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17 Shows to See Off Broadway This May

By: Raven Snook
Date: Apr 26, 2024
Off-Broadway

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Catch new plays starring Sandra Oh, Tony Shalhoub and BD Wong, a new musical with Laura Benanti and more

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A new musical cowritten by and starring Laura Benanti. World premiere plays headlined by Tony Shalhoub, Sandra Oh and BD Wong. Buzzy Off-Off Broadway transfers, including one produced by Jeremy O. Harris. These are just a handful of the promising Off-Broadway productions that begin performances in May. 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 April are still running!

If you're a TDF member, log in to your account daily to see what we're selling as ticket inventory changes frequently.

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Brits Off Broadway: Windrush Secret - begins May 1

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

Previews begin May 1. Opens May 5. Closes May 18.

Since 2004, this annual showcase of UK productions has given Americans a taste of what's playing across the pond. This 20th anniversary edition features eight shows and four begin this month, including Rodreguez King-Dorset's Windrush Secret. In this profoundly personal solo show, the playwright-performer portrays three disparate characters—a black Caribbean diplomat, a white far-right politician and a white government official—to explore the impact of colonialism, racism and anti-immigrant laws in England, specifically the 2018 Windrush scandal that upended the lives of hundreds of Caribbean-British folks.

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Brits Off Broadway: The Brief Life & Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria - begins May 2

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

Previews begin May 2. Opens May 5. Closes June 2. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

A comedy about World War II? Hey, Mel Brooks did it! In Out of the Forest Theatre's irreverent, history-based comedy, Bulgaria's reluctant King Boris III is caught between the Allies and the Nazis. It's 1943 and he's got to pick a side. But can he do so and save his country's Jews? This celebrated hit from last year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe comes stateside courtesy of Brits Off Broadway.

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J2 Spotlight Musical Theater Company: Lucky Stiff - begins May 3

AMT Theater, 354 West 45th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West

Begins May 3. Closes May 12.

Like City Center Encores!, J2 Spotlight Musical Theater Company revives rarely performed musicals, though admittedly with smaller budgets. A flop when it premiered at Playwrights Horizons in 1988, this musical farce has become a cult favorite (and even a starry indie movie) thanks to its crazy story and wonderful songs by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Anastasia). Based on Michael Butterworth's novel The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, it centers on a shoe salesman who must take the embalmed corpse of his recently murdered uncle on a vacation in order to claim an inheritance. High jinks and hilarity ensue.

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Just Another Day - begins May 3

Theater 555, 555 West 42nd Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin May 3. Opens May 12. Closes June 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

After successful out-of-town runs, Just Another Day arrives Off Broadway. Written and starring beloved character actor Dan Lauria (the dad on the original Wonder Years, Lombardi on Broadway), it's a touching comedy about memory loss as two septuagenarians meet daily on a park bench to banter and bicker. They know they love each other, but they can't remember anything else about their relationship. How can you connect when your recollections are gone? Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed) is Lauria's sparring partner.

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Invasive Species - begins May 7

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

Previews begin May 7. Opens May 15. Closes June 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

After a well-received run at The Tank last year, recent Yale Acting MFA grad Maia Novi's autobiographical Invasive Species transfers Off Broadway thanks to producer and fellow alum Jeremy O. Harris (Slave Play, Zola). The show chronicles Novi's surreal mental health journey as she tries to find support as a Latina immigrant artist at school and in the entertainment industry at large. Circle Jerk Pulitzer finalist Michael Breslin (another Yalie!) directs.

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Syncing Ink: Master the Ceremony - begins May 7

The Apollo Stages at The Victoria, 233 West 125th Street between Frederick Douglass and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevards in Harlem

Previews begin May 7. Closes May 19.

Back in 2017, before Kara Young had been nominated for Tony Awards for Clyde's and Cost of Living, she got raves for her performance in The Flea's Syncing Ink, a semi-autobiographical play by NSangou Njikam about a budding but rhyme-challenged rapper. Now she's starring in a new production (with a new subtitle) of the coming-of-age play at the recently opened Apollo Stages at the Victoria on 125th Street in her home neighborhood of Harlem. Njikam is the aspiring emcee who gets a big assist from Sweet Tea (Young) on his artistic journey. Awoye Timpo directs.

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Soho Rep: The Fires - begins May 8

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

Previews begin May 8. Opens May 21. Closes June 16.

Lauded dancer-choreographer Raja Feather Kelly (A Strange Loop, Lempicka, the feath3r theory) makes his Off-Broadway playwriting debut with The Fires, a fantastical world premiere about three different men in the same Brooklyn apartment in 1971, 1998 and 2021 trying to navigate love, sex and art simultaneously. If you want to see this on the cheap, try the 99-Cent Sunday performances on June 2 and 9—tickets are sold in person, first come, first served.

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Audible Theater: Laura Benanti: Nobody Cares - begins May 9

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

Begins May 9. Closes June 2. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

After a sold-out, three-performance run in January, Laura Benanti's cheeky autobiographical musical comedy Nobody Cares returns to Audible Theater for an encore run. With a script by the Broadway star (Gypsy, My Fair Lady, She Loves Me) and songs cowritten by Benanti and her band director, Todd Almond, the show explores how the Tony-winning ingenue learned to stop worrying what other people thought of her and love herself. Vocalists Barrie McLain and Chelsea Lee Williams join Benanti onstage as her Inner Demons. Annie Tippe directs.

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Perelman Performing Arts Center: An American Soldier - begins May 12

Perelman Performing Arts Center, 251 Fulton Street at the intersection of Vesey and Greenwich Streets in the Financial District

Previews begin May 12. Opens May 14. Closes May 19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

An opera based on the devastating 2011 suicide of Chinese-American Army Pvt. Danny Chen, An American Soldier explores the racism he endured in the military and the resulting courts-martial of his fellow troops. Composer Huang Ruo (Book of Mountains and Seas) and librettist David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Soft Power) bring this heartbreaking story to the stage, directed by Obie Award winner Chay Yew.

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Julia Masli: Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha - begins May 15

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

Previews begin May 15. Opens May 18. Closes June 8.

A smash at last year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Julia Masli's solo show has one goal: to solve your issues! There's no script. Instead, Masli—who studied clowning with Philippe Gaulier, who counts Sacha Baron Cohen, Emma Thompson and Roberto Benigni among his students—asks the audience to share their challenges and she will come up with solutions... even if that involves calling your mom for a spontaneous heart-to-heart. Come prepared to reveal your problems!

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Second Stage: Breaking the Story - begins May 15

Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theater, 305 West 43rd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin May 15. Opens June 4. Closes June 23. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Alexis Scheer, whose Our Dear Dead Drug Lord was absolutely chilling, penned this world-premiere play about a foreign war correspondent (Maggie Siff) hoping to start a fresh life with her new husband at home. But can she ever truly shake her haunting experiences in the field? Jo Bonney directs a cast that includes Tony nominee Geneva Carr and the fabulous Julie Halston.

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Irish Repertory Theatre: Molly Sweeney - begins May 15

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

Previews begin May 15. Opens May 23. Closes June 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Irish Rep revives Brian Friel's classic drama about a woman blind since infancy whose sight is restored with unexpected consequences. Sarah Street is Molly, John Keating is her meddling husband and Rufus Collins is the surgeon who changes their lives in this production, helmed by the theatre's artistic director, Charlotte Moore. Part of Irish Rep's year-long Friel Project.

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Clubbed Thumb: Usus - begins May 16

The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B in the East Village

Begins May 16. Closes May 28.

One of the hottest theatre festivals in town, Clubbed Thumb Summerworks, kicks off its 27th edition this month with Usus, a world premiere by T. Adamson set in 1318 and centering on a half dozen Franciscan friars who clash with the controversial Pope Urban VI. While we realize that's not a lot to go on, Summerworks is known for incubating offbeat yet engaging shows: What the Constitution Means to Me, Men on Boats) and Grief Hotel all started here!

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Atlantic Theater Club: The Welkin - begins May 16

Atlantic Theater Company's Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Chelsea

Previews begin May 16. Opens June 12. Closes June 30.

Tony-nominated playwright Lucy Kirkwood (The Children) penned The Welkin, about a young woman in 18th-century England who tries to avoid a death sentence by claiming to be pregnant. A dozen other women are gathered to suss out the truth. Saran Benson (Teeth) directs this darkly comic play about democracy with an ensemble cast led by Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy, Killing Eve).

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Atlantic Theater Company: What Became of Us - May 17

Atlantic Stage 2, 330 West 16th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues

Previews begin May 17. Opens June 4. Closes June 29.

Shayan Lofti makes his Off-Broadway playwriting debut with What Became of Us, a two-hander about the relationship between two immigrant siblings, one born in the old country, the other in the US. As per Lofti's wishes, this world premiere is being performed by two casts, Rosalind Chao and Tony winner BD Wong, and Shohreh Aghdashloo and Tony winner Tony Shalhoub, to offer different takes on the diasporic experience. You can't go wrong with either pairing, but if you can't choose, both casts will perform in succession June 11-13.

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Brits Off Broadway: Chopped Liver & Unions - begins May 22

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

Previews begin May 22. Opens May 25. Closes June 7.

Lottie Walker plays London trade union organizer Sara Wesker in Chopped Liver & Unions, produced by Blue Fire Theatre Co. as part of Brits Off Broadway. J.J. Leppink's one-woman play celebrates her accomplishments in the 1930s, including participating in the Battle of Cable Street.

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Brits Off Broadway: Watson: The Final Problem - begins May 22

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

Previews begin May 22. Opens May 25. Closes June 9.

Another Brits Off Broadway solo show, cowritten and performed by Tim Marriott, Watson: The Final Problem shares the untold story of Sherlock Holmes' famous sidekick as he spills long-bured secrets. Cowriter Tim Marriott also directs.

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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.