By Ellis Nassour
Does contemplating all the new and revived works on Broadway this Fall with stellar casts, writers, and directors put a gleam in your eyes? As Sondheim wrote for West Side Story (on its way back to Broadway in 2020), “Could be? Who knows?” Theatergoers will decide, but based on the first half of the new season, it appears Broadway will be loaded with must-sees.
Sea Wall/A Life
Now through September 29th
Tony winner Simon Stephens and Olivier nominee Nick Payne’s acclaimed play, described as “a heart-filled exploration of the beauty of life, how sons become fathers, and the transformative power of love.” Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Tony nominee Tom Sturridge had audiences roaring at the Public early this year as they took them on a journey in two linked (45 minute) monologues contemplating and confronting “birth, trauma, death, and the unknowable.”
Bernard Jacobs Theatre
Following its smash extended run shattering West End box office records, Harold Pinter’s 1978 play is revived. Loaded with poetic precision, humor, and emotional force. It follows the old axiom: Every betrayal begins with trust. Here, it’s the disintegration of a seven-year romance and marriage—told in reverse order. Olivier and Golden Globe honoree Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager) heads the cast along with Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox.
The Old South lives on in the plantation of cotton fields with workers toiling to the crack of the whip. In its Off-Broadway premiere at New York Theatre Workshop, Jeremy O. Harris’ play, directed by Robert O’Hara, became the most talked about play of the year, garnering intense critical acclaim and stunning audiences with its unflinching examination of race and sex. Harris was hailed as “one of the most promising playwrights of his generation.” The New York Times critic called it “the single most daring thing I’ve seen in theater in a long time.”
Freestyle Love Supreme
Before there was Hamilton and In the Heights, there was this hip-hop, improvisational comedy co-written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda. Performers and guest stars such as Miranda, Christopher Jackson, Daveed Diggs and James Monroe Iglehart will expect the unexpected as audience members spin them into riffs and musical numbers.
The Sound Inside
Roundabout’s Studio 54
Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe winner Mary-Louise Parker will star as a successful author and tenured professor dying of cancer who befriends a young student in Williamstown Theatre Festival’s 2018 dark suspense drama by writer, musician, screenwriter and film director Adam Rapp (his 2006 Red Light Winter was a Pulitzer finalist). Directing is David Cromer (The Band’s Visit, The Waverly Gallery revival).
Second Stage/Helen Hayes Theatre
Steppenwolf’s production of Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner Tracy Letts (August: Osage County’s) play is “a brutally comedic look at a 50-year-old divorcee played by Ian Barford (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) in the throes of a mid-life spiral on a path toward self-discovery attempting to reconcile the man he has become with the man he wants to be.
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Following an Off-Broadway run, 2018 national tour, and recent Boston run, Joe Tracz (Be More Chill) and Rob Rokicki’s action-packed musical returns to New York. It’s based on Rick Riordan’s 2005 New York Times best-selling novel of bedtime stories about Jackson, a son of Poseidon, and his quest to find Zeus’ lightning bolt to prevent a war between the Greek gods. It and subsequent sequels sold more than 175 million copies internationally.
Matthew Lopez’s touching and wickedly hilarious play, inspired by E. M. Forster’s Howards End and staged in two parts (each over three hours) garnered rapturous reviews on the West End—termed by one critic as “perhaps the most important American play of this century.” It won Best Play, Actor (Kyle Soller), and Director (Stephen Daldry) awards, including Oliviers. Set at a gathering of New Yorkers, it gives “a panoramic view of gay life a generation after the height of the AIDS crisis.
The Great Society
Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre
Part Two of the LBJ plays by Robert Schenkkan (2014 Tony-winning Best Play, All the Way) takes place in an era that will define history forever. It captures Johnson’s passionate and aggressive presidency from his landslide election to the agonizing decision not to run for re-election. Veteran film/TV star and Golden Globe nominee Brian Cox, will portray LBJ with Tony nominee Bryce Pinkham as RFK. Co-starring are Richard Thomas, Tony winner Frank Wood, Tony nominee Mark Kudish and, in his Broadway debut, Grantham Coleman, as Martin Luther King Jr.
The Height Of The Storm
Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Powerhouse actors Tony winner Jonathan Pryce and Tony nominee Dame Eileen Atkins return to the New York stage, reprising their highly-praised portrayal of a couple looking back at 50 years of marriage, and realizing it may not be as perfect as expected. By French playwright Florian Zeller, according to London’s The Times, “the most exciting playwright of our time.” The translation is by Christopher Hampton (Les Liaisons Dangereuses).
The Rose Tattoo
Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre
Direct from the Williamstown Theatre Festival and returning for the first time in over 14 years, is Tennessee Williams’ 1951 Tony-winning Best Play. Oscar winner Marissa Tomei portrays fiery widow Serafina Delle Rose, a widow in a gossipy Gulf Coast town between New Orleans and Mobile who rekindles her desire for love, lust and life in the arms of a fiery truck driver, Alvaro, played by Emun Elliott (Marillion on Game of Thrones) in his Broadway debut.
After a sold-out, year-long critically acclaimed world tour, the funky concert by innovative pop/rock icon David Byrne (Here Lies Love) lands on Broadway. Billboard praised the 11 international artists for delivering “an experience unlike anything else.”
Tina—The Tina Turner Musical
Tony nominee Adrienne Warren (Shuffle Along…), who was hand-picked by Tina Turner and won huge acclaim in the hit West End production, reprises her role. The show sweeps audiences from Turner’s humble Tennessee beginnings, through her abusive marriage to Ike Turner to her ascension to the throne of the Queen of Rock—revealing the untold story of this legendary dynamo who’s become one of the world’s bestselling artists. Her 12 Grammys prove it!
Jagged Little Pill
Tony-winning director Diane Paulus (Waitress, Pippin revival, Porgy and Bess) helms this ingenious, acclaimed musical “about raw emotions laid bare” by rock legend (60 million albums) seven-time Grammy winner Alanis Morissette and six-time Grammy winner Glen Ballard with book by Oscar-winner Diablo Cody, inspired by Morissette’s hit record.