December 2016 New York Theater Openings

Four shows are opening on Broadway this month, three of them new musicals: “A Bronx Tale” marks the Broadway debut of Robert De Niro as a “co-director,” although Jerry Zaks is reportedly doing the heavy lifting.  “Dear Evan Hansen,”  a cult hit Off Broadway by the team of Pasek and Paul, is transferring to the Music Box.  And “In Transit,” another Off-Broadway hit, is co-written by Kristin Anderson-Lopez, who went on to compose the music with her husband Bobby Lopez for “Frozen.”

But some of the most thrilling theater in December is happening Off-Broadway — including “Othello” directed by Sam Gold, starring David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig; Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) in an adaptation of the bestseller “Tiny Beautiful Things” directed by Hamilton’s Tommy Kail; and “The Dead, 1904,” starring Boyd Gaines and Kate Burton, a re-creation of the dinner party at the center of James Joyce’s “The Dead,” in which theatergoers are among the dinner guests.

And then, this being December, there are Christmas plays up the wazoo — too numerous to include here.

Below is a selection of the plays, musicals and less easily categorized theater pieces opening in December, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website. Also included are links to buy tickets (if you can’t get them at the box office.)

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.
To look at the season as a whole, check out Broadway Preview Guide 2016-17 and Off-Broadway Fall 2016

Ad: Click here to sign up for discount ticket offers

December 1

A Bronx Tale (Longacre)

A Bronx Tale The Musical Pre-opening information; subject to change A Bronx Tale The Musical View More Images Longacre Theatre, (12/01/2016 - ) First Preview: Nov 03, 2016 Total Previews: Opening Date: Dec 01, 2016 Closing Date: Total Performances: Category: Musical, Drama, Original, Broadway A Bronx Tale The Musical tickets Official Website Opening Night Credits Production Staff Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President) Produced by Tommy Mottola, The Dodgers and Tribeca Productions Book by Chazz Palminteri; Music by Alan Menken; Lyrics by Glenn Slater; Musical Director: Jonathan Smith; Music arranged by Ron Melrose; Music orchestrated by Doug Besterman Directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks; Choreographed by Sergio Trujillo Scenic Design by Beowulf Boritt; Costume Design by William Ivey Long; Lighting Design by Howell Binkley; Sound Design by Gareth Owen; Hair and Wig Design by Paul Huntley; Make-Up Design by Anne Ford-Coates Musical Supervisor: Ron Melrose Casting: Tara Rubin Casting; Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown; Fight Coordinator: Robert Westley Cast Richard H. Blake Lorenzo Nick Cordero Sonny Ariana DeBose Jane Lucia Giannetta Rosina Bradley Gibson Tyrone Bobby Conte Thornton Broadway debut Calogero Hudson Loverro Broadway debut Young Calogero Athan Sporek Young Calogero Alternate Gilbert L. Bailey II Joe Barbara Michael Barra Broadway debut Jonathan Brody Ted Brunetti Brittany Conigatti Kaleigh Cronin Trista Dollison David Michael Garry Rory Max Kaplan Dominic Nolfi Christiani Pitts Broadway debut Paul Salvatoriello Broadway debut Joseph J. Simeone Joey Sorge Cary Tedder Kirstin Tucker Swings: Michelle Aravena, Gerald Caesar, Charlie Marcus, Wonu Ogunfowora and Keith WhiteThe Bronx Tale, about a youth in the Bronx who against the wishes of his father gets involved in organized crime,  began life as a one-man show written and performed by Chazz Palminteri. It was then made into 1993 directed by and co-starring Robert De Niro. De Niro is co-directing the musical with Jerry Zaks, marking De Niro’s Broadway directorial debut.

Tickets

Iluminate (New World Stages) 

ILUMINATE 2

Acrobatic dancing by performers wearing glow-in-the-dark costumes

My review of Iluminate  at a previous venue

Tickets

December 3

Sgt. Stubby (St. Lukes Theater)

st-stubby

Subtitled “The Great American War Dog Musical,” the family-friendly show is inspired by the true story of a stray from New Haven, Connecticut who became a hero in World War I.

Tickets

December 4

Dear Evan Hansen (Music Box)

dear-evan-hansen-for-calendar

A high school student pretends to have been best friends with a classmate who committed suicide in this musical by the songwriters of A Christmas Story: The Musical. This was a cult favorite Off-Broadway.  My review when it was Off-Broadway.

Tickets

The Illusionists (The Palace)

the-illusionists-2016-for-calendar

On Broadway for the third holiday season in a row, The Illusionists will present magic from the early 20th century,

My review the first time around.

Tickets

Sing (Theatre at St. Clements)

sing

A South African and American Holiday Musical celebration starring and directed by Thula Dumakude.

December 5

The Babylon Line (Lincoln Center)

the-babylong-line

A play by Richard Greenberg about a writer from bohemian Greenwich Village who commutes to Levittown to teach a creative writing class that includes one student that reawakens his own artistic impulses. The cast includes Josh Radnor and Elizabeth Reaser.

Tickets 

December 6

Rancho Viejo (Playwrights Horizons) 

Rancho Viejo

In Dan LeFranc’s comedy of anxiety and awkward neighbors, the residents of the (fictional) affluent suburb of Rancho Viejo drift from one gathering to the next, wrestling life’s grandest themes while fending off existential despair — set against the lustful, yearning strains of a distant bolero. The cast includes Mark Blum and Mare Winningham.

December 7

Tiny Beautiful Things (The Public) 

Tiny Beautiful Things for calendar

Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) plays Sugar, an anonymous online advice columnist in a Vardalos’ stage adaptation of the book of the same name by Cheryl Strayed. Directed by Thomas Kail (Hamilton.)

Tickets 

December 8

The Band’s Visit (Atlantic Theater)

the-bands-visit

This musical with a book by Itamar Moses (Fortress of Solitude) and music by David Yazbek (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), and directed by David Cromer (Our Town), with a cast including Tony Shalhoub and John Cariani, is an adaptation the 2007 film about an Egyptian Police Band that arrives in Israel to play a concert but is sent by mistake to a remote village in the middle of the desert.

Tickets

Anna Christie (The Wild Project) 

anna-christie-for-calendar

Eugene O’Neill’s drama of a woman torn between the expectations of men and the secrets of her past, gets a timely retelling under the direction of Peter Roberts.

The Dead, 1904 (Irish Rep)

boydgainesinthedead1904ataihs1

Based on the novella by James Joyce, “The Dead,1904 is a new adaptation in which an audience of 40 guests will themselves attend the Misses Morkan’s holiday party, move from room to room with the actors, listen to the music, watch the dances, dine on a meal inspired by the menu in the novella, and observe the characters in their interactions.  The production will take place in an authentic Victorian mansion.” It stars Kate Burton and Boyd Gaines.

December 11

In Transit (Circle in the Square)

I

I

Broadway’s first a capella musical — no orchestra — chronicles the intertwining lives of 11 subway riders. It was a  hit Off-Broadway in 2010. Co-written by Kristin Lopez-Anderson, now known for Frozen. Its 16-member cast includes Justin Guarini, Telly Leung and Erin Mackey.

Tickets

December 12

Othello (NY Theatre Workshop)

othello

Sam Gold directs David Oyelowo (Selma) in the title role and Daniel Craig (Betrayal, Spectre) as Iago in Shakespeare’s tragedy.

Tickets

December 14

Nina Conti In Your Face (Barrow Street Theater) 

nina-conti

With handcrafted masks that transform audience members into “live puppets,” along with her sidekick, the “foul-mouthed” Monkey, Conti creates a hilarious new show nightly. This is ventriloquism for a new generation

Martin Luther On Trial (The Pearl)

martin-luther-on-trial-for-calendar

With Satan as the prosecutor and Luther’s wife for the defense, witnesses including Adolf Hitler, Sigmund Freud, Rabbi Josel, St. Paul, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pope Francis take the stand. Even as 2017 marks 500 years since Luther ignited the Protestant Revolt against Rome, he continues to spark intense debate

December 19

Bright Colors and Bold Patterns (Barrow Street Theatre) 

bright-colors

A one-man show written by and starring Drew Droege. “Josh and Brennan are about to get married in Palm Springs on a lovely Saturday afternoon. However, the night before becomes a drunken, drug-fueled scream riot, because their friend Gerry has arrived, furious that their invitation says “please refrain from wearing bright colors or bold patterns.”

What to See on Broadway Thanksgiving Week 2016

The turkey float in the Thanksgiving Day parade

The 90th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will feature (as it traditionally does) numbers from Broadway musicals — on CBS, The Color Purple,  On Your Feet, and School of Rock; on NBC, Cats, Holiday Inn, Paramour and Waitress. But you can also see the whole shows on Broadway during Thanksgiving Week.

Scroll down to the bottom for  the Broadway schedule for the week — most shows are dark on Thanksgiving Day, but have added matinees for the day after.

Here too are my recommendations, first for new shows that have opened this season so far, and then evergreens suitable for young children.

Recommended New Shows

In truth, I can only wholeheartedly recommend one show that’s opened on Broadway this season so far, so the following list is stacked with Off-Broadway shows. In alphabetical order:

Finian’s Rainbow

finians-rainbow-5-mark-evans-and-melissa-errico

At the Irish Rep, a four-piece orchestra and a 13-member cast led by the glorious Melissa Errico do delicious justice to the show’s terrific tuneful melodies, written by composer Burton Lane (whose long career on Broadway and in Hollywood included the discovery of Judy Garland) and lyricist Yip Harburg (who wrote the lyrics to more than 500 songs, including “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”, “April in Paris”, and many of the songs for “The Wizard of Oz.”) The 15 songs in “Finian’s Rainbow” are an inspiring mix of Irish folk tunes, Southern mountain melodies, Tin Pan Alley, gospel and the blues.

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Josh Groban as Pierre and the cast of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway

Josh Groban as Pierre and the cast of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway

An opera with an unwieldy title based on Tolstoy’s War and Peace might seem like an unlikely crowd-pleaser, but Great Comet is the freshest, most inviting show on Broadway this season, especially awesome in its stagecraft. Nineteen of the cast members are making their Broadway debuts, including Josh Groban, who is stellar.

Notes From the Field

Notes from the Field 5

Anna Deavere Smith  portrays 17  disparate characters with her usual dazzling virtuosity, in presenting her argument that there is a school to prison “pipeline” for poor people and people of color.

Sweat

Khris Davis and Will Pullen as friends who wind up in prison.

Khris Davis and Will Pullen as friends who wind up in prison.

Like Grapes of Wrath, Lynn Nottage’s play 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. The characters in Sweat live in Reading, Pennsylvania, which 2010 U.S. Census data identified as the poorest city in America.

Vietgone

Jennifer Ikeda as Tong and Raymond Lee as Quang

Jennifer Ikeda as Tong and Raymond Lee as Quang

Qui Nguyen’s rap-infused play about two Vietnamese refugees who fall in love is as puckish as a comic book. But for all the pop culture silliness, the playfulness with language, and the clever stagecraft, “Vietgone” paints complex and credible portraits of the two main characters.

Broadway shows for young children

Aladdin

James Monroe Iglehart

James Monroe Iglehart

The genie is James Monroe Iglehart, and he is the one who provides the bulk of the entertainment, morphing from showbiz master of ceremonies to carnival barker to infomercial huckster to game show host to Cab Calloway-like zoot-suiter to disco dj to hip-hopper in a Hawaiian shirt, to yes, a sparkling-suited magical genie who emerges amid smoke from a little lamp. Every number over which he presides – nearly every moment he is on stage –  answers the question that fans of the 1992 film Aladdin might have wondered about: How would Disney be able to translate to the stage the protean cartoon character of genie voiced by Robin Williams at his peak? The answer is James Monroe Iglehart, and the answer satisfies.

Tickets to Aladdin

The Lion King

CircleofLifefromLionKing

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 — and worthwhile for any theatergoer no matter how experienced.

Tickets to The Lion King

Matilda

Matilda 10

“Matilda” is based on Roald Dahl’s dark children’s book about a girl with extraordinary gifts who is at first unappreciated by the adults. The musical  offers dazzling stagecraft overseen by director Matthew Warchus, a faithful and intelligent book by David Kelly, and Tim Minchin’s clever lyrics. The production also, however, sometimes feels in need of a translator. It is very British both in milieu and in enunciation. A major reason to choose this show is that it is set to close on January 1, 2017.

Tickets to Matilda

School of Rock

School of Rock

In his first original musical on Broadway in a decade, Andrew Lloyd Webber has chosen to adapt a movie with a plot that could hardly be sillier, and supplies a new score that could hardly be more addictive. School of Rock – The Musical is full of both hard-charging rock n roll and supremely catchy melodies.

An implicit message of the musical — that rocking and stomping are far more important to fourth graders than math or history – could make a convincing case for the depravity of rock n roll. But if anybody is still alive to be receptive to that argument, they’re sure to be won over by the thrilling performances by the baker’s dozen of talented kids, several sure to share stardom with the adults.

Tickets to School of Rock

Wicked

Wicked NY

Wicked NY

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

Tickets to Hamilton

Broadway’s Thanksgiving Week Schedule

As the Broadway schedule below for Thanksgiving week indicates, seven shows are performing Thanksgiving Day. A Bronx Tale; Chicago; Fiddler on the Roof; Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812; Paramour; Phantom of the Opera; and Waitress. Every other show is dark that day. But most have added matinees on Friday.Some dozen of the shows have also added a performance on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

The show names in the chart below are linked to my reviews, or other relevant articles, when available. I put an asterisk next to those shows that I enjoyed without significant reservation. (Or just one significant reservation — tickets are expensive.)

A key to understanding the chart:
Crossed out dates means canceled performance
Bold faced dates means added performance
Italic dates means a different than usual curtain time

SHOW Mon. Nov. 21 Tue. Nov. 22 Wed. Nov. 23 Thu. Nov. 24 Fri. Nov. 25 Sat. Nov. 26 Sun. Nov. 27
*Aladdin DARK 7pm 1pm, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 6:30pm
Alton Brown Live DARK 8pm 8pm DARK 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 1pm, 5:30pm
Beautiful 7pm 7pm 2pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 7pm
*The Book of Mormon DARK 7pm 2pm,7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 7pm
A Bronx Tale 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Cats 8pm 7pm 7:30pm DARK 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 7pm
The Cherry Orchard 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm
Chicago 8pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 2:30pm, 8pm 2:30pm, 8pm 2:30pm, 7pm
*The Color Purple 7pm 7pm 2pm, 7pm DARK 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*Dear Evan Hansen 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
The Encounter DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Falsettos DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Fiddler on the Roof DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
The Front Page DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*Hamilton DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Heisenberg 7pm 7pm 2pm, 7pm 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm
Holiday Inn DARK 8pm 2pm, 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm
*The Humans DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
The Illusionists DARK 7pm DARK 7pm 3pm, 8pm 11am, 3pm, 8pm 1pm, 6:30pm
In Transit 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Jersey Boys DARK 7pm 2pm, 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Kinky Boots DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Les Liasons Dangereuses DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*Lion King DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 6:30pm
*Matilda 7pm 7pm 2pm DARK 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 6:30pm
*Natasha, Pierre… DARK 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
Oh, Hello 8pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 7pm
*On Your Feet! 8pm 7pm 8pm DARK 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm, 7pm
Paramour 7pm 7pm 7pm 5pm DARK 3pm 2pm
Phantom of the Opera 8pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm DARK
*School of Rock 7pm 7pm 2pm, 7pm DARK 7:30pm 2pm, 7:30pm 1pm, 6pm
Something Rotten! 7pm 7pm 2pm, 8pm 7pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*Waitress DARK 7:30pm 2pm, 7:30pm 7:30pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 3pm
*Wicked DARK 7pm 2pm, 7:30pm 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 8pm 2pm, 7pm

Buy theater tickets at Ticket Liquidator

November 2016 Theater Openings on Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

Three of the four Broadway openings  in November are for shows, with limited (holiday) runs, are rightly categorized more as entertainments than theater.  Ah, but the fourth…

Great Comet

The month offers new stage adaptations of two beloved movies, a rap take on Othello, Off-Broadway revivals of two big-time tuneful musicals,  and several exciting wholly original works of theater.

Color key: Broadway: RedOff Broadway: Purple, blue or black. Off Off Broadway: Green.

For a look at the entire season, check out Broadway Preview Guide 2016-17 and Off Broadway Fall 2016 Guide

November 2

Notes From The Field: Doing Time In Education (Second Stage)

notes-from-the-field-anna-deavere-smith

Drawn from interviews with more than 200 people, Anna Deavere Smith explores the personal accounts of students, parents, teachers and administrators caught in America’s school-to-prison pipeline, which pushes minors from poor communities out of the kristinchenowethintophatclassroom and into incarceration,

Kingdom Come (Roundabout Black Box)

Jenny Rachel Weiner’s comedy about two people who meet from an online dating site, who are both pretending to be somebody else.

My Love Letter to Broadway (Lunt-Fontanne)

Kristin Chenoweth in concert, for 12 performances.

November 3

Ultimate Beauty Bible (Page 73 at New Ohio)

Workaholic Danielle is forced to face her mortality,

Sweat (Public Theater)

Sweat P

The much-praised play by Lynn Nottage, getting its New York premiere, about a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the line of a factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in the hard fight to stay afloat. “Sweat,”  winner of this year’s prestigious  Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for a play by a woman, is the result of two years of research in Reading, Pennsylvania, which the U.S. Census Bureau proclaimed the poorest city in America.

November 6

Finian’s Rainbow (Irish Rep)

finiansrainbowforcalendar

Melissa Errico stars in a reprised revival (translation: the Irish Rep has done it before) of this 1947 musical by Burton Lane and Yip Harburg about an Irishman who steals a leprechaun’s pot of gold and escapes with his daughter to the Jim Crow South.  The creative team intended this musical to be politically on the left, but its message feels nowadays something of an outdated muddle. The tunes, however, are terrific.

Homos, or Everyone In America (Labyrinth)

homosforcalendar

Michael Urie and Robin De Jesús star in a play about an everyday couple confronted by a vicious crime.

November 7

“Master Harold”….And The Boys (Signature)

masterharoldforcalendar

A revival of Athol Fugard’s play, directed by the playwright, about  two black men and a young white boy who joke and dance together, “defying the brutalities of apartheid through their joyous love. But festering issues of family, race, and power are not so easy to ignore…”

November 8

Women of a Certain Age (The Public Theater)

gabriels3-for-calendar

The third play, and culmination of, “The Gabriels” trilogy, which will be both set and open – and which the playwright will finish writing – on Election Day.

November 13

The Portal (Minetta Lane)

A man journeys through the desert and mountains on a path to personal discovery.

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World (Signature Theatre)

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead BY SUZAN-LORI PARKS DIRECTED BY LILEANA BLAIN-CRUZ

Subtitled, “AKA The Negro Book of the Dead,” Suzan-Lori Parks begins her Signature residency with a play that “explores and explodes archetypes of Black America.”

November 14

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (Imperial)

greatcometbwayforcalendar

Josh Groban and Denee Benton star in this Broadway production of a much-praised musical adapting a sliver of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. My review when it was in its own home in the hip Meatpacking District.

November 15

Party People (Public Theater)

The complicated legacies of the original Black Panther Party and the Young Lords are explored in a play developed and directed by Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed), and starring the ensemble known as Universes (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and William Ruiz aka Ninja), in their Public Theater debut.

November 16

Terms of Endearment (59E59)

terms-of-endearment-for-calendar

Molly Ringwald stars in a play based on the novel by Larry McMurtry and the film by James L. Brooks  about the relationship between  a highly opinionated mother and her feisty daughter.

Othello: The Remix (The Westside Theater)

othello-remix-for-calendar

An 80-minute spin on Shakespeare’s tragedy by the Q Brothers, rappers GQ and JQ.

November 17

The Dead Poets Society (CSC)

DeadPoetsSociety

(

gal-dps-cast-jpg)

Academy Award-winner Tom Schulman adapts his own screenplay of the Robin Williams/Robert Sean Leonard film for this play about an inspiring boarding school teacher, starring Jason Sudeikis.

A Taste of Things To Come (York)

Four women enter a Betty Crocker cooking contest in the hopes of changing their lives.

November 20

Sweet Charity (New Group at Signature)

sutton-foster-in-sweet-charity

Sutton Foster stars in this revival on its 50th anniversary of the musical by Neil Simon, Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields. Charity Hope Valentine, the dancehall hostess, is  a role famously associated with Gwen Vernon and Shirley MacLaine.

November 21

This Day Forward (Vineyard Theatre)

A comedy by Nicky Silver (The Lyons) about a woman who made a surprising confession on her honeymoon, causing all plans to fall apart. “Nearly 50 years later, her children wrestle with their past and a mother whose secrets are quickly fading along with her memory.”

November 22

Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science (Ethel Barrymore)

alton-brown

Broadway is just one stop on the 50-city tour for this veteran anchor of TV cooking shows, who promises  comedy, talk show antics, multimedia presentations, music and puppets.

November 27

The Pigeon in the Taj Mahal (Irish Rep)

pigeon-in-taj-mahal-for-calendar

A dark comedy about a lonely outsider forced to live on an abandoned campsite that is discovered one day by a lost bachelorette party.

October 2016 Theater Openings

john-goodman-nathan-lane-john-slattery

October is stuffed — to use the title of one of the many shows opening this month. There are seven shows opening on Broadway alone (eight if you count a concert with a week-long run.)  Three are classic plays, a fourth a revival of a beloved musical, a fifth derived from a beloved/classic movie musical.

Off-Broadway, there are revivals of shows by Rent composer Jonathan Larsen,

Holiday InnStudio 54Horton Foote on the centennial of his birth,  and playwright David Hare, as well as a first play by an insult comic (the one who wrote “Stuffed”) and a puppet parody of an old sitcom.

It’s a starry month too, with such familiar faces as Nathan Lane, John Goodman, John Slattery, Jefferson Mays, Holland Taylor and Robert Morse — and they’re all just in one show. Other shows star Diane Lane, Christian Borle, Corbin Bleu, Mary Louise Parker, Andrew Rannells, Rachel Weisz

Below is a selection of the plays, musicals and difficult-to-label theater pieces opening in October, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Color key: Broadway: RedOff Broadway: Purple, blue or black. Off Off Broadway: Green.

For a look at the entire season, check out Broadway Preview Guide 2016-17 and Off Broadway Fall 2016 Guide

October 2

Afterplay (Irish Rep)

Brian Friel revisits the lives of two of Chekhov’s enduring characters- Sonya, Uncle Vanya’s dutiful niece, and Andrey, the downtrodden intellectual brother of The Three Sisters. They meet by chance in a late night cafe in 1920s Moscow

 

October 3

That Golden Girls Show, A Puppet Parody (DR2)

golden-girls-for-calendar

Miami’s four favorite girls reunite in this live puppet parody of the old TV series.

 

October 5

The Roads to Home (Primary Stages at Cherry Lane)

the-roads-to-home-for-calendar

A revival of this play by Horton Foote (on the Centennial of his birth) about three women in the 1920s who have all moved to Houston and are now grappling with the eternal question, “What is home?”

October 6

Holiday Inn, the New Irving Berlin Musical (Studio 54) 

Megan Sikora and Corbin Bleu

Megan Sikora and Corbin Bleu

A stage adaptation of the 1942 film that introduced White Christmas and other Irving Berlin hits.

 

Daddy Issues (Theatre at St. Clements)

Donald, a gay man in the 1980s, hires the ten-year-old kid from downstairs to play his son in order to get his own parents off his back.

October 7

lisa-lampanelli

Stuffed (WP at McGinn/Cazale)

A first play by comedian  Lisa Lampanelli about four women — a bulimic, a compulsive eater, a confident overweight gal, and a chronically thin chick.

October 8

Simon Dawes Becomes a Planet (Access Theatre)

Equal parts fable, music hall panto, and modern farce about a boy born the size of a pea who grows to cosmic proportions.

October 9

Slumber (House of Yes)

A girl squad comprised of elite international circus performers and dancers on the last night of their lives….Who lives? Who dies? You decide.

The Folk Singer (Theatre for the New City)

A new musical about a young musician who wants to write songs as relevant today as those of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez were in their heyday

October 10

Oh, Hello (Lyceum) 

oh-hello-for-calendar

The comedy duo Nick Kroll and John Mulaney portray their alter egos  Gil Faizonand George St. Geegland, “outrageously opinionated, 70-something,  bachelors born and bred in New York.”

 

October 13

Heisenberg (Samuel J. Friedman)

The playwright of A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time penned this play, which debuted Off Broadway last year, starring Mary Louise Parker.  “Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train station, Georgie spots Alex, a much older man, and plants a kiss on his neck. This electric encounter thrusts these two strangers into a fascinating and life-changing game.”

 

Chris Gethard: Career Suicide (The Lynn Redgrave Theater)

The solo show from the Edinburgh Fringe about Gethard’s experiences with mental illness, ethically questionable psychiatry, and finding hope in weird places

October 16

The Cherry Orchard (American Airlines Theater)

John Glover, Diane Lane, Joel Grey

John Glover, Diane Lane, Joel Grey

Diane Lane in Chekhov’s play about “a family on the edge of ruin—and a country on the brink of revolution.”

 

She Stoops to Conquer (TACT at Theatre Row)

The 18th century romantic play by Oliver Goldsmith that pits county manners against city snobbery.

October 18

Sell/Buy/Date (MTC Studio at Stage II)

sarah-jones

Sarah Jones (Bridge & Tunnel) portrays multiple characters in a new show inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the sex industry.

 

October 19

Love, Love, Love (RTC’s Laura Pels Theater)

A new play from Mike Bartlett (King Charles III, Cock.)  “London, 1967. Beatlemania is in full effect, the “Me” generation is in its prime and Kenneth and Sandra are in a world of  sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll….But what happens when they have babies of their own.”

 

October 20

The Front Page (Broadhurst)

front-page-poster

Nathan Lane, John Slattery, John Goodman, Jefferson Mays, Sherie Rene Scott, Holland Taylor and Robert Morse star in the fifth Broadway revival of the 1928 comedy about old-time reporters who would do anything for a scoop. Even the supporting cast is hot — Lewis J. Stadlen, Dylan Baker, Micah Stock, Halley Feiffer, et al.

Tick…Tick…Boom (Keen Company at Theatre Row)

A revival of Rent composer Jonathan Larsen’s autobiographical musical, the story of an aspiring composer questioning his life choices on the eve of his thirtieth birthday.

 

Puffs (Elektra)

‘Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic” is a comedy about a young wizard named Wayne Hopkins and the Puffs–a group of well-meaning, loyal rejects with a thing for badgers.

 

October 21

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Lunt-Fontanne)

The group that inspired “Jersey Boys” (which is closing in January) perform for a week their hits “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Sherry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Oh, What A Night”

October 23

Plenty (Public Theater)

Rachel Weisz and Corey Stoll star in a revival of David Hare’s play about  Susan Traherne, a fiercely intelligent British secret agent flown into France during the second world war, who has trouble adjusting in the years after the war.

Not That Jewish (New World Stages)

From her show business family in the Bronx, to a WASP wedding, to her first step on a comedy club stage and life as a single mom, Monica Piper shares the milestones and moments that shaped her life with the same signature wit found in her writing on, “Roseanne” and “Mad About You.”

One Flea Spare (Sheen Center)

The 20th anniversary revival of this play by Naomi Wallace set in plague-ravaged 17th-century London, where a wealthy couple is preparing to flee their home when a mysterious sailor and a young girl appear sneaking into their boarded up house. They are all quarantined together for 28 days.

 

October 24

A Life (Playwrights Horizons)

After another breakup, Nate resorts to astrology. In this new play by Adam Bock,  “the answer he receives, when it comes, is shockingly obvious — and totally unpredictable.”

 

The Harvest (Lincoln Center Theater)

A new play by Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale) about a Mormon missionary who has bought a one-way ticket to the Middle East, but is confronted by his sister, who doesn’t want him to leave.

 

October 25

Vietgone (MTC City Center)

vietgone-for-calendar

The award-winning play by Qui Nguyen is a love story about a boy and girl who are refugees from the Vietnam War newly settled in a relocation camp inside Middle America.

 

October 27

Falsettos (Walter Kerr Theater)

falsettos-borle_rannells-for-calendar

A revival of the 1992 Tony-winning musical about a middle-aged man named Marvin and his decision to leave his wife, Trina, for a man, Whizzer. “Falsettos” combined two early Off-Broadway musicals, the 1981 “March of the Falsettos,”  and the 1990 “Falsettoland.” The new production stars Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block, Andrew Rannells, and Brandon Uranowitz.

 

The Babies (St. Lukes)

A musical about babies from the womb to preschool; “they sing and dance and tell you what they really think.”

 

Duat (Soho Rep at the Connelly)

“Two halves of a soul hunt through a hall of records.
A librarian breaks the seal of a mysterious archive.
A teacher and her class prepare the pageant to end all pageants.”

 

October 30

Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Booth Theatre)

lesliaisonsdangereusesforcalendar

Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber star in a production from the Donmar Warehouse of the 1985 play about sexual intrigue in 18th century France.

Coriolanus (Red Bull at Barrow Street)

Shakespeare’s play, with some special relevance –” Economic inequality strains the social fabric. Debates rage throughout a nation riddled with dissension and distrust. It’s election year in Rome, 493 B.C.E., and as unscrupulous politicians manipulate public opinion, the hypocrisy and humiliation of political campaigns drive away the country’s finest….” — featuring a cast that includes the incomparable Patrick Page.

Off Broadway Fall 2016 Guide

SmithNottageParksDuring the Fall 2016 season, three of the most celebrated playwrights in America are offering some acclaimed plays: Anna Deavere Smith, Lynn Nottage and Suzan-Lori Parks. That the three are black women tells the savvy New York theatergoer that their shows are all Off-Broadway.

OffBroadwaystarsFall2016

David Oyelowo, Daniel Craig, Sutton Foster, Judith Light, Rachel Weisz, Jason Sudeikis, Tony shalhoub

Yes, Off-Broadway can be as starry as Broadway – this season’s shows Off-Broadway will feature David Oyelowo, Daniel Craig and his wife Rachel Weisz (in separate shows), Sutton Foster,, Tony Shalhoub, Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis.

But it’s instructive to realize that the work of Lynn Nottage, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of “Ruined,” has never been on Broadway.  Her award-winning play, “Sweat,”  is set to run this season at the Public Theater.

Similarly, MacArthur “genius” Anna Deavere Smith has been on Broadway only once, for two months, 22 years ago. Smith, who has made her mark in American theater by exhaustively researching one urgent issue after another, putting together solo shows in which she portrays the characters on all sides, has done it again.  Her “Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education” will be performed at Second Stage.

Suzan-Lori Parks, who won the Pulitzer for Top Dog/Underdog is the artist-in-resident this season at the Signature.

TaylorMac1940s

Taylor Mac

There are exciting offerings this season that one cannot imagine fitting on Broadway — Taylor Mac’s “24-Decade History of Popular Music “at St. Ann’s Warehouse; “The Gabriel’s,” Richard Nelson’s three-part series on the effect of the 2016 Presidential election on a single family, at the Public  — and some that one can — the New Group’s revival of “Sweet Charity” and the Irish Rep’s of “Finian’s Rainbow.”

But it’s short-sighted to treat Off-Broadway in the same way as Broadway — as a collection of individual potential hits or misses. (See my Broadway 2016-2017 Preview Guide.)   As most serious theatergoers will tell you,  Off Broadway has far richer, more adventurous and more diverse offerings, at a lower price.  Off-Broadway is also harder to get a handle on —  more spread out,  less publicized, and more numerous; there are  some 200 theaters/theater companies, more than five times the number of Broadway theaters. What’s more, most of the Off-Broadway theaters present entire seasons of (mostly) rewarding shows. These theaters generally offer subscriptions and/or memberships for the season.

That is why I organize my Off-Broadway preview below largely by the theaters in which they are being produced, in order of my preference for these theaters (determined by such factors as their recent track record, the promise of the new season, and by the overall experience I’ve had with the theater.)

Still, I’ve put a red check mark —  — besides a handful of shows opening in the Fall about which I’m especially excited, or intrigued, or at least notably hopeful. This can’t count as a recommendation, because I haven’t seen them yet. A few less promising-looking shows are sure to wind up more satisfying.  Expect to be surprised.

(The asterisk *, explained more fully at the bottom, indicates those theatrical empires that are both on and Off Broadway.)

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS playwrights horizons logo

416 W. 42nd St. Twitter: @PHNYC

Annie Baker’s “The Flick” is one of six plays that originated at Playwrights Horizons that have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The theater offers new plays and musicals that are consistently worthwhile, in an environment that feels dedicated both to the theater artists and the theatergoers.

PlaywrightsHorizonsFall2016

Aubergine

August 20 – October 2. Opens September 12.

Julia Cho’s new play focuses on food. A man who shares a bowl of berries, a young woman who falls in love; a mother who prepares a bowl of soup to keep her son from leaving home; and a son who cooks a meal for his dying father.

A Life

September 30 – November 13. Opens October 24.

After another breakup, Nate resorts to astrology. In this new play by Adam Bock,  “the answer he receives, when it comes, is shockingly obvious — and totally unpredictable.”

Rancho Viejo

November 11 – December 23. Opens December 6.

In Dan LeFranc’s comedy of anxiety and awkward neighbors, the residents of Rancho Viejo drift from one gathering to the next, wrestling life’s grandest themes while fending off existential despair — set against the lustful, yearning strains of a distant bolero.

Spring, 2017

The Light Years by the Debate Society

The Profane by Zayd Dohrn

Bella: An American Tall Tale, Book, Music, and Lyrics by Kirsten Childs

THE PUBLIC THEATER

publictheaterlogo425 Lafayette Street. Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY

Having originated both Hamilton and Fun Home, the Public is on a roll, the latest of many in the successful downtown empire that Joe Papp created half a century ago. The Public is so popular these days that members have been complaining that their membership doesn’t guarantee tickets to the Public shows they want to see.

Public Works’ Twelfth Night
September 2-5

Twelfth Night Public Works

Twelfth Night
Public Works

Director Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage, and songwriter Shaina Taub team up to present this Shakespeare comedy with professional actors such as Jose Lana and Nikki James and some 200 community members.

What Did You Expect?

September 10-October 9

What did you expect gabriels

The second in the three play cycle by Richard Nelson, “The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family.” The first play in the cycle, Hungry, opened March 4, which is the date in which it is set.

Plenty

October 4 – November 6

Rachel Weisz and Corey Stoll star in a revival of David Hare’s play about  Susan Traherne, a fiercely intelligent British secret agent flown into France during the second world war, who has trouble adjusting in the years after the war.

Sweat

October 18 – November 27

Scene from a previous production of Sweat

Scene from a previous production of Sweat

The much-praised play by Lynn Nottage, getting its New York premiere, about a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the line of a factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in the hard fight to stay afloat. “Sweat,”  winner of this year’s prestigious  Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for a play by a woman, is the result of two years of research in Reading, Pennsylvania, which the U.S. Census Bureau proclaimed the poorest city in America.

√ Women of a Certain Age

November 4 – December 4

WomenofaCertainAge

The third play, and culmination of, “The Gabriels” trilogy, which will be both set and open – and which the playwright will finish writing – on Election Day, November 8, 2016.

Party People

November 1 – December 4

PartyPeople1

The complicated legacies of the original Black Panther Party and the Young Lords are explored in a play developed and directed by Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed), and starring the ensemble known as Universes (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and William Ruiz aka Ninja), in their Public Theater debut.

Tiny Beautiful Things

November 15 – December 31

Strayed/Vardalos

Strayed/Vardalos

Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) plays Sugar, an anonymous online advice columnist in a Vardalos’ stage adaptation of the book of the same name by Cheryl Strayed. Directed by Thomas Kail (Hamilton.)

Under the Radar Festival, 13th edition

January 4-15, 2017

Cutting-edge theater from around the U.S. and the world.

Spring 2017:

Joan of Arc: Into the Fire by David Byrne, directed by Alex Timbers

The Outer Space by Ethan Lipton

Latin History for Morons by John Leguizamo

 Gently Down The Stream by Martin Sherman starring Harvey Fierstein

new_york_01NEW YORK THEATER WORKSHOP

79 East 4th Street. Twitter: @NYTW79

NYTW got much attention last year for presenting David Bowie’s musical “Lazarus.” Its fare ranged from the innovative and tuneful — “Hadestown” — to the cutting edge and incomprehensible — “Fondly, Collette Richland”

Nat Turner in Jerusalem

September 7 – October 16

Nat Turner in Jerusalem

In August 1831, Nat Turner led a slave uprising that shook the conscience of the nation. Turner’s startling account of his prophecy and the insurrection was recorded and published by attorney Thomas R. Gray. NYTW 2050 Fellow Nathan Alan Davis makes his New York debut with a timely new play that imagines Turner’s final night in a jail cell in Jerusalem, Virginia, as he is revisited by Gray and they reckon with what has passed and what the dawn will bring.

Othello

November 22 – January 18, 2017

Sam Gold directs David Oyelowo (Selma) in the title role and Daniel Craig (Betrayal, Spectre) as Iago in Shakespeare’s tragedy.

 

Spring 2017:

The Object Lesson

Sojourners and Her Portmanteau

 

SIGNATURE

signature_01

480 West 42nd Street. Twitter: @signaturetheatr

As the first New York theater to win the Regional Tony Award, the Signature now has some solid proof of what has been clear to its patrons for years.  What has distinguished this theater is not only its track record, but its commitment to keep the price of all tickets for initial runs to $25.

With the recent expansion of both their facilities and their mission, some longtime subscribers have had to adjust to the introduction of work by more untested playwrights. This is the first season under new artistic director Paige Evans, who headed Lincoln Center’s LCT3   Signature’s founding artistic director James Houghton died in August.

 Master Harold….and the Boys

October 18 – November 27. Opens November 7.

A revival of Athol Fugard’s play, directed by the playwright, about  two black men and a young white boy who joke and dance together, “defying the brutalities of apartheid through their joyous love. But festering issues of family, race, and power are not so easy to ignore…”

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World

Opens November 14.

Suzan-Lori Parks begins her Signature residency with a play that “explores and explodes archetypes of Black America with piercing insight and raucous comedy.”

Spring 2017

Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

A new play by Will Eno

The Antipodes by Annie Baker

Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks

 

AtlanticTheaterlogoATLANTIC THEATER

Marie and Rosetta

August 24 – October 2. Opens September 14.

Rebecca Naomi Jones and Kecia Lewis Marie star in this play by George Brant inspired by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the “queen of race records” who influenced everybody from Elvis Presley to Jimi Hendrix, but died forgotten. The play takes place during her first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight, preparing for a tour.

 The Band’s Visit

November 11 – December 23. Opens December 18.

This musical with a book by Itamar Moses (Fortress of Solitude) and music by David Yazbek (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), and directed by David Cromer (Our Town), is an adaptation the 2007 film about an Egyptian Police Band that arrives in Israel to play a concert but is sent by mistake to a remote village in the middle of the desert.

 

LincolnCenterlogoLINCOLN CENTER THEATER*

@LCTheater

The shows at Lincoln Center’s Off-Broadway venues are inexpensive (especially at the Claire Tow theater, where initial-run tickets cost $20) and often rewarding.

The Harvest

October 8 – November 20. Opens October 24.

A new play by Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale) about a Mormon missionary who has bought a one-way ticket to the Middle East, but is confronted by his sister, who doesn’t want him to leave.

The Babylon Line

November 10 – January 22. Opens December 5.

A play by Richard Greenberg about a writer from bohemian Greenwich Village who commutes to Levittown to teach a creative writing class that includes one student that reawakens his own artistic impulses.

ROUNDABOUT* LAURA PELS

The empire that is now Roundabout includes three Broadway theaters, and that’s where most of the attention is focused, mostly on star-studded revivals, especially musicals.  But its fourth building houses two Off-Broadway theaters (one of them a tiny “Black Box” theater.) It is in its Off-Broadway facility that Stephen Karam’s The Humans originated, now transferred to Broadway, and (as of this writing) the only non-musical there.

Love, Love, Love

September 22 – December 18, 2016. Opens October 19.

A new play from Mike Bartlett (King Charles III, Cock.)  “London, 1967. Beatlemania is in full effect, the “Me” generation is in its prime and Kenneth and Sandra are in a world of  sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll….But what happens when they have babies of their own.”

Kingdom Come

October 7 – December 18. Opens November 2.

Jenny Rachel Weiner’s comedy about two people who meet from an online dating site, who are both pretending to be somebody else.

MCC THEATER

Address: The Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street. Twitter: @mcctheater

All The Ways to Say I Love You

September 6 – October 9

Judith Light stars in an hour-long solo play by Neil LaBute, portraying Mrs. Johnson, a high school English teacher and guidance counselor in a loving marriage. “As she recounts her experiences with a favored student from her past, Mrs. Johnson slowly reveals the truth that is hidden just beneath the surface details of her life.”

Ride the Cyclone

November 9 – December 18

“The Saint Cassian High School Chamber Choir will board the Cyclone roller coaster at 8:17pm. At 8:19 the front axle will break, sending them to their tragic demise. A mechanical fortune teller invites each to tell the story of a life interrupted”

CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY

136 East 13th Street Twitter: @ClassicStage

 

Dead Poets Society

October 27-December 11, 2016

DeadPoetsSociety

Academy Award-winner Tom Schulman adapts his own screenplay for this play about an inspiring boarding school teacher, starring Jason Sudeikis.

 

MTC AT CITY CENTER*

131 West 55th Street Twitter: @MTC_NYC

This theater was publicly criticized for the lack of diversity in its season last year, criticism they seem to have taken to heart, judging from its Off-Broadway fare this time around.

Sell/Buy/Date

Opens October 18

Sarah Jones (Bridge & Tunnel) portrays multiple characters in a new show inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the sex industry.

Vietgone

Opens October 25

The award-winning play by Qui Nguyen is a love story about a boy and girl who are refugees from the Vietnam War newly settled in a relocation camp inside Middle America.

OTHER  HIGHLIGHTS

√ Notes From The Field (Second Stage)

October 15 – December 11. Opens November 2.

Drawn from interviews with more than 200 people, Anna Deavere Smith explores the personal accounts of students, parents, teachers and administrators caught in America’s school-to-prison pipeline, which pushes minors from poor communities out of the classroom and into incarceration,

 The 24-Decade History of Popular Music (St. Ann’s Warehouse)

September 15 – October 8.

TaylorMac1910s

Taylor Mac’s concerts chart a history of popular music and activism in America from the nation’s founding in 1776 to the present day. I’ve seen several installments. This is the first time he is putting it all together, including for one marathon 24-hour session.

Sweet Charity (The New Group)

November 2 – December 23, Opens November 20.

A revival on its 50th anniversary of the musical by Neil Simon, Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields, starring Sutton Foster as Charity Hope Valentine, the dancehall hostess, a role famously associated with Gwen Vernon and Shirley MacLaine.

This Day Forward (Vineyard Theatre)

November 3 – December 18. Opens November 21.

A comedy by Nicky Silver (The Lyons) about a woman who made a surprising confession on her honeymoon, causing all plans to fall apart. “Nearly 50 years later, her children wrestle with their past and a mother whose secrets are quickly fading along with her memory.”

Finian’s Rainbow (Irish Rep)

October 26 – December 18. Opens November 6.

Melissa Errico stars in a reprised revival (translation: the Irish Rep has done it before) of this 1947 musical by Burton Lane and Yip Harburg about an Irishman who steals a leprechaun’s pot of gold and escapes with his daughter to the Jim Crow South.  The creative team intended this musical to be politically on the left, but its message feels nowadays something of an outdated muddle. The tunes, however, are terrific.

Always worth checking out: Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival which focuses on avant-garde experimental and European works.

Other companies worth checking out:

Ars Nova

Rattlesticks Playwright Theater

Mint Theater

Mayi Theater Company

Primary Stages

Pearl Theater

 

There are also commercial shows put together by independent producers that appear in theaters for rent, such as:

Cherry Lane Theatre
Daryl Roth Theatre
Gym at Judson
Lucille Lortel Theatre
New World Stages
Orpheum Theater
The Players Theatre
Snapple Theater Center
Theatre Row – The Acorn
Union Square Theater
Westside Theatre

*THE ASTERISK: Off-Broadway AND Broadway

*Just to complicate matters, several of the resident theaters also present shows on Broadway –  Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Company (MTC), the Roundabout Theater Company., and starting this season, Second Stage Theatre, which has bought the Helen Hayes. Their Broadway offerings are listed in my Broadway 2016-2017 Preview Guide.

What Is Broadway, Off-Broadway, 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 are some terrific Off-Off Broadway theaters, sometimes confused for Off-Broadway. These include (but are not limited to) The FleaLabyrinth Theater, and LaMaMa ETC.

Monthly Calendar of Openings

Because there are so many shows Off-Off Broadway, and their runs are so limited, I include them in my monthly theater preview calendar (along with Broadway and Off Broadway openings) posted near the beginning of each month.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For more information about Off-Broadway, go to  The League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers (aka The Off-Broadway League).  This should not be confused with the Off-Broadway Alliance, which is a separate organization (though they should probably merge, no?)

September 2016 New York Theater Openings

Politics is in the air,  and it inevitably lands on the New York stage, with some half-dozen shows opening in September that one could call political theater, including an American president put on trial, and the next installment of the in-real-time Gabriel series at the Public Theater.

Black/Light

Black/Light

This also includes Lewis Black’s stand-up routine, one of two solo shows opening on Broadway this month. The other, a hit in the UK, tells the true story of a wild adventure in the Amazon (the jungle, not the website.) Off-Broadway, Judith Light is starring in a solo play by Neil LaBute. There are also biographical shows about actor Edwin Booth, composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, “Queen of Race Records” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, 19th century insurrectionist Nat Turner, and one of the first women police detectives in New York. Salsa singer Tito Nieves makes his musical theater debut. And then there’s something called “Wild Women of Planet Wongo,” which sounds like an escapee from the Fringe.

Below is a selection of the plays, musicals and difficult-to-label theater pieces opening in September, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple, blue or black. Off Off Broadway: Green.

 

September 2

Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in the Park)

This Public Theater Public Works production that features some 200 performers from all five boroughs runs for just four performances.

September 8

Edwin (Great Circle Prods at Theatre at St. Clement’s)

Edwin Booth poster

The story of Edwin Booth, the most celebrated American actor of the 19th century, on the night of his return to the stage after his brother assassinated President Lincoln–braving death threats, public outrage, and his own scarred past.

Bliss (Black Moon Theatre Company at The Flea) 

Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead; “a visual and poetic dance/theatre odyssey within the mind of an individual striving to awaken to a Higher Consciousness.”

September 11

 The Wolves (Playwrights Realm at the Duke)

The Wolves at Playwrights Realm

A play by Sarah DeLappe, making her professional debut, featuring an all-female ten-member cast as a suburban girls’ soccer team coming to terms with the world and their own changing adolescent bodies.

 

 Maestro (59 E 59)

Maestro

A solo show about Leonard Bernstein. “Conductor, composer, pianist, author, teacher, librettist, television star, and composer ofWest Side Story, Candide, and On the Town, Bernstein pushed all boundaries to become the world’s first serious musical superstar. In Maestro, Hershey Felder combines narrative with Leonard Bernstein’s composition and the music of Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler, Copland, and others, to bring to life the man the entire world knew as “Lenny.””

 

September 12

Aubergine (Playwrights Horizons)

Aubergine-2.png__960x480_q85_crop_upscale

A new play by Julia Cho. “A man shares a bowl of berries, and a young woman falls in love. A world away, a mother prepares a bowl of soup to keep her son from leaving home. And a son cooks a meal for his dying father to say everything that words can’t. In Julia Cho’s poignant and lyrical new play, the making of a perfect meal is an expression more precise than language, and the medium through which life gradually reveals itself.”

 

Black to the Future (Marquis)

BlacktotheFuture

(four Mondays Sept 12 – Oct 24)

Lewis Black’s political stand-up on six Monday nights when On Your Feet isn’t playing.

 

September 14

Marie and Rosetta (Atlantic Theater)

Marie and Rosetta poster

A drama about the “Queen of Race Records” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who influenced Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix

 

September 15

Missed Connections: A Craigslist Musical (New Ohio Theater)

 

Based on real Craigslist Ads – “Your Personal Ads Set To Music” A hit in Canada

Dead Shot Mary (Bridge Theatre at Shetler Studios)

DeadShotMary

“A pioneer for females in law enforcement, Mary Shanley joined the NYPD in 1931, quickly becoming a Gotham all-star and tabloid sensation. Making a staggering 1,000 career arrests, she became the 4th woman in history to make detective 1st grade, and then nearly lost it all.”

 

Occupation: Dragonslayer (The Robert Moss Theatre)

A musical tale of 9/11 “retold for the 15th anniversary…In Christmas Eve in 2002, a mysterious stranger in fire deparmtnet garb pays a visit to a doomed diner at Ground Zero and changes the lives of all within. The musical was originally commissioned by the Public Theater

 

 September 16

 

What Did You Expect (Public Theater)

What did you expect gabriels

The latest in the three play cycle by Richard Nelson, “The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family.” The first play in the cycle, Hungry, opened March 4, which is the date in which it is set.  The cycle will culminate with the third play, Women of a Certain Age, which will be both set and open – and which the playwright will finish writing – on Election Day, November 8, 2016.

 

September 18

 

 On The Rails (777 Theatre)

Three tales of different couples, set on board “a mystical, timeless locomotive”

How To Be An American (York Theatre Company)

HowToBeAnAmerican poster

Based on Plunkitt of Tammany Hall — A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics (a notorious book among students of American political history that introduced the concept of  “honest graft.” ) “The year is 1905. One week before the next election. New York City. Tammany Hall politician George Washington Plunkitt has gathered a group of new immigrants for the purpose of educating them on the subtleties of the American political system.” Only ten performances.

 

September 19

 Where Did We Sit on the Bus? (Ensemble Studio Theatre)

WhereDidWeSitontheBuspic

During a third grade lesson on the Civil Rights movement and Rosa Parks, a Latino boy raises his hand to ask, “Where did we sit on the bus?” and his teacher can’t answer the question. This autobiographical solo show, written and performed by Brian Quijada, examines what it means to be Latino through the eyes of a child, turned teenager, turned adult.

 

September 22

 I Like It Like That (Puerto Rican Traveling Theater)

TitoNieves

Salsa star Tito Nieves stars in the first musical theater role of his career, in the story of the Rodriguez family living in New York City’s East Harlem in the early 1970s, when music was the lifeline and proudest expression of El Barrio.

 

September 26

 Nat Turner in Jerusalem (New York Theatre Workshop)

Nat Turner in Jerusalem

In August 1831, Nat Turner led a slave uprising that shook the conscience of the nation. Turner’s startling account of his prophecy and the insurrection was recorded and published by attorney Thomas R. Gray. NYTW 2050 Fellow Nathan Alan Davis makes his New York debut with a timely new play that imagines Turner’s final night in a jail cell in Jerusalem, Virginia, as he is revisited by Gray and they reckon with what has passed and what the dawn will bring.

 

Underground Railroad Game (Ars Nova)

 

Good morning, America! Welcome to Hanover Middle School, where a pair of teachers are getting down and dirty with today’s lesson. The nimble duo goes round after round on the mat of our nation’s history, tackling race, sex and power in this R-rated, kaleidoscopic and fearless comedy.

 

September 28

 

 All The Ways To Say I Love You (MCC @ The Lucille Lortel)

JudithLightinLaBute

Judith Light stars in this hour-long solo show by Neil LaBute about a high school English teacher and guidance counselor in a loving marriage. “As she recounts her experiences with a favored student from her past, Mrs. Johnson slowly reveals the truth that is hidden just beneath the surface details of her life.”

 

 Verso (New World Stages)

Verso

An evening of illusion with one of the world’s premier close-up magic artists, Helder Guimarães.

 

Wild Women of Planet Wongo (Parkside Lounge)

WildWomenofPlanetWongo

An immersive, outer space comedy about two astronauts who land on a planet of beautiful warrior women who have never seen men. The show will be performed “party-style” meaning they expect audience to drink, dance and otherwise be part of the show.

 

 

September 29

 

 The Encounter (John Golden Theater)

The Encounter photo by Stavros Petropoulos

The Encounter is a solo show written and performed by Simon McBurney: Twenty years ago Simon McBurney was given a book written by a Romanian who escaped the Ceaușescu regime to reinvent himself as a Los Angeles screenwriter. Amazon Beaming tells the story of photographer Loren McIntyre, who in 1969 found himself lost amongst the remote people of the Javari Valley, on the border between Brazil and Peru. It was an encounter that changed his life: bringing the limits of human consciousness into startling focus.”

 

The Trial of an American President (Theatre Row)

The Trial of an American President

Will President George W. Bush be found guilty of launching an illegal war that caused civilian deaths and spawned the growth of Al-Qaeda and ISIS and the use of brutal torture? Members of the audience are selected as the jury for this trial.

2016 Fringe Encore Series, for NYC AND Edinburgh Fringe Shows You Missed

Below are the shows at the 11th anniversary of the Fringe Encore Series, from September 9h to October 29th, 2016 at the SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street), selected from both the New York International Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe, listed chronologically by opening date.

FringeEncores2016

From the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival

MOTHER EMANUEL

Mother Emanuel

Mother Emanuel

Winner of  Fringe NYC Overall Excellence for a Musical

A celebration of the lives of the nine gunned down at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina on June 17, 2015.

September 9-17, 2016

PUCKER UP AND BLOW

Winner of Fringe NYC Overall Excellence for a Play

David, a young actor with only children’s theatre credits, is making his Broadway debut in a play by New York’s “most inflammatory” playwright—but it means nudity and performing a lewd sex act. What’s more important? Dignity or career?

September 11- October 16

 

THE CLEANING GUY

One man’s dealings with the dirty secrets of apt dwellers in NYC. A wild ride with original musical numbers that give you a voyeuristic view of what lies behind their doors.

September 16-29

DementiaAmericana16-4398DEMENTIA AMERICANA

Sex! Murder! Insanity! John Philip Sousa! All this and more in a darkly comic and appallingly relevant play that explores the upsetting and true events surrounding Evelyn Nesbit, Harry K Thaw, and the 1906 murder of famed architect Stanford White.

September 8 – 27

CHIPANDGUS

Two oddball acquaintances meet once a month over a ping pong table. But this night is different. This night there is something else in the room

September 19 – October 1

Rent Control

Rent Control

RENT CONTROL

Winner of  Fringe NYC Overall Excellence for a solo show

Evan Zes portrays 30 characters, including himself, a struggling actor turns an NYC rent-controlled apartment into a lucrative AIRBNB scheme in this wild-but-TRUE one-man show

September 24 – October 8

 

 

 

FlightatYFLIGHT

Acrobatically brilliant sequel to The Little Prince. Note: This is the only show in the Fringe Encore Series being performed at a different theater, Barrow Street Theater.

September 24-30

THE SECRET LIFE OF YOUR THIRD GRADE TEACHER

When you teach third grade, you can’t tell your students everything. A two-time Moth GrandSLAM champion comes clean about classroom disasters, falling in love and forging letters from an imaginary Queen.

October 1 – 14

 

ZAMBONI

Jamie has resurfaced the ice rink for decades – frozen in isolation, unnoticed by the world around him. On the brink of his mother’s death, he begins a high-stakes journey of self-discovery through darkly funny and morally risky encounters.

October 3 – 15

THE FALL

Ten years have gone by since 9/11, but life without Dad has not gotten any easier. In this memory play-meets-docudrama, six young women search for identity, understanding, and redemption in the wake of a national—and very personal—tragedy.

October 5 – 18

HomoSapiensInterruptus16-4370_2HOMOS INTERRUPTUS

Carlos Dengler he talks about heavy metal, human origins, and his road from pizza delivery to rockstardom with the band Interpol.

October 15 – 29

THE EXTRAORDINARY FALL OF THE FOUR LEGGED WOMAN

Oct 19-29

Glimpse underneath the Big Top with our a capella musical circus sideshow! In the dusty desert, Myrtle Corbin, the Four-Legged curiosity, meets her match. Can this veteran performer make a life outside the tent?

THE BOX SHOW

Winner of Fringe Overall Excellence for a solo show.

One woman. 25 characters. All inside a cupboard! The doors open to reveal: a drunken couple in Vegas, a lonely Giantess, the entire Greek Army inside the Trojan Horse, & more!

Oct 20-22

 

THE RADICALIZATION OF ROLFE

The Radicalization of Rolfe

The Radicalization of Rolfe

Winner of Fringe Overall Excellence for a Play

A look at The Sound of Music from the point of view of Rolfe (“I am 17 going on 18”), a Nazi who is also gay.

Oct 23- 29

From the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

 

WE LIVE BY THE SEA

We Live By The Sea Logo

September 3 – September 17, 2016
When Ryan moves from the city to Katie’s coastal town, they make a connection that will shake their worlds forever. Playful visual storytelling with a live electronic score about autism, friendship and a very big wave.

All Quiet

ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

Sep 13-24, 2016

Eric Maria Remarque’s classic vision of the First World War from the German viewpoint receives a first rate production and performance from Incognito Theatre

5 guys chillin
5 GUYS CHILLIN’ VIP

Award-winning graphic, gripping, funny and frank verbatim drama exposing the gay chemsex chill-out scene. From surgeons to students, couples to kink; guys that love it and lost guys longing to be loved. Made from interviews with guys found on Grindr, 5 Guys Chillin’ is an original look into a drug-fuelled, hedonistic, highly secret world of chemsex, Grindr and the search for intimacy and instant gratification. (“Chemsex” is defined as men using specific drugs to have sex with other men.)
September 27 – October 9

Piaf and Brel

PIAF AND BREL (THE IMPOSSIBLE CONCERT)
Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel: Two French musical icons. They sang songs of romance, heartbreak, hope and love. They lived lives of drama and passion. This impossible concert, featuring internationally acclaimed vocalist Melanie Gall, relives the adventure and inspiration of their lives and music. With Amsterdam, Milord, La Vie en Rose and other French classics.

October 4 – 14

Yokes Night

YOKES NIGHT
Dublin, 11th March 2015. A slip-up loophole in the law declares all drugs legal for 24 hours. On this night of rebellion, Harry finds himself under the influence of Saoirse. Bound by the ecstasy of their union, secrets are shared, and the stench of bloodshed is looming. Stay Up Late and Bear Trap Theatre fuse cut-throat dialect with stylized movement, forging a fresh, progressive theatre experience.

October 13-23

Opera Mouse

And for the Children
OPERA MOUSE
Tilly Mouse lives under an opera house, and she just loves to sing! Her dream is to perform on stage. But whenever anybody sees her, they scream and run away. With determination, imagination, and help from her friends, Tilly proves that even a mouse can be a star! Featuring songs and arias from several operas, including Gianni Schicchi, Carmen and The Magic Flute.

Oct 1-9

The Fringe Begins: How To Fringe In 5 Easy Steps

How do you choose from 200 shows in two weeks (this year, August 12 to 28)? Practice.

True, it can feel overwhelming to be one of 75,000 theatergoers attending the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival, all looking for shows worth seeing. Here are the logos of just 60 of the shows in this 20th anniversary year, arranged more or less alphabetically:

Fringe2016 logos

I’ve written about the Fringe every year since it began in 1997; many years, this has included preview guides or general advice about how to Fringe.
One thing that’s changed: For the past dozen years, some of the pressure is off of each of us to avoid missing the shows that wind up being the biggest hits. Each year, some two dozen of the most popular Fringe shows have been presented again a few weeks later at the Fringe Encore Series.

Besides, Fringing is not necessarily about finding the next “Urinetown” (the only Fringe show ever to transfer to Broadway.) One of the shows I remember most vividly is a play that could not possibly have moved to another venue, even though it took place in an automobile: “Roger and Dave” was a ten-minute, two-character play, in which the audience sat (two at a time) in the back seat while the actors in the front played out a scripted and hilarious confrontation. It was delightful, in part because it could only occur in a festival like the Fringe.

What the Fringe offers is a place not just for theater makers but also for theatergoers to experiment. This is largely possible because of the relatively cheap ticket prices. (and, this year, I’m offering a contest – which ends today! – for a FREE pass to ALL the shows.)

With that in mind:

1. Get a Free Sample

One good way this year to get a taste of the Fringe is to attend the East 4th Street block fair  on Saturday, August 13th, and check out the FringeNYTeasers – short excerpts of many of the shows. I did this last year on the roof of a building on the Lower East Side, and the smorgasbord felt as satisfying in its way as any of the full meals.

2. Ask On Line

While you are waiting on line for a show, it is always a good idea to ask the people around you what they have seen. (And you will always be waiting on line for a how: the Fringe people insist you show up at least 15 minutes before the performance.) This year, there is more opportunity for such conversations, because each show will be followed by something they are calling FringePlus Meetup, which is a chance to talk to the artists and so-called Fringe Ambassadors as well. Talking about the theater with fellow Fringers is one of the pleasures of the festival.

3. Ask Online

Use the Slice-o-matic on the FringeNYC website. You can choose by venue, time, ethnicity, genre. One year, I picked only shows having to do with food; another year, just shows in theaters closest to where I live. (Neither wound up my favorite years.)

Time Out NY and newcomer Show Score both commit to covering every show – Show Score is allowing theatergoers themselves to weigh in. I will write some reviews too on this blog.

A word about recommendations in advance: Show-Score has aggregated “best bets” from six publications, and added their own definitive-sounding two cents to shows nobody has seen at the Fringe yet. These previews are most useful when pointing to shows that have a track record elsewhere. But keep in mind that audiences in the theater capital of the nation may not respond in the same way as audiences have in other cities.

There’s no adequate substitute for plowing through the whole catalogue (online or on paper) yourself. In this way, you can pick up on interesting themes not necessarily evident through the Slice-o-matic or the “must-see” previews. I notice that this year, for example, there are several biographies of black men – Stokely CarmichaelRichard PryorW.E.B. DuBois

4. Follow Your Bliss

The best bet is to go with your interests and curiosities. As I noted in a HowlRound piece on the Fringe in 2014, Fringe shows tend to fall into one (or more) of seven genres:
1. “Urinetown”-Inspired (campy parodies. This is how people tend to view the entire Fringe, although the organizers like to point out this genre makes up only about a third of the offerings.)
2. Non-Traditional Venues (such as that automobile.)
3. Solo Ventures (These tend to be the most polished, since it’s the most competitive category.)
4. Serious Drama (This was the category in which you were most likely to be burned in the past, but, as I noticed last year,the serious has stepped up and this is even more true this year.)
5. Fresh out of college (University student groups have offered some of the best shows I’ve seen at the Fringe.)
6. New takes on classics
7. Performance Art and the International Avant-Garde. (These are not as numerous as in other festivals, such as the Public Theater’s Under theRadar; ten Fringe shows list themselves in this genre this year.)

5.  Follow Your Favorites; Support Your Friends.

Beth Lincks writes under the pseudonym Arlene Hutton. Her very first full-length play, Last Train to Nibroc, was produced in the second year of the Fringe – and around the world ever since. “I owe my career to the Fringe,” she said at this year’s press preview, in introducing the show she co-wrote this year, The Gorges Motel.

“I really study the booklet,” Lincks told me in 2010. “I narrow it down to people I know, shows and companies I’ve heard good things about, and, more often than not, a date, time and venue location that fits in between, with, or after other shows I’m already seeing.”

Notice what criterion she puts first. The truth is, most times when I’ve asked somebody on line why they’ve chosen this particular show, it was because they knew somebody who worked on it. (That’s one of the advantages of living in New York.) Now, this doesn’t mean the shows will be any good, but it does render their quality a little less important.

 

Watch: 2016 New York Fringe Previews

The 20th annual New York International Fringe Festival runs Friday, August 12h through Sunday, August 28th, 2016, with some 75,000 theatergoers expected for nearly 200 shows.

(Enter the contest to get a pass to see all the shows for FREE)

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged.

 

Below are videos of a handful of the shows presented at a press preview this week. Check out times and the location of venues in the Fringe guide

Peregrinus, a performance piece from The KTO theater company from Poland. It is part of the Fringe Al Fresco, meaning a free outdoor show.

Homo Sapiens Interruptus — read my article, From Rock Star to the Fringe,  on Carlos Dengler’s true story about becoming a rock star with the band Interpol….and leave it for the theater.

CarlosDandCarlosDengler

Mother Emanuel is a musical about the shooting at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in 2015

In “Walken on Sunshine,” an anxiety-ridden filmmaker accidentally lies to investors about having Christopher Walken in his movie and embarks on a ridiculous quest to get Walken.

In “The Gorges Motel,” a new play written by established playwrights Gretchen Cryer, Lynne Halliday, James Hindman, Isaac Himmelman, Arlene Hutton, and Craig Pospisil, “lves intersect in comic and dramatic fashion in a motel that has seen better days in Watkins Glen, New York.  Breakups, make-ups, dinosaurs and a drone attack…”

In “Hysterical,” “it’s the Bandits’ Best Year EVER! Until…one by one, the girls succumb to a mysterious illness. As the traditional pecking order is upended, the girls’ relationships are tested…”

Just for fun, since it’s the 20th anniversary of the Fringe, here are my previews from 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 — and my article in the New York Times in 2001 about the first five years of the Fringe.

 

Here is my 47-second elevator ride/interview with Chris Lowell in 2012 when he was performing in a Fringe play entitled “I Heart Revolution” — which feels a bit like a Fringe play itself.

July 2016 New York Theater Openings: Daniel Radcliffe, Motown, CATS Return

The list below includes two Broadway shows but only a handful Off-Broadway.

If July looks sparser than most months, that’s because the list below doesn’t the summer theater festivals, the FREE theatrical concerts like the weekly Broadway in Bryant Park, and the countless Shakespeares in the parks.

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple, blue or black. Off Off Broadway: Green.

July 4

Liberty: A Monumental Musical (42West)

Details the story of Lady Liberty’s arrival in America

July 6

Runaways (New York City Center)

The Encores! concert version of the 1978 musical by Elizabeth Swados based on her interviews with child runaways.

July 11

Osloforcalendar
Oslo (Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E Newhouse)

A play by J.T. Rogers based on the true story of how two Norwegian diplomats had covertly organized the back-channel talks between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization that led to the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords

July 12

Pillars of New York (St. Luke’s Theater)

A therapist deals with four couples’ personal struggles with the events surrounding 9-11.

July 13

small_mouth_sounds for Calendar

Small Mouth Sounds (Signature Theater Center)

A commercial production of the acclaimed play by Beth Wohl, directed by Rachel Chavkin, that originally opened at Ars Nova. “In the overwhelming quiet of the woods, six runaways from city life embark on a silent retreat. As these strangers confront internal demons both profound and absurd, their vows of silence collide with the achingly human need to connect.”

July 18

Privacy The Public Theater

Privacy (The Public Theater)

Daniel Radcliffe stars in this play by James Graham  about a “lonely guy arriving in the city to figure out how to like, tag and share his life without giving it all away. Inspired by the revelations of Edward Snowden, and drawing on dozens of exclusive interviews with the country’s top journalists, politicians and academics, Privacy explores our complicated relationship with technology and data.”

 

iLuminate for calendar

iLuminate (Theater 80)

“a company based on the fusion of technology and dance”

July 21

Motown 6

Michael Jackson  and the Jackson 5

Motown the Musical (Nederlander)

A return of the surprise hit jukebox musical using the music of the 1960s record label Motown, featuring performances by persuasive impersonators of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and a whole slew of their artists. The book is by Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, who paints himself as a hero. My review of the original production. (There is a new cast.)

July 25

A Class Act (New World Stages)

A major chemical company pours cancer causing waste into the water supply… A high power law firm brings a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of “the little people” – who might die from the poisonous water

July 27

Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

The Encores! concert version of the 1979 musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, their first. “Millionaire Eliot Rosewater (Santino Fontana) drunkenly decides to blow his fortune on an impoverished town after being inspired by the utopian vision of novelist Kilgore Trout (James Earl Jones). But there are forces who want to put the kibosh on Eliot’s philanthropy—like Norman Mushari (Skylar Astin), a lawyer plotting to have Eliot declared insane. ”

July 28

Quietly-Title_Author-352x500

Quietly (Irish Rep)

The Abbey Theatre production of a play by Owen McCafferty: “Tonight, in a small back-street bar, while Northern Ireland plays Poland on the TV, Jimmy and Ian will meet for the first time. They share a violent past and this is a conversation that’s been brewing for more than 20 years…a story about what happened in a particular bar in 1974, but also what happened in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s to the late 90s.”

July 31

The_Company_of_CATS_on_Broadway_-_Photo_by_Matthew_Murphy

 

CATS (Neil Simon Theater)

The first Broadway revival of the long-running musical, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by t.s. eliot, with new choreography by Hamilton’s Andy Blankenbuehler.