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15 Shows to See Off Broadway in October

By: Raven Snook
Date: Sep 29, 2023


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Catch Dianne Wiest, John Turturro, Santino Fontana, Aubrey Plaza, Brandon Victor Dixon and others stars


Off Broadway in October is a starry affair. Long absent from the New York stage, Dianne Wiest and John Turturro return in intriguing new plays, while Aubrey Plaza and Sean Young are set to make their NYC theatre debuts. Plus a trio of musicals—two new, one a revival—feature the likes of Santino Fontana, Judy Kuhn, Priscilla Lopez, Mary Testa and Brandon Victor Dixon. These are just some of the promising new Off-Broadway productions beginning in October. 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, most of our picks for September are still running!

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NYU Skirball: DruidO'Casey - begins October 4

NYU Skirball, 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square South in the West Village

Begins October 4. Closes October 14. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets to Juno and the Paycock and The Shadow of a Gunman.

Sean O'Casey's Dublin Trilogy is mounted fairly frequently in NYC—Irish Repertory Theatre just did it four years ago. But renowned Irish theatre company Druid is presenting O'Casey's vivid chronicle of Ireland's violent struggle for independence from the British in one epic six-hour production. Tony Award winner Garry Hynes (The Beauty Queen of Leenane) directs a cast of 18 in the trio of plays, The Plough and the Stars, The Shadow of a Gunman and Juno and the Paycock, which show the personal toll of this political battle that consumed the country a century ago. Not a fan of marathon theatregoing? DruidO'Casey is also being offered in three single-night installments.


Playwrights Horizons: Stereophonic - begins October 6

Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin October 6. Opens October 29. Closes December 17.

David Adjmi's world-premiere play about an up-and-coming 1970s rock band has some serious cred: the songs are by Arcade Fire's Will Butler and one of its stars is singer-songwriter Andrew R. Butler, whose sci-fi folk musical Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future earned universal acclaim. Set in a music studio as the group records a new album, Stereophonic is about the agony and the ecstasy of making art.


Manhattan Theatre Club: Poor Yella Rednecks - begins October 11

New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin October 11. Opens November 1. Closes December 3.

A sequel to his award-winning Vietgone, Qui Nguyen's new play is inspired by his Vietnamese parents' real-life relationship as they tried to build a life in 1980s Arkansas. Nguyen started his career as the artistic director of the kung fu- and pop-culture-infused Vampire Cowboys, and it's heartening to know that even though he's writing Disney movies now, he still embraces those elements. This is no staid immigrant story. Poor Yella Rednecks features rap songs, martial arts and puppets. Nguyen's frequent collaborator, May Adrales, directs this New York premiere.


Classic Stage Company: I Can Get It For You Wholesale - begins October 10

Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues in the East Village

Previews begin October 10. Opens October 30. Closes December 17.

Classic Stage Company presents a rare revival of I Can Get It for You Wholesale, aka the musical that launched Barbra Streisand's career 60-plus years ago! A dark musical comedy with songs by Harold Rome, it takes place in 1930s NYC and centers on an ambitious and amoral shipping clerk (Tony winner Santino Fontana) who'll do anything to get ahead. John Weidman (Assassins) revises his father Jerome Weidman's original book, and the cast includes Judy Kuhn, Adam Chanler-Berat, Rebecca Naomi Jones and Julia Lester in Babs' role of Miss Marmelstein.


The New Group: Sabbath's Theater - begins October 10

The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street between Dyer and Tenth Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin October 10. Opens November 2. Closes December 17.

John Turturro co-wrote and headlines this stage adaptation of Philip Roth's lauded 1995 novel of the same name about Mickey Sabbath, a sexagenarian ex-puppeteer whose mistress' death prompts a dark and wickedly funny journey into his debaucherous past. Jo Bonney directs this three-person play costarring Elizabeth Marvel and Jason Kravits.


New York Theatre Workshop: Merry Me - begins October 11

New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenue in the East Village

Previews begin October 11. Opens October 31. Closes November 19.

Playwright Hansol Jung is known for drama, notably last season's acclaimed puppet tragedy Wolf Play. But Merry Me is a straight-up lesbian sex comedy—and that's exactly what her friend Leigh Silverman, who's directing, asked her to write. Described as "an intoxicating queer cocktail of restoration comedy and the Greeks," the play centers on a female lieutenant who's great at giving other women orgasms but can't have one herself. The show's guaranteed to have quite a climax.


Gingold Theatrical Group: Arms and the Man - begins October 17

Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin October 17. Opens October 26. Closes November 18. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Master George Bernard Shaw interpreter David Staller directs one of the playwright's most popular comedies, Arms and the Man, a romantic triangle set against the backdrop of war. Three fresh faces star as the young lovers while NYC stage vets Karen Ziemba and Thomas Jay Ryan play the parents of the ingenue, who's engaged to a major but falls for an anti-war soldier.


Lincoln Center Theater: The Gardens of Anuncia - begins October 19

Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, 150 West 65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue in Lincoln Square

Previews begin October 19. Opens November 20. Closes December 31.

After a well-received run at San Diego's Old Globe, The Gardens of Anuncia arrives Off Broadway. Written by Tony-nominated songwriter and librettist Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party, Marie Christine), and directed and co-choreographed by the legendary Graciela Daniele, this new tango-infused musical is based on Daniele's early years growing up in Juan Perón's Argentina. Tony winner Priscilla Lopez (A Chorus Line) plays the title character, who reflects on her life while working in her garden. There she conjures the spirits of the strong women (Andréa Burns, Eden Espinosa, Mary Testa) who made sacrifices so she could pursue her artistic dreams. We spoke with Daniele and LaChiusa a few years ago about this passion project and we're eager to see it on stage.


Irish Repertory Theatre: Translations - begins October 20

Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Chelsea

Previews begin October 20. Opens October 29. Closes December 31.

The first installment in Irish Rep's series celebrating the plays of Brian Friel, Translations explores barriers of language and culture as an Irish-speaking village in 1833 is tasked with translating its Gaelic name places into English by the British government. When a detachment of Royal Engineers arrives to do the job, they spark community upheaval and unexpected romance. Tony winner Doug Hughes (Doubt) directs.


The Civilians: Artificial Flavors - begins October 22

59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street between Madison and Park Avenues in Midtown East

Previews begin October 22. Opens October 27. Closes November 19.

The audacious collective The Civilians (Gone Missing, Pretty Filthy, This Beautiful City) made their name as an investigative theatre company. So it's no wonder they want to check out the new tech tool on everyone's talking about: artificial intelligence. Billed as an AI-human collaboration in which people perform live computer-generated material, Artificial Flavors is hosted by The Civilians' artistic director Steve Cosson and changes every night. Think of it as AI-assisted improv by some very smart and talented theatre artists.


The Public Theater: Hell's Kitchen - begins October 24

The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street at Astor Place in the East Village

Previews begin October 24. Opens November 19. Closes January 14, 2024.

Grammy-winning pop star Alicia Keys is behind Hell's Kitchen, a semi-autobiographical musical about a rebellious teenager being raised by a single mom in '90s NYC who finds forbidden love and a passion for piano. The show has been gestating for a decade and features many of Keys' greatest hits as well as new songs. Boasting a cast of 20, including Brandon Victor Dixon (Shuffle Along), Shoshana Bean (Mr. Saturday Night) and newcomer Maleah Joi Moon as Keys' stage avatar; a book by Pulitzer finalist Kristoffer Diaz (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity); choreography by Camille A. Brown (for colored girls...) and direction by Michael Greif (Rent), Hell's Kitchen seems poised to move uptown if it's well received.


Soho Rep: Snatch Adams & Tainty McCracken Present It's That Time of the Month - begins October 25

Soho Rep, 46 Walker Street between Broadway and Church Street in Soho

Previews begin October 25. Opens November 2. Closes December 10.

From the singular mind of trans playwright-performer Becca Blackwell comes this outrageous two-hander about the title characters, a six-foot tall vagina and a Me-Too'ed comic, who team up to host a talk show. Blackwell and their cohorts promise puppets, prizes, perversity and special guests in this celebration of genetalia, which was co-written and costars Amanda Duarte. If you want to see this on the cheap, try the 99-Cent Sunday performances on November 12 and 19—tickets are sold in person, first come, first served.


Vineyard Theatre: Scene Partners - begins October 26

Vineyard Theatre, 108 East 15th Street between Irving Place and Union Square East in Union Square

Previews begin October 26. Opens November 15. Closes December 17.

Two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest stars in John J. Caswell, Jr.'s world premiere about a 75-year-old Midwestern woman who moves to Hollywood in the winter of 1985 with dreams of becoming a movie star. While this may sound like one of those feel-good, woman-of-a-certain-age finds herself tales, considering it's from the playwright behind the surreal Wet Brain and directed by Rachel Chavkin, who won a Tony Award for her stunning work on Hadestown, we expect Scene Partners to be weird and wonderful.


Danny and the Deep Blue Sea - begins October 30

Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street between Bleecker and Hudson Streets in the West Village

Previews begin October 30. Opens November 13. Closes January 13, 2024.

It girl Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation, The White Lotus) makes her stage debut in a revival of John Patrick Shanley's two-hander Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, about a pair of strangers in a Bronx bar who connect over drinks and trauma. Plaza is Roberta, a divorcée with a teenage son, and Christopher Abbott (Girls, Black Bear opposite Plaza) is Danny, an unhappy loner still living with his mom. Sparks fly as they spar in this profane and poetic play.


Ode to the Wasp Woman - begins October 30

Actors Temple Theater, 339 West 47th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin October 30. Opens November 9. Closes November 30.

Attention true-crime enthusiasts: Rider McDowell's new collection of playlets zeroes in on the last 48 hours of four B-listers: Susan Cabot, leading lady of Roger Corman's cult classic The Wasp Woman; original Superman George Reeves; Our Gang child star Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer and B-movie queen Barbara Payton. All four fell from fame and not one died a natural death, so there's certainly a lot of dramatic fodder. Movie actress Sean Young (Blade Runner, Fatal Instinct), who's had her own high-profile battles, makes her NYC stage debut as Cabot.


Top image: Dianne Wiest, who's starring in the world premiere of Scene Partners at the Vineyard Theatre, which begins performances in October. 

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Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her on Facebook at @Raven.Snook. Follow TDF on Facebook at @TDFNYC.