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20 Broadway and Off Broadway shows to catch this fall

From Brooklyn to Broadway, there are tons of great new plays and musicals to see in New York this autumn

Postmodern church services! British monarchical struggles! New David Mamet! David Bowie…playwright?!? This fall certainly doesn’t lack for variety on Broadway or Off-Broadway shows. New musicals are a bit scarce (typical in the fall), but we’re looking forward to Cuban-America dynamo Gloria Estefan’s debut in On Your Feet! And there’s a fascinating range of revivals, from relatively recent shows (Spring Awakening, The Color Purple) to chestnuts (Fiddler on the Roof). We can’t wait to get out to Brooklyn to see St. Ann’s Warehouse’s new digs and the all-female Henry IV. And for the playgoer, there are many juicy options: weird new work from the troupe Elevator Repair Service; a domestic drama about trans issues from Taylor Mac; and yes, a new play co-written by rocker David Bowie and Enda Walsh, inspired by the novel The Man Who Fell to Earth. Below is the list, ranked chronologically.

RECOMMENDED: See all things to do in New York this fall

Photograph: Michael Brosilow

The Christians

Playwrights Horizons christens its 2015–16 season with the New York premiere of a play by rising star Lucas Hnath, directed by Les Waters. Andrew Garman plays the pastor of a megachurch who delivers a shocking sermon about faith; a choir of 20 local singers backs him up.

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Aug 28–Oct 11
Photograph: David Pym


Theatre for a New Audience hosts an encore run of playwright-director Richard Maxwell's tale of a construction-company owner, his actress wife and the architect they hire to design her dream home. The cast comprises New York City Players regulars Jim Fletcher, Brian Mendes, Tory Vazquez and Gary Wilmes.

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Sept 6–Sept 27
Photograph: Kevin Parry

Spring Awakening

The thrilling 2006 musical by composer Duncan Sheik and lyricist Steven Sater, based on Frank Wedekind's scandalous play about budding teen sexuality, returns to Broadway. Deaf West Theatre's revival combines hearing and nonhearing perforrmers, an evocative metaphor for parents and children with communication issues.

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Sept 8–Dec 31
Photograph: Gene Pittman

Fondly, Collette Richland

Downtown's Elevator Repair Service goes from exploding literature (as in Gatz and The Sound and the Fury) to joining forces with divinely surreal dramatist Sibyl Kempson. A couple go through a tiny door in their living room and wind up in a fantastical hotel. Elevator operator John Collins directs.

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Sept 11–Oct 18
Photograph: T Charles Erickson

Fool for Love

Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda star in Sam Shepard's 1983 psychosexual drama about battling ex-lovers in a hotel near the Mojave Desert—who may have more in common than recrimination and lust. Daniel Aukin directs the revival, seen last year at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

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Sept 15–Dec 6

Cloud Nine

The Atlantic begins its 30th anniversary with one of the great plays to come from the other side of the pond in the past half century: Caryl Churchill's 1979 gender- and history-twisting diptych, set first in British colonial Africa and then in modern London. Churchill expert James MacDonald (Love and Information) directs, with a promising cast that includes Brooke Bloom (You Goyt Older) and Sean Dugan (Next Fall).

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Sept 16–Nov 1
Photograph: Maarten de Boer

Old Times

Clive Owen, Eve Best and Kelly Reilly star in this revival of Harold Pinter's 1971 relationship drama. Directed by Pinter vet Douglas Hodge (with incidental music by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke), the production is bound to include plenty of ambiguous, vaguely menacing [Pause] moments.

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Sept 17–Nov 29
Photograph: Dalim


The radiant Lupita Nyong’o, a 2013 Oscar winner for 12 Years a Slave, makes her New York stage debut in a new drama by Zimbabwean-American playwright Danai Gurira (In the Continuum), Liesl Tommy directs a cast of five in a portrait of nameless women held as captive wives of a rebel officer in the Liberian Civil War.

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Sept 29–Nov 8
Photogrpah: Neilson Barnard

Thérèse Raquin

Keira Knightley makes her Broadway debut in this stage version of the 1867 Émile Zola novel about a frustrated young wife who enters into a passionate affair with her husband's friend. Evan Cabnet directs a new adaptation by Helen Edmundson (Humble Boy). Gabriel Ebert and Judith Light costar.

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Oct 1–Jan 3
Photograph: Matthew Murphy

On Your Feet!

Cuban-American pop star Gloria Estefan ("Rhythm Is Gonna Get You") tells her story with songwriter-husband Emilio in this new biographical jukebox musical. Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots) directs the production, which features high-energy choreography by Sergio Trujillo and Anna Villafañe as young Gloria.

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Marquis Theatre , Midtown West Until Saturday December 31 2016
Photograph: Henry DiRocco


Star Trek vet and LGBT activist George Takei stars in a new musical inspired by his Japanese-American family's dramatic history, including stateside internment during WWII. Stafford Arima (Carrie) directs a cast that includes Lea Salonga and Telly Leung.

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Oct 6–Dec 31
Photograph: Johan Persson

King Charles III

English playwright Mike Bartlett imagines what Prince Charles might do if he finally made it to the throne. Rupert Goold (Enron) directs this speculative political satire, which stars the chillingly good Tim Pigott-Smith (of 1980s Jewel in the Crown PBS fame).

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Oct 10–Dec 31
Photograph: Zack DeZon


The wittily subversive writer-performer Taylor Mac is best known for works of massive creative sprawl, such as The Lily's Revenge and his multihour interactive concerts. Now he sets his sights on suburban families in a dark comedy about patriarchy and liberation. Niegel Smith directs the New York premiere; the cast includes the brilliantly frazzled Kristine Nielsen and teenage trans actor Tom Phelan.

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Oct 16–Nov 29
Photograph: Jan Versweyveld

A View from the Bridge

Dutch experimental director Ivo van Hove (New York Theatre Workshop's Scenes from a Marriage) makes his Broadway debut with this stripped-down revival of the Arthur Miller classic about honor and jealousy among Brooklyn dock workers. The production, a transfer from London's Young Vic, stars Mark Strong, Russell Tovey, Nicola Walker and Phoebe Fox.

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Oct 21–Feb 21
Photograph: Brigitte Lacombe

China Doll

Not every actor can handle David Mamet's exacting language, but Al Pacino has the touch. The raspy-voiced celebrity headlines Mamet's latest piece, which the secretive author has said is about "a wealthy man, his young fiancée and an airplane." Expect baroque tirades about money, privilege and sex.

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Oct 21–Jan 31
Photograph: Helen Maybanks

Henry IV

St. Ann's inaugurates its new permanent home at the atmospheric Tobacco Warehouse with a British import: Donmar Warehouse's all-female version of Shakespeare's Henry IV plays, in which the feckless heir to the English throne falls in with an obese, mendacious tosspot. Phyllida Lloyd directs a cast led by the formidable Dame Harriet Walter.

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Nov 6–Dec 6
Photograph: Timmy Blupe

School of Rock

Andrew Lloyd Webber returns to his rock roots with a stage adaptation of the 2003 Jack Black comedy. Alex Brightman stars as a down-on-his-luck rocker who forms a band with uptight prep-school kids. Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) pens the book and Glenn Slater (Leap of Faith) handles lyrics.

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Winter Garden Theatre , Midtown West Until Saturday December 31 2016
Photograph: Ruven Afanador

The Color Purple

Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black), Jennifer Hudson and Cynthia Erivo star in this revival of the hit musical based on Alice Walker's bestselling novel. Director John Doyle tries the minimalist approach for this gospel and blues-driven tale of self-respect and sisterhood.

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Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre , Midtown West Until Friday December 30 2016
Photograph: Robert Todd Willianmson


David Bowie played a space alien in human form in the 1976 Nicolas Roeg film The Man Who Fell to Earth; now he and Enda Walsh (Once) have cowritten a stage version, starring Michael C. Hall (Dexter) and featuring several new songs that Bowie has written for the project (as well as several previously recorded songs in new arrangements). Belgian sensation Ivo van Hove returns to NYTW to direct.

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18 Nov 2015

Fiddler on the Roof

Stage vet Danny Burstein (South Pacific, Cabaret) steps into a role he's been destined for: beleaguered yet loving milkman, husband and father Tevye, a fellow trying to maintain tradition in the face of a harsh, changing world. Bartlett Sher directs the revival, which also stars the wonderful Jessica Hecht.

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Broadway Theatre , Midtown West Until Saturday December 31 2016