Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
You just may catch a future Broadway hit
Looking at our play-heavy Broadway spring preview, you may be wondering, where are all the new musicals? Only a handful are opening on the Main Stem this season, that's why we're singing the praises of musicals beyond Broadway. Over the next few months, you can catch a slew of theatre stars, including Tony winners Bebe Neuwirth and Nikki M. James, Tony nominees Phillipa Soo and Jenn Colella, Frozen's Caissie Levy, Aladdin's Arielle Jacobs and The Little Mermaid's Sierra Boggess, in new tuners by celebrated songwriters such as Shaina Taub, Adam Schlesinger and Barry Manilow. Remember, many iconic Broadway musicals started out on smaller NYC stages, including Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown and Hamilton. So one of these promising Off-Broadway productions may earn you bragging rights someday!
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. Masks are also mandatory. Note that some shows are adding additional rules such as proof of a booster shot. While we are doing our best to keep this article up to date, before buying tickets to any event, double-check the COVID-19 rules to avoid disappointment.
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Prospect Theatre: Notes from Now - March 2
59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street between Madison and Park Avenues in Midtown East
Previews begin March 2. Opens March 10. Closes March 20. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Note: Proof of booster shot required.
For the past two decades, Prospect Theater Company has helped develop more than 30 new musicals, including the history-inspired The Hello Girls and the coming-of-age tale The Mad Ones. Its first in-person production in more than two years, Notes from Now examines ways to move forward as we emerge from our collective pandemic trauma. Subtitled "Songs of Resilience & Renewal," the revue features brand-new numbers by both seasoned (Gretchen Cryer, Stephen Schwartz, Adam Gwon, Jeff Blumenkrantz) and up-and-coming (Jaime Lozano, Ryan Scott Oliver, Michelle J. Rodriguez) composers and lyricists. Broadway vet Billy Bustamante (Miss Saigon, The King and I) directs a diverse ensemble of eight in this of-the-moment chamber piece.
Audible Theater: Coal Country - March 4
Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street between Bedford and Hudson Streets in the West Village
Previews begin March 4. Opens March 10. Closes April 17. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
After receiving excellent reviews in early March 2020, The Public Theater's heartbreaking Coal Country had its run cut short due to COVID. Now Audible Theater is resurrecting this affecting documentary theatre work by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen (The Exonerated), which interweaves real-life stories of folks impacted by West Virginia's 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster with blue-collar ballads performed live by Grammy winner Steve Earle. It's not a conventional musical—Earle's songs set the mood instead of driving the story—but it's a powerful examination of our country's misordered priorities, where profit is too often valued over people.
Little Girl Blue - March 5
New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin March 5. Opens March 14. Closes May 22. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Broadway vet Laiona Michelle wrote and stars in this bio-musical about legendary singer-songwriter and civil rights icon Nina Simone. Overflowing with music written by the High Priestess of Soul, the show earned strong notices during its 2019 world premiere at New Jersey's George Street Playhouse and is a passionate portrait of Simone as an artist and activist.
The Tank: Glass Town: A Rock Requiem - March 10
The Tank, 312 West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Begins March 10. Closes March 26. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Get ready to bang your head to the Brontë siblings! After presenting a digital version of this staged concept album during the pandemic, songwriter Miriam Pultro's Glass Town: A Rock Requiem makes its in-person debut at indie theatre incubator The Tank. In this musical fantasy, the tragic 19th-century lit legends become alt-rock icons whose tunes explore the bonds of family and grief. Daniella Caggiano directs.
The Public Theater: Suffs - March 13
The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street near Astor Place in the East Village
Previews begin March 13. Opens April 6. Closes May 29.
Note: Proof of booster shot required.
An incredible cast of talented women—including Hamilton's Phillipa Soo, The Book of Mormon Tony winner Nikki M. James and Come From Away's Jenn Colella—headline Shaina Taub's buzzy new musical about the American women's suffrage movement. A brilliant singer-songwriter who penned enchanting musicalizations of As You Like It and Twelfth Night for The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park, Taub also costars in Suffs, which chronicles the seven years leading up to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Judging from the diverse cast, the show does not shy away from the class, racial and generational divides that plagued feminism, both then and now.
Ars Nova: Oratorio for Living Things - March 15
Ars Nova at Greenwich House, 27 Barrow Street near Seventh Avenue South in the West Village
Previews March 15. Opens March 30. Closes May 14.
After playing just two preview performances in March 2020, Oratorio for Living Things was forced to close due to you-know-what. But Ars Nova is finally giving this genre-defying work by Obie winner Heather Christian a full-fledged run. 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, under the direction of Lee Sunday Evans. 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 dazzled.
Edmond J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place near 1st Place in Battery Park City
Previews begin March 23. Opens April 13. Closes May 15.
Although billed as a new musical, Harmony has been singing for a while—it had a well-received world premiere at California's La Jolla Playhouse back in 1997. But good things come to those who wait. With songs by longtime hitmakers Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman, direction and choreography by Tony winner Warren Carlyle, and a compelling true story about the Comedian Harmonists—six talented young German men, both Jewish and gentile, who were huge musical stars in Europe before World War II broke out—this show is arriving right on time. Folksbiene National Yiddish Theatre presents the production, which is headlined by Broadway stalwarts Chip Zien and Sierra Boggess.
¡Americano! - March 31
New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin March 31. Opens May 1. Closes June 19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
After an acclaimed run at Arizona's Phoenix Theater Company, ¡Americano! comes to New World Stages. Featuring songs by Ameri-Chicana singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez, the musical is based on the real-life story of Tony Valdovinos, a DREAMer who discovered his immigration status at age 18 when he tried to enlist in the US Marines Corps after September 11. But this proud Latinx immigrant finds other inspiring ways to serve his country. A poignant tale of what makes an American, the show is directed by Michael Barnard, who also cowrote the book with Jonathan Rosenberg and Fernanda Santos.
The York Theatre at Theatre at St. Jean's, 150 East 76th Street near Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side
POSTPONED FROM MARCH DUE TO COVID Previews begin April 2. Opens April 7. Closes April 24. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Greece is the word in this new musical comedy that puts a funny, feminist spin on The Odyssey. With a book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg (whose rollicking musicalization of Measure for Measure was a smash for the York) and music by Stephen Weiner, this show centers on Penelope, who stands by her man, Odysseus, even when he doesn't return home from the war in a timely fashion. She even staves off suitors by writing letters to herself in her husband's name. Maybe someone will publish them someday. Emily Maltby directs and choreographs, and Britney Nicole Simpson stars as the title character.
New Ohio Theatre: Songs About Trains - April 5
New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher Street between Greenwich and Washington Streets in the West Village
Previews begin April 5. Opens April 10. Closes April 23. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
A theatrical concert chronicling the building of the US rail system, Songs About Trains is the brainchild of the arts collective Radical Evolution, and coproduced by New Ohio Theatre and Working Theater. Using 21 folk songs and evocative stories from the era, the show celebrates the multicultural workforce that changed our country, and explores issues of immigration, labor and class as a select few became outrageously wealthy off the backs of downtrodden workers. An excellent counterpoint to The Gilded Age! Rebecca Martínez and Taylor Reynolds direct.
Islander: A New Musical - April 14
Playhouse 46 at St. Luke's, 308 West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin April 14. Opens April 21. Closes June 13. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
A hit at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this tuneful tale centers on a lonely girl living on a remote Scottish isle, whose discovery of a whale carcass and a mysterious stranger change the trajectory of her life. The performers use looped vocals and clapping to create an ethereal score that helps conjure this Scottish folklore. This will be the first production in the completely redesigned Playhouse 46 at St. Luke's.
Atlantic Theater Company: The Bedwetter - April 30
Atlantic Theater Company, Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Chelsea
Previews begin April 30. Opens June 7. Closes July 10.
Originally scheduled to premiere in spring 2020, this outrageous musical comedy took a tragic turn when songwriter Adam Schlesinger died of COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic. Two years later, the show is finally going on. Inspired by Sarah Silverman's memoir of the same name, The Bedwetter is a raunchy tuner 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 Schlesinger, a rock musician (Fountains of Wayne) whose theatre credits include Cry-Baby on Broadway and an iconic Tony Awards opener. Zoe Glick stars as Sarah alongside Broadway divas Bebe Neuwirth and Caissie Levy. Anne Kauffman directs.
Romeo & Bernadette - May 3
Theater 555, 555 West 42nd Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin May 3. Opens May 16. Closes June 26. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Even Romeo and Juliet didn't have such bad timing! After a well-reviewed limited run in early 2020, Mark Saltzman's merry musical sendup of Romeo and Juliet was set to transfer to a bigger theatre and then, well, you know the rest. Two years later, its triumphant remounting was marred by omicron. But after such sweet sorrow the production finally arrives Off Broadway with its cast intact. Although its been shticking around for a while, its humor is timeless as Romeo magically awakens in 1960 Brooklyn and goes after a gal named Bernadette, the potty-mouthed daughter of a mob boss. The melodies are lifted from famous Italian songs and the plot from the Bard, only with a lot more punch lines. Anna Kostakis and Nikita Burshteyn reprise their roles as the title star-crossed couple. Justin Ross Cohen directs.
Between the Lines - June 15
The Tony Kiser Theater, 305 West 43rd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin June 15. Opens July 11. Closes September 11.
Based on the best-selling young-adult novel of the same name by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha Van Leer, Between the Lines focuses on 17-year-old Delilah (Aladdin's Arielle Jacobs), 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.
Top image: Bebe Neuwirth, who's starring in The Bedwetter at Atlantic Theater Company. Photo by Arin Sang-urai.