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New York theater: Performers to watch in new plays and Broadway shows

Check out our guide to New York theater’s five most-anticipated performances in this season’s Broadway shows and Off Broadway plays, and buy your tickets now.

Photograph: Cristiano Laruffa

Al Pacino plays Shelly Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross

Photograph: Joseph Moran

Colman Domingo plays Gil in Wild with Happy

Photograph: Joan Marcus

Katie Finneran plays Miss Hannigan in Annie


Douglas Hodge plays Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano de Bergerac

Photograph: Michael Brosilow

Amy Morton plays Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?


The Great White Way will be especially busy this fall—some of the most anticipated new Broadway shows include Annie, Glengarry Glen Ross, Cyrano de Bergerac and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and the Public Theater excites with the Off Broadway play Wild with Happy. Be sure to score theater tickets to see Al Pacino as Shelly Levene in Glengarry, but don’t miss these four other notable actors appearing in New York theaters.

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Al Pacino as Shelly Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross

Critics' pick

It takes a special kind of actor to do Mamet. You must be hard. You must have rhythm. You must cut. Fuck subtext and motivation—they are for the weak. Pacino is of this tribe. (See his scorching turn as Ricky Roma in the 1992 movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross.) He knows this world of crooked real-estate agents, sweating their balls off to foist lousy lots on patsies. But the great actor is older now, so he’s playing the washed-up, desperate Shelly “The Machine” Levene, who just wants another shot at closing a deal. No one could swagger and bark like Pacino in his prime; now that he’s grizzled and gray, he finds music in wheedling, pleading and a world-weary whine.

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Sun Jan 20

Colman Domingo as Gil in Wild with Happy

Over the past few seasons, Colman Domingo has emerged as one of the city’s most versatile performers. Able to screw his good looks into a mask of lust or cruelty, he has bounced from an alt-rock musical (Passing Strange) to meta-minstrelsy (The Scottsboro Boys) and naturalistic drama (Blood Knot). This fall he jumps to the next level with a more traditional full-cast play. In the comic heartbreaker Wild with Happy, Domingo takes the lead as Gil, a down-on-his-luck actor who returns to Philadelphia after his mother dies. We can’t wait to see this wonderfully empathetic performer balance character-driven humor with the painful process of burying a parent.

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Sun Nov 18

Katie Finneran as Miss Hannigan in Annie

Critics' pick

You could argue that Katie Finneran got the role of dipsomaniacal orphan-hater Miss Hannigan because her most recent stage part was also a boozer: the hilariously sozzled barfly Marge MacDougall in Promises, Promises. But that would be selling this amazing physical comedian short. A decade ago, in the last Broadway incarnation of Noises Off, Finneran proved herself a secret weapon; with a genius for slapstick and an old-fashioned mix of pluck and ditziness, she’s bound to steal her scenes. Normally, actors are loath to share the stage with children. But in Annie, Finneran is unlikely to be upstaged.

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Until Sun Jan 5

Douglas Hodge as Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano de Bergerac

Critics' pick

The last time the British stage vet acted on these shores, he wore a sequined dress, high heels and a raven mane worthy of Elizabeth Taylor. That was in 2010’s revival of La Cage aux Folles. Now Douglas Hodge trades his frock for a fake schnoz as the big-nosed title chevalier in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Cyrano de Bergerac. Hodge resists being pigeonholed, but he does endow every role with emotional rawness, intensity and verbal flair. That last talent will come in handy as Hodge tosses off playwright Edmond Rostand’s witty barbs and romantic rhetoric.

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Until Sun Nov 25

Amy Morton as Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Critics' pick

“You just don’t get it. I’m in charge now!” That was Amy Morton’s second-act closing line in August: Osage County, and she bellowed it at her pill-addled mother with harrowing authority. Morton will take charge once again in Edward Albee’s monumental 1962 drama about two married couples getting very drunk and brutally honest over the course of one long night. The cast of this Steppenwolf Theatre Company revival also includes the wonderful Tracy Letts (the author of August) as George. But it’s Morton we expect to be transfixed by, as she tears through the role of boozy, bitchy, childless harridan Martha.

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03 Mar 2013

Fall in New York 2012