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Wuthering Heights, National Theatre, 2022
Photograph: Courtesy Steve TannerWuthering Heights

The 30 best Off Broadway shows to see in Fall 2022

A fall preview of the most promising Off Broadway musicals and plays that are scheduled to open this season

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman
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The fall Broadway season is unusually packed this year, with 20 shows set to open on the Great White Way before the end of 2022. But as all theater fans know, there's more to New York City's stage scene than the bright lights of Broadway. Many of the city's most thrilling productions happen beyond Times Square, in the wide realm known as Off Broadway—and that's certainly looking to be the case again this year. But how can you choose what to see? Let us help. We've sifted through dozens of upcoming Off Broadway shows set to open this fall and chosen 30 that, for various reasons, strike us especially promising, from trenchant dramas to revivals of cult musical classics. (Only time will tell, of course, if they turn out to be as good as they look!) Here, in order of when the shows start, is our 2022 Off Broadway fall preview.

RECOMMENDED: Complete current and upcoming Off Broadway listings  

Off Broadway shows to see this fall

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • East Village

New York Theatre Workshop playwright-in-residence Victor I. Cazares explores capitalism, technology, immigration, memory and multiple realities in an epic look at an undocumented Mexican family in 1990s America. Theater Mitu's Rubén Polendo directs the world premiere, which features scenic and costume design by Bretta Gerecke; the cast includes Bianca “b” Norwood, Ryan J. Haddad, Raúl Castillo, Elia Monte-Brown and the mononymic Clew.

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Noho

Greig Sargeant and Ben Jalosa Williams play James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr., respectively, in a re-creation of the literary lions’ notorious 1965 televised debate about civil rights in front of an English student audience at the Cambridge Union. (The topic: “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?”) Conceived by Sargeant with Elevator Repair Service (Gatz), the piece is directed by John Collins; it concludes with an imagined scene, written by Sargeant and April Matthis, between Baldwin and his friend Lorraine Hansberry (Daphne Gaines).

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  • Theater
  • Chelsea

The Atlantic kicks off its 2022–23 season with the Off Broadway debut of playwright Gracie Gardner, who won the 2017 Relentless Award—the prize set up to honor the legacy of Philip Seymour Hoffman—for her evocatively named play Pussy Sludge. Knud Adams (English) directs the world premiere of her newest work, which is set at a skin-cancer clinic in New York City. The cast includes Gabby Beans, Bartley Booz, Laura Esterman, Glenn Fitzgerald, Peter Gerety, Emily Cass McDonnell, Alicia Pilgrim, Portia and Patrick Vaill.

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Noho

The monumental Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, or Change) headlines a new production of Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 classic about hard times and big dreams in a Chicago South Side household. Robert O'Hara (Bootycandy) steers an ensemble that also includes Francois Battiste, Paige Gilbert, Mandi Masden, John Clay III, Mister Fitzgerald, Calvin Dutton, Perri Gaffney and Jesse Pennington.

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  • Theater
  • Drama
  • West Village

In this two-hander by Kareem Fahmy, set in a Paris hotel 25 years after the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed, the doomed couple's shadow hangs over the unstable marriage of a Wall Street banker and a Hollywood starletAdrienne Campbell-Holt directs actors Rosaline Elbay and Peter Mark Kendall in the world premiere of a play commissioned by her company, Colt Coeur, which has an impressive track record in developing and presenting original work.

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Fort Greene

Director Eric Tucker and his taut classical-theater company Bedlam celebrate the troupe's tenth anniversary with a pair of stripped-down classics performed in rep: Henrik Ibsen's protofeminist drama Hedda Gabler (adapted by Jon Robin Baitz), in which a woman in a joyless marriage fans the old flames of cruelty and revenge; and The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's bittersweet portrait of jealousy, love, repentance, angry bears and magic statuary.

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  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • Hell's Kitchen

Andy Blankenbuehler, the choreographer behind Hamilton and In the Heights, directs the world premiere of his original musical, cowritten with Ted Malawer, about a royal family's eventful visit to Paris. The score is by British singer-songwriter Kate Nash, who also leads a cast of 26 (!) that includes Gaby Diaz, Hannah Cruz, Ryan Steele, Ryan VanDenBoom, Broadway lifer Terrence Mann (Les Misérables) and the always fabulous Karine Plantadit (Come Fly Away). 

  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • West Village

A young woman returns to Turkey to care for her widowed father, and learns the story of his visit to Graceland, in this original musical memory trip by Melis Aker and the brothers Daniel and Patrick Lazour. Machel Ross directs the world premiere at Ars Nova, which commissioned the piece and is copresenting it with PlayCo; the company of actors and musicans includes Olivia AbiAssi, Ashley Baier, Ellena Eshraghi, Mel Hsu, Matt Magnusson, Sahar Milani, Laith Nakli, Jonathan Raviv and Maya Sharpe.

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  • Theater
  • Experimental
  • Soho

Core members of the team behind the Wooster Group's fascinating 2017 project The B-Side: “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons”—performer Eric Berryman, designer Elizabeth LeCompte and sound designer Eric Sluyter—reunite for a kind of sequel: a reconstruction of another album compiled by the documentarian and folklorist Bruce Jackson. This time, the emphasis is on the African-American tradition of rhyming epic poems known as toasts, as recorded on the 1976 LP Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me: Narrative Poetry from Black Oral Tradition. Wooster VIP Kate Valk directs the show, which features live drumming by Jharis Yokley.

  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • East Village

Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) stars in Classic Stage Company's revival of this 2002 musical—by the Ragtime band of Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Terrence McNally—about a closeted gay bus driver in 1960s Dublin who channels his energies into local theater. Departing CSC honcho John Doyle directs the show, which is adapted from the 1994 Albert Finney film; the supporting cast includes Mare Winningham, A.J. Shively, Mary Beth Piel, Alma Curvo and Nathaniel Stampley.

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  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • East Village

The smart, darkly comic cult singer-songwriter Jill Sobule—who had some mainstream success in the 1990s with the Clueless song “Supermodel” and the pre–Katy Perry “I Kissed a Girl”—stars in an autobiographically inspired rock-concert musical about a young queer artist on a turbulent trajectory through the recording industry. The score is by Sobule herself and the book is by Liza Birkenmeier (Dr. Ride’s American Beach House); Lisa Peterson (An Iliad) directs.

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  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Tribeca

Soho Rep kicks off a full season of commissioned works with a new work by Kate Tarker, whose Thunderbodies rumbled the company four years ago. Ariana Venturi and Nadine Malouf play close friends—one American, one Turkish—facing a crisis at home near a U.S. military base in Germany in 2014. Dustin Wills directs the piece, which features original operatic music by Daniel Schlosberg; Dane Suarez and Jacob Orr complete the main cast.

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Hell's Kitchen

Mia Chung’s demanding drama seems at first like a family comedy, gently well-observed and rich in sidelong detail; then it takes a sharp turn with the introduction of a terrifying mental illness that seems to rip apart not only the person who suffers from it, but the fabric of the play itself. After Page 73's superb world premiere in 2018, the piece now returns in a completely new production at Playwrights Horizons, directed by Daniel Aukin with an Asian-American cast of three—Cindy Cheung, Jon Norman Schneider and Rob Yang—who play two characters apiece, traversing gender, ethnicity and age.

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  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • DUMBO

The spectacle-happy British director Emma Rice—whose previous visits to St. Ann's Warehouse have included Brief EncounterTristan & Yseult and The Wild Bride—presents a musical adaptation of Emily Brontë's classic gothic novel, so that doomed lovers Heathcliff and Catherine can get their feelings out in song as they fling themselves around West Yorkshire. (Eat your heart out, Kate Bush!) The show, scored by Ian Ross and performed by Rice's company Wise Children, was embraced in London earlier this year. Puppetry, projections and a live band add to the more-is-moors aesthetic. 

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Midtown West

Force of theater Linda Lavin (The Tale of the Allergist's Wife), who made her Broadway debut more than 60 years ago, returns to the stage in this original drama about a young man who hires an elderly woman to break bad medical news to friends and family. Noah Diaz wrote the play while he was at Yale School of Drama; Sam Pinkleton directs the Roundabout Theatre Company world premiere, whose cast also includes Marinda Anderson, Daniel K. Isaac, Nate Miller and Dario Ladani Sanchez. 

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  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Midtown West

Holy Moses? The great stage and screen thespian Ralph Fiennes plays Robert Moses—the controversial city planner who was arguably, for many decades in the mid-20th-century, the most powerful man in New York City—in a new play by the venerable British dramatist David Hare (Plenty). The play's action is divided between 1926, as Moses rises to power, and 1955, as the public's resistence to his influence grows. Nicholas Hytner and Jamie Armitage direct the production, which debuted at London's Bridge Theatre this past spring.

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Fort Greene

Hanya Yanagihara's brutal 2015 bestseller A Little Life traces four college friends over the course of more than three decades. This stage adaptation, conceived by the prolific expressionist superdirector Ivo van Hove (West Side Story) for his company Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, is somewhat shorter—but be prepared to strap in for at least four hours of trauma in multimedia detail. The adaptation is by Koen Tachele, from a translation by Kitty Pouwels and Josephine Ruitenberg; performances are in Dutch with English subtitles.

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  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Upper East Side

The Civilians, one of Off Broadway's most consistently clever and original troupes, offers its latest docutheater production: a group portrait of practicing clergy members, of various denominations, who have stopped believing in God. A cast of seven—David Aaron Baker, Jeff Biehl, Sonnie Brown, Dan Domingues, Nina Hellman, Joshua David Robinson and Richard Topol—performs Marin Gazzaniga's text, which is taken verbatim from interviews conducted for Daniel C. Dennett and Linda LaScola's book Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind. Company honcho Steve Cosson directs.

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • East Village

Edward Albee won his first Pulitzer Prize for this unnerving and piercingly eloquent 1966 study of fear, madness, addiction and companionship. This latest revival, staged by Transport Group's Jack Cummings III in partnership with the National Asian American Theatre Company, marks the play's first Off Broadway production as well as the first to feature an all-Asian-American cast: Tina Chilip, Carmen M. Herlihy, Paul Juhn, Mia Katigbak, Manu Narayan and Rita Wolf.

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  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Hell's Kitchen

Will Arbery, whose exceptional Heroes of the Fourth Turning was the best new play of 2019, takes what is sure to be an off-angle look at climate change in a work that focuses on a pair of salt-truck drivers in a suburb of Chicago. Expect a wintry mix of surreal humor and dread. Danya Taymor directs the local premiere for the New Group; Jeb Kreager and Ken Leung play the drivers, with Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Rachel Sachnoff rounding out the cast. 

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  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Greenwich Village

A Chinese-American father must confront his own history as he tries to build connections with his college-age daughter in a new play by Yilong Liu, one of several writers supported by Audible Theatre's Emerging Playwrights initiative. Chay Yew directs the world premiere, which stars the estimable Francis Jue (Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992) along with Ron Domingo, Tim Liu, Geena Quintos, Alec Silver, Ryan Spahn and Jeena Yi. The production will be recorded for subsequent release in audio form. 

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Upper West Side

Deirdre O’Connell, a Tony winner this year for her unforgettable performance in Dana H., plays a modern Massachusetts woman who may be cursed by a witchy ancestor in this new dark comedy by Sarah Ruhl (In the Next Room, or the vibrator play). Rebecca Taichman (Indecent) directs the Lincoln Center Theater production, whose supporting cast includes Bernard White, Candy Buckley, Tina Benko, Thomas Jay Ryan, Alicia Crowder and Julian Sanchez.

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  • Theater
  • Shakespeare
  • Fort Greene

The German director Thomas Ostermeier, renowned for his outré Regietheater deconstructions of classic works, returns to BAM's Next Wave festival with his company, Schaubühne Berlin, to spatter mud and glitter on Shakespeare's talky tragedy, where a ghost and a prince meet and everyone ends in mincemeat. As in Ostermeier's wild and unforgettable 2017 Richard III, Lars Eidinger plays the title role in a German translation by Marius von Mayenburg.

  • Theater
  • Drama
  • Hell's Kitchen

The provocative Bruce Norris has pressed his thumb on cultural bruises in plays including DomesticatedThe Low Road and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Clybourne Park. This drama about cultural pariahs, which premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 2018 before moving to London's National Theatre, looks at a day in the lives of four men convicted of sexually abusing minors. Pam MacKinnon once again directs, and the five men of the original cast—Francis Guinan, K. Todd Freeman, Glenn Davis, Eddie Torres and Tim Hopper—are joined this time by Susanna Guzmán, Sally Murphy and Gabi Samels. 

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  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • Midtown West

Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) and Micaela Diamond (The Cher Show) stars in City Center's fall-gala concert-staging run concert of Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry's Tony Award–winning 1998 musical tragedy, based on the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish man falsely accused of murdering a young girl in 1913 Georgia. Director Michael Arden (Once on This Island) uses historical photographs and projections to lend documentary gravity to the staging. 

  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • Noho

As her 2001 Pulizer Prize winner Topdog/Underdog returns to New York this fall on Broadway, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks takes the stage herself to share the fruits of her pandemic writing project: an ambitious effort to write a new play every day, as well as original songs, to chronicle the experience of the shutdown. In this three-and-and-half-hour theatrical concert at Joe's Pub, directed by Niegel Smith, Parks is joined by Leland Fowler, Greg Keller, Orville Mendoza, Kenita Miller, Lauren Molina, Martín Solá and Pearl Sun.

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  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • Fort Greene

Displaced Trojans moan themselves hoarse in a new adaptation of Euripides' searing refugee tragedy, conceived and directed by Singapore's Ong Keng Sen for the National Changgeuk Company of Korea (making its BAM debut in this year's Next Wave festival). The text, by Bae Sam-sik, is augmented by music by two composers: Korean Living National Treasure Ahn Sook-sun, a master of the ancient singer-and-drummer storytelling tradition of pansori, and K-pop producer and Parasite composer Jung Jae-il. Performances are in Korean with English subtitles. 

  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • East Village

Three major names—Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff and Lindsay Mendez—headline a revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's rueful and tuneful cult-fave 1981 musical flop, whose brilliant score is melded to a tricky back-to-front narrative about lost ideals. Maria Friedman, who directed the show's highly acclaimed 2012 production at London's Menier Chocolate Factory, helms this latest version at New York Theatre Workshop. (Tickets go on sale at noon on October 3, and are sure to sell out nearly instantly.)

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