In terms of variety, you couldn’t ask for a more intriguing bunch of shows coming to Broadway and Off Broadway this fall. If you think the Great White Way is only about trying to find every musical on Broadway, take another look. The next few months bring a super-quirky alt-comedy act (Oh, Hello on Broadway), an immersive, experimental piece from England (The Encounter) and an electropop musical based on 70 pages from a Tolstoy novel (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812). We covered the latter in our profile of Josh Groban and Denée Benton. And things are just as funky and eclectic Off Broadway, where there may not be the promise of Tony Awards, but there’s more artistic freedom or a mandate for meaty content. Over at the Public Theater, you can see Lynn Nottage’s timely drama about economic hardship, Sweat, or a new musical from David Yazbek (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and Itamar Moses (The Fortress of Solitude). Who knows? In a year, some of them might even transfer to Broadway.
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Best fall shows to see on Broadway
Nathan Alan Davis's drama imagines a conversation between Nat Turner (Phillip James Brannon), who led a failed 1831 slave rebellion in Virginia, and attorney Thomas Ruffin Gray (Rowan Vickers), on the eve of Turner's execution. Megan Sandberg-Zakian directs for NYTW.
Stephen Karam, already represented on Broadway with his Tony-winning family drama The Humans, turns to Russian subjects with this adaptation of the Chekhov classic. British director Simon Godwin stages the production, which stars Diane Lane as landscaping-averse Ranevskaya.
Performer-director Simon McBurney conjures up faraway lands using 3D audio (each audience member gets a headset) and his own considerable storytelling skills. The head of the amazing UK troupe Complicite tells the story of a National Geographic photographer lost amongst Brazilian tribespeople.
The media may be hanging by a thread, but Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's crackling 1928 newspaper drama still has plenty of life. And what a cast director Jack O'Brien has assembled: Nathan Lane, John Slattery, Jefferson Mays, Patricia Conolly, Sherie Rene Scott and a dozen more greats. Part screwball, part black satire, the play still has much to teach us about journalism and ethics.
In Simon Stephens’s unusual romantic two-hander, Mary-Louise Parker is irresistible as an incandescent kook who surprises an older stranger (the soulful Denis Arndt) by kissing his neck in a London train station. He allows her to disrupt his stasis, and they bounce off each other in odd directions.
After wowing Broadway with his future history play King Charles III last year, England's Mike Bartlett returns to New York with a play that spans multiple decades in the lives of a baby boomer couple. Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) and Richard Armitage (The Hobbit) lead the cast, directed by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening).
Nick Kroll and John Mulaney devote an evening to a pair of funny characters they played on the Kroll Show: aging Upper West Side deli enthusiasts, ’70s nostalgists and would-be pranksters ("Too Much Tuna") Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. Alex Timbers directs the production, which tested its legs Off Broadway last year.
Last seen on Broadway in 1992, composer-lyricist William Finn and book writer James Lapine's bouyant, lovable musical follows a married man who has come out as gay in 1980s NYC, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Wit and heartbreak follow. The amazing cast for this revival includes Stephanie J. Block, Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells.
In a promising stroke of star casting, the dearly beloved David Hyde Pierce (Frasier) plays a lonely single man who turns to astrology for solace in a play by the always surprising Adam Bock (The Drunken City). Anne Kauffman (Marjorie Prime), a Bock veteran, directs the world premiere.