Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
A dozen promising productions including a musical by a Pulitzer Prize winner, Tovah Feldshuh as Dr. Ruth and the return of Jersey Boys
Thrilling musicals aren't just on Broadway. This November, you can catch four fabulous tuners in intimate NYC theatres, including Tony Award winner Victoria Clark in Kimberly Akimbo by Shrek co-creators Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire, a rare revival of Baby starring Julia Murney and the return of the long-running smash Jersey Boys. Our picks for the best Off-Broadway shows to see this month are below. For a comprehensive overview of everything bowing beyond Broadway, browse the listings in TDF's Show Finder.
In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, all of these productions require theatregoers to provide proof of being fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine. If you plan to attend with a child under 12 who is too young to be vaccinated, check the show's website for info on providing a negative COVID-19 test. Masks are also mandatory.
If you're a TDF member, be sure to log in to your account to see what we're selling as ticket inventory changes frequently.
The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street near Astor Place in the East Village
Previews begin November 2. Opens November 17. Closes December 12. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
A new Afro-surrealist play by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, cullud wattah centers on three generations of Black women living through the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. As the lead-tainted water invades their home and bodies, the woman grapple with intertwined crises, including factory layoffs, government corruption and the ways corporations and politicians exploit the vulnerable. Dickerson-Despenza's frequent collaborator Candis C. Jones directs a cast that includes Off-Broadway MVPs Crystal Dickinson and Lizan Mitchell.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place between Perry and West 11th Streets in the West Village
Previews begin November 3. Opens November 17. Closes December 12. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Mansa Ra enjoys using the past to illuminate our present. In this poetic premiere, a Black man's existential crisis magically catapults him back through centuries of racially charged history to reveal the struggles he continues to face today. Christopher D. Betts directs the play, which is billed as "an autobiographical fever dream." Thanks to Rattlestick Playwrights Theater's hybrid season, audiences can see the show in person or watch a live-stream at home.
Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Chelsea
Previews begin November 5. Opens December 8. Closes January 15, 2022.
Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire's bittersweet comedy Kimberly Akimbo enchanted when it premiered Off Broadway almost two decades ago. Now he and his Shrek: The Musical collaborator Jeanine Tesori have turned this story of a rapidly aging adolescent into a musical premiering at Atlantic Theater Company. Tony winner Victoria Clark stars as the mature teenager, whose rare disease is the least of her problems. She's also forced to navigate family secrets, borderline personalities and possible felony charges in her search for happiness.
Theaterlab, 357 West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin November 5. Opens November 14. Closes December 12. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Broadway diva Julia Murney (Elphaba in Wicked, The Wild Party) headlines a rare revival of Baby, David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr.'s moving Tony-nominated musical about three couples navigating the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy and early parenthood. Ethan Paulini, the producing artistic director of New Hampshire's Weathervane Theatre, helms the production, which includes welcome updates such as a same-sex family to be.
New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin November 7. Opens November 21. Closes December 19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher and director Jesse Berger know how to squeeze fresh laughs out of old comedies. Their last collaboration for Red Bull Theater, a delicious adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector, was a long-running smash. So we have high humor hopes for their mounting of The Alchemist, Ben Jonson's 1610 romp about a scheming servant who invites two con artists into his absent master's home to rip off the greedy and gullible. It's a glittering gem of deceit and double-crosses featuring a slew of scene-stealers, including Stephen DeRosa, Carson Elrod, Jacob Ming-Trent and Reg Rogers.
St Ann's Warehouse, 45 Water Street near New Dock Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn
Previews begin November 11. Opens November 16. Closes December 5.
Written and directed by Tony winner Enda Walsh (Once, Lazarus), this absurdly comic tale centers on a man desperately trying to make sense of his childhood memories through drama therapy—but those assigned to help him seem more interested in putting on a show. This critically acclaimed UK transfer stars Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars, Ex Machina) as the pitiful patient, with Clare Barrett and Aoife Duffin as his kooky therapists. If you can't make it to St. Ann's Warehouse to watch in person, the show will be live-streamed on three successive Saturdays: November 21, 28 and December 5 at 5 p.m. ET.
Empire Stores, 53 Water Street between Main and Dock Streets in Dumbo, Brooklyn
Performances postponed indefinitely as of November 24.
Created by artists who've worked on spectacles such as the Big Apple Circus and Beetlejuice, this interactive, family-friendly extravaganza is spearheaded by David Arquette. Yes, that David Arquette. While he's best known as a movie actor and producer, he's also a wrestler, showman and circus freak who acquired the rights to the character of Bozo the Clown earlier this year. Empire Circus doesn't have three rings—in fact, it has no rings at all. Instead, audiences explore five floors of acts at their own pace while munching on unlimited popcorn and cotton candy. Welcome to the greatest show in Brooklyn!
Daryl Roth Theatre, 101 East 15th Street between Union Square East and Irving Place in Union Square
Previews begin November 12. Opens December 7. Closes February 6, 2022. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
And just like that, the real-life Carrie Bradshaw, Candace Bushnell, arrives Off Broadway. Bushnell's dating column for The New York Observer served as the basis for Sex and the City, and in this solo show she chronicles her evolution from hopeful romantic to savvy sex columnist to international star to divorced diva. Lorin Latarro directs, just as she did for the play's world premiere at Pennsylvania's Bucks County Playhouse over the summer.
New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Resumes performances November 15. Open run.
The Tony Award-winning bio-musical about the Four Seasons reopens at Off Broadway's New World Stages. Featuring a score composed of the foursome's greatest hits and Rashomon-style storytelling that lets each band member have his say, the show chronicles the group's real-life rise to fame as '60s and '70s chart-toppers. They're working their way back to you!
Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin November 17. Opens December 6. Closes December 23.
Talk about world events catching up to art! Sylvia Khoury's Selling Kabul, exploring the devastating personal impact of the War in Afghanistan, premiered in 2019 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival when American troops were still on the ground. Now the play is making its Off Broadway debut at Playwrights Horizons just a few months after the US ended its 20-year occupation of the country, leaving Afghanistan in the Taliban's hands. That messy and bloody withdrawal will undoubtedly reverberate in this 2013-set story about a former interpreter for the US military in Afghanistan who spends his days in hiding, a target of the increasingly powerful Taliban. When his son is born, he's forced to make a choice: Stay locked in his sister's apartment, or go meet his child. Tyne Rafaeli, who helmed Khoury's searing Power Strip at Lincoln Center, directs.
The York Theatre at Theatre at St. Jean's, 150 East 76th Street near Lexington Avenue in Midtown East
Begins November 24. Closes January 2, 2022.
Four-time Tony nominee Randy Skinner (42nd Street, Dames at Sea, Ain't Broadway Grand) directs and choreographs this musical revue featuring iconic Irving Berlin songs from classic movies such as Top Hat, Holiday Inn, Easter Parade and White Christmas. The York Theatre Company excels at these nostalgic evenings and we're thrilled that the troupe has found a temporary home at the Theatre at St. Jean's while its permanent venue is repaired post-flood. There's no business like show business!
Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place near 1st Place in Battery Park City
Previews begin December 4. Opens December 16. Closes January 2, 2022.
Four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh stars in Mark St. Germain's inspiring one-woman bio play about the cheery sex therapist. Originally staged earlier this year at Sag Harbor's Bay Street Theater, Becoming Dr. Ruth chronicles her compelling past, including losing her family in the Holocaust, working as a sniper for the Haganah and finally finding Mr. Right after two divorces. Scott Schwartz directs. We admit we're cheating with this one since it starts in December. But we wanted to put it on your radar!
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
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Top image: John Rochette, Aaron De Jesus, Keith Hines and CJ Pawlikowski in Jersey Boys Off Broadway at New World Stages. Photo by Joan Marcus.