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March 2016 Theater Openings Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

The season is suddenly in bloom.

Six shows are opening on Broadway in March, including a musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell; the next installment of Arthur Miller as interpreted by avant-garde director Ivo van Hove; and “Eclipsed” by Danai Gurira, starring the luminous Lupita Amondi Nyong’o making her Broadway debut. March is happening as much Off-Broadway: Gurira has a second play opening at Playwrights Horizons, and let’s not forget that Eclipsed is transferring from its sold-out run at the Public Theater, which is on a definite roll. Just this month,  four new plays and musicals are opening at the Public, two of them star-studded — Homeland’s Clare Danes, The Office’s John Krasinski, Phylicia Rashad — and the other two promising to break new ground in theatrical storytelling.

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

Nothing, of course, is guaranteed about any of these shows, even those that seem the most promising. (This is why I write reviews.)

Color key: Broadway: Red. Off Broadway: Purple or BlueOff Off Broadway: Green.
To look at the Spring season as a whole, check out my Broadway Spring 2016 Preview Guide and my Off Broadway Spring 2016 Preview Guide

March 3

familiar for calendar

 

Familiar (Playwrights Horizons)

“It’s winter in Minnesota, and a Zimbabwean family is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter, a first-generation American. But when the bride insists on observing a traditional African custom, it opens a deep rift in the household.” The play is written by Danai Gurira,whose Eclipsed opens three days later on Broadway.

RedSpeedoforCalendar

 

Red Speedo (New York Theatre Workshop)

Lucas Hnath (The Christians) writes about an Olympic swimmer who “confronts the lure of endorsements, the perils of mixing the personal and professional, and the unforgiving weight of success.”

3 Mics (Lynn Redgrave Theater)

Neal Brennan takes the stage alternating between three separate microphones, each giving voice to the various aspects of his life – stand-up, one-liners, and “emotional stuff.”

March 4

Hungry (The Public Theater)

As a kind of follow-up to Richard Nelson’s impressive series, The Apple Family Plays, the playwright is writing a three-play cycle about a different family in the same upstate city of Rhinebeck, using the same approach — the discussion of politics happening on the same day as the play itself is unfolding.

 

March 6

Akosua Busia and Lupita Nyong’o in Eclipsed

Akosua Busia and Lupita Nyong’o in Eclipsed

Eclipsed (The Golden Theater)

Eclipsed is the story of five extraordinary women brought together by upheaval in their homeland of Liberia. Written by Danai Gurira, it stars Lupita Nyong’o

March 7

TheRoyaleforCalendar

The Royale (Lincoln Center Mitzi Newhouse)

Written by Marco Ramirez and directed by Rachel Chavkin, the play is “loosely based on the real-life experiences of Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight world champion.”

White Rabbit Red Rabbit (Westside Theater)

An all-star cast, including Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg and George Takei (but one at a time), reads this play  by award-winning Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, who has been barred from leaving his native country because of his status as a conscientious objector.

March 8

DisasterforCalendar

Disaster

A spoof of 1970s disaster films written and co-starring Seth Rudetsky, using the popular music from that era. Among the cast are Faith Prince and Rachel York.

March 9

That Physics Show (Elektra Theater)

David Maiullo brings his physics experiments to the  stage, demonstrating such concepts as motion, momentum, vacuum, friction, energy,and sound vibration.

March 10

blackbirdin2007

Blackbird (Belasco)

In this play written by David Harrower and directed by Joe Mantello, Jeff Daniels stars as Ray, who had sex with Una when she was 12 years old, and went to jail for it. Fifteen years later, Una (Michelle Williams) tracks him down.

Boy (Theater Row)

A play by Anna Ziegler “based in part on a true story” about an adult who was raised as a girl seeking out a new identity.

March 13

Southern Comfort (The Public Theater)

A bluegrass-tinged musical based on a documentary that tells the true story of a group of transgender friends living life on their own terms in the back hills of rural Georgia

Robber Bridegroom for Calendar Steven-Pasquale-and-the-company-in-THE-ROBBER-BRIDEGROOM-photo-by-Joan-Marcus%2c-2016

The Robber Bridegroom (RTC Laura Pels)

Steven Pasquale stars in this revival of the musical with book by Alfred Uhry about  “a Southern-fried Robin Hood” who falls in love

Widower’s Houses (TACT at Theater Row)

George Bernard Shaw’s funny debut play tackles the crisis of conscience of a young man who comes face to face with the choice between his love and his ideals.

March 14

HoldOntoMeDarlingforCalendar

Hold Onto Me Darling (Atlantic)

The new play by Kenneth Lonergan focuses on a world-famous country singer who questions his celebrity after his mother’s death, and moves back to his hometown; “it doesn’t go well.”

March 15

Ideation (59359)

Aaron Loeb brings a dark comic edge to this psychological suspense thriller, in which a group of corporate consultants work together on a mysterious and ethically ambiguous project

March 16

 

Ironbound (Rattlestick)

Marin Ireland and Josiah Bania in Ironbound. photo by Sandra Coudert (2)

In this play by Martyna Majok, Darja, a Polish immigrant cleaning lady (Marin Ireland), is done talking about feelings; it’s time to talk money. Over the course of 20 years and three relationships, Darja negotiates for her future with men who can offer her love or security, but never both. Critically acclaimed when it was presented at the Women’s Voices Theater Festival in Bethesda, Md.

The Way West (Labyrinth Theater)

TheWayWestforCalendar

In this new comedy by Mona Mansour, Mom has entered a new chapter in her life: Chapter 11.  Of course, that doesn’t stop her spending money…or borrowing money…or loaning money. Her daughters stage a financial intervention.

March 17

She Loves Me (Studio 54)

At the parfumerie where both work, Amalia (Laura Benanti) and Georg (Zachary Levi) hate each other. But as secret anonymous pen pals, they are falling in love.

I’m partial to this show.

March 20

The Effect for Calendar Susannah_Flood__George_Demas__Kati_Brazda__Carter_Hudson__(photo_by_Matthew_Murphy)

The Effect (Barrow Street Theater)

In a play by Lucy Prebble (Enron) directed by David Cromer (Our Town, Tribes), Connie and Tristan have palpable chemistry with one another—or is it a side effect of a new super-antidepressant? They are volunteers in a clinical trial, but their sudden and illicit romance forces the supervising doctors to face off over the ethical consequences of their work.

March 21

The Wolf in the River (The Flea)

A play written and directed by Adam Rapp that “explores love and neglect, the challenges of poverty, the dangerous cost of shiftlessness.”

March 22

Dry Powder (Public Theater)

The wheeling-dealing of the executives (including The Office’s John Krasinski making his stage debut, and Homeland’s Clare Danes) in a private equity firm.

DRY POWDERPUBLIC THEATER/MARTINSON HALL 425 LAFAYETTE STREET, NEW YORK

John Krasinski and  Claire Danes in Dry Powder

March 24

Bright Star From Grammy and Emmy winner Steve Martin and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Edie Brickell comes this hopeful and heart-swelling new musical, directed by Tony winner Walter Bobbie. Don't miss this powerful reminder that even in the darkest sky, there's always one… Bright Star. Carmen Cusack reprises the role of Alice, which she originated in Bright Star's world premiere production, and will be joined by co-stars Paul Alexander Nolan, Tony Award nominee Michael Mulheren, A.J. Shively, Hannah Elless, Tony Award nominee Stephen Bogardus, three-time Tony Award nominee Dee Hoty, Stephen Lee Anderson, Emily Padgett, Tony Award nominee Jeff Blumenkrantz, along with Maddie Shea Baldwin, Allison Briner, Max Chernin, Patrick Cummings, Sandra DeNise, Richard Gatta, Lizzie Klemperer, Michael X. Martin, William Michals, Tony Roach, Sarah Jane Shanks and William Youmans.

Bright Star (Cort)

This musical by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell tells of the meeting between successful literary editor Alice Murphy and an ambitious young soldier just home from World War II. Their connection inspires Alice to confront a shocking incident from her past.

 

March 28

HEAD OF PASSESPUBLIC THEATER/NEWMAN THEATER 425 LAFAYETTE STREET, NEW YORK

HEAD OF PASSES PUBLIC THEATER/NEWMAN THEATER 425 LAFAYETTE STREET, NEW YORK Cast: Alana Arenas, Francois Battiste, Kyle Beltran, J. Bernard Calloway, Robert Joy, John Earl Jelks, Phylicia Rashad and Arnetia Walker Director: Tina Landau PLAYWRIGHT: TARELL ALVIN MCCRANEY

 

Head of Passes (Public Theater)

Inspired by the Book of Job, this play by Tarell Alvin McCraney (The Brother/Sister Plays) and directed by Tina Landau presents the story of Shelah (Phylicia Rashad) who must fight to survive during a reunion held on her birthday.

 Hamlet10 (The Flamboyan Theater)

In The New York Shakespeare Exchange production, ten actors (five male, five female) play all the roles in the play, including, by turns, the role of the tragic Danish prince.

Stupid F…ing Bird (Pearl Theater)

Aaron Posner’s “‘sort of’ adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull

March 30

Locusts Have No King (Intar)

In this play by J. Julian Christopher, two gay couples work together and even live in the same building. But they are closeted. But When one of them ponders his resignation, the others fear the exposure of their hidden relationships.

1776 (Encores)

Running just over a long weekend, this concert version of the musical about how the founding fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence, is certainly well-timed — not just to the election, but thanks to Hamilton.  The concert features  Santino Fontna (John Adams), John Behlmann (Thomas Jefferson) John Larroquette (Benjamin Franklin) as well as Andre De Shields and Nikki Renee Daniels

March 31

The Crucible 8

Elizabeth Teeter, Saoirse Ronan and Tavi Gevinson

The Crucible (Walter Kerr)

This is the sixth Broadway production of Miller’s popular account of the Salem witch trials of the 1690’s, but it is being directed by the experimental Belgium director Ivo van Hove, who made his Broadway debut in 2015 with another Miller play, A View From The Bridge. The cast includes Ben Whishaw, Sophie Okonedo, Ciaran Hinds, Saoirse Ronan.

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Off Broadway Spring 2016 Guide

As Hamilton director Thomas Kail makes clear this season, Broadway may beckon, but Off-Broadway is the room where it happens.

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail

Kail is directing two plays Off-Broadway – “Dry Powder” at the Public, starring The Office’s John Krasinski making his New York stage debut, and “Daphne’s Dive” at the Signature, written by Pulitzer-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes, who shares Broadway credentials with both Kail and Lin-Manuel Miranda. (She is the book writer for Miranda’s “In The Heights.”)

Danai Gurira, who until last year was best known for her role as Michonne on The Walking Dead TV series, will see her play “Eclipsed” transfer from Off-Broadway to Broadway this season. But one day after “Eclipsed” is scheduled to open, a second play of hers, ‘Familiar,” is opening at Off Broadway’s Playwrights Horizons.

Even Harold Prince — as in the Prince of Broadway — is directing a new musical Off-Broadway this season, his first new work for a New York stage in nine years.

HaroldPrinceOther Broadway stalwarts with new shows Off-Broadway include Pasek and Paul (best-known for A Christmas Story), Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy, Parade), Stew and Heidi Rodewald (Passing Strange), Lydia Diamond (Stick Fly), John Patrick Shanley (Doubt), and Enda Walsh (Once)

If the line between Broadway and Off-Broadway seems increasingly porous, there are still significant differences, which require separate approaches.  Broadway is more or less a collection of random individual potential hits or misses. (See my Broadway Spring 2016 Preview Guide.)  Off-Broadway is not as easy to get your hands around — there are many more shows and most have limited runs; the theaters are more spread out geographically and far more numerous — some 200 theaters/theater companies, or five times the number of Broadway houses.  But it also features a solid number of producing theaters, who reliably present a rich, adventurous and diverse season of shows, at lower prices than Broadway.

Danai Gurira, author of a play on Broadway and Off Broadway

Danai Gurira, author of a play on Broadway and Off Broadway

It thus makes sense to organize an Off-Broadway preview by focusing on these individual seasons, presented in the order of my preference for the particular 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, both as theatergoer and as critic.)

I’ve put a red check mark —  — besides ten 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. I plan to see almost everything below, and expect to be surprised.

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. It offers new plays and musicals that are consistently satisfying, or at least intriguing.

PlaywrightsHorizonsSpring2016

Familiar by Danai Gurira

February 12 – March 27, 2016

“It’s winter in Minnesota, and a Zimbabwean family is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter, a first-generation American. But when the bride insists on observing a traditional African custom, it opens a deep rift in the household.”

Antlia Pneumatica by Anne Washburn

March 11 – April 24, 2016

Washburn (who forever has my attention, thanks to her Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play) writes about a once tight-knit group of friends who reunite to bury one of their own.

Indian Summer by Gregory S. Moss

May 13 – June 26, 2016

Spending an unpleasant summer with his grandfather, in an unfriendly Rhode Island beach town, Daniel soon meets Izzy, who is tough-acting, beguiling, and taken.

THE PUBLIC THEATER

publictheaterlogo425 Lafayette Street. Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY

The original home of the Broadway hits Hamilton and Fun Home, as well as Eclipsed, opening on Broadway this season.

The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street

The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street

Under the Radar Festival, 12th edition

January 6-17, 2016

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

The first performance of each of the Public’s main shows below is offered for free by lottery. 

Southern Comfort

February 23 – March 27, 2016

A bluegrass-tinged musical based on a documentary that tells the true story of a group of transgender friends living life on their own terms in the back hills of rural Georgia

The Gabriels, Election Year in the Life of One Family

Play One: Hungry

February 27 – March 20

As a kind of follow-up to Richard Nelson’s impressive series, The Apple Family Plays, the playwright is writing a three-play cycle about a different family in the same upstate city of Rhinebeck, using the same approach — the discussion of krasinskipolitics happening on the same day as the play itself is unfolding.

Dry Powder

The wheeling-dealing of the executives (including John Krasinski) in a private equity firm.

March 1 – April 10

Head of Passesphylicia rashad in head of passes

March 15 – April 17

Inspired by the Book of Job, this play by Tarell Alvin McCraney (The Brother/Sister Plays) and directed by Tina Landau presents the story of Shelah (Phylicia Rashad) who must fight to survive during a reunion held on her birthday.

The Total Bent

May 10 – June 12

A British record producer courts a Southern black composer in this musical written by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, the team behind Passing Strange.

The Mobile Shakespeare Unit: Romeo & Juliet 

April 11 – May 1

Directed by Lear deBessonet

 

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.

This season is special for two reasons — it’s the 25th anniversary season, and it’s the last one under founding artistic director James Houghton.

Old Hats

January 26 – March 2016

A return of Bill Irwin and David Shiner signature clowning.

Angel Reapers

 Angel Reapers

February 2 to March 13. Opens February 22.

Playwright Alfred Uhry and choreographer/director Martha Clarke team up on this “theatrical collage” about the Shakers, the early American religious sect best-remembered now for their furniture, whose members were committed to celibacy. Actual traditional Shaker songs and movement are incorporated.

QuiaraAlegriaHudes

Daphne’s Dive

April 26 – June 5, 2016

Directed by Thomas Kail, this play is the first of several at the Signature to be written by Quiara Alegría Hudes. “Daphne’s Dive is a cheap corner bar in North Philly where Daphne and her vibrant, eclectic regulars drink to art, politics, and life.”

AlbeeFornesKennedy

SIGNATURE ONE ACTS

Edward Albee’s The Sandbox
María Irene Fornés’ Drowning 
Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro

May 3 – June 12, 2016

 This trio of famous one-act plays is directed by Lila Neugebauer

SecondStagelogoSECOND STAGE *

The cast of Smart People: Mahershala Ali, Joshua Jackson, Ann Son, Tessa Thompson

The cast of Smart People: Mahershala Ali, Joshua Jackson, Ann Son, Tessa Thompson

Smart People

January 26 – March 6. Opens February 11.

Written by Lydia Diamond and directed by Kenny Leon — the same team that brought us Stick Fly – the comedy focuses on four Harvard intellectuals who find themselves entangled in a complex web of social and sexual politics on the eve of Obama’s first election.

Dear Evan Hansen, from the Arena Stage production

Dear Evan Hansen, from the Arena Stage production

√ Dear Evan Hansen

March 26 – May 22. Opens May 1

A hit when it played at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage, this original musical tells the story of a high school student who is mistakenly thought to be best friends with a classmate who had committed suicide.   Michael Greif (RentNext to Normal and Grey Gardens) directs, with music and lyrics by  Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (A Christmas Story, Dogfight) and a book by Steven Levenson (Showtime’s “Masters of Sex”).

VINEYARD THEATER

vineyard_01

108 East 15th Street Twitter: @VineyardTheatre

Dot

February 4 – March 13, 2016

Written by Colman Domingo and directed by Susan Stroman, “Dot” examine’s Dotty’s struggles to navigate life with dementia, while her children fight to balance care for their mother and care for themselves.

features-large_FY16-INDECENT2

√ Indecent

“May – June 2016”

In the same season that the much-anticipated Shuffle Along presents the backstage story to a famous Broadway musical from the 1920’s, Paula Vogel’s new play looks at the events surrounding the 1923 Broadway debut of Yiddish-theater playwright Sholem Asch’s controversial drama God of Vengeance, which dealt with prostitution and lesbianism and whose cast was successfully prosecuted for obscenity.

new_york_01

NEW YORK THEATER WORKSHOP

79 East 4th Street. Twitter: @NYTW79

Red Speedo

February 17, 2016—March 27, 2016

Lucas Hnath (The Christians) writes about an Olympic swimmer who “confronts the lure of endorsements, the perils of mixing the personal and professional, and the unforgiving weight of success.”

 Hadestown

Inspired by Orpheus’ mythical quest to overcome Hades and regain the favor of his one true love, this musical developed and directed by Rachel Chavkin  (a name you’ll keep on hearing), with folk and jazz music by Anaïs Mitchell, takes place in an “industrialized world of mindless labor and full stomachs.”

LincolnCenterlogoLINCOLN CENTER THEATER*

@LCTheater

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

The RoyaleThe Royale

February 11 – May 1.  Opens March 7.

Written by Marco Ramirez and directed by Rachel Chavkin, the play is “loosely based on the real-life experiences of Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight world champion.”

Her Requiem

February 6 – March 20. Opens February 22.

Written by Greg Pierce and directed by Kate Whoriskey: “Caitlin takes her senior year off from high school to compose a full-scale requiem. Inspired by her dedication, her father, Dean, becomes obsessed with requiems and the people who love them, while her mother, Allison, becomes concerned about Caitlin’s isolation from everyone aside from her music teacher.”

War

May 21 –

Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Appropriate, An Octoroon and Gloria.) “Tensions escalate between Tate and Joanne after their mother has a stroke. As they attack each other in their mother’s hospital room, they are ambushed by two strangers who make a shocking claim about their grandfather during WWII.”

MCCTheaterLogoMCC THEATER

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

Smokefall

February 4 – March 13, 2016

“Magical realism collides with manic vaudeville in a family drama” written by Noah Haidle and directed by Anne Kauffman. The cast includes Zachary Quinto.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gynecologic Oncology Unit At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Of New York City

May 19-Jun 25, 2016

Written by Hailey Feiffer and directed by Trip Cullman:   “A foul-mouthed twenty-something comedienne and a middle-aged man embroiled in a nasty divorce are brought together unexpectedly when their cancer-stricken mothers become roommates in the hospital.

ROUNDABOUT* LAURA PELS

roundabout_01This is their 50th anniversary. Off-Broadway’s Roundabout show, The Humans, is transferring to Broadway this season.

Steven Pasquale

The Robber Bridegroom

February 18 – May 29

Steven Pasquale stars in this revival of the musical with book by Alfred Uhry about  “a Southern-fried Robin Hood” who falls in love

CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY

 

mothercourage_800x315

Mother Courage and her Children

December 9 – ?

Tonya Pinkins left this production citing creative differences, so it’s up int he air when it will open and when the run will end.  Bertolt Brecht’s most popular play about a Mother Courage who follows one luckless army after another across a war-torn world, has been transposed to the present-day Congo. Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) has written a new score for the play.

NathantheWise

√ Nathan the Wise

March 18 –

F. Murray Abraham stars an adaptation of this 18th century play by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. “Jerusalem, 1192. Muslims, Christians and Jews live side by side thanks to a fragile truce that could collapse at any moment. As the tension mounts a question arises from the ruling Sultan: “which religion is the one most beloved by God?” Nathan, a pious Jewish merchant, is charged with answering this question to help secure the continued safety of his people.”

Peer Gynt

May 11 –

Director John Doyle (Passion, Allegro)adapted Ibsen’s tale of the misadventures of young Peer from childhood renegade to outcast, adventurer, industrialist…

AtlanticTheaterlogoATLANTIC

√ Skeleton Crew

January 6 — February 14, 2016. Opens January 19.

“In Dominique Morisseau’s third play in her Detroit trilogy, a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure”  Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Hold Onto Me Darling

February 24 – April 3

The new play by Kenneth Lonergan focuses on a world-famous country singer who questions his celebrity after his mother’s death, and moves back to his hometown; “it doesn’t go well.”

Feb 24 — April 3, 2016

The Band’s Visit 

May 19 – July 10

A musical by composer David Yazbek and playwright Itamar Moses, based on the funny 2007 Israeli film about an Egyptian military police band who get the wrong directions and wind up in a small forgotten town in the Isareli desert.

This is the new musical directed by Harold Prince.

Update: Harold Prince dropped out, and The Band’s Visit will now be directed by David Cromer — in the Fall.

MTC logoMTC AT CITY CENTER*

131 West 55th Street Twitter: @MTC_NYC

This theater was publicly criticized for the lack of diversity in its season.

season-2015-16-headers-ProdigalSon

 Prodigal Son

January 19 – March 20. Opens February 9
John Patrick Shanley’s new play, which he directs, stars Robert Sean Leonard, and Timothée Chalamet as a brilliant, troubled young man from the Bronx at a New Hampshire private school.

The Ruins of Civilization

May 4 – . Opens May 18.

A couple open their home to a stranger in need sometime in the future, with unexpected results. Written by Penelope Skinner (The Village Bike)

Incognito

May 3 to June 26, 2016. Opens May 24.

Written by Nick Payne (Constellations) and directed by Doug Hughes (Doubt.) “A pathologist steals the brain of Albert Einstein; a neuropsychologist embarks on her first romance with another woman; a seizure patient forgets everything but how much he loves his girlfriend.”

OTHER (POTENTIAL) HIGHLIGHTS

 

GloryoftheWorld

The Glory of the World at Brooklyn Academy of Music – Jan 16 – Feb 6, by Charles Mee, about Catholic monk Thomas Merton.

sojourners

Sojourners at Playwrights Realm, January 21 – February 13 – written by Mfoniso Udofia, directed Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. A Nigerian immigrant wants to return home after she gets her degree; her arranged-marriage husband wants to stay.

Buried Child at The New Group,  February 2 – March 13. revival of Sam Shepard play with a stellar cast including Ed Harris and Amy Madigan.

 Pericles at Theater for a New Audience February 14 – March 27.The Shakespearean play will be directed by Trevor Nunn with music composed by Shaun Davey and performed by PigPen Theatre Co.

NiceFish

Nice Fish at St. Ann’s Warehouse February 14 – March 13. Mark Rylance stars in a play he co-wrote with his favorite poet, Louis Jenkins, about two men ice-fishing.

Other companies worth checking out:

59e59

Ars Nova

Irish Repertory Theater

Ma-Yi Theater Company

Mint Theater Company

Primary Stages

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

 

There are also commercial Off-Broadway 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
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 Spring 2016 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 (along with Broadway and Off Broadway openings) posted near the beginning of each month.

My latest monthly calendar guide

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?)

The Christians By Lucas Hnath at Playwrights Horizons

TheChristians1PastorvsAssocPastor

Do theology and theater mix? Is there an unspoken separation between church and stage? A day after the announcement that Amazing Grace will close on Broadway after little more than three months, The Christians opens Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, telling the story of a pastor who shocks his congregation with a single sermon….What’s most unexpected about The Christians is that there’s not a scintilla of satire.  Hnath, whose mother is an ordained minister and who at one time considered becoming a member of the clergy himself, treats each character with respect. His aim seems not to score points but to explore the nature of faith and the politics of a church like this.

Full review in DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged.

Off Broadway Fall 2015 Guide

The new season’s Off-Broadway offerings are various, intriguing, and sometimes hard to describe — an absurdist kitchen-sink comedy about a dysfunctional family with a transgender son; a musical about First Ladies and their daughters; an all-female Shakespeare and an all-new evening of Tennessee Williams; a new work by an old rock star.

man_who_fell_to_earth

Off-Broadway has a knack for creating its own rock stars. They don’t necessarily sing, or even act. Some are playwrights or directors.

Take Danai Gurira.

Playwright and actress Danai Gurira at Playwrights Horizons

She is best known for her role as Michonne on The Walking Dead. But she is also a playwright, who will be debuting two different plays Off-Broadway this season -Familiar at Playwright Horizons and Eclipsed at The Public Theater, which will star Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

lupita-nyongo

Or take Ivo van Hove, the experimental theater director from Belgium who made a splash last year with both Scenes from A Marriage and Angels in America.

Ivo van HoveArthurMillerHe’s making his Broadway debut with two different plays by Arthur Miller, “A View from The Bridge” in the Fall and “The Crucible” in the Spring. October marks the centennial of Miller’s birth, so there are two more revivals of Miller’s work Off-Broadway.

But van Hove is also directing Juliette Binoche in a new adaptation of Antigone at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and directing Lazarus, written by Enda Walsh and David Bowie (that rock star I mentioned) at New York Theatre Workshop.

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 Fall 2015 Preview Guide.)  Off-Broadway is more spread out, more numerous (some 200 theaters/theater companies, or five times the number of Broadway houses), less publicized. As most serious theatergoers will tell you,  Off Broadway has far richer, more adventurous and more diverse offerings, at a lower price. It is also in some ways more connected.

I organize my Off-Broadway preview below 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.)

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. It offers new plays and musicals that are consistently satisfying, or at least intriguing.

playwrightsHorizonsFall2015

The Christians
August 28 – October 11; opens September 17

In this play by Lucas Hnath, Pastor Paul, who has built a megachurch, ” is about to preach a sermon that will shake the foundation of his congregation’s beliefs.” Although it’s a straight play, it includes a gospel choir.

Hir
October 16 – November 29; opens November 8.

Written by Taylor Mac, the gender-bending theater star of many talents, this comic and dramatic exercise in what Mac calls “absurd realism” features the extraordinary Kristine Nielsen (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) as a mother who sees herself as liberated from an oppressive marriage. Her son Isaac, returning from military service, sees her as abusive towards his father (Daniel Oreskes) who’s had a stroke. “Hir” is pronounced “here” and is the pronoun preferred by Isaac’s transgender sibling Max, portrayed by Tom Phelan (The Fosters),

Marjorie Prime
November 20 – January 3, 2016; opens December 14

The inimitable Lois Smith stars in Jordan Harrison’s play.”It’s the age of artificial intelligence, and 86-year-old Marjorie — a jumble of disparate, fading memories — has a handsome new companion who’s programmed to feed the story of her life back to her.”

Spring, 2016

Familiar by Danai Gurira

Antlia Pneumatica by Anne Washburn

Indian Summer by Gregory S. Moss

THE PUBLIC THEATER

publictheaterlogo425 Lafayette Street. Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY

Having originated both Hamilton and Fun Home, the Public is on a roll

Public Works’ The Odyssey
September 4-7

OdysseyBrandonVictorDixon1

Director Lear deBessonet and lyricist/composer Todd Almond team up for the third time,  to reimagine the Greek epic with professional actors and some 200 community members.

Barbecue
September 22-November 1

In this play written by Robert O’Hara, whose Bootycandy I found outrageously entertaining, uncomfortable and profound, the O’Mallerys have gathered in their local park to share some barbecue and stage an intervention with a family member in a spiral of drugs and recklessness.

Eclipsed
September 29 – November 8

Eclipsed cast

Eclipsed cast

Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) stars in the play by Danai Gurira (co-author of In the Continuum and Michonne on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.) Amid the chaos of the Liberian Civil War, the captive wives of a rebel officer band together to form a fragile community – until the balance of their lives is upset by the arrival of a new girl. Directed by South African-born Liesl Tommy (Appropriate, Informed Consent)

First Daughter Suite
October 6-November 15

Michael John LaChiusa  (GiantThe Wild Party) has created a musical of mothers and daughters who’ve lived in the White House: Patricia Nixon and daughters Tricia and Julie, Roselyn and Amy Carter, Betty and Susan Ford, Patti Davis and mom Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush and daughter-in-law Laura. Casting so far includes Marty Testa, Rachel Bay Jones, Theresa McCarthy, Betsy Morgan, Isabel Santiago, Carly Tamer, and Barbara Walsh.
Before Your Very Eyes 
October 17 – November 29
Gob Squad created this unique piece with New Yorkers 8-14 years old.   From behind the safety of one-way mirrors, the audience witness seven lives lived in fast forward—from angst-ridden teens to hunched geriatrics.

The Comedy of Errors
November 1-22

Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, this production of Shakespeare’s comedy will tour the five boroughs followed by a limited three-week engagement at The Public as part of The Mobile Shakespeare Unit,

Under the Radar Festival, 12th edition
January 6-17, 2016

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

 

new_york_01NEW YORK THEATER WORKSHOP

79 East 4th Street. Twitter: @NYTW79

Fondly, Collette Richland

September 11 to October 18; opens September 28

“When Mr. and Mrs. “Fritz” Fitzhubert are summoned through a wee little secret door in their living room, they enter into a phantasmagorical world of Alpen hotels, mysterious employees, perilous hikes, and ancient deities, that will leave their lives forever altered.” A collaboration between the Elevator Repair Service (The Gatz) and their first living writer, playwright Sibyl Kempson.

Lazarus

Lazarus

November 18 – December 27; opens December 7

Directed by Ivo van Hove, starring Michael C. Hall and written by David Bowie and Enda Walsh, the musical is inspired by the 1963 novel The Man Who Fell to Earth about an alien who crash lands on our planet. Bowie, who portrayed the alien in a 1976 film, will be writing original songs.

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.

This season is special for two reasons — it’s the 25th anniversary season, and it’s the last one under founding artistic director James Houghton. Except for the Arthur Miller revival, however, the real excitement of this season comes in the Spring.

John

July 22 – September 6, 2015

The sixth collaboration between playwright Annie Baker and director Sam Gold, though in my review, I suggest not the best.

Love and Money

August 15 – October 4, 2015

A new comedy by A.R. Gurney, which I review here

Incident at Vichy

October 27 – December 6, 2015

Arthur Miller’s play looks at Vichy, France at the height of World War II, when nine men and a boy are rounded up. As they disappear one by one, they battle over politics, philosophy and how to escape.

Night Is A Room

November 3 – December 13, 2015

LINCOLN 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.

Dada Woof Papa Hot

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October 15 to January 3. Opens November 9

In this new play by Peter Parnell (QED), two gay couples who met at a parents group get to know one another and reveal the cracks in their marriages, and that of their straight friends. The cast includes Tammy Blanchard, Patrick Breen, John Benjamin Hickey

MTC AT CITY CENTER*

131 West 55th Street Twitter: @MTC_NYC

Ripcord

MarylouiseBurkeHollandTaylor

September 29 to ; opens October 20
Holland Taylor, Marylouise Burke, and Rachel Dratch. David Hyde Pierce directs
David Lindsay-Abaire’s new play about two rivals who vie for a choice room in an assisted living facility

Important Hats of the 20th Century

opens November 25
Written by Nick Jones (Orange is the New Black, Trevor) and directed by Moritz Von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God)
a cutthroat rivalry between milliners in 1930s New York.

Prodigal Son

January 19 to ; opens February 9
John Patrick Shanley’s new play, which he directs, stars Robert Sean Leonard, and
Timothée Chalamet as a brilliant, troubled young man from the Bronx at a New Hampshire private school.

ROUNDABOUT* LAURA PELS

Ugly Lies The Bone

September 10 to November 22. Opens October 13.

uglyliesthebone

Female soldier Jess returns from war severely burned only to find her Floridian hometown in a state of decay. With the use of virtual reality video game therapy, she desperately tries to restore her relationships, home and all that was lost. Mamie Gummer stars

The Humans

September 30 to; Opens October 25

A terrific cast including Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Joyce Van Patten and Sarah Steele star in the latest play by Stephen Karam (Sons of the Prophet). When Erik Blake (Birney) brings his Pennsylvania family to his daughter’s Manhattan apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving, strange things start happening.

MCC THEATER

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

The Legend of Georgia McBride 

How can an Elvis impersonator become a winning drag queen in the Florida Panhandle? With an empty bank account and pregnant wife, Casey’s going to have to answer that question fast in this music-filled comedy written by Matthew Lopez (“The Whipping Man.”)

RATTLESTICK PLAYWRIGHTS


rattle_01
224 Waverly Place (though frequently also at the Cherry Lane) Twitter:  @RattlestickNY

Hamlet in Bed

Michael Laurence and Annette O’Toole star in Laurence’s play about a neurotic actor and adoptee tracks down a woman who might be his birth mother and asks her to star with him in Hamlet.

CLASSIC STAGE COMPANY

September 10 to 27; opens September 17.

IgphigeniainAulisposter

As part of CSC’s inaugural Greek Festival, Playwright Anne Washburn (Mr. Burns, a post-electric play) and director Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812) team up in this dynamic imagining of Euripides’ rarely-seen final play. A father is challenged to sacrifice his daughter in order to appease the gods.

mothercourage_800x315

Mother Courage and her Children

December 9

Tonya Pinkins stars in Bertolt Brecht’s most popular play as the indomitable Mother Courage,who follows one luckless army after another across a war-torn world in her canteen wagon. Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) has written a new score for the play.

OTHER (POTENTIAL) HIGHLIGHTS

Desire (59E59 )

Opens September 10

Desire

An evening of plays based on six short stories by Tennessee Williams, adapted by Elizabeth Egloff, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman, David Grimm, John Guare, and Beth Henley.

Steve, at The New Group, written by Mark Gerrard, directed by Cynthia Nixon, starring Mario Cantone (“As Steven, a failed Broadway chorus boy turned stay-at-home dad, celebrates yet another birthday, he finds himself filled with fear and uncertainty. Is Stephen, his partner of 14 years, cheating on him?”)

GiganticatVineyardposter

Gigantic, at Vineyard Theater, November 11 – December 20, 2015. A coming-of-age musical that takes places at Camp Overton, the number three weight-loss camp for teenagers in Southern Pennsylvania.

Antigone at BAM

Always worth checking out: Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival which focuses on avant-garde experimental and European works. Of particular interest this year (as I mentioned earlier), a new version of Antigone directed by Ivo van Hove and starring Juliette Binoche.

HenryIVStAnnes

Henry IV at St. Ann’s Warehouse, an all-female production by the same team that brought us the terrific all-female Julius Caesar.

DaddyLongLegs
Daddy Long Legs, Davenport Theatre
.Based on the 1912 novel by Jean Webster, the musical tells the story of Jerusha Abbott, the oldest orphan in the John Grier Home and the mysterious benefactor who sends her to college to be a writer. Required to write him a letter once a month, Jerusha is never to know the benefactor’s identity—so she invents one for him: Daddy Long Legs.

Other companies worth checking out:

Ars Nova

Atlantic

Irish Repertory Theater

Primary Stages

Second Stage 

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 Fall 2015 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 (along with Broadway and Off Broadway openings) posted near the beginning of each month.

Here’s the preview guide for September, 2015.)

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 2015 Theater Openings on Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway

SAforcalendar

scene from Spring Awakening

Deaf West’s revival of “Spring Awakening” is the only Broadway show opening in September.

Other New York theater that looks promising this month: Desire, an evening of plays adapted from Tennessee Williams short stories

The Christians by Lucas Hnath

the musical Daddy Long Legs

and new work by Matthew Lopez (The Whipping Man), Anne Washburn (Mr. Burns), Thomas Bradshaw (Job),  and The Elevator Repair Service (Gatz), as well as the New York City debut of a work by the Neo-Political Cowgirls.

But you can’t know for sure until you see the show, which is why I review.

Below is a selection of the plays, musicals and “immersive” 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 or Blue. Off Off Broadway: Green.

To look at the Fall season as a whole, check out Broadway Fall 2015 Preview and Off-Broadway Fall 2015 Preview.

September 2

In Bed With Roy Cohen (Theatre Row)

At the end of his life, Roy Cohen is visited by people from his past making him account for his deeds, including Julius Rosenberg, Ronald Reagan, Barbara Walters, Roy’s lover Serge, his mother Dora, and his own youthful self.

September 3

Where Was I? (Theatre 54)

Actress Karen Ludwig’s autobiographical solo show.

September 8

Little Thing, Big Thing (59e59)

An Irish ex-con and a nun are thrust into the world of international oil skullduggery, awakening passions they thought were dead. Part of New York’s seventh annual First Irish Theatre Festival.

September 9

TheLegendofGeorgiaMcBrideforcalendar_wayne_duvall__matt_mcgrath__dave_thomas_brown_in_the_legend_of_georgia_mcbride_(photo_by_joan_marcus)

The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC at Lucille Lortel)

How can an Elvis impersonator become a winning drag queen in the Florida Panhandle? With an empty bank account and pregnant wife, Casey’s going to have to answer that question fast in this music-filled comedy written by Matthew Lopez (“The Whipping Man.”)

Laugh It Up, Stare It Down (Cherry Lane)

“This is a story of Cleo and Joe — the meeting of their minds, the entwining of their hearts, and their life-long search for a meaningful point in a universe too random to have one.”

September 10

Desire (59E59 )

Desire

An evening of plays based on six short stories by Tennessee Williams, adapted by Elizabeth Egloff, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman, David Grimm, John Guare, and Beth Henley.

Stoopdreamer (The Cell)

Presented as part of the 1st Irish Theatre Festival,  the play suggests the lingering effects of gentrification as three locals meet in the last remaining Irish saloon in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Windsor Terrace, and reveal secrets from their past that may have ultimately stunted their futures.

Isolde (Theatre for a New Audience)

Inspired by the legend of Tristan and Isolde, the play is written and directed by Richard Maxwell. The marriage of Patrick and Isolde appears to be happy, but then Isolde hires architect Maximo to build her dream house.

Judy (New Ohio Theatre)

“It’s the winter of 2040, and the world has changed – but maybe not by much. Timothy’s wife has just left him, and he isn’t taking it well..What happens when technology fails and communication breaks down.” A comedy by Max Posner produced by Page 73.

EVE (Gym at Judson)

Evepic

An immersive dance theater experience by the Neo-Political Cowgirls (“exploring and celebrating the female voice”),where the audience wanders at will through the expanse of an 11-room set, swaddled by music and art.

September 13

The Black Book (Sargent Theatre)

A college student disguises his suicide note in a poem and leaves it in his poetry professor’s classroom. The apprehensive professor, is compelled to delve into his student’s past and unravel the clues within his poem in attempt to save him

Pondling (59E59)

Genevieve Hulme-Beaman’s one-woman play presents a “strange lonely child who lives life in the grip of her own vivid imagination.”

September 17

The Christians (Playwrights Horizons)

TheChristiansposter

In this play by Lucas Hnath, Pastor Paul, who has built a megachurch, ” is about to preach a sermon that will shake the foundation of his congregation’s beliefs.”

Iphigenia in Aulis (Classic Stage Company)

IgphigeniainAulisposter

As part of CSC’s inaugural Greek Festival, Playwright Anne Washburn (Mr. Burns, a post-electric play) and director Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812) team up in this dynamic imagining of Euripides’ rarely-seen final play. A father is challenged to sacrifice his daughter in order to appease the gods.

Hamlet In Bed (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)

Michael Laurence and Annette O’Toole star in Laurence’s play about a neurotic actor and adoptee tracks down a woman who might be his birth mother and asks her to star with him in Hamlet.

September 18

Boys in the Club (Regeneration at Access Theater)

Meet Hector. Hector used to go out with Alan who is now going out with Eddie who just met Gucci, the house boy, and Pippin, the Drama Queen. And yes, Hector’s the one in the bad drag…In the course of the evening, they reveal hopes, fears, and how they are still coming to terms with HIV.

September 21

The New Morality (Mint Theater)

The New Morality Mint

A revival of the play by Harold Chapin, who died on the battlefield in 1915 at the age of 29. Aboard a houseboat on a fashionable reach of the Thames in 1911, “Betty Jones has been simmering for weeks, watching her husband make an ass of himself by paying excessive attention to their neighbor, Muriel Wister. Betty finally boils over and tells Muriel exactly what she thinks of her”

Fulfillment1

Fulfillment (The Flea)

Thomas Bradshaw’s new play about a man who has a new girlfriend and a new apartment, but is about to enter hell. The play “tackles the question: what makes us happy?” As in many of Bradshaw’s plays, this one includes violence, nudity and sexual situations.

September 24

Conversations with My Molester: A Journey of Faith (The Bridge Theatre)

ConversationswithMyMolesterforCalendarmichael-mack_conversations_timo217_prayer_6x10_300dpi_credit-Timothy-Hanson

A one-man show by Michael Mack about meeting 40 years laters with the priest who molested him at age 11.

Sommerfugl (InViolet at Fourth Street Theater)

A new play Inspired by the true story of Lili Elbe, the first person to have gender reassignment surgery in 1930.

September 26

Off The Desk: Tales of a Mediocre Stockbroker (C.O.W.)

Chris Foley looks at the humorous side of his nearly 15-year career in finance, before he switched to stand-up comedy.

September 27

Spring Awakening (Brooks Atkinson)

An 18-week run of this revival of the 2006 Broadway musical, based on Frank Wedekind’s 19th century German play about the coming-of-age, and coming-to-rebellion, of a dozen young people. This production, originally mounted in Los Angeles, is in English and American Sign Language, features a large cast of relative newcomers, as well as Camryn Manheim, Krysta Rodriguez and Andy Mientus, and marks the Broadway debut of Marlee Matlin.

Antigone (BAM)

Juliette Binoche plays stubborn heroine in this feminist version of Sophocles’s tragedy, with a new translation by Anne Carson, directed by Ivo van Hove. Part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s New Wave Festival.

Antigone at BAM

September 28


Daddy Long Legs (Davenport Theatre)

Based on the 1912 novel by Jean Webster, the musical tells the story of Jerusha Abbott, the oldest orphan in the John Grier Home and the mysterious benefactor who sends her to college to be a writer. Required to write him a letter once a month, Jerusha is never to know the benefactor’s identity—so she invents one for him: Daddy Long Legs.

Fondly, Collette Richland (New York Theatre Workshop)

“When Mr. and Mrs. “Fritz” Fitzhubert are summoned through a wee little secret door in their living room, they enter into a phantasmagorical world of Alpen hotels, mysterious employees, perilous hikes, and ancient deities, that will leave their lives forever altered.” A collaboration between the Elevator Repair Service (The Gatz) and their first living writer, playwright Sibyl Kempson.

Have a play or musical opening in New York in September that I didn’t mention — or one in October you want to make sure I mention in next month’s calendar? E-mail me at NewYorkTheater.me@gmail.com

Playwrights Horizons 2015-16 Season: Taylor Mac, Anne Washburn, Danai Gurira, Lucas Hnath

Michonne-Danai-Gurira-Walking-Dead-Season-3-premiere-Seed-AMCPlaywrights Horizons has announced another promising season, which includes new works by Anne Washburn (Mr. Burns), Taylor Mac, Lucas Hnath, Jordan Harrison, Gregory S. Moss, and Danai Gurira, who is also an actress, portraying Michonne on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” (pictured above.)

THE CHRISTIANS – the New York premiere of a new play by Lucas Hnath (A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney, Isaac’s Eye, Death Tax), directed by Obie Award winner Les Waters (Doris to Darlene at PH; In the Next Room, or the vibrator play; Big Love; eurydice), presented at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater. THE CHRISTIANS will be the first production of the season, beginning previews on Friday, August 28, 2015.

Ten years ago, Pastor Paul’s church was a modest storefront.  Now it houses thousands, with a coffee shop in the lobby and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool.  But Paul is about to preach a sermon that will shake the foundation of his congregation’s beliefs.  Backed by a live choir, THE CHRISTIANS looks at faith in America – and its power to unite or divide.

previous production of HIR

previous production of HIR

HIR – the New York premiere of a new play by Obie Award-winning theater artist Taylor Mac (A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, The Lily’s Revenge, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac, The Young Ladies Of), directed by theater director and performance artist Niegel Smith (Fela!, the company Willing Participant), presented at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater, beginning October 2015.

Somewhere in the suburbs, Isaac has returned from the wars to help take care of his ailing father, only to discover a household in revolt.  The insurgent: his mom.  Liberated from an oppressive marriage, with Isaac’s newly out transgender brother as her ally, she’s on a crusade to dismantle the patriarchy.  But in Taylor Mac’s sly, subversive comedy, annihilating the past doesn’t always free you from it.

MARJORIE PRIME – the New York premiere of a new play by Jordan Harrison (Maple and Vine, Doris to Darlene at PH; Amazons and Their Men; Kid-Simple; “Orange is the New Black”), directed by Obie Award winner Anne Kauffman (Detroit, Maple and Vine, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra at PH; Belleville; This Wide Night; The Thugs), presented at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater, beginning November 2015.

It’s the age of artificial intelligence, and 86-year-old Marjorie – a jumble of disparate, fading memories – has a handsome new companion who’s programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance?

FAMILIAR – the New York premiere of a new play by playwright and actress Danai Gurira (In the Continuum, The Convert, Eclipsed, Michonne on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”), directed by Rebecca Taichman (Stage Kiss, Milk Like Sugar at PH; The Oldest Boy; Marie Antoinette; Luck of the Irish; Orlando), presented at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater, beginning February 2016.

It’s winter in Minnesota and a Zimbabwean family is preparing for the wedding of their eldest daughter, a first-generation American.   But when the bride insists on observing a traditional African custom, it opens a deep rift in the household

ANTLIA PNEUMATICA – the world premiere of a new play by Anne Washburn (Mr. Burns – a post-electric play at PH, The Internationalist), directed by two-time Obie Award winner Ken Rus Schmoll (Iowa upcoming this season at PH, The Invisible Hand, Red Dog Howls, Middletown, What Once We Felt, Telephone), presented at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater, beginning March 2016.

In a ranch house deep in Texas Hill Country, a once tight-knit group of friends reunites to bury one of their own.  But as they look backward through their lives, it becomes clear they’ve lost more than just their old pal. Estranged friends confront their slippery past.

INDIAN SUMMER – the world premiere of a new play by Gregory S. Moss (Reunion, punkplay, La Brea, Orange Hat Grace, House of Gold), directed by Carolyn Cantor (Fly by Night, The Great God Pan, After the Revolution, Essential Self-Defense at PH; Pumpgirl; Orange Flower Water; Stone Cold Dead Serious), presented at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater, beginning May 2016.

Abandoned by his wayward mom, Daniel is consigned to spend summer with granddad in a Rhode Island beach town, where the locals don’t look kindly on city kids.  But his hapless vacation turns around when he meets Izzy: tough-acting, back-sassing, beguiling and taken.  A romantic comedy.