New York is not just the city that never sleeps; it’s also the city where theater constantly evolves, bringing enrapt audiences new and exciting offerings on an ever-changing basis. So, since you’re in town, why not take advantage of seeing some of the world’s greatest talents on a variety of local stages (and not just Broadway). Here’s a peek at just a few of the great shows that you can enjoy now—and look forward to on your next trip to the Big Apple!
“Sea Wall / A Life” (Hudson Theatre, currently playing thru Sept. 29): These two one-act monologues illuminate the highs and lows of life and death—admittedly, not always in the cheeriest fashion—but a chance to see the magnificent performances of Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge simply shouldn’t be missed.
“Betrayal” (Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, currently playing thru Dec. 8): British heartthrobs and Marvel faves Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Cox join Zawe Ashton in the latest Broadway revival of Harold Pinter’s devastating tale—cleverly told backward—about a marriage torn apart by infidelity and the perils of close friendship.
“Bat Out of Hell–The Musical” (New York City Center, currently playing thru Sept. 8): The songs of rock-music legend Meat Loaf provide the soundtrack for this musical about a passionate love affair between two rebellious young people. Andrew Polec, Christina Bennington and Tony Award winner Lena Hall lead the ultra-talented cast.
“Hercules” (Delacorte Theater in Central Park, Aug. 31–Sept. 8): The Public Theater’s Public Works program, in which members of local community groups perform alongside Broadway professionals, has proven to be a consistently delightful experience. Excitement runs particularly high for this stage adaptation of the 1997 Disney animated film, with a score by Tony Award winners Alan Menken and David Zippel.
“Derren Brown: Secret” (Cort Theatre, previews begin Sept. 6): Prepare to have your mind blown—perhaps even literally—as Brown, one of the world’s most renowned mentalists, teases and tantalizes Broadway audiences with his ability to perform one-of-a-kind illusions and burrow into your brain!
“The Great Society” (Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center, previews begin Sept. 6): Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Schenkkan’s long-aborning sequel to his Tony Award-winning “All the Way” looks into the last months of the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. The extraordinary Brian Cox takes on the role of the feisty Texan alongside Emmy winner Richard Thomas (forever in our hearts as John-Boy Walton) as Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
“Slave Play” (Golden Theatre, previews begin Sept. 10): One of last season’s biggest Off-Broadway successes, Jeremy O. Harris’ consistently provocative, sometimes shocking and deeply thought-provoking play about race relations—both historical and present-day—moves uptown, ready to grab theatergoers by the throat and never let go.
“The Height of the Storm” (Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, previews begin Sept. 10): Is there any reason to pass up seeing two of the world’s greatest actors, Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce, share the same stage in Florian Zeller’s acclaimed new play? In a word, no.
“Freestyle Love Supreme” (Booth Theatre, previews begin Sept. 13): This unique, improvised hip-hop musical is different every night, but always leaves audiences wanting more. Plus, you never know who might take the stage, as the core cast is
often joined by special guests—including the show’s co-creator and co-producer, Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton”).
“The Rose Tattoo” (American Airlines Theatre, previews begin Sept. 19): The brilliant Marisa Tomei returns to the stage in this rare revival of Tennessee Williams’ Tony Award-winning comedy about an Italian widow, living on the Gulf Coast, who rediscovers her desire for love, lust and life when an unexpected suitor comes calling.
“Linda Vista” (Hayes Theatre, previews begin Sept. 19): The first of two Broadway plays this season by Pulitzer and Tony winner Tracy Letts (“August: Osage County”), this “brutal comedy” focuses on a 50-year-old divorced man trying to get his out-of-control life back on track.
“The Inheritance” (Barrymore Theatre, previews begin Sept. 27): Already being hailed as the “event” of the season, Matthew Lopez’s two-part, epic drama—inspired by E.M. Forster’s 1910 novel “Howards End”—focuses on how a group of present-day gay men in New York City struggle to connect to the past while living in the present.
Planning another trip later this fall? Here are several shows that will have you rearrange your itinerary and make a detour to NYC.
• “David Byrne’s American Utopia” (Hudson Thetare, previews begin Oct. 4): The former leader of rock supergroup Talking Heads has created an unusual theatrical concert. Always-inventive Alex Timbers (“Beetlejuice,” “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”) is production consultant and choreography is by Annie-B Parsons.
• “Tina” (Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, previews begin Oct. 12): The life—and more importantly, the music—of R&B goddess Tina Turner struts across the stage in this London import, featuring a sensational performance by former Tony nominee Adrienne Warren in the title role.
• “Cyrano” (Daryl Roth Theatre, performances begin Oct. 12): Emmy Award winner (for “Game of Thrones”) Peter Dinklage makes a long-awaited return to the stage in this new musical presented by the New Group. Naturally, he’s the lovestruck title character, who enlists a better-looking (if less bright) comrade to plead his case with a beautiful woman.
• “Jagged Little Pill” (Broadhurst Theatre, previews begin Nov. 3): A smash hit in Boston, this new musical is inspired by the themes and emotions of singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette’s Grammy Award-winning album, which contains such hits as “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know.” You oughta go!
• “Evita” (New York City Center, Nov. 13–24): Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s acclaimed rock opera about the former first lady of Argentina, Eva Peron, and her relationships with husband Juan and revolutionary Che Guevara makes a rare return to the New York stage.