11 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend
Our guide to plays and musicals coming to New York stages and a few last-chance picks of shows that are about to close. Our reviews of open shows are at nytimes.com/reviews/theater.
Previews and Openings
‘ALICE BY HEART’ at the Newman Mills Theater at the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space (previews start on Jan. 30; opens on Feb. 26). Curiouser and curiouser. For MCC, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, creators of the beloved rock ’n’ roll weepy “Spring Awakening,” have teamed with Jessie Nelson of “Waitress” for a riff on “Alice in Wonderland,” set during the London Blitz. Molly Gordon stars as the girl gone down the rabbit hole.
‘BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK’ at the Pershing Square Signature Center (previews start on Jan. 29; opens on Feb. 19). The Signature revives Lynn Nottage’s incisive, underrated, time-skipping comedy of race and fame. Set in golden age Hollywood and in less lustrous decades, too, the play examines stardom and the stories we tell about the icons we love. Kamilah Forbes’s production stars Jessica Frances Dukes.
‘FREESTYLE LOVE SUPREME’ at Greenwich House Theater (previews start on Jan. 30; opens on Feb. 12). It’s one thing to say, “Yes and …” But can you say it to a beat? And make it rhyme? This improvised hip-hop show, an early creation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail, returns for a month or two of ad-libbed rap. Joining the regular crew are occasional guest stars including Miranda, Daveed Diggs and Christopher Jackson.
‘GOD SAID THIS’ at the Cherry Lane Theater (in previews; opens on Jan. 29). A companion play to Leah Nanako Winkler’s “Kentucky,” this Primary Stages piece finds a New Yorker, Hiro, returning to her old Kentucky home, braving her newly sober father, her born-again sister and her ailing mother. Morgan Gould directs, with Satomi Blair, Ako and Jay Patterson revisiting their roles.
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
‘JOAN’ at Here (in previews; opens on Jan. 27). Having worked up a lather in “Sweat,” the ferocious Johanna Day has returned to the stage in this new play by Stephen Belber (“Tape,” “Match”). For Colt Coeur, Adrienne Campbell-Holt directs a story of an American everywoman. Adam Harrington and Marjan Neshat also star.
‘THE SHADOW OF A GUNMAN’ at the Irish Repertory Theater (previews start on Jan. 30; opens on Feb. 12). Sean O’Casey, a great playwright of the Anglo-Irish renaissance, is reborn, courtesy of the Irish Rep. It will present all three of his major plays, beginning with this 1923 tragicomedy, directed by Ciaran O’Reilly. Set in the Dublin slums, it centers on a poet who perilously resembles an I.R.A. soldier.
‘SUPERHERO’ at the Tony Kiser Theater at Second Stage Theater (previews start on Jan. 31; opens on Feb. 28). Why borrow a cup of sugar when you can cadge a pinch of something more extraordinary. In this new musical from the “Next to Normal” composer Tom Kitt, with a book by John Logan, a widow and her teenage son befriend a peculiar neighbor. Kyle McArthur, Kate Baldwin and Bryce Pinkham star, with musical staging by Lorin Latarro and direction by Jason Moore.
‘AMERICAN SON’ at the Booth Theater (closes on Jan. 27). Christopher Demos-Brown’s play, about a mother waiting in a Florida police station for news of her missing son, ends its vigil. Jesse Green described this drama, directed by Kenny Leon and anchored by Kerry Washington’s “great performance,” as “not a subtle play” and “more like a slice of a nightmare.”
‘BEHIND THE SHEET’ at Ensemble Studio Theater (closes on Feb. 10). Charly Evon Simpson’s moving drama, about a controversial gynecologist, has only a few appointments remaining. Colette Robert directs a drama inspired by J. Marion Sims, a physician who made his breakthroughs by experimenting on unanesthetized slave women. Ben Brantley wrote, “‘Behind the Sheet’ may be a quiet play. But its echoes are thunderous.”
THE BIG APPLE CIRCUS at Damrosch Park (closes on Jan. 27). Soon this circus will pull up its stakes, and the aerialists, the acrobats, the clowns, the horses, a chic poodle and an unspeakably adorable pig will take their final bows. If this year’s incarnation is a little less highflying than some, it is also good hearted, pleasure minded and a total delight.
‘THE WAVERLY GALLERY’ at the John Golden Theater (closes on Jan. 27). Kenneth Lonergan’s wrenching play about a family fractured by memory loss finishes its run. Directed by Lila Neugebauer, it stars Lucas Hedges, Michael Cera and Elaine May, who, Ben Brantley wrote, “turns out to be just the star to nail the rhythms, the comedy and the pathos.” Want to see more of May? Film Forum is hosting a tribute to her movies as part of Far-Out in the 70s: A New Wave of Comedy.
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