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Ten tuneful shows for grown-ups and families
Broadway isn't the only destination for exciting musicals. In fact, many Tony-winning Broadway tuners actually started out on smaller NYC stages, including Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown and Hamilton. Over the next few months Off Broadway, you can catch brand-new musicals from three Pulitzer Prize winners, a pair of song-filled puppet shows for young audiences, and the latest over-the-top creation from writer, performer and drag icon Taylor Mac. Who knows? Some of these promising productions may earn you bragging rights one day!
In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, all of these shows require theatregoers to provide proof of being fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine. If you plan to attend with a child ages 5 to 11 who is not yet fully vaccinated, rules vary, but venues typically require a recent negative COVID-19 test or proof of at least one dose of vaccine. Check each listing for additional details. Masks are also mandatory for all.
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The York Theatre at Theatre at St. Jean's, 150 East 76th Street near Lexington Avenue in Midtown East
Begins November 24. Closes January 2, 2022.
Four-time Tony nominee Randy Skinner (42nd Street, Ain't Broadway Grand) directs and choreographs this musical revue featuring iconic Irving Berlin songs from classic movies such as Top Hat, Holiday Inn, Easter Parade and White Christmas. The York Theatre Company excels at these old-fashioned evenings and we're thrilled that the troupe has found a temporary home at the Theatre at St. Jean's while its permanent venue is repaired post-flood. There's no business like show business!
The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street near Astor Place in the East Village
Runs through December 5. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Tony winner David Hyde Pierce (Curtains, Hello, Dolly!) headlines this new musical at The Public Theater about one man's awakening to the harsh realities of our nation's immigration laws. Written by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning team behind Next to Normal, along with Kwame Kwei-Armah, the show centers on a lonely widowed college professor who finds a sense of purpose helping a pair of undocumented immigrants fight to stay in the US. Daniel Sullivan directs this emotional tale, which costars Ahmad Maksoud and Alysha Deslorieux.
Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Chelsea
In previews. Opens December 8. Closes January 15, 2022. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire's bittersweet comedy Kimberly Akimbo was beloved by critics and audiences when it premiered Off Broadway almost two decades ago. Now he and his Shrek: The Musical collaborator Jeanine Tesori have turned this meditation on mortality into a musical for Atlantic Theater Company. Tony winner Victoria Clark stars as a teenager who's literally growing up too fast due to a rare disease—but that's the least of her problems. She's also forced to navigate family secrets, borderline personalities and possible felony charges in her quest for happiness before time runs out. Broadway vet Jessica Stone directs an ensemble cast that includes scene-stealers Bonnie Milligan (Head Over Heels) and Steven Boyer (Hand to God).
New Victory Theater, 209 West 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in Midtown West
Begins December 10. Closes December 26.
This family musical at the New Victory Theater will enchant elementary schoolers while stoking nostalgia in parents. Based on Muppet master Jim Henson's 1977 made-for-TV movie of the same name, this show centers on the poor but loving Emmet Otter and his mother, who both decide to enter a talent contest in the hope of winning prize money to buy each other Christmas gifts. It's a sweet story about following your dreams and being thankful for what you have, with songs by Paul Williams, direction and choreography by Tony winner Christopher Gattelli and eye-popping puppets courtesy of Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
Stage 42, 422 West 42nd Street at Dyer Avenue
Runs through December 19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Inspired by the Oscar-winning short film of the same name, Trevor centers on a theatrical, Diana Ross-obsessed 13-year-old boy who's grappling with his sexual orientation in 1981 Texas. Thirteen-year-old newcomer Holden William Hagelberger is superb in the title role, a triple threat who also breaks your heart when the breezy first act gives way to a darker second half that explores the impact of bullying on an adolescent outcast. At the risk of spoilers, it's ultimately an upbeat story about embracing who you are. Written by Dan Collins and Julianne Wick Davis, who previously adapted another landmark LGBTQ movie for the stage, Southern Comfort, Trevor is directed with verve by Marc Bruni and perfect for teens.
Lincoln Center Theater, Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, 150 West 65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue
Previews begin January 13, 2022. Opens January 31, 2022. Closes March 6, 2022.
Based on Lynn Nottage's eponymous play about a lonely African-American seamstress searching for love and fulfillment in turn-of-the-20th-century New York, Intimate Apparel marks Lincoln Center Theater's first-ever opera. Composer Ricky Ian Gordon actually approached the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner about transforming her script into a sung-through piece, and Tony winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, My Fair Lady) directs.
The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street between Dyer and Tenth Avenues in Midtown West
Previews January 20, 2022. Opens February 15, 2022. Closes February 27, 2022.
A prescient 90-year-old Afrofuturist novel becomes the urgent new musical Black No More at The New Group. George S. Schuyler's 1931 Harlem Renaissance-set tale centers on Max Disher (Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon), a Black man who's intrigued by a mysterious procedure that can turn him white, which is being marketed as a solution to America's race problem. This thought-provoking production features a book by Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley, songs by Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter from The Roots, who costars, and choreography by Tony winner Bill T. Jones. Scott Elliott directs a cast that includes Broadway vets Lillias White, Walter Bobbie and Jennifer Damiano.
HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Avenue at Dominick Street in Soho
Begins January 20, 2022. Closes March 6, 2022.
All patrons must wear KN95 or KF94 masks. If you don't have one, one will be provided for free. As of January 31, proof of booster shot also required. Click here for more details.
Taylor Mac's last song-filled extravaganza, the fabulous 24-hour epic A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. So we're excited to sing the praises of his latest musical creation The Hang, which is premiering at HERE. With a book and lyrics by Mac and music by his frequent collaborator Matt Ray, the show imagines a gathering around Socrates' deathbed, a queer celebration of virtue replete with food, jazz, dance and debates that resonate through history. Niegel Smith directs this communion of iconoclasts, which features jaw-dropping outfits by Mac's longtime costumer Machine Dazzle.
Museum of Jewish Heritage, Edmond J. Safra Hall, 36 Battery Place near First Place in Battery Park City
Begins January 27, 2022. Closes February 6, 2022.
Ricky Ian Gordon is having a busy winter! In addition to Intimate Apparel, he's premiering a second English-language opera this January: The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, a coproduction between New York City Opera and National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Inspired by Giorgio Bassani's eponymous 1962 novel, which also served as the basis for the Oscar-winning Italian film of the same name, the World War II-set show centers on the members of a privileged Italian-Jewish family, who believe they won't be impacted by the rise of the Nazis. As they tend to their luxurious garden, they remain willfully ignorant of the danger growing just outside their walls. Michael Korie (Grey Gardens, Flying Over Sunset) penned the libretto.
Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues in Midtown West
Runs through January 30, 2022.
Jonathan Rockefeller is a whiz at translating kid-lit classics from the page to the stage. His previous puppet musicals for young audiences include The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Paddington Gets in a Jam. For Winnie the Pooh, he's working with Disney Theatrical Productions, so the design, vocal performances and songs are lifted directly from animated movies by the House of Mouse, not A. A. Milne's original books. But to misquote Pooh, that's no bother. It's an hour-long series of charming adventures, a perfect first-time theater experience (or first time back at the theater experience!) for children ages 3 to 9. Bonus: The production provides free on-site rapid COVID-19 testing before the show for unvaccinated young ones.
Top image: Holden William Hagelberger and Sammy Dell in Trevor: A New Musical, currently playing at Stage 42. Photo by Joan Marcus.
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