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

Stockard Channing
Photograph: Courtesy Polk PR
Theater, Drama

Apologia

icon-location-pin 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.

Oklahoma! at Bard 2015
Photograph: Courtesy Cory Weaver
Theater, Musicals

Oklahoma!

icon-location-pin DUMBO
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Experimental-theater director Daniel Fish (House for Sale) helms a lean, unconventional revival of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's musical breakthrough, set in the Oklahoma Territory on the verge of its taming into statehood. Fish's production was widely praised in its 2015 run at Bard College; now it arrives at St. Ann's with a cast of 11 that includes original Bard actors Damon Daunno, Patrick Vaill and Mary Testa alongside new additions Rebecca Naomi Jones and Ali Stoker.

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Striking Out
Photograph: Courtesy Jon Wes
Theater, Drama

The New York International Fringe Festival 2018

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It's ba-ack! After taking a year off to reinvent itself, the enormous annual downtown festival returns for a 21st edition, moved to October from its former summer berth and slimmed down to a mere 84 productions (from a high of more than 200). Along with the main FringeNYC offerings will be a bevy of productions presented in partnerships with venues in the outer boroughs. As before, however, the lineup is wildly eclectic, ranging from revivals of classics to dance pieces, clown shows and at least one gay baseball musical.

THE FERRYMAN
Photograph: Courtesy Johan Persson
Theater, Drama

The Ferryman

icon-location-pin Midtown West
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Jez Butterworth's 2009 drama Jerusalem astonished audiences with its ambitious mix of modern conflict and ancient myth. The English playwright attempts a related combination in this hugely acclaimed 2017 drama about a family of Northern Irish farmers in 1981, the year of the fatal hunger strike that proved a landmark in the timeline of the Troubles. The Broadway transfer of Sam Mendes's London production includes most of the large original cast.

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King Kong musical
Photograph: Courtesy James Morgan
Theater, Musicals

King Kong

icon-location-pin Midtown West
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Open run

Five years after its shaky Australian premiere, and after several abortive attempts at Broadway since, this musical version of Hollywood's most famous ape-meets-girl story finally arrives in New York City with an entirely new creative team. The new iteration, directed by Drew McOnie, features a book by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and songs by Marius de Vries and Eddie Perfect. Expect one enormous puppet.

Kerry Washington
Photograph: Courtesy Nino Munoz
Theater, Drama

American Son

icon-location-pin Midtown West
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Kerry Washington (Scandal) and Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me) play an estranged mixed-race couple who reunite in a police station when their teenage son goes missing. Kenny Leon (A Raisin in the Sun) directs the NYC debut of Christopher Demos-Brown's tense topical drama; the cast also includes Eugene Lee and Jeremy Jordan.

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Torch Song
Photograph: Courtesy Joan Marcus
Theater, Comedy

Torch Song

icon-location-pin Midtown West
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On the high heels of its successful 2017 run Second Stage last year, this welcome and well-assembled revival of Harvey Fierstein's trailblazing 1982 play transfers to the company's Broadway house. The very appealing Michael Urie plays a Jewish drag queen dealing with a range of topics related to gay men in the window between Stonewall and AIDS, including a tense relationship with his mother (the acidic Mercedes Ruehl). Working hard to dispel any scent of schmaltz, director Moisés Kaufman lovingly tends to Fierstein’s flame. 

Samuel D. Hunter
Photograph: Courtesy Zack DeZon
Theater, Drama

Lewiston and Clarkston

icon-location-pin West Village
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Samuel D. Hunter, whose work plumbs spiritual depths in wide-open American spaces, offers a diptych of one-act plays about modern-day descendants of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Between the two, the audience shares a communal, Idaho-style dinner. Frequent Hunter collaborator Davis McCallum (The Whale) directs a company of six that includes Kristin Griffith, Noah Robbins and Arnie Burton.

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Network
Photograph: Courtesy Jan Versweyveld
Theater, Drama

Network

icon-location-pin Midtown West
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Bryan Cranston plays a mad-as-hell news anchor who defies broadcasting conventions in this stage version of the darkly satiric 1975 film, adapted by Lee Hall from Paddy Chayefsky's Oscar-winning screenplay. Minimalist-expressionist bad boy Ivo van Hove (A View from the Bridge) collaborates with his longtime partner, designer Jan Versweyveld, on a production that debuted at London's National Theatre last year and won Cranston an Olivier Award for his troubles.

Ngozi Anyanwu
Photograph: Courtesy Vineyard Theatre
Theater, Drama

Good Grief

icon-location-pin Gramercy
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Playwright Ngozi Anyanwu and director Awoye Timpo, who worked together on The Homecoming Queen earlier this year, reunite for another play about a Nigerian-American woman. Anyanwu herself plays the leading role in this first-generation immigrant story, whose supporting cast includes Patrice Johnson Chevannes, Weeds star Hunter Parrish and former NFL cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

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Not all Broadway shows are great...

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