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15 Shows to See Off Broadway in September

By: Raven Snook
Date: Sep 01, 2023
Off-Broadway

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Catch Rachel Bloom, Patrick Page, a new Sondheim musical and more

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Broadway theatres aren't the only ones with big openings this September. There are many exciting shows bowing on smaller stages this month, too, including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Emmy winner Rachel Bloom in a solo musical, Hadestown Tony nominee Patrick Page channeling Shakespeare villains, a lineup of stars sharing Love Letters and Stephen Sondheim's final musical. These are just some of the promising new Off-Broadway productions beginning in September. We couldn't include everything, so be sure to browse the listings in TDF's Show Finder to see what else is playing.

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The Creeps - September 1

Playhouse 46 at St. Luke's, 308 West 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin September 1. Opens September 7. Closes November 5. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

After earning accolades at Fringes around the world, Catherine Waller's solo horror show aims to scare up audiences Off Broadway. The writer-performer channels five disparate characters in this physical-theatre piece, all creeps who will give you the willies. Terrifying and titillating, The Creeps dispenses with the fourth wall, so if you sit close, prepare to chat about fear, desire and the unknown.

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Primary Stages: Dig - September 2

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

Previews begin September 2. Opens September 20. Closes November 5.

Pulitzer finalist Theresa Rebeck (Seminar, Bernhardt/Hamlet, Seared) has a busy fall with back-to-back plays on New York stages. In October, she returns to Broadway with the world-premiere comedy I Need That starring Danny DeVito. But first, Primary Stages presents Dig, Rebeck's moving tale of connection and redemption centering on a plant shop owner (Jeffrey Bean) who encounters a screwup up from his past (Andrea Syglowski). Initially, he wants to weed her out of his life. But can these two lonely souls find a way to help each other grow? Rebeck herself directs.

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Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors - September 4

New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin September 4. Opens September 18. Closes January 7, 2024.

Finally, a comedy with bite! Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen's pop culture- and pun-filled spin on Bram Stoker's classic tale trades horror for humor as five actors sink their teeth into dozens of roles, with James Daly playing a pansexual, playboy Dracula grappling with an existential crisis. Greenberg also directs this gender-bending, quick-changing romp, which costars cutups Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Newsies) and Arnie Burton (The Government Inspector).

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Irish Repertory Theatre: Love Letters - September 5

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

Begins September 5. Closes October 4.

Irish Rep presents three different starry couplings in Love Letters, A.R Gurney's popular epistolary two-hander about a pair of friends writing to each other over a lifetime. Matthew Broderick and Talia Balsam are the pen pals September 5 to 8; J. Smith-Cameron and Victor Garber continue the correspondence September 19 to 24; and Brooke Shields and John Slattery sign off September 27 to October 4. Admittedly, there isn't a lot to see in Love Letters, which is typically staged with the characters sitting at separate tables and speaking directly to the audience. But there is a lot to feel—it's an emotional, amusing and relatable journey.

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Death, Let Me Do My Show - September 6

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

Previews begin September 6. Opens September 14. Closes September 30.

It's a shanda that after winning an Emmy for her dark musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and serving as a backstage host at the Tony Awards, Rachel Bloom has never had a show in NYC—but that's about to be rectified. Following successful runs in London, Boston, Chicago and other cities, Bloom's solo musical Death, Let Me Do My Show bows Off Broadway. In this funny and personal work featuring irreverent original songs, Bloom explores the challenges she faced when the pandemic upended our lives. Not only did it derail all her projects at a time when she was grappling with being a new mother, it also took the lives of multiple friends, including her longtime music producer Adam Schlesinger. Bloom has made a career out of finding the fun in dysfunction, so we expect this musical meditation on mortality to be morbidly amusing.

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Soho Playhouse: JOB - September 6

Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street between Sixth Avenue and Varick Street in Soho

Previews begin September 6. Opens September 18. Closes October 29. 

Succession stars Peter Friedman and Sydney Lemmon reunite Off Broadway in Job, a new psychological thriller by Max Wolf Friedlich about a disgraced staffer at a big tech company determined to win back her job after a viral video scandal. She seeks the assistance of a crisis therapist, but these two careerists of different generations have conflicting ideas about what it means to be a good digital citizen.

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Audible Theater: Swing State - September 8

Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane between Sixth Avenue and MacDougal Street in the West Village

Previews begin September 8. Opens September 17. Closes October 28. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

After earning rave reviews in Chicago last fall, the Goodman Theatre's mounting of Swing State transfers to New York City. Don't let the title trigger you. Set in rural Wisconsin, this gorgeously observed character study, written by Pulitzer finalist Rebecca Gilman (The Glory of Living, Boy Gets Girl), is not, in fact, about politics. It's about the experiences that divide and undo us: loss, grief, despair. Centering on the relationship between a sexagenarian widow and her neighbor, a fragile, twentysomething ex-con who's like a surrogate son, it's a quietly devastating drama about the challenges everyday life and the power of empathy. Tony winner Robert Falls (Death of a Salesman) directs.

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Playwrights Realm: Mary Gets Hers - September 11

The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space, 511 West 52nd Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin September 11. Opens September 22. Closes October 14.

The Playwrights Realm, a company devoted to emerging dramatists, presents Mary Gets Hers, its first production since the pandemic. An inventive riff on Hrosvitha of Gandersheim's 10th-century play Abraham, or the Rise and Repentance of Mary, which has been hotly debated by feminists for centuries, Emma Horwitz's comedy takes place in a plague-riddled Germany, where two hermits discover an abandoned child. They decide to try to protect the girl's purity at all costs, but Mary has her own ideas about how she wants to live. Parents: the Saturday, September 30 performance at 4 p.m. offers free on-site childcare.

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Roundabout Theatre Company: The Refuge Plays - September 14

Laura Pels Theatre, 111 West 46th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin September 14. Opens October 11. Closes November 12. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Nathan Alan Davis (Nat Turner in Jerusalem) reimagines the traditional American family play through a Black lens with The Refuge Plays, an epic following three generations of one clan over 70 years. Roundabout Theatre Company coproduces this world premiere with New York Theatre Workshop, where Davis was a NYTW 2050 Artistic Fellow and Usual Suspect. Patricia McGregor directs an ensemble that includes Tina Tony nominee Daniel J. Watts, Soul Food star Nicole Ari Parker and the incomparable Lizan Mitchell.

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Theatre for a New Audience: Prometheus Firebringer - September 15

Polonsky Shakespeare Center, 262 Ashland Place between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn

Previews begin September 15. Opens TBD. Closes October 1. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Can AI help us reclaim lost art? That's what Annie Dorsen explores in her lecture-performance Prometheus Firebringer at Theatre for a New Audience. Only one complete story still exists of Aeschylus's 2,500-year-old Prometheia trilogy. In Prometheus Firebringer, Dorsen uses the predictive text model GPT-3.5 to write hypothetical versions of one of the missing myths, about Prometheus stealing the gods' fire to give to humans. Each evening, a chorus of AI-generated Greek masks performs a unique iteration while Dorsen reflects on power, knowledge and how technology impacts our lives and our art.

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WP Theater: Bite Me - September 23

WP Theater at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre, 2162 Broadway at 76th Street on the Upper West Side

Previews begin September 23. Opens October 5. Closes October 22. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

WP Theater and Colt Coeur present the world premiere of Bite Me, a dark comedy by Eliana Pipes about two very different high school misfits who unexpectedly bond. Nathan, a white boy with money and bad habits, is cutting class when he finds Melody, a Black girl and academic superstar, crying in a storage closet. They get real close real fast, but how long can their passion last? This two-hander explores the challenges of trying to fit in and make connections, both as adolescents and adults. Rebecca Martínez directs.

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Ars Nova: (pray) - September 23

Greenwich House Theater, 27 Barrow Street near Seventh Avenue South in the West Village

Previews begin September 23. Opens October 3. Closes October 28.

Multidisciplinary artist nicHi douglas (SKiNFoLK: An American Show) is behind (pray), an immersive meditation on Black spirituality. Co-produced by the National Black Theatre and Ars Nova, this music-and-dance-filled evening offers an Afrofuturist take on a Sunday Baptist Church service that investigates the complex relationship Black women have with organized religion versus personal faith. Come ready to sing, clap, stomp and learn. Take note: Tickets are pay-what-you-wish starting at $5!

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The Shed: Here We Are - September 28

The Shed, 545 West 30th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Hudson Yards

Previews begin September 28. Opens October 22. Closes January 21, 2024.

The world premiere of Stephen Sondheim's final musical is one of the most anticipated productions of the season. Yes, the buzz is mixed—the New York Post gripes that Act II allegedly has no songs while Frank Rich offers a more nuanced assessment for New York Magazine of how the show was finished after the great man died. Certainly Sondheim lovers are paying high prices to see his last work, which is inspired by two Luis Buñuel films: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel. David Ives (Venus in Fur) wrote the book and Joe Mantello directs a starry ensemble, including Tony winners David Hyde Pierce, Rachel Bay Jones and Denis O'Hare alongside Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Steven Pasquale and Bobby Cannavale.

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All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain - September 29

DR2 Theatre, 103 East 15th Street between Union Square East and Irving Place near Union Square Park

Previews begin September 29. Opens October 16. Closes March 31, 2024.

Hadestown Tony nominee Patrick Page is known for playing villains—The Green Goblin, The Grinch and Scar are just a handful of his wicked Broadway turns. But with his mellifluous voice and classical acting training, he's also portrayed many of the Bard's baddies, including Iago and Macbeth. In his tour-de-force solo show All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain, Page explores the playwright's poetic evolution of evil by performing more than a dozen of his vicious characters. Simon Godwin directs this maleficent master class.

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The Mint Theater: Partnership - October 1

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

Previews begin October 1 (delayed from September 30). Opens October 19. Closes November 12.

The Mint Theater Company, which revitalizes forgotten plays, wraps up its Elizabeth Baker series with Partnership, about an independent working woman with zero interest in marriage until her primary competitor makes a professional and personal proposal. Work-life balance and unexpected romance are explored in this 1917 work, which was way ahead of its time.

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Top image: Patrick Page whose solo show All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain begins performances Off Broadway this month. Photo by Gene Reed.

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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.