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November 2018 New York Theater Openings

Six shows are opening on Broadway in November.  And yes, one of them features a giant ape feeling unwelcome in New York City, and another marks the annual holiday stopover for a perennially touring magic act.  But in a month that includes a crucial Election Day, the shows opening in New York aren’t all about (sometimes literal) escape.  There are not many overtly political plays, although one opening this month is about Bobby Kennedy’s campaign for president. Yet several of the Broadway shows deal with serious issues, especially “American Son,” starring Kerry Washington. Even some puppet shows in La MaMa’s puppet festival this month focus on the refugee crisis and the killing of black men.  Off-Broadway, there are an abundance of plays that touch on the struggles of African-American, Asian-
American,  Native-American and/or LGBTIQ characters. Lauren Gunderson’s play “Natural Shocks,” debuting this month in a WP Theater production, was used in staged readings across the country earlier this year as a fundraiser for gun control. “All is Calm”  recalls a surreally peaceful moment during a time even more divisive than our own, during World War I (a war that ended on November 11, 1918), and there is a new production of a play that Bertolt Brecht wrote as an act of resistance in Germany during World War II.

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

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October 2018 New York Theater Openings

Bob Dylan, Glenn Close, Daniel Radcliffe, and Gloria Steinem are all on a New York stage one way or another in October, always a good month for theater.

This year’s October is likely the busiest ever, thanks to the addition of the hundred shows in the New York International Fringe Festival, which for the first time has been moved from August to October.

Three shows are opening on Broadway in October: Elaine May returns to Broadway in a star-studded revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s “The Waverly Gallery”; Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale star in “Lifespan of a Fact,” a true story that starts with one of our society’s unheralded heroes – a fact checker. Jez Butterworth’s “The Ferryman” is one of the several plays that month about a stranger who visits…and turns everything
upside down.

Off-Broadway’s promising shows include a re-imagined “Oklahoma”; an evening of Beckett performed by Bill Irwin; and a new Bob Dylan musical with a book by Conor McPherson. Glenn Close stars as Joan of Arc’s mother. Christine Lahti portrays Gloria Steinem.

Off-Off Broadway, filmmaker Todd Solondz makes his theatrical debut, and two plays by Samuel D. Hunter are joined together into a dinner theater, New York style.

Below is a selection of openings in October, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website.
Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black or BlueOff Off Broadway: Green. Theater festival: Orange

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September 2018 New York Theater Openings: Women Center Stage, plus snooker

Sarah Bernhardt returns to Broadway, in the person of Janet McTeer, in a new play by Theresa Rebeck about the actress’s pursuit in 1899 of the role of Hamlet.

Bernhardt/Hamlet” is one of two shows opening on Broadway this month — the other is about snooker (which is what the British call pool) entitled “The Nap” — and one of several that put women center stage. Among these are “Intractable Woman,” about the assassinated journalist Anna Politkovskaya; “The True,” by Sharr White, in which Edie Falco portrays an Albany politico; “Intrusion,” a one-woman, eight-character show in which Qurrat Ann Kadwani examines how we all perpetuate rape culture. And then there’s “Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties,” a play by Jen Silverman featuring five characters named Betty, played by, among others, Lea Delaria and Ana Villafañe, late of On Your Feet; and La Femme’s revival of Tennessee Williams’ play about four women, ‘A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur’ (featuring Kristine Nielsen and Annette O’Toole.)

Also of note: “Private Peaceful,” one-man show about World War I, and  “I Was Most Alive With You,” with its all-deaf “shadow cast.”

Below is a selection of openings in September, organized chronologically by opening date. Each title is linked to a relevant website.
Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Black or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.
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August 2018 New York Theater Openings

Two shows are opening this month on Broadway, one a musical adaptation of a 1990 Julia Roberts movie, “Pretty Woman,” starring Andy Karl and Samantha Barks; the other, “Gettin’ The Band Back Together,” a musical comedy about a 40-year-old re-engaging in a Battle of the Bands.

Off-Broadway, there are musicals about a romance between neurotic New Yorkers, a revolution by redheads, the second man to walk on the moon, and an average teenager (portrayed by Dear Evan Hansen’s Will Roland) who swallows a supercomputer and becomes cool. The Mint is offering a rare revival of a rare flop by Lillian Hellman.  Off-Off Broadway, the Flea presents a play about the repercussions of a police shooting.

Yes, August is not the most crowded month for theater in New York, especially since the 21st New York Fringe festival has moved to October.  But a couple of other theater festivals are opening this month, and several more are still running

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

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July 2018 New York Theater Openings

Two shows are opening on Broadway in July — Young Jean Lee’s “Straight White Men,” which marks the Broadway debuts of Armie Hammer and Josh Charles, among others; and “Head Over Heels,” a new musical using the music of the Go-Gos with a plot from the 16th century.

Some dozen Off-Broadway offerings this month include a new play by Tracy Letts, a new musical by Stephen Trask, the composer of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and two intriguingly edgy adaptations of difficult films —  Nazi-besotted “The Damned,” adapted by Ivo van Hove, and heroin besotted “Trainspotting,” adapted by a Scottish immersive theater company aptly named In Your Face.

Since it’s summer, there are also the summer theater festivals such as the New York Musical Festival, and such FREE theatrical concerts as the weekly Broadway in Bryant Park

The shows described below are organized chronologically by opening night, except the festivals, which are presented by their first day (most of them on July 9th.) Each title is linked to a relevant website for more information

.

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple, blue or black. Off Off Broadway: Green. Theater festival: Orange
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June 2018 New York Theater Openings: Off-Broadway Busting Out All Over

Broadway’s focus is on the Tonys – no Broadway shows are opening this month – but Off-Broadway is bursting.

It’s not just all the familiar faces that lure. As the list below makes clear, it’s the  unfamiliar (and sometimes outright weird) that intrigue as well.
Some (potential) highlights: Anika Noni Rose stars in CSC’s revival of Carmen Jones, one of a number of shows this month about the African-American experience.  Idina Menzel stars in Skintight, one of the strikingly diverse new plays with LGBT characters and/or themes this month. (June is Pride Month, after all.)  Melissa Errico Read more of this post

May 2018 New York Theater Openings

Yes, we now debate theater nominations and await the awards, but the shows must go on in May. That includes just one play on Broadway — the first of the 2018-2019 Broadway season and star-studded to boot. There is also a play by Tennessee Williams and a new play about him, as well as works by Caryll Churchill and Stephen Adly Giurgis

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each title is linked to a relevant website.
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April 2018 New York Theater Openings

The nine shows opening on Broadway in the month of April include four musicals and five plays – the old ones among the most beloved (Carousel, My Fair Lady) or respected (by Eugene O’Neill, George Bernard Shaw, Tom Stoppard), the new nes among the most anticipated (Harry Potter, Mean Girls.).

But Off-Broadway is generating excitement this month too — with, for example, a one-two punch at the Public, of a new musical by Quiara Alegria Hudes (In The Heights) and a new play by Lynn Nottage (Ruined, Sweat.) and the debut of new plays at Playwrights Horizons by up-and-comers Lindsey Ferrentino and Clare Barron

Below is a list, organized chronologically by opening date, with descriptions. Each title is linked to a relevant website.
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March 2018 New York Theater Openings

Six shows are opening on Broadway this month, including the much anticipated  “Frozen,” and starry revivals of both “Angels in America” and “Three Tall Women,” which marks Glenda Jackson’s return to Broadway after 30 years.

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February 2018 New York Theater Openings

No shows are opening on Broadway in February, but there are many snippets of Broadway musicals all on one stage — a 25th anniversary celebration of Encores! concert series creates a new musical out of old musicals. (See February 7.)

It’s not the only show with a starry cast. So is a revival of Edward Albee’s first hit, altered late in life.

Off-Off Broadway, there are provocative plays about lynching, drone warfare, and gender transition; Off-Broadway about a right-wing takeover of the working class (in Europe), and a political power play (in DC).  Martyna Majok has written “Queens”; Sarah Burgess has written “Kings.” Eve Ensler brings to the stage her memoir about surviving a life-threatening illness; Martin McDonagh imagines an executioner who’s been forcibly retired.

Below is a selective list of (no Broadway), Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway and festival offerings in February, organized chronologically by opening date, with each title linked to a relevant website.

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