April is always crunch time on Broadway, as shows rush to open in time to qualify for the Tony Awards in June. But this year, the density of Broadway openings is especially crushing: When the smoke clears on April 28, the last official date for Tonys eligibility, 15 news shows will have opened in April, including 10 shows in the last 12-day stretch alone.
To put that in perspective: These 15 shows represent an unprecedented 44% of the entire 2021-22 Broadway season, in which 34 new productions will have opened. Broadway seasons have been getting markedly more bottom-heavy for decades now, as we analyzed at some length in 2015. And this year's season has been squeezed toward the finish line for reasons that are partly beyond its control: The Omicron variant this winter, among other factors, caused several productions to move back their starting and opening dates. But one late entry—the comedy POTUS—did the opposite, moving its dates forward; the unusual result is a Wednesday with one opening in the afternoon and another in the evening.
As we wrote in 2015: "This may not seem very important to anyone but theater critics. Who else, after all, will be seeing all these shows? But that’s part of the problem: Virtually no one can keep up with what’s happening on Broadway when the field is so crowded. There's not enough room for everyone. Shows that could get a decent amount of press and publicity any other time of year are bound to get lost in the process."
So here, dear readers, is a handy thumbnail guide to the 13 shows that will be opening in the weeks ahead. (Paradise Square and Take Me Out have already opened.) The good news is that the offerings are highly varied, which gives you a lot of options. If you like Broadway musicals, you can see Funny Girl and/or two original shows, A Strange Loop and Mr. Saturday Night. If you're more interested in straight plays, you can choose between several new works and revivals of classics by Shakespeare, Thornton Wilder, Ntozake Shange, Paula Vogel and David Mamet. And then there's The Little Prince, which appears to be a spectacle of some kind? We're not sure. We'll see this weekend.
All of these shows are already in previews or will be starting next week. Some may turn out to be among the best shows on Broadway. Others may…not. Stay tuned for Time Out's reviews of all of them. Meanwhile, here's a guide to what's coming down the Street.
Debra Messing headlines the Roundabout's spring offering: a new play by Noah Haidle that traces one woman's journey through more than 80 years of life and dessert.
The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's cosmically whimsical 1942 parable about an intergalactic traveler lands on Broadway in a dance-spectacle production directed by Anne Tournié.
Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne and Darren Criss star in a revival of David Mamet's profanity-laced black comedy about greed and dishonor among thieves.
Tracy Letts (August: Osage County) is both the writer and star of this punchy play about a small-town city council; his costars include Jessie Mueller, Blair Brown and Schitt’s Creek charmer Noah Reid.
How I Learned to Drive
Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse, the original stars of Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize–winning 1997 memory play about sexual abuse, return for Manhattan Theatre Club's Broadway revival.
for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf
Seven women of color reflect on their lives in director Camille A. Brown's revival of Ntozake Shange's groundbreaking 1976 "choreopoem."
Playwright Martin McDonagh returns to Broadway with an offbeat thriller about a Northern English executioner on the day the U.K. abolishes hanging. Expect plenty of gallows humor.
Beanie Feldstein steps into Barbra Streisand's roller skates in the first Broadway revival of this 1964 musical comedy about Fanny Brice, with Jane Lynch as her supportive mother.
The Skin of Our Teeth
Lincoln Center Theater mounts a rare revival of Thornton Wilder's rule-shattering, Pulitzer-winning 1942 allegory, which takes a New Jersey family from the Ice Age to the end of the world.
A Strange Loop
Musical-theater auteur Michael R. Jackson turns himself inside out in this painfully funny and explosively honest metamusical about queer black identity, which won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize.
April 27 (afternoon):
POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying To Keep Him Alive
Vanessa Williams, Julie White and Rachel Dratch are among the all-star cast of this original political comedy about seven women scrambling to dig the President out of a PR disaster.
April 27 (night):
Mr. Saturday Night
National comedy treasure Billy Crystal returns to his role as a washed-up stand-up in this musical adaptation of his 1992 film, with a new score by Jason Robert Brown and Amanda Green.
Major film and stage stars Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga play the regicidal central couple in Shakespeare's Scottish play, directed by the experimental-minded Sam Gold.