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Your Broadway Fall Preview! 2018 Edition

Date: Sep 07, 2018

A guide to 17 upcoming (or recently opened) productions

Although the 2018-2019 Broadway season officially began when The Boys in the Band opened back in June, it kicks into high gear this fall with 15 new productions bowing on the boards. (We've also included two that opened over the summer and are still running.) As usual, autumn is play heavy, with lauded London imports such as Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman and Tony winner Bryan Cranston in Network; Second Stage's Off-Broadway transfer of Torch Song with Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl; and brand-new productions headlined by stars like Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer and Kerry Washington. But there are a few monster musicals, too, notably King Kong and The Cher Show. Our guide helps you navigate what's coming.

NOTE: Within each category, shows are listed in first preview date order.


Head Over Heels
Hudson Theatre, 139-141 West 44th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue

Already open. Open run.

Even as jukebox musicals go this one's pretty kooky, with '80s pop-rock hits by the Go-Go's incorporated into a Renaissance-set, LGBTQ-infused rom-com told in a rhyming verse. Tony-winning director Michael Mayer keeps the action fast and funny, and elicits exuberant performances from his diverse cast, especially Broadway newbies Peppermint (the first transwoman to originate a principal role on the Main Stem) and the bodacious Bonnie Milligan. TDF member tickets are available as of this writing!


Pretty Woman: The Musical
Nederlander Theatre, 208 West 41st Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues

Already open. Open run.

Fans of the eponymous Juila Roberts-Richard Gere movie have turned this tuner into the first sellout of the season. The book (cowritten by the film's late director, Garry Marshall, and its original screenwriter, J.F. Lawton) recreates all of the movie's famous lines and sequences as the cast croons new songs by Canadian rocker Bryan Adams. Tony winner Jerry Mitchell directs three-time Tony nominee Andy Karl as a workaholic corporate raider who falls for a smart and sassy L.A. prostitute, played by Samantha Barks in her Broadway debut. Definitely best for those who feel nostalgic for the 1990 original.


King Kong
Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway at 53rd Street

Previews start October 5. Opens November 8. Open run.

The title oversize gorilla invades NYC once again, although this time he's traded the Empire State Building for Broadway. This long-gestating musical spectacle originated in Australia and features a book by Tony-winning Harry Potter and the Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne, direction by Olivier winner Drew McOnie and a cast of 26. But humans aren't the attraction here; the monster at the center of this musical is clearly the star: a one-ton, two-story animatronic puppet that's absolutely jaw-dropping.


The Prom
Longacre Theatre, 220 West 48th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

Previews start October 23. Opens November 15. Open run.

When a handful of Broadway also-rans (including Tony winner Beth Leavel, and Tony nominees Brooks Ashmanskas and Christopher Sieber) discover a small-town prom is discriminating against a lesbian couple, they decide to crash the protest as a PR stunt. The musical earned solid reviews during its 2016 world premiere at Atlanta's Alliance Theater thanks to its Broadway gag-filled book by Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Chad Beguelin (Disney's Aladdin), comedic songs by Matthew Sklar and Beguelin, and high-spirited staging by Tony-winning director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw.


The Cher Show
Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

Previews start November 1. Opens December 3. Open run.

Move over Donna Summer -- there's a new diva bio-musical coming to town. The Cher Show uses her chart-topping hits to chronicle her multifaceted career as rock goddess, TV star and Oscar-winning actress, with three performers (Micaela Diamond, Teal Wicks and two-time Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block) channeling the icon at different ages. Expect lots of glam, glitter and Bob Mackie -- not only is the fabulous designer making the costumes, Tony nominee Michael Berresse plays him as a character in the show!




American Airlines Theatre, 227 West 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues

In previews. Opens September 25. Closes November 11.

Tony winner Janet McTeer returns to Broadway as legendary French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt, who broke gender barriers by playing Hamlet back in the late 19th century. Produced by Roundabout Theatre Company, Theresa Rebeck's historical dramedy about an ambitious artist who refused to be limited by her sex is directed by Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel.


The Nap
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 West 47th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

In previews. Opens September 27. Closes November 11.

Manhattan Theatre Club presents the U.S. premiere of this farce penned by One Man, Two Guvnors playwright Richard Bean. When a hotshot snooker player arrives at a championship tournament, he gets mixed up with a cast of eccentric characters, all while they play the pool-like game in real time. Tony-winning director Daniel Sullivan makes sure lowbrow high jinks ensue. TDF member tickets are available as of this writing!


The Lifespan of a Fact
Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

Previews start September 20. Opens October 18. Closes January 13, 2019.

Daniel Radcliffe, two-time Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale and two-time Tony winner Cherry Jones star in this world-premiere drama inspired by the book of the same name. When a young magazine fact checker is assigned to go over an essay by a famous author, it quickly becomes clear that the two have very different definitions of fact and fiction. Directed by Tony nominee Leigh Silverman, The Lifespan of a Fact is a timely conversation starter in this #FakeNews era.


The Waverly Gallery
John Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

Previews start September 25. Opens October 25. Closes January 27, 2019.

Originally seen Off-Broadway 18 years ago, Kenneth Lonergan's play about a feisty Greenwich Village grandma battling Alzheimer's comes to the Main Stem with Elaine May in the lead. As she grapples with the inevitable loss of her independence, it impacts everyone in her orbit, especially her grandson, played by Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges in his Broadway debut. Tony winner Joan Allen, Lonergan regular Michael Cera and Tony-winning Band's Visit director David Cromer in his return to acting round out the cast.


The Ferryman
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W 45th St between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

Previews start October 2. Opens October 21. Closes July 7, 2019.

Jez Butterworth's critically acclaimed, Olivier-winning, three-hour epic comes direct from its London engagement with most of its cast of 30 intact. Directed by Sam Mendes, who also won an Olivier for his work, the drama is set during Ireland's Troubles as the Carney family's annual harvest is upended by an unexpected guest. The buzz on this play, which fuses the personal with the political, is almost deafening.


American Son
Booth Theatre, 222 West 45th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

Previews start October 6. Opens November 4. Closes January 27, 2019.

In a very white fall season, playwright Christopher Demos-Brown's Broadway debut stands out for tackling our country's race problems head-on. An estranged interracial couple (Scandal star Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale) confronts their differences, fears and prejudices while searching for their missing teenage son at a Florida police station. Tony winner Kenny Leon directs this thought-provoking drama.


Torch Song
Helen Hayes Theatre, 240 West 44th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues

Previews start October 9. Opens November 1. Closes January 6, 2019.

Harvey Fierstein's Tony-winning play about a '70s NYC drag queen looking for love returns to Broadway in a streamlined Second Stage production that earned rave reviews Off-Broadway last season. Michael Urie stars as the adorably neurotic Arnold Beckoff while Tony and Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl plays his overbearing Jewish mama. Although it's a period piece, Arnold's journey of self-discovery remains fresh, relatable and fiercely funny.


To Kill a Mockingbird
Shubert Theatre, 225 West 44th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues

Previews start November 1. Opens December 13. Open run. 

Aaron Sorkin's adaptation of Harper Lee's novel sparked drama before it ever hit the stage with a lawsuit that almost derailed the production. But now that it's settled, the show will go on with two-time Tony nominee Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch and three-time Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger as his daughter, Scout. The supporting cast also includes Tony nominees Stark Sands and LaTanya Richardson Jackson who help bring this classic to life under the guidance of Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher.


Belasco Theatre, 111 West 44th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues

Previews start November 10. Opens December 6. Closes March 17, 2019.

Tony-winning director Ivo van Hove's multimedia translation of the landmark 1976 film won Bryan Cranston an Olivier during its London run. Now the drama about a news anchor who melts down on television and becomes a national hero is coming to Broadway. Although the source material is more than 40 years old, it feels eerily current. So many people in media (and beyond) seem mad as hell these days. Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany costars.


The Illusionists - Magic of the Holidays
Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway at 46th Street

Starts November 23. Closes December 30.

Nope, you're not seeing things. This Vegas-style magic revue returns for the holidays with mentalists, sleight-of-hand masters, dare devils and tricksters. Always a fun option for families if your kid's over Radio City.


Choir Boy
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 West 47th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

Previews start December 12. Opens January 8, 2019. Closes TBD.

Years before Tarell Alvin McCraney won an Oscar for his Moonlight screenplay, theatre critics were singing his praises for Choir Boy Off-Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club. Now this gospel-infused play about a gifted black prep student who marches to his own drummer arrives on Broadway. Casting is still in progress, but Tony winner Chuck Cooper and Austin Pendleton will be reprising their roles.


True West
American Airlines Theatre, 227 West 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues

Previews start December 27. Opens January 24, 2019. Closes TBD.

Sam Shepard's seminal play about a pair of warring brothers is revived by Roundabout Theatre Company. Tony winner Ethan Hawke plays Lee, a volatile drifter opposite Paul Dano's Hollywood screenwriter Austin. Sparks, and pieces of a smashed up typewriter, are sure to fly.


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