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
Patrick Stewart performed his own solo adaptation of Charles Dickens's tightwad-redemption tale on Broadway in 1991, 1992, 1994 and 2001. Now he brings it back at the cozy Theater 511 for just two nights, as a benefit for City Harvest and Ars Nova. (Even priced at $500, the tickets have all sold out, but two $25 tickets per performance will be offered via lottery on TodayTix.)
Playwright and Smash maker Theresa Rebeck directs a one-night benefit reading of Dickens's unavoidable yuletide parable. The cast includes Tyne Daly, Michael Cristofer, Thom Sesma, Sharon Washington. Proceeds go toward Primary Stages's programs for teenagers. (A $500 VIP ticket gets you a seat onstage and a cameo role.)
The beloved terpsichorean rodent Angelina waltzes out of Katharine Holabird's book and into Vital Theatre Company's holiday-spirited children's musical, written by Susan DiLallo and composer Ben Morss. Sam Viverito directs and choreographs the production.
This take on the Russian classic by Leo Tolstoy is a new adaptation that uses melodicas in its folk-punk score while it examines the effects of a female rebellion. The show is set in 1880s Russia and "drips" with Eastern European ennui, according to creator Gwen Kingston and director Ashley Teague.
Gerard Alessandrini, the affectionately caustic creator of Forbidden Broadway and Spamilton, puts mockery aside for a spell as the conceiver and director of this tribute to composer Maury Yeston, whose Broadway credits include Nine, Titanic and much of Grand Hotel. The cast of five comprises Benjamin Eakeley, Jovan E’Sean, Alex Getlin, Justin Keyes and Mamie Parris.
Three couples with buns in the oven manage their expectations in this modestly scaled musical—book by Sybille Pearson, score by Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire—which has attracted something of a cult following since its brief 1983 Broadway run. Ethan Paulini directs and choreographs a site-specific two-week revival at a loft in midtown; the cast of nine, led by major musical-theater attraction Alice Ripley (Next to Normal), also includes Evan Ruggiero, Christina Sajous and Robert Fowler.
Nigeria-born, U.K.-based playwright Inua Ellams looks at the interactions of African men in six barber shops—one in London, the others in Africa—in a piece that incorporates human, music and dance. Biojan Sheibani directs the New York debut at BAM's Next Wave Festival.
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.
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.)
Public Theater honcho Oskar Eustis directs a revival of Tony Kushner's first play: a 1985 drama about a group of progressive Weimar Republic artists and intellectuals stymied by internal divisions as the Nazis rise to power. The play's original counterpoint with America in the Reagan years has been updated to address our own historical moment. The cast includes Michael Urie, Linda Emond, Nikki M. James, Michael Esper, Jonathan Hadary, Crystal Lucas-Perry and 91-year-old Estelle Parsons.
The Al Hirschfeld gallery, located in an old Greenwich Village mansion, is the scene of this site-specific adaptation of Dickens's Christmas chestnut. Jeffries Thaiss plays all the roles, using text from the original novella; Eric Scott Anthony provides continual live accompaniment in the form of music and sound effects. Tea and puddings are served before the show; the Saturday evening performance features a fuller holiday buffet.
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 seventh annual engagement.
Scrooge is an uptown New York real estate vulture in the Classical Theatre of Harlem's contemporary update of Charles Dickens's holiday novella about a miser who gets spooked into accepting the Christmas spirit. Carl Cofield directs Shawn René Graham's adaptation; modernized carols help keep the yuletide high.
This hour-long original musical adaptation of Dickens's yuletide fable, created by composer Michael Sgouros and librettist-director Brenda Bell, returns for its 11th year at the West Village's Players Theatre. The updated set is inspired by traditional British panto.
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
The mammoth Québécois neocirque troupe presents its first holiday-themed production, an extended riff on Clement Clarke Moore's 1823 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Writer-director James Hadley's show follows a young girl who is yanked, on Christmas Eve, into a magical world where acrobatics and elaborate spectacle take the place of those boring old dancing sugar plums.
Theater review by Naveen Kumar There has never been an inopportune moment to stage The Crucible, but with impeachment hearings underway, Arthur Miller’s indictment of miscarried justice seems especially instructive. Bedlam’s characteristically smart, stripped-down production pulses with an electric current and lays bare the play’s bitter truths. It is as gripping and revelatory a Miller production as New York has seen in years, and a bracing reminder of what a real witch hunt looks like. What begins as seemingly absurd paranoia—provincial and insular, funny in the style of Christopher Guest—gradually expands into terrifying life-or-death drama, as in a fun-house nightmare. In 17th-century Salem, rumors of witchcraft spread after a group of girls are caught dancing in the woods at night. John Proctor (Ryan Quinn) sees his life methodically turned inside out when their ringleader, his dismissed servent and onetime dalliance Abigail Williams (a blood-chilling Truett Felt) points her finger at his wife out of jealous vengeance. The quiet restraint of Susannah Millonzi’s breathtaking performance as Elizabeth Proctor cements a shift in tone that endures until the tragedy’s final heartbreak. Bedlam artistic director Eric Tucker, who also plays Reverend Hale, at first frames the story as a kind of wry pageant. The ensemble gathers in tableaux in the Connelly lobby—the first of the production’s many striking images. In John McDermott’s scenic design, the theater's stage and seatin
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
Joanne Sydney Lessner and Joshua Rosenblum adapt Alan Lightman's best-selling 1992 novel into a musical, directed by Cara Reichel for her Prospect Theater Company. Zal Owen plays the physicist at the relatively tender age of 26, when his world-changing ideas about time and space were beginning to take full shape.
The Builders Association invites audiences over the technological rainbow via an augmented-reality app designed to complement the show's deconstruction of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz. Marianne Weems directs a piece written by James Gibbs and Moe Angelos; presented at 3LD in 2016, the show now returns for a brief encore at Skirball. The rainbow connections are sometimes oblique, but the show provides a lively and diverting look at the gears of artistic wizardry and the ways in which we get caught up in them. Read the full 2016 review here. Try viewing the image above with the Builders Association's special Augmented Reality app.
Pan Asian Repertory presents Damon Chua's family-friendly adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story "The Nightingale," in which a Chinese emperor comes to favor a mechanical bird over the real one he once had loved. Chongren Fan directs the New York premiere.
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.
This 2003 comedy throws Scrooge, Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, George Bailey and countless other Christmas characters in a blender and presses PUREE. The script is by Michael Carleton, Jim FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez, with songs by Will Knapp; Andrea Daveline directs a cast of three quick-changing actors.
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.
Theater review by Naveen Kumar A play can be like a symphony, rapturous in a way that surpasses logic. María Irene Fornés’s ingenious Fefu and Her Friends is such a work, and this revival from director Lileana Blain-Cruz is nothing short of exquisite. Though the play hasn’t been performed Off Broadway since its 1977 premiere, it feels as ahead of its time as any work on today’s cutting edge. One after another, women arrive in Fefu’s home, so handsomely appointed by set designer Adam Rigg you’ll have to resist an urge to move in. Fefu (a beguiling Amelia Workman) is a droll and mischievous host; she fires a shotgun at her unseen husband through the terrace doors before even pouring drinks. Almost as soon as all eight guests are assembled, in chic costumes by designer Montana Levi Blanco, the party disperses, and we’re invited to follow. Four scenes (in a bedroom, a sitting room, the kitchen and the yard) unfold simultaneously; the audience, split into four groups, circles around the set until everyone has witnessed each section. We find the women talking mostly in pairs: about a dream, the nature of love, psychic trauma, how absurd it is that everyone has genitals but they’re so rarely discussed. All of them are reunited for a third act that reveals the gathering’s purpose: to rehearse a presentation for a charity devoted to arts education. Fornés’ play is itself a tutorial in how an ensemble of richly drawn characters—provoking, laughing and revealing themselves to each
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
Theater review by Raven Snook A theatrical time capsule that feels eerily timely, Anna Deavere Smith’s solo documentary play Fires in the Mirror is getting an appropriately fiery revival at the Signature. An exploration of identity and tribalism in the wake of the 1991 Crown Heights riots, a violent three-day clash in Brooklyn between members of the Jewish and black communities, the show is a collage of verbatim interviews that Smith conducted both with everyday New Yorkers and with boldface names like activist Al Sharpton, feminist writer Letty Cottin Pogrebin and the late playwright Ntozake Shange. Since its premiere 27 years ago, the piece has been performed by the playwright herself —until now. Using only his remarkable talent and a few key accessories, Michael Benjamin Washington conjures 25 individuals of various ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds and viewpoints. While he doesn’t possess Smith’s uncanny abilities as a mimic (her career-making performance was filmed for PBS’s American Playhouse, and can be viewed on YouTube), he imbues each person with specificity, authenticity and soul. Director Saheem Ali deserves credit for eliciting this impressively fluid performance, and although there are minor missteps in this production—too much stage business, an excessively literal set—it is a stirring rendition of an urgent work of art. Smith’s structure is meticulous: She arranges the monologues to enhance and echo each other as they reveal the personal tolls of racism, an
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
Theater review by Naveen Kumar Atop a patinated brown floor encircled by a shuffled deck of mirrors, the Public Theater’s landmark revival of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf cracks open like a precious gem, flashes of insight cascading out as if by magic. The incantation begins with Ntozake Shange’s singular text, first performed at the Public in 1976 and described as a “choreopoem” by its creator. Shange’s ingenious fusion of language, music and movement conjures one soul-stirring revelation after the next. “Bein alive & bein a woman & bein colored is a metaphysical dilemma/ i haven’t conquered yet,” says Lady in Yellow (Orange Is the New Black’s Adrienne C. Moore), one of seven players dressed in colors from the rainbow. Shange’s interlocking poems flow like dialogue, weaving vivid tales of longing and loss, self-discovery and deceit, everyday pleasures and injustice. Director Leah C. Gardiner creates a visceral happening: The call-and-response rhythm that begins with the performers spreads through an audience seated in the round. (Do snap your fingers when the spirit moves you.) Choreography by Camille A. Brown (Choir Boy) turns the swirling of hips, thrusting of limbs, and smacking of butts and thighs into a kind of animated hieroglyphics of black female experience. The powerhouse ensemble includes rafter-splitting vocalist Sasha Allen (Lady in Blue), superbly expressive deaf actor Alexandria Wailes (Lady in Purple) and the razo
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.
Once devoted to extending the runs of shows from the New York International Fringe Festival, this annual series has more recently expanded its purview to encompass productions from Fringe Festivals in Florida, California, Scotland, England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This year's roster includes musicals, comedies, dramas, storytelling, vampire-slaying and a tribute to singer-songwriter Paul Simon.
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
Here's a rarity for you: a Christmas-season show that's actually about Christ. Ken Jennings, who originated the role of Toby in Sweeney Todd, performs the most idiosyncratic of the four gospels in a 90-minute solo show inspired by his own religious faith. John Pietrowski directs at the Sheen Center, a project of the Archdiocese of New York.
Davis McCallum directs a new drama by Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale), whose sensitive work focuses on crises of self-knowledge in rural Idaho. Two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey plays a woman who receives a visit from a stranger (Ken Narasaki) that raises troubling questions about her family's history. Among the supporting cast are Nina Hellman and Andrew Garman.
Theater review by Raven Snook A frisky, feminist crowd-pleaser, The Half-Life of Marie Curie radiates empowerment—which is fitting, since it centers on the woman who coined the term radioactivity. In 1912, after an affair with her late husband’s protégé threatens to derail her life and career, two-time Nobel Prize winner Curie (Francesca Faridany) accepts an invitation from fellow female physicist Hertha Ayrton (Kate Mulgrew, a force of nature) to spend the summer at her English seaside home. There they bond and bicker, touching on a wide range of topics, including suffrage, motherhood, grief, carnal joy, and the damaging effects of sexism in science and society. Lauren Gunderson is America’s most frequently produced living playwright, though her work is rarely mounted in New York. Her well-researched one-act has a slightly didactic quality—especially in the coda, when the women talk directly to the audience about their lives after 1912, including how their inventions saved soldiers in World War I. But while The Half-Life of Marie Curie may not be as inventive as the women it celebrates, it’s enlightening and entertaining. Under Gaye Taylor Upchurch’s unfussy direction, Faridany fleshes out the passive-depressive Curie with revealing flashes of intense passion for science and sex. Impressively, she holds her own opposite supernova Mulgrew, who is playing the lesser-known figure but has all the best lines. (Mulgrew’s expressive voice will certainly be a highlight of the rec
The Atlantic teams up with LAByrinth Theater Company for the world premiere of an ensemble piece, by conflict master Stephen Adly Guirgis (Our Lady of 121st Street), that is set at a women's halfway house in New York City. John Ortiz directs a large cast that includes Sean Carvajal, Elizabeth Canavan, Liza Colón-Zayas and Greg Keller.
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.
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."
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
Knife Edge Productions revives macho brutalist Neil LaBute's 2007 drama about a pair of brothers, one of whom needs the other to corroborate his tale of childhood abuse. Sam Helfrich directs a version of the text revised by Labute for the play's 2008 London premiere.
New Zealand's Kate McIntosh guides audiences through an intimate tour of the senses in an immersive show that integrates touch and smell into a communal participatory experience. The piece is one of the two final offerings of this year's edition of BAM's Next Wave Festival.
Theater review by Helen Shaw It's possible that you think you’ve already had your fill of dick jokes. If so, the sly, digressive comedian Jacqueline Novak might be able to turn you around. In her languid one-woman stage special Get On Your Knees, Novak talks for nearly 90 minutes about blow jobs, discussing men’s strangely shy appendage (“Calling it a cock is…telling it what it wants to hear”), the vulva (which she assures us does not look like a rose) and her own winding path through high-school self-consciousness and collegiate anxiety toward full oral confidence. There’s no non-innuendo-y way to say that the show has a slow build, that Novak and director John Early delay its climax a little too long, and that the poetry-minded Novak sometimes extends her riffs to the point that they’re serving her pleasure more than ours. But Novak’s ultimately winning show does what the best comedy can do: It changes the conversation. Chevy Chase made Gerald Ford permanently seem like a bumbling yo-yo; Novak does the same for the D. The show’s most effective section is her systematic dismantling of the male-determined phallic lexicon. “Rock hard”? She rolls her eyes, then does a very good imitation of a penis flopping daintily over “the fainting couch that is the inner thigh.” This is but one example of how Novak can be absurd, real, hilarious and—though I hate to sound uncool—useful. While the show is sex-positive as hell, it’s crucially aggression-negative. The next time a guy on th
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.
Park Avenue Armory has emerged in the past decade as one of the city's leading destinations for large-scale dramatic works. Now the space presents its first theatrical commission: an adaptation, by Christopher Shinn (Dying City), of a 1937 work by Hungarian-German playwright Ödön von Horváth, directed by Richard Jones (The Hairy Ape). The plot follows a stationmaster in the aftermath of a fatal train crash for which he is responsible.
English storyteller and comedian Daniel Kitson has been a regular visitor to St. Ann's Warehouse, where his past shows have included the excellent The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church and Mouse. His latest monologue tells of his struggles to clear his home of unneeded clutter.
Comedians Maria Russell, Diana Yanez and Sandra Valls add a little spice to your eggnog in a holiday show about friendship, family and the experience of living as first-generation Latina-Americans.