Theater and Broadway in New York: Critics' picks

Get details, reviews and tickets for the best shows on Broadway and off, as chosen by Time Out's critics.

Looking for tickets to the best Broadway shows and New York theater? Consult the critics' picks in our New York theater listings to find reviews, curtain times and great deals on  New York theater tickets.

Another Medea

Critics' pick

Another Medea: Theater review by Raven SnookTom Hewitt makes a chillingly sympathetic sociopath in Aaron Mark’s solo thriller about Marcus Sharp, a bright NYC actor who exacts Medea-style revenge on the lover who done him wrong. Even those with just a cursory knowledge of Euripides’s tragedy will know the sinister direction it’s headed. However, Tony nominee Hewitt, best known for Broadway musicals, captivates as he shares his bloody tale seated at a prison table, a spotlight framing his chiseled features, his mellifluous voice embodying all the players, from his upper-crust British boyfriend to his old Jewish agent to his twin girls. Medea is inherently upsetting, but what makes this variation particularly disturbing is how damn relatable Marcus is—and disarmingly funny, too. He really puts the me in Medea. Maybe we all have a bit of that murderous mother inside of us.—Raven Snook Wild Project (see Off Broadway). Written and directed by Aaron Mark. With Tom Hewitt. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission.

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The Wild Project, Lower East Side Until Saturday January 31 2015

Avenue Q

Critics' pick

After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical doesn’t show its age. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs. Avenue Q remains a sly and winning piece of metamusical tomfoolery.—David Cote

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New World Stages, Hell's Kitchen Until Thursday December 31 2015

Bad with Money

Critics' pick

Bad with Money. The Duplex (Off-Off Broadway). By Ben Rimalower. Directed by Aaron Mark. With Rimalower. Running time: 1hr. No intermission. Bad with Money: In brief Vividly personal monologist Ben Rimalower follows up on his hit 2012 coming-of-gay tale, Patti Issues, with an account of the dark paths that debt has led him down. Aaron Mark directs. Bad with Money: Theater review by Jenna Scherer There’s so much confessional theater out there, it’s easy to think we’ve gone past fussing over taboos. But there remains one topic that dare not speak its name: money. Solo performer Ben Rimalower (Patti Issues) exorcises his financial demons in this one-man show, a purgative hour-long monologue in which he entertainingly (and excruciatingly) itemizes his monetary sins. Rimalower’s financial odyssey starts out innocently enough: maxing out his low-limit teenage credit card, swiping CDs from the record company where he works. But before long, it’s unreported grand larceny with his boss’s Visa and a gradual erosion of the trust of everyone around him. Rimalower is light, funny and unabashed when he talks about dark stuff such as alcoholism and his foray into prostitution; it’s his compulsive, corrosive spending habits that are the source of shame. “You’re not supposed to talk about money,” he says. “It’s tacky.” Rimalower’s choice to do just that is a brave one, and—in a time when many people suffer in silence under crushing debt or find themselves unable to live within their means—a v

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Wednesday January 28 2015

A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes

Critics' pick

A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes. New York City Center Stage II (see Off Broadway). By Kate Benson. Directed by Lee Sunday Evans. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission. A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes: In brief Kate Benson's high-concept play treats a Midwestern Thanksgiving dinner as a spectator sport, complete with announcers. Lee Sunday Evans directs for New Georges, which mounted a smaller production of the show last year. A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes: Theater review by Helen Shaw It’s a canny bit of programming to bring the surreal Kate Benson comedy A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes uptown. Last year it did nicely at the downtown New Georges festival, but now it’s arrived, further polished, in front of postholiday audiences, ones primed to see family functions as ritualistic and eerie. Short, darkly funny and distinctly unsweet, A Beautiful Day… follows the doings of the Wembly family on Thanksgiving. Sisters jockey for position as turkeys are turned, yams are plated and the black sheep (Kristine Haruna Lee) undergoes the traditional humiliation. Benson lacquers this familiar banality with formal devices: Sports commentators (hilarious Ben Williams and Hubert Point-Du Jour) offer a sly play-by-play from their booth, and the gorgeously multiethnic cast moves like Robert Wils

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New York City Center Stage II, Midtown West Until Saturday February 7 2015

Beautiful—The Carole King Musical

Critics' pick

Beautiful—The Carole King Musical. Stephen Sondheim Theatre. (see Broadway). Book by Douglas McGrath. Music and lyrics by Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Directed by Marc Bruni. With Jessie Mueller. Running time: 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. Beautiful—The Carole King Musical: In brief Recently minted Broadway star Jessie Mueller finally gets a vehicle specially crafted for her gorgeous voice and her innate warmth. She plays the great singer-songwriter Carole King in a retrospective about King's early life and career. Playwright Douglas McGrath provides the book. Beautiful—The Carole King Musical: Theater review by David Cote Beautiful—The Carole King Musical shares several virtues with its titular singer-songwriter, among them humility, earnestness and dedication to craft. If Douglas McGrath’s book never achieves the dramatic grit or comic zip of Jersey Boys, at least director Marc Bruni’s production avoids being a brain-dead, self-satisfied hit parade à la Berry Gordy’s Motown. Still, it does seem that stretches of Broadway’s newest jukebox musical consist of situations such as this: “Carole, you’ve got to write us a hit!” “I’ve written something.” “It’s a hit!” Yes, Beautiful loves its diligent, long-suffering pop genius, and invites you to do the same. It’s quite an easy task when you have the phenomenal Jessie Mueller in the lead. The effortlessly appealing star cut her teeth on Broadway flops (the mis-reconceived On a Clear Day You Can See Fore

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Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Between Riverside and Crazy

Critics' pick

[Note: This review is for the production that played at the Atlantic in 2014. The cast of the 2015 Second Stage transfer is largely unchanged, with Ron Cephas jones replacing Ray Anthony Thomas.] Between Riverside and Crazy. Atlantic Theater Company (see Off Broadway). By Stephen Adly Guirgis. Directed by Austin Pendleton. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs. One intermission. Between Riverside and Crazy: In brief An ex-cop and his ex-con son try to hang on to their rent-stabilized apartment in a new play by conflict king Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Our Lady of 121st Street). Austin Pendleton directs a cast that includes Michael Rispoli, Ray Anthony Thomas, Liza Colón-Zayas and the great August Wilson veteran Stephen McKinley Henderson. Between Riverside and Crazy: Theater review by David Cote It’s hard to tell the sinners from the saints with Stephen Adly Guirgis. The earthy playwright—whose profanity-laced urban yarns were often directed by the late (still cannot fucking accept it) Philip Seymour Hoffman—likes his justice rough and his morality slippery. So don’t be fooled by Stephen McKinley Henderson’s teddy-bear profile or his low, honeyed voice in Between Riverside and Crazy. A homebound ex-cop who drinks at 10am, Walter “Pops” Washington is not here to save anyone’s ass, including his own. Salvation has always been a red herring with Guirgis. His people talk about how they want to clean up and fly right but always fall back on vices, grudg

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Second Stage Theatre, Midtown West Until Sunday March 8 2015

Blue Man Group

Critics' pick

Three deadpan blue-skinned men with extraterrestrial imaginations carry this tourist fave, a show as smart as it is ridiculous. They drum on open tubs of paint, creating splashes of color; they consume Twinkies and Cap'n Crunch; they engulf the audience in a roiling sea of toilet paper. For sheer weird, exuberant fun, it's hard to top this long-running treat.—Adam Feldman

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Astor Place Theatre, East Village Until Thursday December 31 2015

The Book of Mormon

Critics' pick

If theater is your religion and the Broadway musical your sect, you've been woefully faith-challenged of late. Venturesome, boundary-pushing works such as Spring Awakening, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Next to Normal closed too soon. American Idiot was shamefully ignored at the Tonys and will be gone in three weeks. Meanwhile, that airborne infection Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark dominates headlines and rakes in millions, without even opening. Celebrities and corporate brands sell poor material, innovation gets shown the door, and crap floats to the top. It's enough to turn you heretic, to sing along with The Book of Mormon's Ugandan villagers: "Fuck you God in the ass, mouth and cunt-a, fuck you in the eye." Such deeply penetrating lyrics offer a smidgen of the manifold scato-theological joys to be had at this viciously hilarious treat crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of South Park fame, and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez, who cowrote Avenue Q. As you laugh your head off at perky Latter-day Saints tap-dancing while fiercely repressing gay tendencies deep in the African bush, you will be transported back ten years, when The Producers and Urinetown resurrected American musical comedy, imbuing time-tested conventions with metatheatrical irreverence and a healthy dose of bad-taste humor. Brimming with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, The Book of Mormon is a sick mystic revelation, the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years. The high q

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Eugene O'Neill Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015

Cabaret

Critics' pick

[Note on this review: Emma Stone has replaced Michelle WIlliams as would-be femme fatale Sally Bowles (through Feb 15), and is terrific in the part.] Cabaret. Studio 54 (see Broadway). Book by Joe Masteroff. Music by John Kander. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Directed Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall. With Alan Cumming, Michelle Williams. Running time: 2hrs 30mins. One intermission. Cabaret: In brief A decade after closing their hit revival of the Kander and Ebb classic, the Roundabout and director Sam Mendes reopen the Weimar-era Kit Kat Klub. Alan Cumming reprises his sinister-slinky turn as the Emcee and Michelle Williams plays nightclub crooner Sally Bowles. Linda Emond, Bill Heck and Danny Burstein costar. Cabaret: Theater review by Adam Feldman Cabaret is on Broadway again: Willkommen home, you magnificent beast. Originally staged in 1966, then brought to a sordid cinematic life in Bob Fosse’s (heavily adapted) 1972 film, the Kander and Ebb classic was revived and reconfigured anew in Roundabout Theatre Company’s triumphant 1998 account. Now that version has returned with its original star: the supreme Alan Cumming as the Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub, a decadent nightclub in Berlin’s Weimar period. Why so soon? A better question might be: Why not? This Cabaret is a superb production of one of the great Broadway musicals of all time—an exhilarating, harrowing masterpiece. In Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s staging, Cumming is the corroded soul of the show; he haunts it and intrudes on it,

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Studio 54, Midtown West Until Sunday March 29 2015

Chicago

Critics' pick

This John Kander–Fred Ebb–Bob Fosse favorite—revived by director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking—tells the saga of chorus girl Roxie Hart, who murders her lover and, with the help of a huckster lawyer, becomes a vaudeville star.—David Cote

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Ambassador Theatre, Midtown West Until Thursday December 31 2015
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