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You just may catch a future Broadway hit
What do the Tony Award-winning best musicals of the past five years have in common? They all began Off Broadway. Fun Home, Dear Evan Hansen, The Band's Visit, Hadestown and even Hamilton started on smaller NYC stages, so if you want to see the next big thing before everyone else, Off Broadway's a great place to look. This spring, ten intriguing new musicals are opening far from the glare of Broadway. Many are written by or star Tony winners, and two are by Pulitzer Prize winners. So as you plan your Broadway calendar, be sure to slot in some of these promising Off-Broadway productions—they may earn you bragging rights someday!
NOTE: Shows are listed in first preview date order.
Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
The New Group, Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street between Dyer and Tenth Avenues
Already open. Through March 22. At press time, discount tickets were available for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
Let's sing about sex, baby! Tony-winning Spring Awakening composer Duncan Sheik is behind this musicalization of Paul Mazursky's risqué 1969 comedy of the same name, about two married couples flirting with polyamory. The cast includes Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano, Michael Zegen from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Grammy-winning '80s pop star Suzanne Vega of "Luka" fame. Sounds like a fling awakening.
Roundabout Underground, Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, Black Box Theatre, 111 West 46th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
In previews. Opens February 10. Closes March 15.
Roundabout Underground is known for presenting daring new plays from up-and-coming writers. But Darling Grenadine is its first musical since Ordinary Days premiered there 11 years ago. In this modern take on an old-fashioned rom-com, a songwriter fails for a chorus girl but reality keeps killing their buzz. The show features a book and tunes by Daniel Zaitchik, and direction by Tony nominee Michael Berresse.
Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues
Previews February 14. Opens March 9. Closes March 29.
When the brilliant songwriter Michael Friedman died of AIDS at 41 three years ago, the theatre community mourned his loss as well as the musicals never to come. Unknown Soldier, which debuted at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2015, marks his final New York premiere. A musical centering on an unhappily married woman (Broadway's Margo Seibert) whose discovery of an old photo sparks a journey into her family's complicated past, the production is directed by Trip Cullman and costars Oscar-winning nonagenarian Estelle Parsons.
Lincoln Center Theater, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, 150 West 65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
Previews February 27. Opens March 23. Closes May 3.
Based on Lynn Nottage's eponymous play about a lonely African-American seamstress searching for love and fulfillment in turn-of-the-20th-century New York, Intimate Apparel marks Lincoln Center Theater's first-ever opera. Composer Ricky Ian Gordon actually approached the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner about transforming her script into a sung-through piece, and Tony winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, My Fair Lady) directs.
Oratorio for Living Things
Ars Nova at Greenwich House, 27 Barrow Street near Seventh Avenue South
Previews March 10. Opens TBD. Closes April 12.
Ars Nova commissioned this new genre-defying work by Obie winner Heather Christian. The premise of the piece is still a mystery, but we know an 18-person ensemble of singer-instrumentalists will perform the oratorio, which fuses a variety of styles including classical, soul, folk and gospel. The theatre company has a history of developing innovative musicals, notably Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future, so expect to be surprised.
59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street between Madison and Park Avenues
Previews March 12. Opens March 24. Closes April 19.
The second Duncan Sheik musical on this list, Whisper House is actually a new production of an old work, originally produced at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre a decade ago but never seen in New York until now. A Gothic ghost story set during World War II, the show centers on a young orphan who's sent to live with his odd aunt Lily in a Maine lighthouse that just may be haunted. Screen star Samantha Mathis leads the cast.
The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street near Astor Place
Previews March 24. Opens April 15. Closes May 10.
Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning team behind Next to Normal, debut this chamber musical based on the indie movie of the same name. The timely tale of a lonely college professor (Tony winner David Hyde Pierce) who finds a sense of purpose helping a pair of undocumented immigrants fight to stay in the U.S., the production is directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan and costars Tony winner Ari’el Stachel.
42 Stage, 422 West 42nd Street at Dyer Avenue
Previews April 7. Opens April 21. Open run.
After a successful run just outside of Chicago, this musicalization of the eponymous Oscar-winning short comes to NYC. The tale of the title character, a 13-year-old boy grappling with his sexual orientation in 1981, the show is written by Dan Collins and Julianne Wick Davis, who previously adapted another landmark LGBTQ movie for the stage: Southern Comfort.
Between the Lines
The Tony Kiser Theater, 305 West 43rd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues
Previews April 21. Opens May 7. Closes August 23.
Based on the best-selling young-adult novel of the same name, Between the Lines focuses on 15-year-old Delilah, a bookish outcast whose obsession with a fairy tale starts seeping into her reality in fantastical ways. Tony-nominated Newsies director Jeff Calhoun oversees a cast of Broadway vets, and legendary Broadway producer Daryl Roth, who's transferred many a show to the Main Stem, presents the production.
Atlantic Theater Company, Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues
Previews April 25. Opens May 20. Closes June 14.
Inspired by Sarah Silverman's memoir of the same name, The Bedwetter is a raunchy musical comedy about a funny girl growing up with a soggy secret. The comedian collaborated on the book with Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews) and on the songs with Adam Schlesinger from the rock band Fountains of Wayne, and the cast includes Tony winners Stephanie J. Block and Linda Lavin as the ultimate Jewish grandma.
Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues
Previews April 2. Opens TBD. Closes June 7.
So this is a revival, not a new show. But this all-star mounting of Stephen Sondheim's meditation on presidential assassins is sure to be one of the hottest tickets Off Broadway or on. Tony winner John Doyle directs a cast that includes Tony nominees Will Swenson, Brandon Uranowitz, Judy Kuhn and Ethan Slater, plus beloved stage star Steven Pasquale, who takes his second crack at John Wilkes Booth after playing the role in the 2017 Encores! production.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
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