All Off Broadway shows A–Z
Maddie Corman (Next Fall) opens up in an autobiographical solo show that explores the aftershocks of her husband's 2015 arrest on a shocking charge. Kristin Hanggi (Bare) directs the world premiere.
Jordan E. Cooper's satirical vision of an African-American mass exodus had a brief trial run last year as part of the Public Studio program. Now it returns for a full production, once again starring Cooper himself and directed by Stevie Walker-Webb.
In Stephen Unwin's historical drama, John Glover (Love! Valour! Compassion!) plays a real-life German aristocrat and Catholic bishop who spoke out against the Nazi govenment's murder of disabled children in the 1940s. Ethan McSweeny directs the U.S. premiere.
Theater review by Raven Snook At The Appointment, fetuses get in your face. With goo-goo eyes, cutesy voices and dangling umbilical cords, they sing to you, flirt with you and even demand your snacks. It's so ridiculous you can't help laughing, but there's a palpable unease underneath. Those expecting straightforward pro-choice messages may wrestle with intense feelings as they watch this satirical musical, a feverish explosion of the abortion debate that replaces rigid political views with a visceral exploration of the emotions that fuel both sides. Buoyantly directed by Eva Steinmetz, The Appointment is a devised theater piece from Lightning Rod Special, the Philadelphia outfit behind the incendiary Underground Railroad Game. Discomfort is their calling card, but in service of discovery, not only shock. A collection of scenes and songs that touch on reproductive rights, The Appointment uses absurdity as connective tissue: The all-male staff of a clinic serenades patients with abortion-regret stories, as required by law; a soothsaying turkey disrupts a family Thanksgiving dinner; the fetuses, who just want to entertain you, keep getting yanked offstage by a vaudevillian hook that looks unsettlingly like the top of a hanger. When they’re playing those fetuses, the seven performers are consummate clowns who know how to manage the crowd, even when some of the interactive bits skid off-track. (They ably belt out Alex Bechtel's catchy tunes, too; you may find yourself clappi
After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical doesn’t show its age. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs. Avenue Q remains a sly and winning piece of metamusical tomfoolery. Running time: 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.
World collide when a group of nerds and their lady friends are tested by a character from Star Trek in Karlan Judd's raunchy musical spoof of the long-running sitcom. Tristan J. Shuler directs.
In this dark comedy by Gabi and Eva Mor, Stephen Payne (Straight White Men) plays a proud deplorable who, after a medical crisis, is forced to rely on some of the people he has previously despised on principle. Michael Susko directs the full Off Broadway production of a show that had a very brief Off-Off Broadway run two years ago.
Three young black women pool their powers to rise above the challenges of life and love in New York City in the first play by queer poet Aziza Barnes. The show debuted at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2017; Robert O'Hara (Bootycandy) directs the Off Broadway premiere.
Three deadpan blue-skinned men with extraterrestrial imaginations carry this tourist fave, a show as smart as it is ridiculous. They drum on open tubs of paint, creating splashes of color; they consume Twinkies and Cap'n Crunch; they engulf the audience in a roiling sea of toilet paper. For sheer weird, exuberant fun, it's hard to top this long-running treat. (Note: The playing schedule varies from week to week, with as many as four performances on some days and none on others.)
Torben Betts's comedy peeks behind the cultivated facade of a star TV chef to uncover a mess of alcoholism, adultery and family strife. Alastair Whatley directs the U.S. premiere at 59E59's Brits Off Broadway festival.
The great Montreal contemporary-circus troupe brings its latest show to NYC, performing classic acrobatics and tightly choreographed dance numbers amid lavish costumes and set pieces. This show, written and directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, is inspired by the culture of Mexico.
A Hollywood film crew in New Mexico tries to stay on schedule despite challenges including a planned eco-terrorist bombing in this new dark comedy by Bess Wohl (Small Mouth Sounds). Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown) directs the world premiere for MTC.
John Doyle closes CSC's season with a revival of Marc Blitzstein’s incendiary 1937 allegory of corporate greed, in which a trusty man named Foreman tries to organize a union in the face of the moneybags-lugging fat cat Mr. Mister. The show is now more famous for its defiant original production, which was depicted in a 1999 film, but its anticapitalist cabaret may resonate with modern ears. Tony Yazbeck, Lara Pulver and David Garrison head the cast, which also includes (among others) Ken Barnett, Benjamin Eakeley, Rema Webb and Sally Ann Triplett.
Sam Shepard's 1978 dysfunctional-family play gets a new airing, directed by Terry Kinney for the Signature. David Warshofsky and Maggie Siff play the parents in this dark satire, set on a crumbling california farm.
Four friends explore the history of brunch and the cocktails associated with it in a musical companion piece to Anthony Caporale's popular A Spirited History of Drinking, formerly known as The Imbible. The score is by Josh Erlich; Carorale wrote the book, and codirects the show with Nicole DiMattei. Admission includes a modest brunch and three complimentary cocktails, so arrive half an hour early to take full advantage.
L.A. comedian Bill Posley riffs on American identity politics and his own experience as a biracial man in the NYC debut of his hour-long solo show. Bente Engelstoft directs.
After a well-received stint at last year's Fringe Encore Series, writer-performers Burt Grinstead and Anna Stromberg returns to SoHo Playhouse for an encore presentation of their comedic two-person rendition of Robert Louis Stevenson's gothic novella.
Theater review by Raven Snook Do You Feel Anger? provokes many emotions: amusement, sadness, terror, frustration. An absurdist comedy that cracks open to reveal oozing wounds, Mara Nelson-Greenberg's audacious Off Broadway debut tracks the efforts of empathy coach Sofia (Tiffany Villarin) to teach staffers at a debt-collection agency to be gentler, kinder and more understanding. But from the moment she meets the office’s douchebro boss, Jon (Greg Keller)—who thinks empathy is a type of bird—it's clear her job will not be easy: Her two male students, hot-tempered Howie (Justin Long) and unlovable loser Jordan (Ugo Chukwu), are prone to the kind of gross sexism that puts the id in idiocy. The shocking things that Howie, Jordan and Jon say and do—and the jaw-dropping advice of their victimized coworker, Eva (Megan Hill), on how to manage them—are hilarious at first. But numbness sets in fast, which may be part of the point. Women put up with insensitivity and abuse every day, in large and small ways, to navigate what is still a man's world. Yet we keep coming back for more, because where else can we go? Nelson-Greenberg actually imagines such an else, but to say more would ruin the production's most powerful surprise, boldly realized by scenic designer Laura Jellinek (a specialist in coups de théâtre). A great play seems buried within Do You Feel Anger?'s excesses, but Margot Bordelon, who directed the show's world premiere at the Humana Festival last year, hasn't quite figu
An actor drinks heavily (in the vein of Comedy Central's Drunk History) and then tries to corral others into enacting a story by the Bard. Bibulous excess is encouraged. TIME OUT DISCOUNT TICKET OFFER:DRUNK SHAKESPEAREThe hit theatrical comedy in the heart of Broadway $35 for balcony tickets (regular price $55) $49 for mezzanine tickets (regular price $69) $69 for stage-side tickets (regular price $89) Promotional description: The stage is set at the Lounge, a hidden library on 47th and Eighth featuring craft cocktails and more 15,000 real books. Five professional New York actors meet as members of the Drunk Shakespeare Society. One of them has at least five shots of whiskey, then overconfidently attempts to perform a major role in a Shakespearean play. Hilarity and mayhem ensue as the four sober actors try to keep the script on track. Every show is different depending on who is drinking…and what they're drinking! Only one can be King. Learn more about the exclusive King Experience. TO BUY TICKETS: Click here to buy tickets Performance schedule: Monday at 7:30pm; Wednesday at 8pm; Thursday at 7:30pm; and Friday and Saturday at 8pm and 10pm. Some weeks also offer performances on Tuesday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 7pm and/or Saturday at 6pm. Running Time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission. 21 or over only. Photo ID required. Offer for performances thru 4/28/19. Not all seats discounted. Discount code valid for stage-side, mezzanine and balcony seats only. All purchases with c
City Center's invaluable concert-staging series concludes its season with a fond look back at this 1947 musical comedy, the first major Broadway effort of composer Jule Styne and lyricist Sammy Cahn. Michael Urie and Kevin Chamberlin play con men who target a New Jersey family in 1913, culminating in a frantic Atlantic City chase scene. John Rando directs a cast that also includes Betsy Wolfe and Chester Gregory; Sarah O'Gleby's choreography includes restagings of two of the show's original numbers by Jerome Robbins.
David Kwong combines his two passions, magic and crossword construction, in an evening of cryptic pleasures at the High Line Hotel. In addition to illusions, the evening includes riddles and puzzles created by Kwong for the occasion.
The Amoralists' series Ricochet, a four-part anthology about a community in the aftermath of a mass shooting, concludes with a drama by Charly Evon Simpson and Gabriel Jason Dean. Directed by Kate Moore Heaney, the play stars Naomi Lorrain and Amoralists leader James Kautz as the black mother of a victim and the white brother of the shooter.
The York celebrates its 50th anniversary with a revival of the company's 2008 hit: a revision of the 1976 flop musical So Long, 174th Street, adapted by the late Joseph Stein from his own 1963 comedy—itself adapted from Carl Reiner's novel—and outfitted with music and lyrics by Stan Daniels. Chris Dwan plays the central role of an untalented would-be actor in New York in the 1930s; the supporting cast, directed by Stuart Ross, includes Alison Fraser, Farah Alvin, Robert Picardo and David Schramm.
Theater review by Adam Feldman [Note: This is a review of the 2018 production of Fairview at Soho Rep. The production returns for an encore run at Theatre for a New Audience in June, 2019, with the entire original cast. In April, the play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.] At several points in the first act of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s metatheatrical semicomedy Fairview, the upper-middle-class black women onstage look straight out into the audience and check their makeup. The fourth wall here is a one-way mirror, like the ones in police stations or psych-test observation rooms: The characters can see themselves, but they can’t see us watching them and sizing up their dynamics. As “Family Affair” plays on the stereo, Beverly (Heather Alicia Simms) nervously prepares a big dinner—it’s her mama’s birthday, and everything must be perfect!—for her jocular husband (Charles Browning), her undermining sister (the impeccable Roslyn Ruff) and her sporty daughter (Mayaa Boateng). It’s all quite familiar until, suddenly, it’s not. A half hour into the play, Drury (We Are Proud to Present…) switches its frame: As the opening scene replays in silence, we hear the voices of four white people who are chattering about it and over it, as though they were watching a reality TV show. What they are gabbing about is race—including which race they would like to be if they weren’t white—and they inevitably deal in stereotypes. (They are also stereotypes themselves: the rich liberal, the overtalki
Theater review by Raven Snook Folksbiene's Yiddish-language Fiddler became an unlikely hit last summer—see our original review, below—prompting multiple extensions and now, a move to a larger theater uptown. Those who get shpilkes imagining what that migration might do to Tevye the dairyman and his brethren can breathe easy. They've arrived with their stripped-down aesthetic and emotionally lucid production intact. In fact, it feels even more resonant thanks to beautifully evolved performances, the recasting of a few key roles and, sadly, a heightened sense of vulnerability due to the recent spike in anti-Semitism. (Be prepared to be wanded at the door.) Once again, Steve Skybell's Tevye is rich and real as he avoids the trap of scenery chewing. (Beowulf Boritt's barely-there set of parchment wouldn't make much of a meal, anyway.) Under Joel Grey's actor-friendly direction, Skybell consistently goes for nuanced naturalism instead of laughs or apoplexy, and he has a lived-in chemistry with newcomer Jennifer Babiak as his anxious wife, Golde. The strong-voiced Drew Seigla as Pertshik, the Bolshevik revolutionary who woos Tevye's second oldest daughter, is another welcome addition. The rest of the returning romantic leads are as charming as ever, making sure never to cross into cloying, and Jackie Hoffman's Yente provides plenty of comic relief without succumbing to caricature. Admittedly, this may not be the most spectacularly sung, danced or designed Fiddler ever to hit the
Undeterred by the failures of Frankenstein-themed tuners on Broadway and Off Broadway in 2007 (and Off-Off Broadway in 2016), composer-librettist-scientist Eric B. Sirota ventures back into the mad musical laboratory for his adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic horror novel. Clint Hromsco directs the premiere.
In this new play by San Chanse, two sisters search for their father in an ever-changing forest,and navigate tricky paths of gender and race. Shelley Butler directs the premiere for Ma-Yi Theater Company, which focuses on work by Asian-American artists.
Self-described “bubble scientist” Fan Yang's blissfully disarming act (now performed in New York by his son Deni, daughter Melody and wife Ana) consists mainly of generating a dazzling succession of bubbles in mind-blowing configurations, filling them with smoke or linking them into long chains. Lasers and flashing colored lights add to the trippy visuals.—David Cote TIME OUT DISCOUNT TICKET OFFER:THE GAZILLION BUBBLE SHOW It will blow you away!!!Tickets as low as $49 (regular price $79) Promotional description: After twenty years as a Master of Bubbles, Fan Yang brought his unique brand of artistry to the Big Apple in 2007 and has since wowed bubble lovers of all ages. The Gazillion Bubble Show truly is a family affair for Fan: His wife Ana, son Deni, daughter Melody and brother Jano all can be found on stage in New York and around the world performing their bubble magic. Audiences are delighted with an unbubblievable experience and washed with a bubble tide; some even find themselves inside a bubble. Mind-blowing bubble magic, spectacular laser lighting effects and momentary soapy masterpieces will make you smile, laugh and feel like a kid again.THREE WAYS TO BUY TICKETS:1. Online: Click here to buy tickets through Telecharge2. By phone: Call 212-947-8844 and mention code: GBTONYF453. In person: Print this offer and bring it to the New World Stages box officePerformance schedule: Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 11am, 2pm and 4:30pm; Sunday at 12pm and 3pm Running time: 1h
A family in mourning is visited by a mysterious winged trickster in this new play by Irish auteur Enda Walsh (Ballyturk), adapted from Max Porter's novel. Frequent Walsh interpreter Cillian Murphy stars in the U.S. premiere.
Along with his prominent work as an actor, Jesse Eisenberg has proved an adept playwright, with a specialty in charting the damage wrought by self-absorbed characters. In this dark comedy, Susan Sarandon and Marin Ireland costar in the story of a driven suburban woman determined to find a husband for her mother's Serbian home aide. Scott Elliott directs the world premiere for the New Group.
Ronnie Marmo wrote and stars in this solo show about the life and death of stand-up comic, social commentator, junkie and free-speech envelope-pusher Lenny Bruce. veteran actor Joe Mantegna directs the Off Broadway premiere.
The new season of 59E59's Brits Off Broadway series begins with a comedy adapted from a 1942 set of instructions aimed at explaining British culture to American servicemen. The show is written and performed by the Real MacGuffins (Dan March, James Millard and Matt Sheahan) and co-written by director John Walton.
Musical theater does right by the jukebox with this behind-the-music tale, presenting the Four Seasons’ energetic 1960s tunes (including “Walk Like a Man” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”) as they were meant to be performed. Ten months after concluding an 11-year run on Broadway, the show follows Avenue Q's example and returns for an open-ended run at Off Broadway's New World Stages. Under Des McAnuff's sleek direction, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice's biography feels canny instead of canned.
Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza) stars as a neurotic fashion editor undergoing psychoanalysis in this MasterVoices concert staging of Kurt Weill, Ira Gershin and Moss Hart's high-concept 1941 musical. Ted Sperling directs the production, which features choreography by Doug Varone and costumes by Zac Posen, Carolina Herrera and Thom Browne. The high-toned supporting cast includes Montego Glover, Ashley Park, Ron Raines, Ben Davis, Christopher Innvar, David Pittu and Amy Irving. "My Ship," "This Is New," "The Saga of Jenny" and the rapid-fire comic list song "Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians)" are among the score's highlights.
Silver-screen fascination object Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet) digs into the history of the relationship between human beings and animals—joined by her own dog, Pan—in a monologue that draws from philosophers and scientists of the past three millennia.
Cori Thomas's drama, inspired by her work with inmates at San Quentin Prison, takes a close look at the experience of serving a life sentence. Kent Gash directs this Rattlestick Playwrights Theater commission. A moderated discussion with criminal-justice experts follows each performance.
Seven schoolgirls in tartan uniforms enact Shakespeare's tale of ambition and guilt in Erica Schmidt's all-female version of the Scottish tragedy. Isabelle Fuhrman and Ismenia Mendes lead the cast of seven as Macbeth and his red-handed wife, respectively, in this Red Bull Theater production.
After last year's Pay No Attention to the Girl, David Herskovits and his brainy Target Margin Theater continue their run of projects inspired by One Thousand and One Nights. This one reimagines the tale of cave robber Ali Baba with an emphasis on the heroism of his sharp-minded slave girl.
Rwanda's Malaika Uwamahoro stars in a solo show based on Immaculée Ilibagiza's Left to Tell, a harrowing account of survival amid the genocidal slaughter of the 1994 Rwandan Civil War. George Drance directs a script by Leslie Lewis and Edward Vilga.
Ars Nova christens its new downtown digs at Greenwich House, formerly known as the Barrow Street Theatre, with a commissioned work by its company-in-residence: the Mad Ones, the collaborative troupe behind the widely adored Miles for Mary. Devised by the group's actors with visiting performers Phillip James Brannon, Bard Heberlee, Carmen M. Herlihy and January LaVoy, the play concerns a focus-group discussion of a 1970s kiddie-TV program. Lila Neugebauer (The Wolves) directs the world premiere.
A teenage Star Wars fan, a Blockbuster Video clerk and an activist actress create a musical celebration of the Force in this new musical by Tom D'Angora, Taylor Cousore and Scott Richard Foster, with a score by Billy Recce. Cousore and Foster also costar with the winsomely daffy Emily McNamara.
Eight reasonably nice-looking men take it all off and vocalize in this collage of cutesy vignettes on gay themes, recently revamped with new jokes and more up-to-date references. Although sex is central to most of the numbers, the goofy nudism has no erotic charge, and when the show tries to be serious, it's hard to watch with a straight face.
John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation) teams anew with director Jerry Zaks (Hello, Dolly!) in what looks to be a whale of a tale, set on the genteel isle of Nantucket. John Larroquette plays a Manhattan playwright-cum-capitalist whose effort to recall an event that occurred decades earlier draws him into adventures that involve Roman Polanski, Jorge Luis Borges, Walt Disney, a murder, a porno ring and a giant lobster. The cast of 10 includes Tina Benko, Will Swenson and Douglas Sills.
Rick Crom’s bouncy, ever-changing satirical revue of politics and pop culture returns for an unusually long run at the Kirk Theatre to take more jabs at the headlines. Mark Waldrop directs.
Theater review by Helen Shaw The Shed, the turbocharged new culture venue at Hudson Yards, has commissioned Norma Jeane Baker of Troy as its first theatrical offering: a piece that is luxurious and glossy, and that radiates intellect and pedigree. This is what Shed curator Alex Poots does: He assembles supergroups for superprojects. But Norma Jeane never manages to be more than the sum of its superparts. It is stifling in its self-conscious gorgeousness. Katie Mitchell, a British director with a talent for deep atmosphere and beautifully designed productions, directs Anne Carson’s “melologue,” a declamatory poem that is both spoken and sung. Carson’s lyric does a lovely job of weaving together its many strands; in its weft you’ll find Euripides’ Helen, the myth of Persephone and the tragedy of Marilyn Monroe. The sumptuousness of Carson’s language (“his army rippling ‘round him like bees smelling honey”) is frequently interrupted by tart little etymology lessons, which trace the language of war back to Ancient Greek. There is no greater classicist-dramatist alive than Carson, and the show is worth a visit just for a chance to hear this text. Mitchell’s staging adds yet another layer: we’re in a dimly lit office at midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1963. A nervous man (Ben Whishaw) has summoned a stenographer (the superstar soprano Renée Fleming) to take down his thoughts. He speaks to her or to a tape recorder; he’s sometimes speaking as himself and sometimes as the stage dir
The Irish Rep takes a deep dive into the oeuvre of Irish master playwright Sean O'Casey, presenting a trio of the dramatist's best-known works. Ciarán O'Reilly directs The Shadow of a Gunman (review below), set during Ireland's bloody War of Independance. Neil Pepe directs Juno and the Paycock (review below), starring O'Reilly and Maryann Plunkett as an unhappy couple in a family torn by strife. Finally, Charlotte Moore helms The Plough and the Stars (starting April 20), an Easter Uprising tragedy. Each of the three plays is rolled out separately, then joins the others in a repertory schedule. Juno and the PaycockTheater review by Raven SnookSean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock starts out as a domestic comedy before evolving into the stuff of Gaelic tragedy. Steely matriarch Juno (the marvelous Maryann Plunkett) is struggling to hold the Boyle clan together during the Irish Civil War of 1922. Her ne'er-do-well hubby, Captain Jack (a saucy Ciarán O’Reilly), would rather carouse with his pal Joxer (invaluable clown John Keating) than look for work. Their comely daughter, Mary (Sarah Street), is on strike and on the outs with her longtime beau Jerry (Harry Smith); their son, Johnny (a haunting Ed Malone), lost his arm and his equilibrium during the Irish War of Independence. At first, listening to their colorful squabbling feels like eavesdropping, as if we've just popped in for spiked tea and gossip. But when Captain Jack unexpectedly comes into an inheritance from a distant
The constantly inventive Dave Malloy, a triple Tony nominee for Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, begins his Signature Theatre Company residency with an original musical about addiction and nothingness. Scored for an a cappella chamber choir, the show draws from science, religion, poetry and internet comment boards. Annie Tippe, who directed Malloy's Ghost Quartet, helms the production, which is the first musical in the Signature's nearly 30-year history.
Mark Mauriello and Andrew Barret Cox's queer nightclub musical immerses audiences in a secret future bunker at which culture has been whittled down to "sequins, reality television and the complete works of Oscar Wilde." Shira Milkowsky directs for the Neon Coven.
Theater review by Helen Shaw The three scenes of Halley Feiffer’s latest comic dive into the hellscape of womanhood, The Pain of My Belligerence, are arranged like a flight of bitter wines. As we drain the cup of each episode, Feiffer offers us variations on the thought that some poisons are aphrodisiacs—and vice versa. The first sip is the best. In this bravura episode, Cat (Feiffer herself) and Guy (Hamish Linklater) engage in accelerated, exaggerated first-date talk. Wedged into a glowing restaurant booth, Guy praises, insults and dizzies Cat, who giggles helplessly even as Guy reveals himself to be a preening jackass. (“You’re terrible!” she squeals. “I’m a serial killer,” he drawls back.) In the weirdest moment of their whirlwind encounter, the married Guy sees a tick on Cat’s neck and tears it out with his teeth. Their dysfunction duet is peripatetic, nauseating, exciting. But the next two segments are not nearly as strong. As Cat’s Lyme disease and romantic obsession weaken her faculties, Feiffer raises the symbolism hammer too high. The three sections are set four years apart because each takes place on Election Night, so there are two poisons—one bacterial, one patriarchal—scourging Cat’s system. And when she visits Guy’s wife Yuki (Vanessa Kai), we hardly need the image of a brain-fogged Cat spilling a glass of water to get that she’s making a mess. The clumsiness of the play’s final hour is disappointing mainly because the restaurant scene is such a killer. I
Chistopher Chen, who memorably examined questions of truth and art in Caught, turns his attention to the social dynamics of colonial power in this world premiere. Saheem Ali (Sugar in Our Wounds) directs a cast composed entirely of actors of color.
The unique Tony Torn stars as Paul Swan, a once-beautiful dancer who hosted queer arts salons for decades and achieved camp notoriety as an Andy Warhol muse in the 1960s. The Civilians' Steve Cosson stages Claire Kiechel's new play immersively in a Chelsea townhouse that once belonged to Torn's parents, the great acting power couple Geraldine Page and Rip Torn.
A wily cop tries to psych out a possibly homicidal shrink in Warren Manzi’s moldy, convoluted mystery. The creaky welter of dime-store Freudianism, noirish attitude and whodunit gimmickry is showing its age. (Catherine Russell has starred since 1987.)
A tot obsessed with pink cupcakes finds herself turning her favorite rosy hue in this long-running children's musical, with music by John Gregor and book and lyrics by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann. Teresa K. Pond directs.
The always compelling Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) stars in Elise Forier Edie's solo show about a small-town Texas woman whose teenage daughter comes out as genderqueer. Amy Jones directs.
Theater review by Helen Shaw The first 15 minutes of Will Arbery’s Plano are experimental-theater perfection. They move like lightning. They’re hilarious. They look like one thing (three sisters chatting on a porch) but they are another (a reality-bending boot camp for the mind). If other parts of this high-weird comedy don’t have the same precision and surprise, it may be because the first moments have worked too well: Our thoughts have been accelerated to fruit-fly speeds, so the later sequences strike our newly superperceptive brains as a little slow. On a seemingly normal wooden porch in Texas, Anne (Crystal Finn) rattles through a conversation with bossy Genevieve (Miriam Silverman) and fragile Isabel (Susannah Flood). Anne is pregnant, and she’s telling her slightly shocked sisters about her new lover John. “Okay I’ll introduce him later. It’s later, here he is.” John (the superb Cesar J. Rosado) melts around the proscenium edge and is suddenly there. In Plano, time whips past us, like film on a reel that’s been cranked into high gear. John keeps slipping off—he has things to do in Plano, he says—and other men, even other Johns, multiply and buzz around the women. The three have their own eerie capacities, which emerge in a few witchy moments, but male menace challenges their power of three. Genevieve’s husband Steve (Ryan King) leaves her for someone younger, but versions of him are always still around, demanding attention and praise. A faceless boy tackles Isabel
Kevin Armento and Jaki Bradley's concert-play hybrid imagines the birth of jazz in a New Orleans dance hall at the turn of the 20th century. Linton Smith II plays trumpeter Buddy Bolden; Bradley directs a script by Armento and C.A. Johnson. The production features a live brass band.
Theater review by Adam Feldman [Note: This is a review of the 2017 Broadway production, which moves Off Broadway to New World Stages in 2019 with a new cast.] Ah, the joy of watching theater fail. The looming possibility of malfunction is part of what makes live performance exciting, and disasters remind us of that; the rite requires sacrifice. There is more than schadenfreude involved when we giggle at, say, a YouTube video of a high-school Peter Pan crashing haplessly into the scenery. There is also sympathy—there but for the grace of deus ex machina go we all—and, often, a respect for the efforts of the actors to somehow muddle through. Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong takes this experience to farcical extremes, as six amateur British actors (and two crew members who get pressed into service onstage) try to perform a hackneyed whodunnit amid challenges that escalate from minor mishaps (stuck doors, missed cues) to bona fide medical emergencies and massive structural calamities. Depending on your tolerance for ceaseless slapstick, The Play That Goes Wrong will either have you rolling in the aisles or rolling your eyes. It is certainly a marvel of coordination: The imported British cast deftly navigates the pitfalls of Nigel Hook’s ingeniously tumbledown set, and overacts with relish. (I especially enjoyed the muggings of Dave Hearn, Charlie Russell and coauthor Henry Lewis.) Directed by Mark Bell, the mayhem goes like cuckoo clockwork. If you want to have a
Audible expands its theatrical footprint with the first product of its Emerging Playwright program: a commissioned solo play by Chisa Hutchinson, starring Brenda Pressley as an upper-class black woman whose life is upended by an accident. Jade King Carroll directs the premiere, which will be recorded and released as an audio play.
Theater review by Diane Snyder For seven Harry Potter novels, the mediocrities of the Hogwarts house Hufflepuff lived in the shadow of their overachieving schoolmates. Matt Cox’s Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic gives them their due. In this funny and affectionate homage to J.K. Rowling’s world of wiz kids, Harry, Hermione and Ron take a back seat to average American wizard Wayne (Zac Moon), goth gal Megan (Julie Ann Earls) and math genius Oliver (Langston Belton), who is stuck at a school that doesn’t even teach his subject. They may not be at the top of the class, and they’re not wild about Harry, but they persevere through adversity and find power in friendship. A press release asks that the word parody be avoided in describing Puffs, but much of the show’s comedy is clearly aimed at Potterphiles. The 11 cast members play an assortment of characters, from a mumbling potions master to a squeaky house elf, and some of the jokes will be lost on those with no knowledge of the films or books. But even Potter virgins will enjoy the show’s witty wordplay and well-executed physical comedy. At times, the pacing is so frenetic that jokes can’t find a place to land, but there’s heart as well as humor here. In the past two years, Cox and director Kristin McCarthy Parker have shepherded their silly, subversive show from the People’s Improv Theater to Off Broadway’s New World Stages. Like its main characters, Puffs illustrates the heigh
Baba Brinkman is a white Canadian dude who raps about intellectual and social questions, and his multiple shows at SoHo Playhouse have been delightfully entertaining and informative. Now he reprises three of those shows in rep, applying his rhyme and reason to questions of evolution, consciousness and climate change.
There's no shortage of musical inspired by the Bible—such as Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, Children of Eden, Two By Two, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Apple Tree—but writer-director Dustin Ceithamer gets extra points for difficulty. His new musical attempts to tackle the mysteries of the New Testament's weirdest text: the visionary, violent and apocalyptic Book of Revelation, commonly attributed to John the Apostle.
Theater review by Raven Snook A meditation on the often arbitrary lines that divide us, Thaddeus Phillips’s well-meaning 17 Border Crossings is a travelogue that barely gets beyond checkpoints: Its focus is on the challenges of crossing over. On a mostly empty stage, using his talents for languages and broad caricature (along with a mobile lighting rig and a smattering of props), the playwright-performer touches on more than two dozen cultures from five continents as he juxtaposes the excursions of a privileged traveler—whom the script calls the Passenger—with the bleak realities of war, poverty and tyranny that afflict the locals. It's an impressive feat of creativity and endurance, if not a consistently engaging one. While many of the tales seem drawn from a mix of news reports and personal experience, Phillips frequently speaks in the second person, implicating the audience in the Passenger’s adventures. The stories are told clearly but not always evocatively. The Passenger debating between in-flight rom-coms to watch en route from Angola to London while a desperate stowaway meets his end in the plane's wheel well is disturbing; the Passenger tripping on ayahuasca with a shaman in Brazil is indulgent. The more whimsical anecdotes, such as one dealing with an ignorant Newark customs agent, feel especially flimsy, and after a while the journey loses momentum. A last-minute replacement in New York Theatre Workshop's season, 17 Border Crossings might seem to have been ins
Doreen Taylor and Azudi Onyejekwe costar in an intimate musical that celebrates the oeuvre of master Broadway wordsmith Oscar Hammerstein II. Written by Taylor, the show weaves historical materials with more than two dozen of Hammerstein's songs. The production is directed by veteran opera stager Dugg McDonough; holograms add a measure of technological enchantment to the evening. TIME OUT DISCOUNT TICKET OFFER: SINCERELY, OSCARA New Musical Celebrating Broadway’s Greatest Lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein TICKETS $49 (regularly $89) Promotional description: A new musical highlighting Oscar Hammerstein’s journey to become Broadway’s greatest lyricist. The musical explores Oscar’s life in his words while showcasing over 30 of his greatest songs from shows like The Sound of Music, Show Boat, Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, Allegro and more. Working closely with members of the Hammerstein family, the musical incorporates personal correspondence, unpublished lyrics, interviews and memoirs to give a rare insight into Hammerstein’s legacy. Sincerely, Oscar utilizes state-of-the-art 3D holographic technology for the first time on the Off Broadway stage. THREE WAYS TO BUY TICKETS:1. ONLINE: Click here or visit Telecharge and enter code: TRSOTO492. BY PHONE: Call 212-947-8844 and mention code: TRSOTO493. IN PERSON: Print this bring offer and bring it to the Theatre Row Box Office (410 W 42nd St between Ninth and Tenth Avenues) Offer valid for performances through June 30, 2019.
Joshua Jay is an affable fellow, and his immersive and intimate show has a hip vibe: He performs it for groups of 20 in adjoining rooms of a small Chinatown basement space spruced up with retro decor and nifty murals by Serge Block. It's easy to see why the show has been popular. (Its current run is sold out, and it will return in the fall.) But although Jay is an smooth performer and a gifted sleight-of-hand artist—he has written a primer for aspiring magicians—the show's atmospherics are more memorable than its illusions; several of the effects rely too obviously on trick equipment rather than skill. Maybe that’s why audiences are explicitly forbidden from seeing the show more than once: After a single visit, they’d have exhausted its possibilities.