13 Shows to See Off Broadway in October
By RAVEN SNOOK
Wednesday, September 29, 2021  •  
Wed Sep 29, 2021  •  
Off-Broadway  •   0 comments Share This

A baker's dozen of promising productions, including two new musicals, a starry comedy and the return of an old favorite

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Everyone is well aware that Broadway is open for business. But so are stages beyond Broadway. This October, the Off Broadway fall season kicks into high gear with the premieres of two pandemic-delayed musicals, one starring David Hyde Pierce; a zany new comedy by Douglas Carter Beane; the return of The Play That Goes Wrong and a hilarious dissection of Broadway from show-tune savant Seth Rudetsky. For a comprehensive overview of everything bowing beyond Broadway this October, browse the listings in TDF's Show Finder.

In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, all of these productions require theatregoers to provide proof of being fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine. If you plan to attend with a child under 12 who is too young to be vaccinated, check the show's website for info on providing a negative COVID-19 test. Masks are also mandatory.

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

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Audible Theater: The Fever - October 8

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

Starts October 8. Closes October 24. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Indie film darling Lili Taylor stars in a new production of Wallace Shawn's one-person play The Fever about a well-to-do American tourist who has a crisis of conscience and health while visiting a war-torn country. The experience leaves her reeling as she interrogates her own complicity in the world's inequities. Although The Fever may sound ripped from the op-ed pages, Shawn premiered this piece back in 1990, performing it in friends' living rooms and, eventually, at The Public Theater. The New Group revived it with Shawn in 2007, and the company is co-producing this limited engagement with Audible Theater, who will record Taylor's performance for a future audio play release. Taylor and Shawn are longtime collaborators on stage, with the actress winning an Obie Award for her devastating performance in the 2004 revival of his play Aunt Dan and Lemon. New Group artistic director, Scott Elliott, helms this harrowing and hallucinatory piece—he directed the 2007 production as well.

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Signature Theatre Company: Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 - October 12

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

Previews October 12. Opens November 1. Closes November 14.

Off Broadway's Signature Theatre Company was in the middle of a season honoring the work of Anna Deavere Smith when the pandemic hit. This fall, the company continues its celebration of the playwright's work with a reimagined production of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 about the LA uprising, which was precipitated by the acquittal of white police officers who had beaten an unarmed Black man named Rodney King almost to death. After interviewing more than 350 people both directly and tangentially connected to the unrest, Smith created a collage of disparate voices and perspectives which she channeled in her original one-woman production. For this new mounting directed by Taibi Magar, a diverse ensemble shares their fierce words and clashing views.

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Gingold Theatrical Group: Mrs. Warren's Profession - October 12

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

Previews October 12. Opens October 27. Closes November 20. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Master George Bernard Shaw interpreter David Staller directs a revival of the playwright's provocative 1893 comedy Mrs. Warren's Profession, which was banned in London for decades and ran just one night on Broadway in 1905, resulting in obscenity charges! In an era when women had no legal rights and few prospects beyond marriage, Mrs. Warren (Tony winner Karen Ziemba) has made a fortune and some powerful friends running an international string of high-class brothels. But she's kept her profession hidden from her daughter, Vivie, who's just graduated from university. When the truth is revealed, it rocks both their worlds and their relationships. Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli costars as Mrs. Warren's lecherous business partner.

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Manhattan Theatre Club: Morning Sun - October 12

MTC Stage I at City Center, 131 West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin October 12. Opens November 3. Closes December 5.

Tony-winning dramatist Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Sea Wall, Heisenberg) is known for writing delicate plays that explore the unique lives of ordinary people. Morning Sun chronicles a trio of such souls over 60 years, as a grandmother, mother and daughter share the same Greenwich Village walk-up and question their choices. Attention must be paid to these ladies, especially since they're portrayed by three exceptional performers: Blair Brown, Edie Falco and Marin Ireland. Lila Neugebauer directs this Manhattan Theatre Club production.

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The Public Theater: The Visitor - October 16

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

Previews October 16. Opens November 4. Closes November 28.

After a pandemic delay, this musical based on the indie movie of the same name finally premieres at The Public Theater. Written by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning team behind Next to Normal, along with Kwame Kwei-Armah, the show follows a lonely college professor (Tony winner David Hyde Pierce) who finds a sense of purpose helping a pair of undocumented immigrants fight to stay in the U.S. Daniel Sullivan directs this moving tale, which costars Alysha Deslorieux and Jacqueline Antaramian.

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Fairycakes - October 14

Greenwich House Theatre, 27 Barrow Street near Varick Street in the West Village

Previews October 14. Opens TBD. Closes January 2, 2022. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Written and directed by Tony nominee Douglas Carter Beane (The Little Dog Laughed, The Nance, As Bees in Honey Drown), Fairycakes has a cast so uproarious, you may crack up just from reading their names! Veteran scene-stealers Jackie Hoffman, Ann Harada, Arnie Burton and Julie Halston headline this comedic mash-up of A Midsummer Night's Dream and old-world fables, with familiar fairy tale characters wreaking havoc in that magical forest. This probably won't need pixie dust to enchant.

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Seth's Broadway Breakdown - October 15

Asylum NYC, 307 West 26th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Chelsea

Starts October 15. Closes November 7. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Throughout the pandemic, writer, performer, musical director and Broadway superfan Seth Rudetsky kept theatre lovers entertained and optimistic with his nightly Stars in the House YouTube variety show. Now he's back on stage in a riotous one-man show that's both an appreciation and an analysis of what's awesome (and awful) about Broadway musicals. I saw a press preview of this jubilant evening in September and it's full of fabulous stories (Rudetsky is seemingly BFFs with every Broadway diva), fascinating trivia and a thoughtful parsing of why we love Broadway so much, flaws and all. A must for musical lovers!

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The Play That Goes Wrong - October 15

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

Resumes performances October 15. Open run. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

NYC's longest-running farce returns! A hit in London and on Broadway that's now ensconced at New World Stages, this slapstick-filled comedy centers on an inept college drama club doing a catastrophic performance of a '20s murder mystery. The title tells you everything you need to know—it's a meticulously choreographed disaster featuring falling sets, intentionally awful acting and laugh-out-loud lowbrow humor.

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Morning's at Seven - October 20

Theatre at Saint Clement's, 423 West 46th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin October 20. Opens November 4. Closes January 9, 2022 . If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

An incredible cast of Broadway veterans breathes new life into Paul Osborn's '20s-set comedy about four small-town sexagenarian sisters whose life-long issues finally come to a head. Lindsay Crouse, Alma Cuervo, Patty McCormack and two-time Tony winner Judith Ivey play the squabbling siblings, and Dan Lauria, Tony Roberts and Tony winner John Rubinstein costar in this rarely revived chestnut.

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MCC Theater: Nollywood Dreams - October 21

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

Previews begin October 21. Opens November 11. Closes November 28. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

Playwright Jocelyn Bioh is having quite the year. Her exuberant adaptation of Merry Wives of Windsor was a critically acclaimed hit at Shakespeare in the Park. Now she's returning to MCC Theater, which produced her award-winning School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, with the new comedy Nollywood Dreams. Set in the '90s in Nigeria's booming film industry, the play centers on an aspiring actress whose big break comes with lots of drama. Saheem Ali, who directed Merry Wives, helms this feel-good romp about daring to dream big.

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New York Theatre Workshop: Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord - October 25

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

Previews October 25. Opens November 4. Closes November 21.

This past May, performance artist and activist Kristina Wong presented a virtual edition of this solo satire detailing how she launched a homemade face mask empire during the pandemic. Now she brings this poignant play to New York Theatre Workshop's stage, sharing how she enlisted friends, family (even her own mother!) and strangers to craft PPE for our under-resourced health care system during a crisis, creating a tight-knit community in the process. A hilarious and heartfelt critique of America's failings and our reliance on women of color for labor. Chay Yew directs.

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Trevor: A New Musical - October 25

Stage 42, 422 West 42nd Street at Dyer Avenue

Previews begin October 25. Opens November 10. Closes April 17, 2022. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

After a pandemic delay, this musicalization of Celeste Lecesne's Oscar-winning short of the same name arrives Off Broadway. The uplifting story of a theatrical 13-year-old boy grappling with his sexual orientation in 1981, the show is written by Dan Collins and Julianne Wick Davis, who previously adapted another landmark LGBTQ movie for the stage: Southern Comfort. Thirteen-year-old newcomer Holden William Hagelberger from Sugarland, Texas stars as the title character.

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Theatre for a New Audience: Gnit - October 30

Polonsky Shakespeare Center, 262 Ashland Place in Brooklyn

Previews begin October 30. Opens November 7. Closes November 21. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.

After a pandemic delay, Will Eno's modern-day reinvention of Ibsen's Peer Gynt bows at Brooklyn's Theatre for a New Audience. The iconoclastic playwright (Thom Pain (based on nothing), The Realistic Joneses) and his frequent director Oliver Butler team up for this witty, pun-filled play about a coddled young man who goes out into the world hoping for greatness but discovers there are loftier goals.

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Top image: The 2020 Off Broadway cast of The Play That Goes Wrong. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

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

TDF MEMBERS: Go here to browse our latest discounts for dance, theatre and concerts.




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