The best fall shows to see on Broadway and beyond in 2018

Our short list of the major new plays, musicals and revivals coming to Broadway and Off Broadway stages this fall
The Cher Show
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus The Cher Show
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Theater is sparse in the summer, but it springs back to life in the fall with a variety of shows on Broadway and Off Broadway. If you think the Great White Way is only about trying to find the best Broadway musicals, take another look. The final stretch of 2018 does include a smattering of tuners, including new ones about Cher and King Kong. But there are also fresh plays by Aaron Sorkin, Jez Butterworth and Samuel D. Hunter, revivals of major works by Kenneth Lonergan, Will Eno and Rodgers and Hammerstein, and encore runs of top productions from past seasons. Here, in chronological order, is a fall preview 25 of the productions we're most excited to see, or see again—plus the ever-wild card that is the return of the Fringe Festival.

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Best fall shows to see on Broadway and off

Edie Falco
Photograph: Courtesy Mathieu Young
Theater, Drama

The True

Edie Falco and Michael McKean headline a new political drama by Shar White (The Other Place), about rough-and-tumble 1970s politics in Albany. New Group honcho Scott Elliott directs the world premiere, with a cast that also includes Peter Scolari, Glenn Fitzergald, John Pankow and Austin Cauldwell.

Ben Schnetzer
Photograph: Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Theater, Comedy

The Nap

What would a modern Broadway season be without a generous sampling of English theater? Manhattan Theatre Club presents the U.S. premiere of a comedy by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors), in which a promising snooker player is pressured into fixing a big match. Daniel Sullivan directs a cast that includes Ben Schnetzer as the hero, John Ellison Conlee and Johanna Day as his parents and Transparent's Alexandra Billings as a transgender gangster.

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Bob Dylan 1966
Photograph: Courtesy Rex USA
Theater, Musicals

Girl from the North Country

icon-location-pin Public Theater, East Village
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The great Irish playwright-director Conor McPherson (The Night Alive) goes American with a tale of Minnesota life and strife in the Great Depression, set to songs by no less an American icon than Bob Dylan. It's not the first time a major artist has tried to stage the back catalog of the Nobel Prize–winning bard; Twyla Tharp stumbled over it in the 2006 Broadway dance musical The Times They Are A-Changin'. Will McPherson's leaner, starker approach fare better? For its U.S. premiere at the Public, the show's ensemble cast includes such musical-theater pros as Stephen Bogardus, Mare Winningham, Todd Almond, Marc Kudisch, Luba Mason, David Pittu and Todd Almond.

Samira Wiley
Photograph: Courtesy David Andrako
Theater, Drama

Antigone in Ferguson

In a wake of Michael Brown's death in 2014, Theater of War Productions mounts an ambitious free production of the original political protest play: Sophocles' tale of a Theban woman who, unhappy with the city's ignoble treatment of her dead brother, is confined to a cave by a tyrant who feels she protests too much. Directed and adapted by Bryan Doerries, the piece combines readings from the play by a rotating cast of actors—incuding Samira Wiley, Paul Giamatti, Chris Noth, Tamara Tunie, David Strathairn, Adepero Oduye, Frankie Faison and Kathryn Erbe—with choral music performed by activists, police officers and citizens of New York City and Ferguson, Missouri. Panels and group discussions follow each performance. 

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THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT
Photograph: Courtesy Polk & Co.
Theater, Drama

The Lifespan of a Fact

icon-location-pin Studio 54, Midtown West
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As Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continues its hit run 12 blocks away, grown-up boy wizard Daniel Radcliffe returns to Broadway in a new drama about the magic of literary nonfiction. Based on real events, the play stars Bobby Cannavale as a celebrated quasijournalist, Cherry Jones as his editor and Radcliffe as a fastidious fact-checker troubled by liberties he has taken in an essay. Leigh Silverman directs the world premiere.

Glenn Close
Photograph: Courtesy Brigitte Lacombe
Theater, Drama

Mother of the Maid

icon-location-pin Public Theater, East Village
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After getting burned last year on David Byrne's musical Joan of Arc: Into the Fire, the Public Theater takes another shot at dramatizing the astonishing life of the 15th-century teenage French martyr. This play by Jane Anderson (Olive Kitteridge) focuses on Joan's mother, Isabelle, played by no less an eminence than three-time Tony winner and three-time Emmy winner Glenn Close. Matthew Penn directs the NYC premiere. 

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Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future
Photograph: Courtesy Joe Curnutte
Theater, Musicals

Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future

Andrew R. Butler plays the title character in his sci-fi folk song cycle: a troubadour who returns to Earth, 250 years from now, to recount a tale of resistance to the dystopian powers that will be. Jordan Fein (Singlet) directs for Ars Nova, with a cast that includes Stacey Sargeant and Rick Bukhardt. 

Michael Cera
Photograph: Danielle Levitt
Theater, Drama

The Waverly Gallery

icon-location-pin John Golden Theatre, Midtown West
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Cringe prince Michael Cera—who has headlined Broadway productions of Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth and Lobby Hero—returns to the well in this revival of the playwright's 1999 drama, a memory play about memory loss. Comedy legend Elaine May plays a once-formidable art dealer in the final throes of Alzheimer's disease; the cast, directed by Lila Neugebauer (The Wolves), also includes rising star Lucas Hedges and The Band's Visit director David Cromer.

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Khris Davis
Photograph: Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown
Theater, Drama

Fireflies

After bursting onto the New York theater scene with this summer's memorable Sugar in Our Wounds, Donja R. Love continues his three-play exploration of queer love in African-American history with this world-premiere drama set in the Jim Crow South. Khris Davis (The Royale) costars with She's Gotta Have It's DeWanda Wise, directed by Saheem Ali.

Stockard Channing
Photograph: Courtesy Polk PR
Theater

Apologia

icon-location-pin Laura Pels Theatre, Midtown West
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The ever sharp Stockard Channing plays a 1960s radical turned art historian in the Off Broadway debut of a 2009 play by England's Alexi Kaye Campbell; Hugh Dancy (Venus in Fur) costars in a dual role as her two adult sons, who resent being excluded from her life and recent memoir. Daniel Aukin directs for the Roundabout Theatre Company.

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Not all Broadway shows are great...

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