All Off Broadway shows A–Z
James Jorlsing's play, inspired by real events, chronicles the comings and going of jazz cats at a Flower District apartment in the 1950s and 1960s. Christopher McElroen directs the world premiere, which features a live jazz band led by sax maniac Jonathan Beshay.
The unique Harvey Fierstein plays another great New York character—the crusading 1970s congresswoman, feminist and millinery enthusiast Bella Abzug—in his biographical solo comedy, set on the night of the 1976 Democratic primary for an open seat in the U.S. Senate. Kimberly Senior directs the world premiere.
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.
Josh Randall and Kristjan Thor's scary Halloween attraction returns to New York for a 10th-anniversary production. Don't even think about bringing a partner—you have to go through it solo, with a protective mask and a flashlight. Faint-hearted folk, be warned: The descent into darkness involves lots of tight spaces as well as simulated sexual and violent situations. While speaking is not allowed inside, screaming is more than welcome. (Don’t worry, they give you a safe word to use if you need to exit early.)
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.)
John Kevin Jones plays Dickens in this one-hour account of the novelist's classic holiday ghost story, adapted with director Rhonda Dodd. The Merchant's House Museum, formerly the home of a wealthy 19th-century family, provides an atmospheric candlelit setting for Jones's sixth annual engagement.
You’ll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which still features Santa, wooden soldiers and the leggy, dazzling Rockettes. In recent years, new music, more eye-catching costumes and advanced technology have been introduced to bring audience members closer to the performance. Whatever faults one may find with this awesomely lavish annual pageant—it's basically a celebration of the virtues of shopping—this show has legs. And what legs! In the signature kick line that finds its way into most of the big dance numbers, the Rockettes’ 36 flawless pairs of gams rise and fall like the batting of an eyelash, their perfect unison a testament to the disciplined human form. This is precision dancing on a massive scale—a Busby Berkeley number come to glorious life—and it takes your breath away. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Review by Raven Snook Lewis Carroll's trippy Alice in Wonderland books have inspired many a theatrical spectacle, but Company XIV's seductive Queen of Hearts is a singular sexcess: a transporting fusion of haute burlesque, circus, dance and song. Your fall down the glamorous rabbit hole begins upon entering the troupe's louche Bushwick lair, where scantily clad server-performers slink about in flattering red lighting. A cursory knowledge of the source material will help you make sense of the show’s three-act cavalcade of Alice-inspired routines, as our blue-haired heroine (sweet-voiced siren Lexxe) embarks on an NC-17 coming-of-age journey under the guidance of the White Rabbit (Michael Cunio, strutting confidently in heels and screeching like a hair-metal star). As usual, Company XIV’s impressive impresario, Austin McCormick, has assembled an array of alluring and highly skilled artists, who look smashing in Zane Pihlstrom's lace-and-crystal-encrusted costumes. Standouts include contortionist Lilin Lace, who emerges in an S/M-vinyl cocoon and transforms into a beauteous butterfly; mustachioed twins Nicholas and Ross Katen as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, performing a cheeky spin on the Marx Brothers' mirror trick; ballet dancers Jourdan Epstein and Ryan Redmond doing a doozy of a pas de deux as the Cheshire Cats; and acrobat-chanteuse Marcy Richardson as the Mad Hatter, who turns modern-day hits into politically charged popera, often while literally swinging from the chandelie
Fresh from his fourth Emmy win for Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage stars as the tragic hero of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 epic, in which a soldier and poet noses into his handsomer friend's romantic courtship. Adapted and directed by Erica Schmidt for the New Group, the production also stars Jasmine Cephas Jones (Hamilton) as Roxanne and Grace McLean (The Great Comet) as her chaperone, and includes new songs by members of the indie-rock band the National.
Liza Birkenmeier's group portrait of frustrated "queer anti-heroines" is set on a St. Louis rooftop in 1983, on the night before Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. Katie Brook directs the world premiere for Ars Nova; the fab cast of four comprises Erin Markey, Kristen Sieh, Marga Gomez and Susan Blommaert.
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 5/3/20. Not all seats discounted. Discount code valid for stage-side, mezzanine and balcony seats only. All purchases with credi
Theater review by Diane Snyder As potent as a shot of whiskey, Conor McPherson’s Dublin Carol forces a man nearly ruined by alcohol to face his ghosts on Christmas Eve. Fiftysomething Irish undertaker John Plunkett (Jeffrey Bean) gets a visit from Mary (Sarah Street)—the adult daughter he hasn’t seen in a decade—because his long-abandoned wife is dying and wants to see him. For many years, John’s method of survival has been to avoid his painful past and the damage he’s caused, but that’s no longer an option. On this day of reckoning, John drinks, makes excuses, revisits his past and wrestles with his guilt. Bean’s exquisite portrayal of this bruised and haunted man delves deeply into his restless psyche. Self-loathing but also self-indulgent, John struggles to hold himself together, and he has an easier time relating to a young colleague (Cillian Hegarty), whose uncle saved him from destitution, than to his own daughter. When Mary expresses his love for him, he replies, “Why do you love me?” First staged Off Broadway in 2003, Dublin Carol maintains its quietly powerful impact. Director Ciarán O’Reilly and his expert cast bring out the sadness, regret and hope that define these characters, as well as the simple eloquence of McPherson’s words. The playwright, whose Bob Dylan musical Girl from the North Country will be on Broadway later this season, isn’t one for earth-shattering revelations. Can John finally take responsibility for his failings and, like Scrooge, emerge a
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 Australian neocirque company Circa graces the White Light Festival with a piece that blends acrobatics, circus, physical theater and dance. Yaron Lifschitz directs the production, which is performed to music by the young Swedish electronic experimentalist Klara Lewis as well as to classic works by Franz Schubert and Igor Stravinsky.
The disappearance of a young girl promps a confrontation among a plumber, a college professor and a teenage boy in this drama by Matt Williams (best known as the creator of Roseanne). Tea Alagic directs the world premiere, whose cast comprises Obi Abili, Alexander Garfin and Veronica Mars dad Enrico Colantoni.
The imtimate friendship shared by three couples of a certain age is rocked by revelations of marital infidelity in Michael Tucker's look at sex and aging, directed by Nadia Tass. The cast of familiar stage and screen pros comprises Mark Linn-Baker, John Glover, Jodi Long, Mark Blum, Ellen Parker and Tucker's wife and L.A. Law costar, Jill Eikenberry.
Anna Deavere Smith's 1992 docutheater solo show, based on dozens of interviews, took a wide and humane view of the conflicts between the black and Jewish communities in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that had shaken the city one year earlier. Smith performed the premiere herself, sliding into the skins of multiple characters; the show's revival at the Signature, directed by Saheem Ali, stars Michael Benjamin Washington (The Boys in the Band).
Soho Rep presents the U.S. premiere of an experimental play by British actor Zawe Ashton, who is currently starring on Broadway in Harold Pinter's Betrayal. Directed by Whitney White, the piece explores the experience of women of color, especially as it pertains to work, motherhood and mental health.
Broadway's loyal opposition, Gerard Alessandrini, returns with a new edition of his beloved satirical revue, which has ribbed the Great White Way since 1982. This latest version—the first since 2014—lays into Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown, Moulin Rouge!, Oklahoma! and other fat targets. Musical-theater lovers will be sure to eat it up. $49 discount tickets* (regular tickets are $65) are available throughout October: 1. CLICK HERE & ENTER CODE: FBNGTONY 2. CALL 212-279-4200 WITH CODE: FBNGTONY *Tickets regularly $65. 2 drink minimum in addition to discount ticket price. Premium seating available for $90. Offer valid on select performances through 10/27/19. Blackout dates may apply. All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid in combination with any other offers. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice.
Ntozake Shange's groundbreaking "choreopoem" returns to the Public Theater, where it premiered in 1976, in a production directed by Leah C. Gardiner and choreographed by Camille A. Brown. Seven women of color reflect on their lives through the prisms of sex and race; the cast includes Jocelyn Bioh, Adrienne C. Moore, Okwui Okpokwasili and deaf actor Alexandria Wailes.
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.
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
Theater review by Raven Snook Georgia Mertching Is Dead, Catya McMullen's raucous celebration of chosen family, feels so much like an indie film, it's no surprise that it's already been optioned. Three boisterous BFFs—unemployed optimist Whitney (the endearing Layla Khoshnoudi), nympho novelist Emma (a raw Claire Siebers) and gleefully foul-mouthed Gretchen (scene stealer Diana Oh), who looks about 12 months pregnant—discover that their mentor in sobriety has committed suicide. To pay their respects, they embark on a road trip from New York City to small-town North Carolina, bonding, bickering and growing along the way. The play may not break much narrative ground, but it breaks your heart with a piercing exploration of the ways in which loss, trauma and love—romantic, platonic, familial—shape our lives. It's also morbidly hilarious, as these just-past-30 ladies talk candidly about addiction, fisting, hemorrhoids, childbirth and all their dead peers. Skillfully staged by Giovanna Sardelli on Alexis Distler's mutable set, the show careers through a lot of emotional territory, and sometimes bumps into cliché. (Gretchen's swollen belly is akin to Chekhov's gun.) And the two male characters—Emma's broster ex (Quincy Dunn-Baker) and Gretchen's well-meaning husband (JD Taylor)—are mainly there to advance the women's stories. But that's part of what makes Georgia Mertching Is Dead so intoxicating. No man will ever satisfy these friends the way they do each other. They are the lo
Directors Austin Pendleton and Peter Bloch give a horror-movie twist to this latest revival of Tennessee Williams's sad 1944 memory play, in which a fading Southern belle takes a toll on her wallflower daughter and secretive son. Expect spooky touches of the surreal.
Theater review by Helen Shaw The stage is so dark at the beginning of Will Arbery’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning, it’s hard to see anything at all. There appears to be a sweep of predawn charcoal sky and a backyard firepit, but we can’t be sure. We’ve certainly missed the man sitting silently with his back to us—until he reaches for his rifle. It only takes the barest lick of light to make the barrel glint. The man fires, then walks into the brush. He heaves the body of a deer onto the cement slab beneath his back door; he prepares to gut it. For the rest of this intermissionless show—more than two hours of torrential speech among friends and ex-friends—we know there’s blood on the threshold. It’s a powerful invocation: an old image of sacrifice and stain, and a reminder that soil remembers. And that’s just what the play manages to say before the dialogue starts. It’s hard to talk about Arbery’s play, in a way, because there’s so much talking in it. (He describes it as a fugue.) It’s a structure of interweaving voices that never devolves into noise, and the voices aren’t ones we hear often Off Broadway. They are deeply religious, profoundly Catholic, proudly conservative, sometimes messianic. We’re in deepest Wyoming, where Gina (Michele Pawk) has just been named president of Transfiguration College, a Catholic university that teaches its students theology, submission, rhetoric and survival skills. Four old friends have reunited in the same backyard we saw in the prolog
Equipped with audio headsets and then plunged into total darkness, audiences feel their way through a potentially terrifying series of events in the latest Halloween-ready show by Tim Haskell, the man behind the immersive horror-theater events Nightmare and This Is Real. The plot is inspired by W.W. Jacobs's 1909 ghost story, "The Toll-House."
Gerry Gamman plays busted mega–con man Bernie Madoff in Deb Margolin's 2012 drama, which finds the financial schemer in prison and concerned about how history will view him. Jerry Heymann directs an encore run of the NYC production that played earlier this year.
The team behind the two long-running Imbible shows, A Spirited History of Drinking and Day Drinking, spead their cheer to the holidays with a third alcohol-informational musical comedy, aimed at expanding your noggin and your noggin'. The show looks at the history and future of Christmas quaffs through a story that imagines Ebenezer Scrooge planning a party the day after his big epiphany. Admission includes three craft cocktails.
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.
[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
If you needed more evidence that we are living in a computer simulation gone terribly awry, consider Reality Winner, the real-life name of a young woman who was arrested in 2017 for leaking information about Russian interference in American election systems. Tina Satter and her company, Half Straddle, put Winner's story onstage via word-for-word transcriptions of her FBI interrogation. The cast comprises Becca Blackwell, Emily Davis, Peter Simpson and T.L. Thompson.
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.
John Kevin Jones, whose annual performance of A Christmas Carol at the Merchant's House Museum has become something of a local tradition, expands into Halloween territory with this solo performance (directed by Rhonda Dodd) of works by 19th-century scare king Edgar Allan Poe. In a funereal, candlelit parlor, Jones shares "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Cask of Amontillado" and, of course, "The Raven."
In Robin Glendinning's drama, set in 1948 and inspired by historical events, a Vatican priest who had resisted the Nazis pays a visit to the imprisoned former head of the Gestapo in Rome. Haskell King and Sean Gormley plays the erstwhile adversaries in the play's premiere at the Irish Rep, directed by Kent Paul.
Jonathan Groff, Tammy Blanchard, Christian Borle and Tom Alan Robbins star in the latest revival of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's dark, sweet, tuneful and utterly winsome 1982 horror-camp musical about a flesh-eating plant who makes dreams come true for a lowly flower-shop worker. Michael Mayer directs the feeding frenzy, which features Kingsley Leggs as the voice of the big green baddie. (Gideon Glick subs in for an absent Groff from November 5 through 17.
Writer-actor Lois Robbins recounts intimate tales of her sexual history, from the earliest stirrings of pleasure to the latest wisdoms of maturity, in a comedic solo show directed by Karen Carpenter (Love, Loss, and What I Wore).
The 10th annual edition of Lincoln Center's soul-expanding White Light Festival begins with a visit from Japan's Sugimoto Bunraku Sonezaki Shinju. Hiroshi Sugimoto's troupe employs bunraku puppetry to render Chikamatsu Monzaemon's 1703 tragedy about the suicides of a clerk and a courtesan; the production features original music by Seiji Tsurusawa, who also directs.
Real-life husband and wife Corey Stoll (House of Cards) and Nadia Bowers play the not-so-great Scots of Shakespeare's tragedy, in which a nobleman and his wife descend into a nightmare of disquiet after planning their monarch's murder. Scottish CSC honcho John Doyle directs a cast of nine that includes Mary Beth Piel as Duncan.
Few playwrights have had so deep an influence on modern American theater as Mac Wellman, the inveterate experimentalist whose MFA students at Brooklyn College have included Annie Baker, Young Jean Lee, Clare Barron, Sarah DeLappe, Thomas Bradshaw and Tina Satter. Now the Flea, which he cofounded in 1996, presents five works by the master weirdo in rep: Sincerity Forever and Bad Penny (both August 24–October 7); The Invention of Tragedy (September 7–October 14), which was written in the wake of 9/11 but has never been performed; and a double bill of The Sandalwood Box and The Fez (September 26–October 5).
After a three-week tour of correctional facilities, shelters and community centers throughout the five boroughs, the Public Theater's Mobile Unit returns to headquarters with a stripped-down take on Shakespeare's problematic romance about a sexually repressive regent, a voyeuristic duke and a prim nun-to-be. LA Williams directs a cast that comprises nine women of color.
Writer-director Richard Nelson continues his exhaustive chronicle of middle-class, middle-aged family life in Rhinebeck, New York, as previously explored in four plays about the Apple family and three about the Gabriels. Here the focus is on a clan that includes a noted choreographer, so expect conversations about art and the state of America; the ensemble cast includes the wonderful stage veterans Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders and Brenda Wehle.
Paul O'Brien, Tommy Schrider and legally blind actor Pamela Sabaugh star in Brian Friel 1994's play, told in alternating monologues, about a woman who regains her sight—at a cost. Jonathan Silverstein directs the revival for his Keen Company.
All for One Theater, usually devoted to solo works, expands into two-hander territory with this dark romantic thriller-comedy by Lizzie Vieh. Therese Plaehn and Richard Thieriot play a recently separated couple going crazy in Phoenix—who wouldn't?—in the U.S. premiere, directed by Kristin McCarthy Parker.
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.