New York theater ranges far beyond the 41 large midtown houses that we call Broadway. Many of the city's most innovative and engaging new plays and musicals can be found Off Broadway, in venues that seat between 100 and 499 people. (Those that seats fewer than 100 people fall into the Off-Off Broadway category.) These more intimate spaces present work in a wide range of styles, from new pieces by major artists at the legendary Public Theater to crowd-pleasing commercial fare at New World Stages. And even the best Off Broadway shows usually cost less than their cousins on the Great White Way—even if you score cheap Broadway tickets. Use our listings to find Off Broadway reviews, prices, curtain times and great deals on New York theater tickets.
Recommended: Critics' picks for theater and Broadway
All Off Broadway shows A–Z
A poor, queer black teenager escapes into fantasies about her pop-culture idol, Natalie Portman, in an inventive new play by C.A. Johnson. Kate Whoriskey directs the NYC premiere.
Alice Birch examines the relationships between mothers and daughters in a Susan Smith Blackurn Prize–winning play that traces three generations of women. Lileana Blain-Cruz (The House That Will Not Stand) directs the U.S. premiere; the cast includes the gifted Carla Gugino (Jett).
After declaring bankruptcy in 2016 to widespread lamentations, the family-friendly circus came bouncing back to life at Lincoln Center last year, and now returns for its 42nd season with an all-new show. Afro-Latina ringmaster Storm Marrero presides over a spectacle that includes aerial acrobats the Aliev Troupe, juggler Kyle Driggs, feline wranglers Savitsky Cats and a unique hand-to-hand strength act by Alan Pagnota and wheelchair user Rafael Ferreira.
After many reional productions around the country, Pearl Cleage's 1995 portrait of a group of friends in the Harlem Renaissance finally makes it New York debut, courtesy of Keen Company. LA Williams directs the cast of five, which includes Alfie Fuller in the showy role of a singer named Angel.
Playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman (Things We Want) teams with songwriter Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), with an assist from lyricist Amanda Green, for this musical adaptation of Paul Mazursky's swinging 1969 comedy about sexual liberation and potential mate-swapping. Scott Elliott directs for his New Group; Jennifer Damiano, Ana Nogueira, Joél Pérez and Michael Zegan play the titular foursome, joined by singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega.
Canadian writer-director-performer Rick Miller plays more than 100 politicians, activists and musicians in a survey of 25 years that defined baby boomer culture. Some 28 songs are woven into a narrative that centers on Miller's mother and her relationship with an African-American draft dodger.
The latest multicharacter solo show by San Francisco writer-actor Dan Hoyle (Tings Dey Happen) is based on conversations with immigrants, refugees and other crossers of the U.S.'s northern and southern borders. Nicole A. Watson directs the piece's New York debut.
Lauren Yee begins her Signature residency with her 2018 play, which has received acclaim elsewhere (including in Chicago last year). Courtney Reed, Joe Ngo and Frances Jue lead the cast in this story of a Khmer Rouge survivor who returns to Cambodia as his daughter prepares to prosecture one of the country's most notorious war criminals. Chay Yew directs the New York premiere, which features a band playing Cambodian classics as well as songs by the contemporary L.A. band Dengue Fever.
Mint Theater Company presents a diptych of short plays by Miles Malleson, both adapted from Russian short stories: Anton Chekhov's "An Artist's Story" and Leo Tolstoy's "What Men Live By." Jonathan Bank and Jane Shaw share directorial duties; the cast includes beloved stage veteran Vinie Burrows.
First lady of the downtown camp stage Charles Busch (Vampire Lesbians of Sodom) stars in his own new melocomedy, an homage to the tearjerkers of pre-Code Hollywood. Busch plays the title character, who goes from convent girl to nightclub singer to madam. Director Carl Andress shepherds a production whose cast also includes Broadway names Nancy Anderson and Howard McGillin and longtime Busch leaguer Jennifer Van Dyck.
The always compelling Deirdre O’Connell stars in an unconventional piece by Lucas Hnath (A Doll's House, Part 2), based on a series of recordings made by Civilians honcho Steve Cosson in conversation with Hnath’s mother, Dana Higginbotham, during which she recounts her 1997 abduction by a mental patient. O’Connell lip-syncs to the original recordings in a production directed by Les Waters, who recently helmed Hnath's theatrical ghost story The Thin Space.
Roundabout Underground makes a rare foray into musical theater with Daniel Zaitchik's intimate portrait of a complicated romance between a songwriter and a chorus girl. The cast of five, directed by Michael Berresse, includes Adam Kantor, Emily Walton and Jay Armstrong Johnson.
On Site Opera, which stages modern operas in uncoventional locations, ranges into opera-themed musical theater with this revival of Jim Luigs and Scott Warrender's campy 1991 tuner, which moves the action of Wagner's Götterdämmerung to modern-day Texas. Appropriately enough, the show is being mounted at Hill Country. (We recommend the moist brisket and the Kreuz jalapeño cheese sausage.) Five singer-actors perform all the roles, conducted by Emily Senturia and directed by Eric Einhorn and Katherine M. Carter.
CSC gets spooky with a pair of horror shows in rep: Kate Hamill's postmodern feminist revision of Bram Stoker's Dracula, directed by Sarna Lapine (Sunday in the Park with George); and Tristan Bernays's two-person distillation of Mary Shelley's monster mash note, Frankenstein, directed by Timothy Douglas.
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 in Times Square 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 4/4/21. Not all seats discounted. Discount code valid for stage-side, mezzanine and balcony seats only. All purchases with credi
Theater review by Raven Snook Keith Harrison and Laura Schein's over-the-top musical comedy Emojiland aims for 🤣but inspires 🙂at best. Inside a smartphone, bedazzled diva Princess (Lesli Margherita) and her digital denizens are excited to greet their annual update. But two new arrivals, Prince (Josh Lamon) and Nerd Face (George Abud), disrupt their superficially happy texistence, sparking romantic and societal crises. A hit at the 2018 New York Musical Festival (R.I.P.), the show has gotten a major cast upgrade. Under Thomas Caruso's broad direction, an impressive roster of Broadway favorites give their all to the middling material. Margherita and Lamon, who have been with the project from the beginning, lean into camp as a pair of narcissistic tyrants who rap and belt with abandon. Abud's Nerd Face is an affable underdog who nails pop power ballads while saving the cyberworld and wooing Smize (cowriter Schein). As the dangerously depressive Skull, Lucas Steele is a goth dreamboat who croons Radiohead-style odes to death. Disappointingly, however, the brilliant Ann Harada is wasted as Pile of Poo; her single scene is a real number two. With 16 musical numbers, dozens of characters, three main plot lines (including a heavy-handed political one about building a firewall) and a running time of well over two hours, Emojiland is a case of more-is-way-too-much—especially since the cyber-silliness isn't that well scripted. Thankfully, its good old-fashioned analog performance
Theater review by Raven Snook The Great White Way has changed a lot over the past four decades, but Forbidden Broadway is still much the same. That’s both a comfort and a limitation. In Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation, the first new edition since 2014 of his (mostly) affectionate satirical revue, musical parodist Gerard Alessandrini takes fresh aim at Broadway’s newcomers. But like Scott Rudin last season, he ends up with as many misses as hits. If that last reference confounds you, Forbidden Broadway may not be up your Shubert Alley: Much of its humor assumes a more-than-working knowledge of theater culture on Broadway and slightly beyond. Lampoons of Fosse/Verdon and Renée Zellweger in Judy are highlights of the evening, thanks to series vet Jenny Lee Stern, who convincingly conjures those divas along with Julie Andrews (in a clever spoof that transforms Mary Poppins Returns’s “The Place Where Lost Things Go” into a memorial for flop shows). An uproarious Oklahoma! medley pokes fun at woke cowpokes, and a zany bit about The Ferryman finds the comedy in Irish drama. Alessandrini’s mordant wit is less in evidence as he struggles to find what’s funny about some other shows; his takes on Tootsie, The Prom and Harry Potter miss the mark widely. And while Stern and the sparkling Aline Mayagoitia are crack impressionists who can sell the slighter material, the male performers (Immanuel Houston, Chris Collins-Pisano and child actor Joshua Turchin) are stronger as singer
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.
The Houdini Museum of New York presents a "secret" 40-seat show hosted by the museum's 23-year-old director, RJ the Magician. This month's guest is Thom Britton, a sideshow specialist whose act combines storytelling and comedy with fire eating and stunt involving electricity, chainsaws and broken glass.
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
Irondale Ensemble continues its three-part Bertolt Brecht series with this 1943 problem play about the difficulty of goodness in a world of limited resources. Jim Niesen directs a a cast of six actors, who play more than three dozen roles.
This one's a kippah! British Orthodox Jewish comedian Ashley Blaker carries a big shtick in this follow-up to his solo show Strictly Unorthodox, which he performed in New York in 2018.
The Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga (Loving) plays the title role in this latest account of Shakespeare's wordy tragedy, where a ghost and a prince meet and everyone ends in mincemeat. South Africa's Yaël Farber (Mies Julie) directs her own adaptation, which emphasizes resistance over reluctance and was first seen at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2018.
Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd) and Craig Bierko (The Music Man) star in George Eastman's two-hander about the tested relationship between an elderly, sharp-witted Vermont man and his son. Karen Carpenter directs the premiere.
In this modern noir by Christopher Chen, Aaron Yoo plays a true-crime fan who sets out to crack the unsolved murder of his father many years earlier. Knud Adams directs teh world premiere for Lincoln Center Theater's adventurous LCT3 wing.
Katori Hall's Hurt Village, which was mounted by the Signature in 2012, was a searing tragedy set in Memphis; now the playwright and company return to the same city for a spicy comedy. The action centers on a chef who is bent on spreading his wings at an annual cooking festival. Steve H. Broadnax directs the world premiere.
[Note: The review below is for a 2014 version of this show, which was then titled The Imbible. A revised version now plays at New World Stages. A different, brunch-theater edition, titled Day Drinking, plays on weekend matinees.] Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? Great! Now imagine him as a bartender who is deeply interested in the history of ethanol alcohol, really likes wigs and costumes, and just joined a coed barbershop quartet. That description of Anthony Caporale’s The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking may sound far-out, but the show is both educational and entertaining. (It's also a fine showcase for a cappella classics arranged by Josh Ehrlich and performed by a gifted ensemble that includes the show's director, soprano Nicole DiMattei.) Mixing whimsy and information, Caporale makes the story of our relationship with alcohol remarkably compelling. And the show's lessons—on subjects like the drinks served at Prohibition-era speakeasies, the origin of the gin and tonic, and the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink—can be washed down with complimentary, thematically appropriate beverages. As Caporale says, “Trust me, I get funnier with every sip.” That makes the show a must-see for anyone who enjoys free booze, which is probably nearly everyone.—Amelia Bienstock
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.
Theater review by Helen Shaw For seven months in 2015 and 2016, the British duo Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson ran a theater in Calais, France, in the makeshift settlement that many called the Jungle. Thousands of refugees waited there to cross the Channel into England, and volunteers like the Joes had shown up to help. They called their performance structure—a pack-and-play geodesic dome—the Good Chance Theatre, because immigrants thought, each night, that they had a “good chance” to get to Dover. The camp was bulldozed in 2016, along with all its chances, but people are still there, sleeping under tarps and bridges. Murphy and Robertson’s The Jungle is based on their time in Calais. If you’re looking for effortless exposition or delicate characterization, this nearly three-hour immersive play won’t afford it. It’s not artful as a piece of drama; rather, it’s a deliberate cacophony of voices. Co-directors Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin insist on roars of disapproval and protest at every turn: A chorus of shouts goes up after almost every declarative statement, and every entrance is taken running. The play wants you to feel, for a moment, what it’s like to live each moment at a crisis point. The Joes write from what they know, so white British volunteers—particularly the idealistic Beth (Rachel Redford) and the overwhelmed Sam (Alex Lawther)—stand at the center of the work, with Sudanese, Afghan and Iraqi immigrants explaining their stories to them. Here are the seemingl
The Irish Rep honors Lady Augusta Gregory, a cofounder of Dublin's Abbey Theatre and a central figure in the burgeoning Irish literary scene of the early 20th century. Ciarán O'Reilly directs a collage of texts by Gregory herself, including personal writings and selections from her plays.
Theater review by Adam Feldman Little Shop of Horrors is a weird and adorable show with teeth. Based on Roger Corman’s shlocky 1960 film, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s 1982 musical tells the Faustian story of a dirt-poor schlub named Seymour (Jonathan Groff), a lowly petal pusher at a Skid Row flower shop, who cultivates a relationship with a most unusual plant. What seems at first a blessing—a way for the lonely Seymour to earn money and to get closer to his boss, Mushnik (Tom Alan Robbins), and his used and bruised coworker, Audrey (Tammy Blanchard)—soon turns sinister. The plant, whom he names Audrey II (designed by Nicholas Mahon and voiced by Kingsley Leggs), requires human blood to grow, and Seymour doesn’t have enough of his own to spare. He doesn’t want to feed the beast, but he can’t resist the lure of the green. Arguably the best musical ever adapted from a movie, Little Shop does for B flicks what Sweeney Todd does for Grand Guignol. Librettist Ashman and composer Menken—who, between this show and their Disney animated films, did more than anyone to return musical theater from its mass-culture exile in the late 20th century—brilliantly wrap a sordid tale of capitalist temptation and moral decay in layers of sweetness, humor, wit and camp. Their extraordinary score bursts with colorful rock & roll, doo-wop, girl-group pop and R&B; Ashman’s lyrics blend masterful character comedy with carefully seeded double meanings. And Michael Mayer’s deeply satisfying reviva
Theater review by Raven Snook For fans of 19th-century farce who yearn for options beyond The Importance of Being Earnest, the Irish Rep's handsome revival of Dion Boucicault's 1841 smash London Assurance offers similar silly pleasures. The comedy revolves around the preening peacock Sir Harcourt Courtly (the delicious Colin McPhillamy) and his rakish son Charles (Ian Holcomb), both of whom are wooing the fetching Grace Harkaway (Caroline Strang). A rouge-cheeked buffoon who fancies himself a fashion plate, Courtly has been promised Grace's hand in marriage as part of a financial arrangement with her uncle (Brian Keane), whereas Charles is just a young man who falls unexpectedly in love. Chaos ensues on the weekend of the planned engagement, thanks to a zany array of stock characters, including the seductive huntress Lady Gay Spanker (Rachel Pickup, dazzling), her milquetoast husband (Robert Zuckerman), a sleazy lawyer (Evan Zes, overplaying) and Charles’s layabout pal (Craig Wesley Divino). Old comedies can feel tragically outmoded, and although the cast is solid and spirited, and James Noone's revolving set is lovely, London Assurance inspires more grins than guffaws. But while this antique can never truly shake off all its dust, director Charlotte Moore is blessed to have gifted stage vet McPhillamy in the central role. He's unafraid to look ridiculous, and his expressive delivery leaves no funny line unpunched. More importantly, he smooths over his character's lechery, w
Theater review by Raven Snook Equally giggly and grisly, Erica Schmidt's unnerving adaptation of Macbeth for Red Bull Theater features seven young actresses performing Shakespeare's tragedy as uniform-clad schoolgirls in an abandoned lot. The language is mostly the Shakespeare’s, albeit pared down to one whirlwind act. The sensibility, however, is decidedly contemporary, as these hyperactive drama queens get lost in a gruesome fantasy world that casts some of them as villains and others as victims. Mac Beth alternates between heightened high jinks and chilling violence. At first, you may chuckle at these bad girls’ adolescent antics—squealing, taking selfies with pink cell phones, sucking on Ring Pops, stomping around to Beyoncé's "Bow Down"—even as Macbeth (Isabelle Fuhrman of The Hunger Games, working hard) and her wife (standout Ismenia Mendes) go on an ambition-fueled rampage of destruction. But the remaining five actors play all the other parts, sometimes confusingly; aside from the three Witches (AnnaSophia Robb, Sophie Kelly-Hedrick and Sharlene Cruz) and Macduff (a heartbreaking Lily Santiago), the characters are insufficiently delineated, and the poetry is often dulled by lack of nuance. The production works better when it veers into horror territory. (Schmidt's inspiration is the 2014 Slender Man case in Wisconsin, when two 12-year-old girls stabbed a classmate.) During a furious rainstorm, the Weird Sisters stir gnarly science-lab detritus and even used tampons
Dan White is something of a local sensation and a regular guest on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show, and it's not hard to see why. His NoMad Hotel show, which sells out weeks in advance, is an ideal fancy-date night. Handsome and smooth, White offers modern variations on classic routines, blending multiple kinds of magic (mentalism, card tricks, illusionism) into an admirably variegated evening of entertainment. If a few of the effects don't fit the intimacy of the room—when I saw the show, a transformation illusion didn't quite come off—most of the tricks leave you happily agape, especially when performed in such cosy quarters. You'll probably never see a levitation act at such close range, and you may leave feeling a few feet off the ground yourself.
Ireland's Eva O'Connor costars in her own two-hander about two people—an abortion-rights protester and the father of a young girl—whose lives intertwine unexpectedly. Jim Culleton directs for Fishamble: The New Play Company; Ciaran O'Brien completes the cast.
Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale and Dylan Baker star in the U.S. premiere of writer-director Simon Stone's modern adaptation of Euripides' tragedy about the mother of all infanticides. As in Stone's acclaimed version of Yerma, the setting is contemporary; the playwright has drawn not only from myth but also from the true story of an American doctor who killed her children in 1995.
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.
Infinite Variety Productions and Wildrence invite audiences to retrace the steps of the pathbreaking 19th-century reporter Nellie Bly, whose exposé of disagraceful conditions in a mental hospital helped usher in a new kind of investigative journalism. Immersive and interactive, the show is designed to be experienced by just 16 spectators at a time.
Having already created goofy musical spoofs of shows including Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210, Bob and Tobly McSmith—joined again by composer Assaf Gleizner, who wrote the score for Friends! The Musical Parody—take on yet another TV institution. Donald Garverick directs a cast led by Sarah Mackenzie Barron, in male drag, as paper tiger Michael Scott.
Lucifer (David Andrew Macdonald) and two of his minions (Lou Liberatore and Alison Fraser) infiltrate the Garden of Eden to engineer the banishment of Adam and Eve in Tum Dulack's stage version of John Milton's heavens-shaking poem. Michael Parva directs for Fellowship for Performing Arts, which mounts plays with Christian themes.
Theater review by Naveen Kumar Set behind the employees-only doors at a big-box store, Paris is often funny in the style of a workplace sitcom. But Eboni Booth’s remarkable new play also casts the discomfiting shadows of a low-key social and psychological thriller. Both its humor and its quiet horrors are connected to the social realities of race and the disintegration of a viable working class. Booth’s deft and delicate hand cuts with slow deliberation until it reaches the bone. The year is 1995, and Paris is a small town in Vermont, where minimum-wage gigs start at $5 an hour. When the fluorescent lights come up on the break room at Berry’s—the ingeniously compact set is by David Zinn—Emmie (Jules Latimer, in a terrific Off Broadway debut) is filling out a job application while a corporate video plays on an overhead TV. She has a nasty gash on her cheek and gauze to catch the blood in her mouth; her claim to have slipped on ice seems suspect. She’s clearly at the end of her rope when Gar (Eddie K. Robinson), the store’s manager, hires her without much fuss. A hardass one minute and sweet as candy at checkout the next, Gar is no favorite among his staff, which includes an aspiring Eminem type with a skater-boy bearing (Christopher Dylan White), a zero-bullshit mother of four (Danielle Skraastad) and a keeper-of-peace with a flask in her purse (Ann McDonough). As Christmas and New Year’s roll by, we come to see these folks as a kind of family. But it’s a closeness born of
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.)
The witty Richard Greenberg, whose Take Me Out is returning to Broadway this season, also has a new play to offer: a comedy about two feuding clans trying to overcome their mutual hatred for a Fifth Avenue wedding that is joining their families together. Lynne Meadow directs the world premiere, whose cast includes Margaret Colin, Patrick Breen, Frank Wood and Gregg Edelman.
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.
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
Chris D’Arienzo’s tongue-in-cheek mixtape musical of hair-band favorites opened on Broadway in 2009 and played there for six loud and silly years. Now, following in the footsteps of shows like Avenue Q and Jersey Boys, it is returning for an encore run at Off Broadway's New World Stages complex. Kristin Hanggi returns to direct a cast that includes PJ Griffith, Matt Ban and Dane Biren along with original cast members Mitchell Jarvis and Katie Webber.
Nikita Burshteyn and Anna Kostakis play the title characters in a musical comedy that transports Verona's lovestruck medieval swain to 1960s Brooklyn, where he falls for the tough daughter of a local crime boss. Mark Saltzman's librretto is set to classic Italian tunes. Justin Ross Cohen directs and choreograohs the Off Broadway premiere.
Irish writer-performer Michelle Dooley Mahon recounts her mother's struggle with Alzheimer's disease in a solo stage adaptation of her own 2016 memoir, Scourged. Ben Barned directs the New York premiere.
After a school shooting, a sheriff's deputy wrestles with the decisions he made during the crisis. The Barrow Group's Seth Barrish directs the world premiere of Scott Organ's drama.
A recently deported Mexican maintains a bond with her husband and children across the border in Arizona in this drama by Hilary Bettis (The Americans). Jo Bonney directs the world premiere, with a cast of five that includes Maria Elena Ramirez, Triney Sandoval and Bobby Moreno.
To untimely rip and paraphrase a line from Macbeth: Our eyes are made the fools of the other senses, or else worth all the rest. A multitude of searing sights crowd the spectator's gaze at the bedazzling and uncanny theater installation Sleep No More. Your sense of space and depth---already compromised by the half mask that audience members must don---is further blurred as you wend through more than 90 discrete spaces, ranging from a cloistral chapel to a vast ballroom floor. Directors Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle, of the U.K. troupe Punchdrunk, have orchestrated a true astonishment, turning six warehouse floors and approximately 100,000 square feet into a purgatorial maze that blends images from the Scottish play with ones derived from Hitchcock movies—all liberally doused in a distinctly Stanley Kubrick eau de dislocated menace. An experiential, Choose Your Own Adventure project such as this depends on the pluck and instincts of the spectator. You can follow the mute dancers from one floor to the next, or wander aimlessly through empty spaces. I chose the latter, discovering a room lined with empty hospital beds; a leafless wood in which a nurse inside a thatched cottage nervously checks her pocket watch; an office full of apothecary vials and powders; and the ballroom, forested with pine trees screwed to rolling platforms (that would be Birnam Wood). A Shakespearean can walk about checking off visual allusions to the classic tragedy; the less lettered can just revel in
Review by Adam Feldman The low-key dazzling Speakeasy Magick has been nestled in the atmospheric McKittrick Hotel for more than a year, and now it has moved up to the Lodge: a small wood-framed room at Gallow Green, which functions as a rooftop bar in the summer. The show’s dark and noisy new digs suit it well. Hosted by Todd Robbins (Play Dead), who specializes in mild carnival-sideshow shocks, Speakeasy Magick is a moveable feast of legerdemain; audience members, seated at seven tables, are visited by a series of performers in turn. Robbins describes this as “magic speed dating.” One might also think of it as tricking: an illusion of intimacy, a satisfying climax, and off they go into the night. The evening is punctuated with brief performances on a makeshift stage. When I attended, the hearty Matthew Holtzclaw kicked things off with sleight of hand involving cigarettes and booze; later, the delicate-featured Alex Boyce pulled doves from thin air. But it’s the highly skilled close-up magic that really leaves you gasping with wonder. Holtzclaw’s table act comes to fruition with a highly effective variation on the classic cups-and-balls routine; the elegant, Singapore-born Prakash and the dauntingly tattooed Mark Calabrese—a razor of a card sharp—both find clever ways to integrate cell phones into their acts. Each performer has a tight 10-minute act, and most of them are excellent, but that’s the nice thing about the way the show is structured: If one of them happens to fall
Page 73 earned a Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics' Circle last year for its extraordinary record of giving talented rising playwrights their first NYC productions; alums include Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, Clare Baron and Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop). The company's latest debut play, by Zora Howard, focuses on three generations of women preparing a family meal in a kitchen thick with tension. Colette Robert directs.
This shrewd garbage heap of clog dancing, prop comedy and chest-thumping percussion spins out impressive (if numbing) variations on vaudeville by way of English punk.
At first blush, Then She Fell seems to be a small-scale cribbing of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. Yes, you wander solo through intricately dressed rooms in a creepy building; yes, that man in a cravat is crawling up the wall in front of you. But you begin to realize that Third Rail Projects’ interactive riff on Lewis Carroll’s Alice books is using a similar language to give you a different experience: When you peer into the looking glass, it stares right back at you. Performed in the former Greenpoint Hospital, the show only permits 15 audience members a pop—making for a distinctly intimate experience. You’re given a shot of mulled wine and a set of keys before nurses, Carroll characters and even the psychotropic author himself usher you through a combination Wonderland–psych ward. As in Sleep No More, no two individuals will have the same evening. You may find yourself taking dictation for the Hatter (the mesmerizing Elizabeth Carena), painting cream-colored roses red with the White Rabbit (Tom Pearson) or sitting down to the infamous tea party with the whole gang. The experiences that director-designer-mastermind Zach Morris and his company offer are stunningly personal. You don’t have a mask to hide behind here—when you peep in on the Red Queen (Rebekah Morin) having a private breakdown, she catches you watching through the two-way mirror. And then—well, I don’t want to give away the game. And it is a game; as you’re pulled from place to place, you begin to realize that M
The highly distinctive British actor Kathryn Hunter, a frequent guest artist at Theatre for a New Audience, plays the title character in Shakespeare's rarely performed morality tale: a furious tragedy about an altruistic man consumed abruptly by bitterness. Simon Godwin directs the production, which the Royal Shakespeare Company premiered at Stratford-Upon-Avon in 2018.
The theater world is still reeling from the untimely 2017 death, at the age of 41, of the hugely talented composer Michael Friedman. This chamber musical, with a book by Daniel Goldstein (who also co-wrote the lyrics), is the last new Friedman work to be mounted in New York. Trip Cullman (Significant Other) directs a cast that includes Margo Seibert (Rocky) and the indefatigable 92-year-old Estelle Parsons.
Beth Malone (Fun Home) plays the buoyant title character, a low-born socialite who rises far enough in the world to almost go down on the Titanic, in Transport Group's revival of a 1960 musical by Meredith Willson (The Music Man) and Richard Morris. Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes) directs a version of the show that includes new lyrics by by Dick Scanlan and musical adaptation by Michael Rafter.
Known for her provocative, avant-garde work, au courant playwright Young Jean Lee unexpectedly embraced convention and unironic pop music in this touching 2011 concert-theater piece. Since she performed it herself, most people assumed it was autobiographical; in fact, aside from the central story about her father's struggle with cancer, much of it was borrowed from other people's lives. Janelle McDermoth stars in a revival directed and choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly.
Theater review by Raven Snook Appropriately billed as "a ghost play in a pub," Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s horror novel The Woman in Black pairs shots with hair-raising shocks. Presented as a play within a play, it begins with a haunted old man named Arthur Kipps (David Acton) imploring an actor (Ben Porter) to help him tell his terrifying real-life tale as an act of purgation. So Porter becomes a young Kipps and reenacts a gothic story of woe, set in a secluded house by the sea in early-20th-century England. Even if you’re unfamiliar with any other version of The Woman in Black—it has also inspired a TV movie, a radio play and a film starring Daniel Radcliffe—you won't need extrasensory powers to predict where it’s going next. It’s about the mood, not the mystery. Mallaratt’s play was initially mounted in a small-town pub before transferring to London, where it’s been running since 1989. This production in the McKittrick Hotel’s Club Car space, helmed by original director Robin Herford and performed by alums of the West End version, returns the play to its low-tech roots. There are moments of spellbinding stage magic, conjured by Porter and Acton’s dedicated performances, Sebastian Frost’s chilling sound design and Anshuman Bhatia’s clever lighting. But unlike other theatrical ghost stories, such as those of Conor McPherson, The Woman in Black doesn’t cut deep. It winds you up—albeit much too slowly—until you're primed to scream-laugh your head off at
More theater stories
Our critics list the best Broadway shows. NYC is the place to catch these exciting plays, musicals and revivals.
Adventurous theatergoers looking for great plays and musicals can get details, reviews and tickets for Off Broadway shows in New York
Looking for the best Off-Off Broadway shows? Here are the most promising productions in NYC’s smaller venues right now.
Buy tickets for events, theater, comedy, concerts, music and attractions in NYC