Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows

Get a crash course in Western theater with these eight must-see shows, featuring works by Shakespeare, Beckett and Ibsen, and big names like Patrick Stewart.

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  • Photograph: Geraint Lewis

    Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows: Twelfth Night

  • Photograph: Arno Declair

    Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows: An Enemy of the People

  • Photograph: Gregory Costanzo

    Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows: You Never Can Tell

  • Photograph: Pavol Antonov

    Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows: Good Person of Szechwan

  • Photograph: Michael J. Lutch

    Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows: The Glass Menagerie

  • Photograph: Allan Warren

    Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows: The Winslow Boy

  • Photograph: Jason Bell

    Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows: Waiting for Godot

  • Photograph: Brigitte Lacombe

    Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows: Betrayal

Photograph: Geraint Lewis

Timeline: A history of great theater in eight must-see shows: Twelfth Night


Fall means new drama (Lucy Thurber’s Hill Town Plays quintet, Pulitzer winner Bruce Norris’s Domesticated) and musicals (adaptations of the movies Little Miss Sunshine and Big Fish), but this year, you’ll find a slew of classics bring produced on Broadway and beyond. Check out eight of the biggest new shows, including new productions of The Glass Menagerie and Twelfth Night, and find out how to buy tickets to those performances.

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

Twelfth Night

1601: Twelfth Night; or, What You Will by William Shakespeare

The phenomenal Mark Rylance stars as Olivia in an all-male production of the Bard’s frothy comedy; Stephen Fry costars as the starchy valet, Malvolio. shakespearebroadway.com. $27–$137.

  1. Belasco Theatre, 111 W 44th St between Sixth Ave and Broadway
  2. Tue Oct 15 - Sun Feb 2

1882: An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen

We skip ahead a couple hundred years to the Norwegian master of hard-hitting social drama. German director Thomas Ostermeier applies his grim, modern sensibility to the story of a doctor who exposes a truth that shatters his town. bam.org. $25–$75.

  1. BAM Harvey Theater 651 Fulton St, between Ashland and Rockwell Pls
  2. Until Sun Nov 10
More info

1897: You Never Can Tell by George Bernard Shaw

  • Critics choice

Project Shaw founder David Staller stages the rarely seen comedy of manners, set at a seaside resort, with the stalwart troupers of the Pearl Theatre Company. pearltheatre.org. $35–$60.

  1. Pearl Theatre Company 555 W 42nd St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Until Sun Oct 13
More info

1943: Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht

We seldom see effective revivals of Bertolt Brecht’s political dramas, but this promising Foundry Theatre version—coproduced by the Public Theater—combines drag superstar Taylor Mac with indie folk-rock by César Alvarez with the Lisps. publictheater.org. $56.50–$66.50.

  1. Public Theater 425 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. Sat Dec 7 - Sun Dec 8
More info

1944: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

  • Critics choice

The mother of all memory plays returns to Broadway starring Cherry Jones, Zachary Quinto and Celia Keenan-Bolger. The production is sleek and expressionistic—perfect for Williams’s groundbreaking exploration of family. theglassmenageriebroadway.com. $77–$137.

  1. Booth Theatre 222 W 45th St, between Broadway and Eighth Ave
  2. Until Sun Feb 23
Buy tickets
The Winslow Boy

1946: The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan

Much bigger in England than here, Rattigan is the poet laureate of 20th-century British repression and longing. This Edwardian-set drama follows a father’s attempt to clear his expelled-student son’s tarnished reputation.  roundabouttheatre.org. $52–$137.

  1. American Airlines Theatre, 227 W 42nd St between Seventh and Eighth Aves
  2. Fri Sep 20 - Sun Dec 1
Waiting for Godot

1952: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Godot is “a play in which nothing happens, twice,” as an Irish critic put it. One of the earliest and most influential examples of theater of the absurd, this philosophical masterpiece returns to Broadway with X-Men collaborators Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. twoplaysinrep.com. $40–$137.

  1. Cort Theatre, 138 W 48th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves
  2. Sat Oct 26 - Sat Feb 1

1978: Betrayal by Harold Pinter

Based on his own infidelity, Pinter’s ingenious play runs backward—starting with the aftermath of a failed marriage and ending with its joyous beginning. There to guide us through the triangulated chronology are marquee names Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, doing the art-imitating-life thing by playing spouses. betrayalbroadway.com. $57–$152.

  1. Ethel Barrymore Theatre 243 W 47th St, between Broadway and Eighth Ave
  2. Tue Oct 1 - Sun Jan 5
Buy tickets


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