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Catch six new musicals, a starry revival and a FREE new show about the early days of the USA
A half dozen new musicals are bowing Off Broadway this month, including tributes to the early days of punk and rock and roll. Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles is taking a break from Broadway's Sweeney Todd to headline a revival of The Light in the Piazza. And six celebrated playwrights, including Pulitzer Prize winners Michael R. Jackson and Bruce Norris, collaborate on The Democracy Project, a FREE new play about our country's complicated history. These are just some of the promising new Off-Broadway productions beginning in June. We couldn't include everything, so be sure to browse the listings in TDF's Show Finder to see what else is playing. And remember, many of our Off-Broadway picks for May are still running.
In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, masks are optional and proof of vaccination is not required unless otherwise noted. While we are trying to keep this article up to date, be sure to double-check the protocols before purchasing tickets so you arrive prepared.
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Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, 304 West 47th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Begins June 1. Closes June 18. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Acclaimed Latine company Pregones / Puerto Rican Traveling Theater is behind Torched!, a history-inspired musical about the infamous era when the Bronx was burning and how the borough is being revitalized today. Directed and cowritten by the company's artistic director, Rosalba Rolón, it's a salsa-and-disco-filled exploration of the arson-for-profit scourge that impacted so many residents, workers and firefighters.
Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin June 1. Opens June 14. Closes July 1. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
For a quarter century, Prospect Theater Company has been incubating intriguing new musicals (The Hello Girls was my personal favorite, but there have been dozens of others). The company's latest offering is Lizard Boy, an offbeat charmer about a young man with scaly green skin whose first-ever date may end up destroying the world. A hit at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Lizard Boy is the brainchild of Justin Huertas, who also stars and plays instruments!
Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets on the Upper East Side
Begins June 3. Opens June 15. August 19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Just as it has for the past two summers, Park Avenue Armory imports a production by acclaimed British director-playwright Robert Icke (Hamlet, Oresteia, 1984). A reinvention of Arthur Schnitzler's 1912 play Professor Bernhardi, The Doctor centers on a Jewish physician (Olivier Award winner Juliet Stevenson) who bars a Catholic priest from administering last rites to a teenage patient, sparking protests, political maneuvering and some virulent anti-Semitism. Using the lens of medical ethics to explore thorny themes such as religion, identity, race, gender and privilege, this drama earned multiple five-star reviews when it ran on the West End last fall.
New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Begins June 3. Opens June 21. Closes September 1. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages, American Idol) headlines this new musical about Alan Freed, an influential deejay and music promoter who brought rock 'n' roll to the integrated masses before the payola scandal destroyed his career. Featuring original songs alongside dozens of classic hits by Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Rock & Roll Man tells Freed's life story as J. Edgar Hoover (Bob Ari) and Little Richard (Rodrick Covington) argue over his life and legacy in a fantasy courtroom. Screen actor Joe Pantoliano portrays two of Freed's partners in this bio-show, which had a well-received out-of-town run at Berkshire Theatre Group pre-pandemic.
Brooklyn Art Haus, 24 Marcy Avenue between Hope Street and Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Begins June 11. Closes July 16.
Master pop-culture remixer Timothy Haskell (Road House, Nightmare Haunted House) and his theatre company Psycho Clan present a rollicking comedy about late-20th-century action star Jean-Claude Van Damme... as told mostly by very violent puppets. The full title is The Rise And Fall, Then Brief and Modest Rise Followed By a Relative Fall of... Jean-Claude Van Damme as Gleaned by a Single Reading of His Wikipedia Page Months Earlier, and it's an absurdist romp that's serving as one of the inaugural productions at Williamsburg's brand-new performance venue Brooklyn Art Haus. Performs Sundays only.
Theatre at St. Clement's, 423 West 46th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues in Midtown West
Begins June 13. Opens June 20. August 20. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Tony winner John Rubinstein (Pippin, Children of a Lesser God) stars in Richard Hellesen's bio-play about the 34th President of the United States. Set in 1962, Eisenhower: This Piece of Ground finds the title figure reminiscing about his political career in 1962 after New York Magazine publishes its inaugural list ranking American Presidents in order of greatness. Directed by Peter Ellenstein, the show is adapted from a variety of sources, including Eisenhower's memoirs, speeches and letters. Rubinstein clearly likes Ike because he's reprising his performance from the production's Los Angeles premiere.
Irish Arts Center, 726 Eleventh Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets in Midtown West
Begins June 14. Opens June 18. Closes July 9. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Masks are required for matinee performances.
Another musical about a legendary deejay, only this time he brought punk rock to Ireland. Based on the 2013 film of the same name, Good Vibrations centers on Terri Hooley, a disc jockey who opens a record shop in Belfast at the height of The Troubles in the 1970s. A radical and a rebel, he's captivated by the burgeoning underground punk scene and his store ends up becoming a mecca for musicians and motley youth. Produced by Ireland's lauded Lyric Theatre, this musical features a slew of songs from Northern Ireland's punk period, including The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks," The Outcasts' "Just Another Teenage Rebel" and Stiff Little Fingers' "Alternative Ulster."
Theater 555, 555 West 42nd Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Midtown West
Begins June 14. Opens June 22. July 16. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Tony-nominated songwriter Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre, Sense and Sensibility, Daddy Long Legs) is behind this new pop musical about a typical teenage girl named Heather (Brittany Nicole Williams). All she wants is to land a boyfriend before finishing high school... but she may have a higher calling as the new Messiah. TV's Katey Sagal (The Connors, Married... with Children, and a former Bette Midler Harlette!) costars in this show about a small Ohio town grappling with politics, religion and young love.
Greenwich House Theater, 27 Barrow Street near Seventh Avenue South in the West Village
Begins June 14. Opens June 20. Closes August 11. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Liz Kingsman's send-up of one-woman shows was such a success in the UK, it transferred from the VAULT Comedy Festival to the West End, earning an Olivier nomination for best comedy play. Now audiences can cackle at the comedian's cleverly crafted parody of Fleabag and its imitators, while also appreciating Kingsman's immense talent as a solo performer, which seems both ironic and meta.
Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues in Midtown West
Begins June 17. Opens June 23. July 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
James T. Lane made his Broadway debut in the 2006 revival of A Chorus Line and costarred in The Scottsboro Boys... then everything fell apart due to addiction. He chronicles the highs and lows of his life and career through candid stories and emotional songs in Triple Threat, an autobiographical solo show commissioned by The Young Vic. Fresh off a stint as Billy Flynn in Broadway's Chicago, Lane proves that success is even sweeter the second time around when you're sober.
New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Midtown West
Begins June 21. Closes June 25.
The final revival of Encores! 2023 season is Adam Guettel's enthralling musicalization of Elizabeth Spencer's novel, which won a slew of Tony Awards in 2006. For this mounting, The King and I Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles stars as a melancholy American mother in the 1950s, who takes her grown daughter (Anna Zavelson) on a life-changing trip to Florence. Chay Yew directs.
David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, 20 Lincoln Center Plaza at 62nd Street and Columbus Avenue in Lincoln Square
Begins June 22. Closes July 16.
After making its US debut last summer, this French pop-rock musical inspired by The Hunchback of Notre Dame returns to Lincoln Center for an encore run. Faithful to Victor Hugo's popular novel, Notre Dame de Paris chronicles the relationship between cathedral bell ringer Quasimodo and the beautiful Esmeralda against the backdrop of Paris in the Middle Ages. Performed in French with English supertitles, this epic, Vegas-style musical features a book and lyrics by Luc Plamondon, music by Italian singer Richard Cocciante and direction by Gilles Maheu. Expect over-the-top everything, from the emotions to the aesthetics.
Federal Hall, 26 Wall Street between Nassau and William Streets in the Financial District
Begins June 22. Opens June 27. Closes July 22. FREE but tickets are required.
Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D'Amour (Detroit), MacArthur Genius Larissa FastHorse (The Thanksgiving Play), and Pulitzer Prize winners Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop) and Bruce Norris (Clybourne Park)—those are just some of the amazing writers collaborating on The Democracy Project at Federal Hall. Through original songs and stories, The Democracy Project explores our country's complex history on one revolutionary day as George Washington grapples with being the original POTUS, James Madison presents the Bill of Rights, Muscogee (Creek) Chief Alexander McGillivray attempts to save his people's land, and Ona Judge, a woman enslaved by Martha Washington, fights to abolish the slave trade. The play is FREE but reserving tickets in advance is required.
Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, 150 West 65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in Lincoln Square
Previews begin June 23. Opens July 20. Closes August 20.
Candrice Jones' FLEX centers on five Black members of an all-girls high school basketball team in 1998 Arkansas with dreams of going pro. But racism, class and inflexible rules are just some of the obstacles holding them back. Lincoln Center Theater's resident director Lileana Blain-Cruz helms this new play about the game, growing up and the tension between competition and community.
Top image: Constantine Maroulis, who's starring in the new musical Rock & Roll Man at New World Stages. Photo by Ricky Gee.