wiest

 

May 7

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (Second Stage at Tony Kiser)

A musical about a sleep-deprived single mom who struggles to work as a video game music composer. Unexpectedly, she is contacted across time by the famous polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton. Inspired by her music, he shares his epic Antarctic journey with her in video and song

May 10

Arlington (St. Ann’s Warehouse)

A “strange and tender love story” written and directed by Enda Walsh (best-known in New York for Once and Lazarus.) “Isla waits in a waiting room in a tower as a man watches her, documents her every move and pulls her dreams from her.”

a previous production

Seven Spots on the Sun (Rattlestick) 

This play by Martin Zimmerman tells the story of a doctor of a war-torn and plague-ravaged village who discovers that his touch can cure the plague. A meditation on mourning, redemption, and revenge.

 

May 15

Venus (Signature) 

A revival of Suzan-Lori Parks’ play based on the true story of Saartjie Baartman, who left her home in southern Africa for a better life, and became a star on the 19th century London freak show circuit for the size of her posterior.

May 16

Chinasa Ogbuagu as Abasiama; Hubert Point-Du Jour as Ukpong in Sojourners (from earlier production)

Sojourners/Her Portmanteau (New York Theatre Workshop) 

Performed in repertory, these two chapters of Mfoniso Udofia’s sweeping, nine-part saga, The Ufot Cycle, chronicle the triumphs and losses of the tenacious matriarch of a Nigerian family. Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. Here’s my review of Soujourners when it was produced by Playwrights Realms, in which I write “Given the promise of such an ambitious and potentially exciting project, one makes allowances for some of the awkwardness of this first production, which would have been more effective with a clearer and more streamlined unfolding of the essential story…”

Derren Brown: Secret (Atlantic) 

Mind-reading, suggestion and psychological illusion at the hands of UK’s Derren Brown.

 

May 21

Hamlet (Sheen Center)

The play stars Arian Moayed (The HumansBengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), and is accompanied by an original score.  “Set in Persia a hundred years ago, on the eve of World War I, Waterwell’s Hamlet weaves passages of Farsi translation into the English of Shakespeare’s masterpiece of crisis and identity. In it, a traditional way of life is being threatened by an evolving world, the land is being threatened by encroaching foreign interests, and a young man finds himself uprooted and torn between opposing customs, values and codes.”

Building the Wall (New World Stages)

A play by Pulitzer winner Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle, All The Way, the movie Hacksaw Ridge) says of his anti-Trump play: “I wrote this in a white-hot fury. We no longer live in a world that is business as usual — Trump has made that very clear —and if theater is going to remain relevant,we must become faster to respond. We cannot hope to be useful if we can’t respond until 18 months after the fact. It is not a crazy or extreme fantasy. It’s very solidly grounded in current American law, and Trump’s rhetoric, and his most recent executive orders.”

cast and playwright

The Whirligig (New Group at Signature) 

Written by Hamish Linklater and featuring a cast that includes Norbert Leo Butz, Zosia Mamet and Jonny Orsini. When, after much time away, Kristina is back in Berkshire County, word spreads fast that she and her ex-husband are caring for their estranged, ailing daughter Julie. Broken-hearted and giddy with love and confusion, surprising visitors from Julie’s complicated past practically trip over each other to reach the young woman they thought they’d lost years before

 

May 23

cast

Can You Forgive Her? (Vineyard)

A play by Gina Gionfriddo (Becky Shaw; Rapture, Blister, Burn) about Miranda, drowning in debt and on the run from a date threatening to kill her, who is offered a safe haven by a couple on Halloween night.  “But is the promise of a better life a treat or a trick?”

May 25

The Boy Who Danced on Air (Abingdon) 

A new musical of a modern-day love story set in rural Afghanistan.

 

 

 

 

April 2017 NY Theater Openings

The 14 shows opening on Broadway in April — one-third of all the shows for the entire Broadway season — include seven musicals and seven plays. There are two hit plays Off-Broadway transferring to the Great White Way, four revivals, four musicals based on movies. and a sequel to a play written 138 years ago. The stars on stage include Bette Midler, Allison Janney, Kevin Kline, Phillipa Soo and Adam Chaler-Berat, Laurie Metcalf, Christian Borle, Corey Cott and Laura Osnes, Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon.

And all that’s just on Broadway. There are almost a dozen more intriguing shows Off-Broadway and Off Off Broadway opening in the month of April.

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Color key: Broadway: RedOff Broadway: Purple or BlueOff Off Broadway: Green.

To look at the Spring season as a whole, check out my Broadway Spring 2017 Preview Guide and my Off Broadway Spring 2017 Preview Guide

APRIL 2

The Play That Goes Wrong

play-that-goes-wrong-logoBroadway Theater: Lyceum
Written by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields
Director: Mark Bell
Cast: Matthew Cavendish, Bryony Corrigan, Rob Falconer, Dave Hearn, Henry Lewis, Charlie Russell, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields, Greg Tannahill, and Nancy Zamit.
Olivier Award-winning comedy about an amateur university production that goes hopelessly awry

Twitter: @BwayGoesWrong

Buy tickets to The Play That Goes Wrong

APRIL 3

Amelie

amelie-logoBroadway Theater: Walter Kerr
Written by Dan Messé (music), Nathan Tyson (lyrics), Craig Lucas (book)
Director: Pam MacKinnon
Cast: Phillipa Soo and Adam Chanler-Berat
A musical adaptation of the  2001 film, which starred Audrey Tautou as a shy waitress with a wild imagination.

@AmelieBroadway

Buy tickets to Amelie

APRIL 4

Daniel’s Husband (Primary Stages at Cherry Lane)

In this play by Michael McKeever, Daniel longs to be married and Mitchell does not.  A turn of events forces both men to face the consequences of their opposing views, and they learn that they are living in a world where fundamental rights aren’t always so fundamental

The Lightning Thief (MCC at Lortel)

A stage adaptation of the best-selling novel by Rick Riordan. The Greek gods are real, and they’re ruining Percy Jackson’s life. As a son of Poseidon, Percy has newly discovered powers he can’t control, monsters on his trail, and he is on an epic quest to find Zeus’s lightning bolt and prevent a war between the gods

APRIL 5

Present Laughter

present-laughter-logoBroadway Theater: St. James

Playwright: Noël Coward
Director: Moritz von Suelpnagel
Cast: Kevin Kline

Revival of the 1940s comedy about the tribulations of a popular matinee idol.

@laughteronbway

Buy tickets to Present Laughter

 

Gently Down The Stream (Public Theater)

In this play by Martin Sherman (Bent, The Boy From Oz), Harvey Fierstein portray Beau, an expatriate pianist living in London, who meets the younger Rufus, an eccentric young lawyer, at the dawn of the Internet dating revolution.

 

APRIL 6

War Paint

war-paint-logo
Theater: Nederlander
Writers: Book by Doug Wright; music and lyrics by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie
Director: Michael Grief; choreographer: Christopher Gattelli
Cast: Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole
Musical based on the rivalry of cosmetics titans Helena Rubenstein (LuPone) and Elizabeth Arden (Ebersole)

 

@warpaintmusical

Buy tickets to War Paint

APRIL 9

The Profane (Playwrights Horizons)

In this play by Zayd Dohrn, Raif Almedin is a first-generation immigrant who prides himself on his modern, enlightened views. But when his daughter falls for the son of a conservative Muslim family in White Plains, he discovers the threshold of his tolerance.

APRIL 12

In and Of Itself (Daryl Roth Theater)

Created and performed by magician Derek DelGaudio: ” a modern allegory that explores new ways of seeing the unseeable, as memories from yesterday are blended with inexplicable events witnessed today and secrets imagined for tomorrow…”

oslo-logo

APRIL 13

Oslo

Broadway Theater: Vivian Beaumont at Lincoln Center
Playwright: J.T. Rogers
Director: Bartlett Sher
Cast: Jennifer Ehle, Daniel Jenkins, Jefferson Mays and Daniel Oreskes
Transfer of Lincoln Center Theater’s Off-Broadway production of the play about the top-secret, high-level meetings between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that culminated in the signing of the historic 1993 Oslo Accords.

My review of “Oslo” Off-Broadway

 

@LCTheater

Buy tickets to Oslo

APRIL 17

 Groundhog Day

groundhog-day-logoBroadway Theater: August Wilson
Music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, book by Danny Rubin
Director: Matthew Warchus
Cast: Andy Karl
A musical adaptation of the 1993 Bill Murray film about a cynical Pittsburgh TV weatherman who is sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA, when he finds himself caught in a time loop, forced to repeat the same day again and again…and again. Will he ever unlock the secret and break the cycle?

 

@Groundhogdaybwy

Buy tickets to Groundhog Day

APRIL 18

Indecent


Playwright: Paula Vogel
Director: Rebecca Taichman

A behind-the-scenes look at the true story of the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch’s “God of Vengeance” — “a play seen by some as a seminal work of Jewish culture, and by others as an act of traitorous libel,” in part because of its lesbian lovers.

My review of Indecent Off-Broadway

 

@IndecentBway

Buy tickets to Indecent

Rebel in the Soul (Irish Rep)

Larry Kirwan’s play examines the opposition by the Irish party leader and the Archbishop of Dublin to Dr. Noel Browne, who was elected to the Irish Parliament in 1948 with the aim of ridding Ireland of tuberculosis. “The ensuing crisis  brought down the government and changed Irish life forever.”

APRIL 19

The Little Foxes

Theater: MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman
Playwright: Lillian Hellman
Director: Daniel Sullivan
Cast: Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon

The fifth Broadway production of the 1930 drama about a ruthless Southern belle.

Buy tickets to The Little Foxes

 APRIL 20

Hello, Dolly

Hello Dolly logoBroadway Theater: Shubert
Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, book by Michael Stewart
Director: Jerry Zaks, choreographer Warren Carlyle
Cast: Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce

Tweeter feed: @HelloDollyBway

The fifth Broadway production of the 1964 musical about a matchmaker who sets out to find a match for herself at the turn of the 20th century.

Buy tickets to Hello, Dolly

Pressing Matters (Theatre Row)

Six quirky stories by Jennifer Jasper

APRIL 22

The Assignment (ART/NY)

A play by Camilo Almonacid based on the friendship between a woman who founded a youth violence prevention program after her teenage son was murdered by street violence, and a man who found education and rehabilitation while serving 17 years in prison for manslaughter.

 APRIL 23

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory logoBroadway Theater: Lunt-Fontanne
Written by David Greig (book), Marc Shaiman (music & lyrics), Scott Wittman (lyrics), Roald Dahl (novel)
Director: Jack O’Brien
Cast: Christian Borle as Willy Wonka
When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the weird and wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, it’s the chance of a lifetime to feast on the sweets he’s always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems.

 

Buy tickets to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

APRIL 24

Anastasia

Broadway Theater: Broadhurst
Music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, book by Terrence McNally
Director: Darko Tresnjak
Cast: Christy Altomare, Derek Klana, Ramin Karimloo, Mary Beth Peil, John Bolton, and Caroline O’Connor
Inspired by the 1997 film about a young woman who may be the last surviving member of the Russian royal family. The score includes songs from the movie, including the Oscar- nominated “Journey to the Past,” plus an entirely new score from the Tony Award-winning team.

@AnastasiaBway

Buy tickets to Anastasia

APRIL 25

Six Degrees of Separation

Broadway Theater: Barrymore
Playwright: John Guare
Director: Trip Cullman
Cast: Allison Janney, John Benjamin Hickey,   Corey Hawkins
Revival of the 1990 drama about a young con man who is embraced by wealthy New Yorkers after passing himself off as Sidney Poitier’s son.

@SixDegreesBway

Buy tickets to Six Degrees of Separation

APRIL 26

Bandstand

bandstand-logoTheater: Bernard Jacobs
Music by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker
Director/Choreographer: Andy Blankenbuhler
Cast: Laura Osnes and Corey Cott
This “big-band musical” chronicles a mismatched band of WWII veterans who join forces to compete in a radio contest.

@BandstandBway

Buy tickets to Bandstand

 

Her Opponent (Jerry Orbach)

A re-staging of excerpts of the 2016 presidential
debates with gender-reversed casting.

April 27

A Doll’s House, Part 2

a-dolls-house-logoTheater: Golden
First Preview: April 1, 2017
Opening: April 27, 2017
Playwright: Lucas Hnath
Director: Sam Gold
Cast: Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell, Condola Rashad.
Sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s play, following up after Nora has left her husband and children.

Buy tickets to A Doll’s House, Part 2

@DollsHousePart2

March 2017 NY Theater Openings

Six shows are opening on Broadway in March, more than a dozen Off-Broadway, and plenty Off-Off Broadway as well, with a mix of exciting new work — by John Leguizamo, Lynn Nottage, and David Byrne, among others — and plays and musicals familiar enough to be called classics — by Sondheim, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and two each by William Inge and Eugene O’Neill, as well as a timely adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Enemy of the People.  Indeed, there are several starkly relevant plays about issues — an oil spill, an economically challenged community, a community responding to tragedy,  a politician in trouble, a martyr, and a dictator.

Fan favorites such as Sally Field,  Danny DeVito, Bobby Cannavale, Abigail Breslin and Lindsay Mendez are gracing New York stages in shows opening in March.

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Color key: Broadway: RedOff Broadway: Purple or BlueOff Off Broadway: Green.

To look at the Spring season as a whole, check out my Broadway Spring 2017 Preview Guide and my Off Broadway Spring 2017 Preview Guide

March 1

Sweeney Todd 1

Sweeney Todd (Barrow Street)

This intimate staging of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s gory musical originated in Harrington’s, London’s oldest working pie and mash shop. The Barrow Street Theatre has been transformed to replicate the pie shop – theatergoers can even order a meal before the show.

 all-the-fine-boys-for-calendar-isabelle-fuhrman-abigail-breslin
All the Fine Boys (New Group at Signature)

Fourteen-year-old best friends Jenny (Abigail Breslin) and Emily (Isabelle Fuhrman) are hungry for knowledge and experience, and in suburban South Carolina in the late ’80s, experience is readily found with older boys

bull-in-a-china-shop-for-calendar

Bull in a China Shop (LCT)

A comedy by Bryna Turner that follows Mary Woolley and her partner Jeannette Marks through 40 years in a New England seminary as they reform and revolutionize women’s education at the height of the suffrage movement.

dolphins-and-sharks-for-calendar-pic-by-marsha-ginsberg

Dolphins and Sharks (Labyrinth Theater at Bank Street)

Pernell Walker of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” stars in this play by James Anthony Tyler about a group of workers in a Harlem print shop struggling for a living wage and a dignified life.

March 2

significant_other-for-calendar

Significant Other (Booth)

Gideon Glick, Barbara Barrie and Lindsay Mendez star in this transfer of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2015 Off-Broadway hit about a gay bachelor looking for love in the big city, watching as one (female) friend after another gets married.

March 8

outerspace-for-calendar

The Outer Space (The Public Theater)

At Joe’s Pub. Ethan Lipton tells the musical story of two human beings who buy an old spaceship, leaving the noise, pollution and overpriced rents of Earth for the vast beauty and treacherous terrain of the final frontier.

March 9

The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie (Belasco)

Sally Field, Joe Mantello, Finn Witrock, Madison Ferris star in the eighth production of Tennessee Williams play on Broadway.

the-moors-for-calendar

The Moors (Playwrights Realm at The Duke)

Jen Silverman’s new play about 19th-century novel-writing sisters.

March 12

come-from-away-for-calendar

Come from Away (Schoenfeld)

A new musical that explores the lasting connection forged between a group of travelers whose planes were diverted to a small Newfoundland town on Sept. 11, 2001.

the-emperor-jones-for-calendar

The Emperor Jones (Irish Rep)

Eugene O’Neill’s play about Brutus Jones, who, following a prison break in the United States, sets himself up as monarch of a Caribbean island. When the Natives rebel after years of exploitation, Jones journeys into darkness.

March 13

the-light-years-poster-for-calendar

The Light Years (Playwrights Horizons)

From the theater company The Debate Society: “Behold The Spectatorium: an audacious, visionary 12,000-seat theater designed for the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 by Steele MacKaye, the now-forgotten theatrical impresario around whom this haunted, 40-year love story spins.”

enemy-of-the-people-poster-for-calendar

Enemy of the People (The Barrow Group)

This adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic gains new currency thanks to the president’s recent remarks. The play is about a scientist who discovers an environmental catastrophe in his town that nobody wants to hear about.

March 14

sundown-for-calendar

Sundown, Yellow Moon (Ars Nova/WP at McGinn/Cazale)

While navigating the unsettling waters of young adulthood, twin sisters return home to find their father in a moment of crisis. Featuring songs by Brooklyn indie-rock duo The Bengsons.

March 15

joan-of-arc-for-calendar

Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (Public)

A rock concert version of the French heroine by David Byrne, directed by Alex Timbers, the team that put together Here Lies Love.

March 16

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The Price (Roundabout at AA)

A revival of Arthur Miller’ 1968 drama about two estranged brothers who reunite to sell their the remainder of their parents’ estate. Danny DeVito makes his Broadway debut in a four-member cast that includes Mark Ruffalo, Jessica Hecht and Tony Shalhoub

Spill (Ensemble Studio Theater)

A theatrical exploration of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest oil spill in history, based on over 200 hours of interviews

March 19

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Cry Havoc (Bedlam at New Ohio)

A solo performance piece by Stephan Wolfert, whorecounts his own experiences of military service, weaving his personal narrative with lines from some of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches.

March 20

How to Transcend a Happy Marriage (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

A new play by Sarah Ruhl:  Two married couples discuss a younger acquaintance–a polyamorous woman who also hunts her own meat. Fascinated, they invite this mysterious woman and her two live-in boyfriends to a New Year’s Eve party, which alters the course of their lives.

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Church and State (New World Stages)

A “serious comedy” by Jason Odell Williams: Three days before his bid for re-election in North Carolina, a Republican US senator makes an off-the-cuff comment to a blogger that calls into question the politico’s belief in God

March 23

Miss Saigon (2) Jon Jon Briones and company

Miss Saigon (Broadway)

The first Broadway revival of the 1991 musical.An American soldier named Chris marries Kim in Vietnam before departing for the US. Three years later, he returns to find Kim still alive and raising Tam, a boy he fathered. With the Viet Cong closing in on the city and two women wanting the only place in his heart, Chris has big decisions to make.

Angry Young Man (Urban Stages)

A British comedy by Ben Woolf about a Middle Eastern surgeon who immigrates to London, running afoul of both white nationalists and liberal hypocrites.

March 26

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Sweat (Studio 54)

Broadway transfer of the hit Public Theatre production of Nottage’s drama about blue-collar workers facing economic meltdown in Reading, Pennsylvania

Come Back, Little Sheba/Picnic (Transport Group at The Gym at Judson)

Two plays by William Inge in repertory

Picnic: When a gorgeous drifter Hal arrives in a small Kansas town, no one is prepared. He brings with him the possibilities and promises — some true some false — of a life with real options.

Come Back, Little Sheba  In an old and cluttered house in the middle west in their middle age, a couple lives one day to the next: Lola, breathless with fear of silence and solitude, and Doc a recovering alcoholic. Into their tired lives comes Marie, their boarder, so flush with the riches of her youth that they can no longer deny how they spent their own.

March 27

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Latin History for Morons (Public)

Inspired by the near total absence of Latinos in his son’s American history class, John Leguizamo embarks on a frenzied search through 3,000 years of history  to find a Latin hero for his son’s school project

March 30

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The Hairy Ape (Park Avenue Armory)

Bobby Cannavale stars as Yank in this 1921 play written by Eugene O’Neill.

February 2017 NY Theater Openings

Broadway this month will see the opening of two starry musical  revivals by two of the reigning composers of musical theater — Stephen Sondheim (86) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (68) — while Off-Broadway pays tribute to Jerry Herman (85) and Kurt Weill (1900-1950), and presents a new musical by John Kander (89.)

Meanwhile, Off-Off Broadway is showcasing the work of one of New York’s hottest musical composers, Dave Malloy (41), best-known for the hit Broadway musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812., which also started Off-Off-Broadway.

The month will also see the opening of new plays by (among others) Brandon Jacob-Jenkins, David Mamet,  Tanya Saracho,and  Will Eno, and new productions of plays by Tracy Letts and Wallace Shawn.

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.
To look at the Spring season as a whole, check out my Broadway Spring 2017 Preview Guide and my Off Broadway Spring 2017 Preview Guide

February 1

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Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose (Davenport)

Ed Dixon recounts how he came to know and admire character actor George Rose, who acted with such luminaries as Katherine Hepburn and Noel Coward.

February 8

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Jonah and Otto (Lost Tribe at Theater Row)

Over the course of a single day, two men  – one 26, the other 62; different in every way – share their solitude and unfold their secrets.

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Fade (Primary Stages at Cherry Lane)

A comedy by Tanya Saracho about the burgeoning friendship between Lucia and Abel, two Latinos of Mexican descent working at a ruthless Hollywood studio

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Big River (Encores at City Center)

The Encores concert version of the Tony-winning musical based on Mark Twain’s novel “Huck Finn.”

February 9

The Mother of Invention (Abingdon at June Havoc)

James Lecesne’s unflinching and comedic look at how one family deals with the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Sunset Boulevard (Palace Theatre)

Glenn Close stars in a revival of the 1994 musical based on the 1950 Billy Wilder movie about a faded Hollywood silent film goddess who tries to make one last comeback. This production was seen in a spring 2016 revival in London.

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The Object Lesson (New York Theatre Workshop)

In what’s becoming its signature activity, NYTW has physically transformed their theater once again, this time turning it into a giant storage facility.  allowing audiences to roam and poke through the clutter.

February 10

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Crackskull Row ( Irish Rep)

Rasher Moorigan has a secret that only his mother knows. Tonight  – for the first time in over thirty years – mother and son spend May Eve together in a wreck of a house down the backlanes of Dublin

February 12

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Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill: (York)

Kurt Weill’s theater songs are presented in the York’s “Musical in Muftis” series (a short run), in a blend of music and story, spanning twenty years, from Von Hindenburg and Hitler in Germany to Roosevelt and Truman in the U.S.

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Beardo (Pipeline)

Beardo, which takes place in St. John’s Lutheran Church in Greenpoint,  is a “Russian indie rock musical” with music by Dave Malloy ( Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.) “This New York premiere explodes the mad inner workings of Rasputin, the infamous mystic who sexed his way to the fall of the Russian monarchy.”

Ring Twice For Miranda (NY City Center Stage II)

A man known only as Sir rules with a vengeance, but it’s Miranda, a chambermaid, who adds intrigue to his life. When Elliot, the butler, is fired, she flees with him in defiance onto the frightening streets. All must soon make critical decisions with imperfect facts to guide them, since little in their world is as it appears.

February 15

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Man From Nebraska (Second Stage)

A revival of the play by Tracey Letts, directed by David Cromer, starring Reed Birney (The Humans) as Ken, a middle aged man from Nebraska, who suddenly finds he’s lost his faith, along with his sense of purpose. He goes on a wild adventure to find it. Along the way he encounters a world vastly different from his own, filled with chance meetings and romantic encounters that shake him to the core.

February 16

Wallace Shawn, from the National Theater production.

Wallace Shawn, from the National Theater production.

Evening at the Talk House (New Group at  Signature)

The New Group at Signature) by Wallace Shawn with Matthew Broderick, Jill Eikenberry, John Epperson, Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn, Claudia Shear, Annapurna Sriram, Michael Tucker.  Shawn takes on theater itself with this acerbic and stealth political comedy about theater artists who  have a reunion at their old hangout, the Talk House, to reminisce about the show they made a decade ago — except most are no longer theater artists. There’s been “a decline in the theatergoing impulse.”

February 19

On The Exhale (Roundabout)

A play by Martin Zimmerman (Netflix’s Narcos) starring Marin Ireland as a liberal college professor inexplicably drawn to a weapon used in a senseless act of violence.

February 21

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Everybody (Signature)

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s new play is a modern version of Everyman, a famous morality play about Christian salvation from the 15th century. I have no idea what he’s doing with it, but he was very clever in a play called Octoroon, which was his take on an 19th century melodrama, and both provocative and thoughtful in his play Gloria

February 22

If I Forget (Roundabout)

A new play by Steven Levenson (“The Language of Trees,” “The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin”) that tells the story of the bickering reunion of liberal Jewish studies professor Michael Fischer with his two sisters to celebrate their father’s 75th birthday shortly before 9/11.

DC production of Kid Victory

DC production of Kid Victory

Kid Victory (Vineyard)

The latest collaboration between John Kander and Greg Pierce. “Seventeen-year-old Luke returns to his small Kansas town after a wrenching one-year absence. As his friendship grows with the town misfit, Emily, his parents realize that in order to truly find their son, they must confront some unnerving truths about his disappearance.”

February 23

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Sunday in the Park with George (Hudson Theater)

Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford star in this
transfer of the New York City Center‘s fall 2016 concert version of the Pulitzer-winning Sondheim and Lapine 1984 musical about pointillist painter George Seurat. It marks the re-launching of the Hudson Theater (built in 1903) as the 41st Broadway house.

Linda (MTC at City Center)

Penelope Skinner’s play is about a successful woman whose pitch to change the way the world looks at women of a certain age winds up making her fight for her own relevance.

February 24

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The View UpStairs (Lynn Redgrave Theater)

A young fashion designer from 2017 buys the abandoned space that was the UpStairs Lounge, a vibrant ’70s gay bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

February 26

Dear World (York)

Tyne Daly stars in the York’s “Musical in Mufti” (short run) of Jerry Herman’s musical based on the Madwoman of Chaillot.

February 27

Wakey, Wakey (Signature)

Will Eno’s play “challenges the notion of what really matters and recognizes the importance of life’s simple pleasures.” The downtown playwright  who made his Broadway debut recently with the abstruse The Realistic Joneses has his admirers; I’m not yet one of them.

The Penitent (Atlantic)

A new play by David Mamet. “A renowned psychiatrist is asked to testify on behalf of a young patient. When he refuses, his career, ethics and faith are thrown into question.”

Nibbler (The Amoralists at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre)

A play by Ken Urban that takes place in the summer of 1992 in Medford, New Jersey, when Adam and his gang of friends face life after high school.  But then the fivesome encounter a mysterious visitor from another world, and their lives are forever changed

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Bull In A China Shop (LCT)

A comedy by Bryna Turner that follows Mary Woolley and her partner Jeannette Marks through 40 years in a New England seminary as they reform and revolutionize women’s education at the height of the suffrage movement.

February 28

A Gravediggger’s Lullaby (TACT at Theatre Row)

A new play by Jeff Talbott about the life of Baylen, an honest, hard-working gravedigger who sweats and bleeds to support his small family

January 2017 Theater Openings Broadway, Off Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway

Two Broadway shows are opening this month, and fewer than a half dozen Off-Broadway, but January is as usual one of the most robust months for theater in New York.

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Billboards outside the Public Theater advertising Under the Radar, one of the winter theater festivals

That’s because there are more than 100 works of theater at some dozen winter theater festivals, although the shows, largely experimental, each run for only a handful of performances. (Check out my separate preview guide for Winter Theater Festivals in New York 2017)

This month also marks the debut of  the new theater complex at 53rd Street and Tenth Avenue run by the Alliance of Resident Theaters (A.R.T.), now home to a dozen acclaimed New York theater companies without buildings of their own. (See January 22 below for the theaters’ first two openings.)

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with each title linked to a relevant website. Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.

To look at the Spring season as a whole, check out my Broadway Spring 2017 Preview Guide and my Off Broadway Spring 2017 Preview Guide.

January 8

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh

The Present (Ethel Barrymore)

Cate Blanchett makes her Broadway debut as (once) wealthy widow Anna Petrovna celebrating her 40th birthday in this new play based on Anton Chekhov’s first play Platonov, with the action transposed to the 1990s.

Mark Felt, Superstar (York)

mark-felt-at-yorkA jazzy musical about Mark Felt Deputy Director of the FBI, who revealed himself as Deep Throat, the secret source about Watergate who helped Woodward and Bernstein bring down President Richard Nixon.

 

January 14

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Mope (Ensemble Studio Theater) 

An examination of a country poisoned by toxic masculinity, hiding inside a comedy about guys who do porn.

January 15

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Made in China (59E59)

A topical puppet musical inspired by true events (!): “An isolated woman finds solace in shopping. After one of her big-box sprees, she finds a cry-for-help note, written by a woman in a Chinese labor camp, stuffed in a box of Halloween lights. Inspired into activism, she embarks on an odyssey of global proportions.”

January 17

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The Dork Knight (Abingdon at Dorothy Strelsin Theatre)

Jason O’Connell’s solo show tracing the ups and downs of his life through the prism of his love/hate relationship with the ‘Batman’ movies.

 

January 18

The Tempest

The Tempest (St. Ann’s Warehouse)

Donmar Warehouse’s all female staging of Shakespeare’s play, set in a woman’s prison, directed by Phyllida Lloyd and starring Harriet Walter. This is the last production of a splendidly theatrical trilogy by the same team, starting with Julius Caesar in 2013 and then Henry IV in 2015.

January 19

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Jitney (Samuel J. Friedman)

Broadway premiere of Wilson’s first play, the only work from his The American Century Cycle never previously seen on Broadway. Set in the early 1970’s, the story follows a group of men who drive unlicensed cabs or jitneys.

 

Born to Rise (Medicine Show Theater) 

A revival of the 1984 musical based on four 19th century novels by Horatio Alger, in which four poor but hopeful young New Yorkers make their way up the social ladder

 

January 22

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Peer Gynt & the Norwegian Hapa Band (Ma-Yi at ART/NY Mezzanine Theater)

A rock ‘n’ roll remake of Ibsen’s classic verse drama

 

 

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The Great American Drama (New York Neofuturists at A.R.T./NY Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre)

An ever-changing theatrical experiment to test the validity of the American Dream. Through interviews & surveys, you’ll tell us how you like your theater and what would make you buy a ticket, and four Neo-Futurists will strive to deliver everything demanded of them.

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The Oregon Trail (Fault Line Theatre)

Jane and her family navigate the deadly perils of 1850s frontier life in a covered wagon as part of a game, while present day Jane navigates the different but all-too-real dangers of high school, college, and adulthood

January 23

Selenis Leyva and Dascha Polanco Tell Hector I Miss Him,

Selenis Leyva and Dascha Polanco Tell Hector I Miss Him,

Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic)

The new play by Paolo Lazaro takes place in Puerto Rico,  and “unmasks a community built on the law of respect that keeps getting washed away but refuses to drown.” The cast includes Dascha Polanco and Selenis Leyva, who play Dayanara Diaz and Gloria Mendoza, respectively, in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black.

 

January 26

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The Liar (CSC)

David Ives adapts  Pierre Corneille’s 17th Century farce of mistaken identities and secrets, Le Menteur, directed by Michael Kahn. The charming Dorante cannot tell the truth and the manservant Cliton cannot tell a lie

January 31

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Yen (MCC) 

In Anna Jordan’s play,  Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), and Justice Smith (The Get Down) portray two brothers ignored by their mother, who are drawn into a world beyond what they know when their animal-loving neighbor Jenny takes an interest in their dog Taliban.