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October 2017 New York Theater Openings

 

Bruce Springsteen makes his Broadway debut in a show that combines memoir with rock n roll, and that relatively few of his fans will be able to see. It is one of three shows opening on Broadway in the month of October. Off-Broadway Joe Papp is making a debut of sorts — as a character.

There are new plays opening in October about life under a dictatorship; under siege; in a world of total environmental disaster; and in prison (there are two prison plays opening Off-Broadway); as well as plays about life as an addict, and on the autism spectrum. There are also comedies about widowhood and overeating. Popular shows by Harvey Fierstein, David Henry Hwang and Stephen Adly Guirgis are getting new productions.

Below is a selection of openings in October, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

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September 2017 New York Theater Openings

Sex and violence — also sex, drugs and rock n roll — are the subjects of several shows opening Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway in September (There are no Broadway openings.) But the month also introduces plays about the very old, and for the very young.

Below is a selection of openings in September, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website.

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August 2017 New York Theater Openings: Hal Prince, Michael Moore…and More

Michael Moore and Harold Prince have the month all to themselves, more or less,  at the center of the two Broadway shows opening this month. It’s unusual to have any shows open on Broadway in August. Usually, it’s a month filled with festival fare — but, for the first time in 20 years, there will be no  New York International Fringe Festival this August, thus minus its 200+ shows. Still, there are three other (much smaller) theater festivals opening this month, one of them new.

Below, shows with August openings arranged chronologically by opening date.Click on any title to get to its website.

Color key: Broadway: RedOff Broadway: blue. Off Off Broadway: Green. Theater festival: Orange

August 2

A Parallelogram (Second Stage Theater)

A new play by Bruce Norris, the author of Clybourne Park, stars Celia Keenan-Bolger as a woman who can see her future.

August 3

Curvy Widow (Westside Theater)

Nancy Opel stars in a musical comedy “based on a true story” as a 50-year-old widow going back into the dating pool.

August 6

summer shorts 59e59

Summer Shorts, Series B (59E59 Theater)

Plays by Neil LaBute; Chris Cragin-Day; Lindsay Craft and Andrew Leeds

August 7

Corkscrew Theater Festival (Paradise Factory)

Running Aug 7 – Sept 3, this new summer theater festival features five world premieres and five readings performed in repertory over four weeks.

August 10

The Terms of My Surrender (Belasco)

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

A Never-Ending Line (Players Theater)

A song cycle with music by Jaime Lozano and lyrics by nine women lyricists. “Inspired by his upbringing in a strong matriarchy, Lozano conceived the show as a tribute to the women in his life. The songs, performed by a company of four, explore the unique challenges women face in society today on the journey to find happiness, love, and meaning in their lives. ”

August 17

Come Light My Cigarette (Theater at St. Clement’s)

A new musical about a young actress who “is driven to confront the two most turbulent relationships in her life—her father, with whom she shares a volatile and shameful past, and her ex-lover, a powerful and controlling woman who was instrumental in making her a success.”

August 24

Prince of Broadway (MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman)

Musical numbers from shows in which Hal Prince served as a producer or director, such as “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Cabaret,” “Follies” and “Sweeney Todd.”

Directing Jonathan Bank
    Sets Vicki R. Davis
    Costumes Andrea Varga
    Lights Zach Blane
    Sound Jane Shaw
    Props Joshua Yocom
    Dialects & Dramaturgy Amy Stoller
    Casting Stephanie Klapper, CSA
    Production Stage Manager Pamela Edi

The Suitcase Under the Bed (Mint Theater at Theater Row)

An evening of four one act plays by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy (1894-1963), directed by Jonathan Bank.

August 27

Nathalie Ellis-Einhorn in I.M. LOST!

Dream Up Festival  (Theater for The New City)

The eighth annual festival will run August 27 – September 17, featuring more than 25 plays, 12 of them world premiere, four musicals, four on LGBTQ themes. One play comes from Iceland, “Guilty,”  about an infamous 19th century crime there. Another,”I.M. LOST!” is an “interactive clown show” based on interviews with clowns.

August 30

Inanimate (The Flea)

Nick Robideau’s play is about a woman who is in love with a Dairy Queen sign.  The play “explores objectum sexuality, feeling like an outsider, listening to your heart and finally, finding your tribe.”  But what’s most significant is that it’s the premiere play in the new million-dollar digs of The Flea, one of the consistently best Off-Off Broadway theaters in the city.
Here’s a video I put together of The Flea when they broke ground on the new building four years ago:

July 2017 New York Theater Openings

This is an unusual month for New York theater: While there are no shows opening on Broadway, and few Off-Broadway, there is plenty to see – the annual summer theater festivals, such as the New York Musical Festival, NYMF 2017, which starts on July 10; FREE theatrical concerts like the weekly Broadway in Bryant Park, countless Shakespeares in the parks; and some one-off theater festivals, such as the month-long Soulpepper on 42nd Street — the 20-year-old Canadian theater company’s presentation of ten of its popular plays.

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

July 5

Kim’s Convenience (Soulpepper at Signature)

Kim’s Convenience, “the most successful new Canadian play of the last decade, is set in a family-run Korean variety store. This is one of the 10 shows presented by Soulpepper on 42nd Street.

 

July 6

Of Human Bondage (Soulpepper at Signature)

“W. Somerset Maugham’s epic tale of lustful obsession and the pursuit of art is adapted for the stage for the first time anywhere. “

July 7

To To or not to T

To T or Not To T (Hot Festival)

Queer/transgender Tamil-Sri LankanAmerican artist D’Lo contemplates  passing as a cisgender, straight, male, person of color. This is one production in a festival at Dixon Place that bills itself as “the longest-running LGBTQ festival in the world”

July 10

Pipeline (Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse)  

A mother’s hopes for her son clash with an educational system rigged against him in a new play by Dominique Morisseau (Skeleton Crew).

Amerike The Golden Land (National Yiddish Theatre)

The story of an immigrant people, using  popular songs of the day, with stories “based on the lived experience of real immigrants “ In Yiddish with Russian and English supertitles.

Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil (NYMF)

“A Faustian musical comedy that dares to ask the question, “How did Matthew McConaughey win an Academy Award?’ This is one of 20 full productions in New York Musical Festival (NYMF 2017) which runs through August 6

Opening Skinner’s Box (Lincoln Center Festival)

Britain’s Improbable theater company takes us on a tour of “great psychological experiments of the 20th century.” This is the first of five works from the Lincoln Center Festival that are identified as theater.

July 12

Assassins (Encores Off Center! NY City Center) 

A concert series production of the musical by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman about Presidential assassins and would-be assassins.

SAMSUNG CSC

True Right (Ice Factory Festival)

“A reimagining of Sam Shepard’s True West–featuring George and Jeb Bush, as played by two ethnic ladies.” One of the seven plays of this festival.

July 13

Hamlet (Public Theater)

Oscar Isaac as Hamlet, Charlayne Woodard as Gertrude and Keegan-Michael Key as Horatio. Directed by Sam Gold.

 

July 19

While I Was Waiting (Lincoln Center Festival)

Syrian playwright Mohammad Al Attar offers a portrait of Syria through one middle-class Damascus family who gather around the hospital bed of their son, who was beaten into a coma at a checkpoint. It is based on a true story.

This is one of three plays “opening” on this day (and running just a few performances) as part of Lincoln Center Festival,

Pete The Cat (TheatreworksUSA at Lucille Lortel)

This summer’s FREE summer offering of children’s theater is based on the book series of the same name by James and Kimberly Dean, and recommended for pre-K through third grade.

 

July 23

Money Talks (Davenport Theater

In this 95-minute musical comedy, Ben Franklin, the face on the $100 bill, is passed from a hedge fund manager, to a stripper, to a judge etc, trying to convince each of them to change their priorities before it’s too late.

Endangered (Davenport Theatre)

A musical about a social media savvy kid reporter and a group of endangered animals from around the globe who must survive an unexpected superstorm.

 

July 26

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Encores Off Center! NY City Center)

Concert version of Kirsten Childs’ 2000 musical is about “a young African-American dancer who finds her way from West Coast suburbia to Broadway, all while navigating the politics of race and gender in an attempt to uncover her own identity.”

 

July 31

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in the Park) 

Directed by Lear de Bessonet and choreographed by Chase Brock, Shakespeare’s comedy will feature a starry cast including Annaleigh Ashford, Kyle Beltran, Danny Burstein, and Phylicia Rashad. FREE.

Broadway 2017-2018 Preview Guide

Updated September 14, 2017

Harry Potter, Olaf the snowman and Spongebob Squarepants all plan to perform on Broadway this season, as will Bruce Springsteen, Amy Schumer, Uma Thurman (in her Broadway debut), Lea Salonga, John Lithgow, Mark Rylance, Denzel Washington, Glenda Jackson (after an absence of 30 years), Clive Owen, John Leguizamo and Elizabeth McGovern. There will be new plays by Ayad Akhtar, Steve Martin and Tracy Letts; and revivals of My Fair Lady, M. Butterfly, Children of a Lesser God, Travesties, The Iceman Cometh and Once on This Island.

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, especially 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.

Also check out: Off Broadway Fall 2017 Preview Guide

GET TICKETS TO BROADWAY HITS

JUNE

1984

Theater: Hudson
Author: Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan
Director: Robert Icke
First Preview: May 18, 2017
Opening: June 22, 2017

Closing: October 8, 2017
Cast: Reed Birney, Tom Sturridge, and Olivia Wilde
Website:
Twitter feed: @RevisedTruth
Stage adaptation of George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel

My review of 1984

Marvin’s Room

Theater: American Airlines
Author:  Scott McPherson.
Directors: Anne Kauffman, Whitney White.
First Preview: June 8 2017
Opening: June 29

Closed: August 27, 2017
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.”

My review of Marvin’s Room

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.

My review of Terms of My Surrender

Prince of Broadway

Theater: Samuel J. Friedman

Author: David Thompson

Directors: Harold Prince and Susan Stroman

First Preview: August 3

Opening: August 24

Closing: October 22, 2017

Cast: Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal Byron Marie Parham, Emily Skinner, Brandon Uranowitz, Kaley Ann Voorhees, Michael Xavier, Tony Yazbeck, Karen Ziemba

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

Closing: November 26, 2017

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

Springsteen on Broadway

Theater: Walter Kerr

First preview: October 3

Opening: October 12

Closing: February 3, 2018

Bruce Springsteen makes his Broadway debut with five concerts a week.  “My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music. Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work.”  He will read from his recently published autobiography, “Born to Run.”

website

M. Butterfly

Theater: Cort

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: Much the same as Off-Bway

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.

Latin History for Morons

Theater: Studio 54

Author and performer: John Leguizamo

Director: Tony Taccone

First Preview: October 19, 2017

Opening: November 15

Closing: February 4, 2017

John Leguizamo’s sixth one-man show had a successful run Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, with his usual mix of in-your-face jokes, spot-on mimicry, candid memoir, energetic dance breaks. But it is also a timely cultural and political critique.

My review of Latin History for Morons Off-Broadway

Meteor Shower

Theater: Booth Theatre
Author: Steve Martin
Director: Jerry Zaks
First Preview: November 1, 2017
Opening: November 29, 2017
Cast: Amy Schumer, Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti, Alan Tudyk
Two California couples find themselves in marital freefall—and in a meteor shower

@MeteorShowerBwy

The Parisian Woman

Theater: Hudson
Author: Beau Willimon
Director: Pam MacKinnon
First Preview: November 7, 2017
Opening: November 30, 2017
Cast: Uma Thurman, Josh Lucas, Blair Brown, Phillipa Soo, Marton Csokas,
Uma Thurman makes her Broadway debut as Chloe, a socialite armed with charm and wit, coming to terms with politics, her past, her marriage and an uncertain future in the social power center that is Washington D.C.

website

@ParisianBway

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:
Phillip Boykin as Tonton Julian, Merle Dandridge
as Papa Ge/Demon of Death,Quentin Earl Darrington as Agwe/God of Water, Alysha Deslorieux as Andrea, David Jennings as Armand, Hailey Kilgore as Ti Moune , Kenita R. Miller as Mama Euralie, Alex Newell as Asaka/Mother of the Earth,
Isaac Powell as Daniel, Lea Salonga as Erzulie/Goddess of Love

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 12

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.”

JANUARY

John Lithgow: Stories by Heart

Theater: Roundabout’s American Airlines

Adapted and performed by John Lithgow

Director: Daniel Sullivan

First preview: December 21, 2017

Opening: January 11, 2018

Closing: March 4, 2018

The actor conjures a cast of characters from classic short stories by Ring Lardner and P. G. Wodehouse.

Website

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 

Angels in America

Theater: Neil Simon

Author: Tony Kushner

Director: Marianne Elliott

First preview: February 23, 2018

Opening: March 21, 2018

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane et al.

A review of Tony Kushner’s two-part Pulitzer Prize winning epic play about the age of AIDS. The production is a transfer from London’s National Theatre.

Frozen

Theater: St. James Theater

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

Director: Michael Grandage

First Preview: February 22, 2018

Opening: March 22, 2018

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

Lobby Hero

Theater: Helen Hayes

Author: Kenneth Lonergan

Director: Trip Cullman

First Preview: March 1, 2018

Opening: March 26, 2018

Cast: Michael Cera, Chris Evans, Bryan Tyree Henry

An apartment lobby serves as a waiting area for four New Yorkers involved in a murder investigation.  “A young security guard with big ambitions clashes with his stern boss, an intense rookie cop and her unpredictable partner in a play from the 2017 Oscar-winning writer of Manchester by the Sea.” This is the first production by Second Stage Theater at its new Broadway venue.

website

@2STNYC 

Three Tall Women

Theater: John Golden

Author: Edward Albee
Director: Joe Mantello

First Preview: February 27, 2018

Opening: March 29, 2018

Cast: Glenda Jackson, Laurie Metcalf, Alison Pill

Albee’s Pulitzer-winning play about a woman in life’s final act. Glenda Jackson returns to Broadway after an absence of 30 years.

APRIL

Mean Girls

Mean Girls LogoTheater: August Wilson

Authors: Tina Fey (book), Jeff Richmond (music), Nell Benjamin (lyrics)

Director and choreographer: Casey Nicholas

First preview: March 12, 2018

Opening: April 8, 2018

Cast: Erika Henningsen,  Taylor Louderman, Ashley Park, and Kate Rockwell

Based on Tina Fey’s 2004 movie, this new musical (which will try out in Washington D.C.’s National Theatre in the Fall), pits a newcomer to high school against a triumvirate of classmates who are, well, mean girls, labeled the Plastics.

Children of a Lesser God

Theater: Studio 54

Author: Mark Medoff

Director: Kenny Leon

First Preview: March 22, 2018

Opening: April 11, 2018

Cast: Joshua Jackson, Lauren Ridloff

A revival of the Tony-winning play about the romance between a hearing man and deaf woman

website

@LesserGodBway

Carousel

Carousel logoTheater: Imperial

Author: Rodgers and Hammerstein

Director: Jack O’Brien

First Preview: March 23, 2018

Opening: April 12, 2018

Cast: Jessie Mueller, Joshua Henry, Renee Fleming,  Betsy Wolfe, Margaret Colin and Alexander Gemignani

@carouselbway

website

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: Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger, Jamie Parker
as Harry Potter, Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley, Anthony Boyle
as Scorpius Malfoy, Sam Clemmett
as Albus Potter, Poppy Miller
as Ginny Potter, Alex Price as Draco Malfoy

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. “

Travesties

Author: Tom Stoppard
Director: Patrick Marber
First Preview: Mar 29, 2018
Opening Date: Apr 24, 2018
Closing Date: Jun 17, 2018
Cast: Tom Hollander

A revival of Tom Stoppard’s play from Great Britain’s Chocolate Factory. :In 1917 Zurich, an artist, Tristan Tzara; a writer, James Joyce; and a revolutionary, Lenin, collide”

Closing Date:Jun 17, 2018

Website

Saint Joan

Theater: MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman

Author: George Bernard Shaw

Director: Daniel Sullivan

First preview: April 3, 2018

Opening: April 25, 2018

Cast: Condola Rashad

Revival of Shaw’s play about the 15th century martyr.

The Iceman Cometh

Author: Eugene O’Neill

Director: George C. Wolfe

First Preview: March 22

Opening: April 26

Cast: Denzel Washington + about 18 other cast members TBA.

The fifth Broadway production of Eugene O’Neill’s play about dead-end alcoholics and prostitutes hanging out in a saloon and rooming house in Greenwich Village in 1912.

Check out last season’s Broadway guide

Broadway 2016-2017

Also:

What Broadway Shows Should I See? Top 10 Suggestions.

GET TICKETS TO BROADWAY HITS

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”

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.