Once again, it’s shaping up to be another blockbuster theater season in NYC, featuring movie stars like Denzel Washington, TV stars like Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern, and Disney favorites like Frozen. New productions coming to Broadway and Off-Broadway in the 2017 - 2018 season, and those just opened, are an appealing mix of musicals, dramas and comedies.
Add one or more of these shows to your must-see theater going list:
Torch Song – This is an Off-Broadway revival of Torch Song Trilogy, which made Harvey Fierstein a theatrical force to be reckoned with. Three short plays follow drag performer Arnold Beckoff navigating the perilous waters of New York City in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Fierstein wrote and starred in the original 1982 Broadway run, which played an incredible 1,222 performances. Cast includes Michael Urie, who wowed audiences last season with his comic panache in The Government Inspector, stars, Michael Rosen (Dot), Jack DiFalco (Marvin’s Room), and Academy Award-winner Mercedes Ruehl. At Second Stage Theater.
M. Butterfly – Movie star Clive Owen leads the first revival of this 1988 show based on a true story about political intrigue, personal passion and sexual mystery set in Bejing’s diplomatic community about a man who falls for a beautiful female opera singer, or so he thinks. With gender a hot topic these days, you can expect a thought-provoking show as well as a visually stunning production helmed by The Lion King’s Julie Taymor, looking for a Broadway comeback with her first show since Spider-Man. The play was inspired by Madame Butterfly and has some snippets from the opera. Through Feb. 25th, at the Cort Theatre.
Time and the Conways – Elizabeth McGovern, who gained worldwide fame as Cora Crowley on Downton Abbey, returns to Broadway for the first time since 1992 in a drama that shares some elements of the iconic PBS series. The play, by J. B. Priestly, is set in the UK in the years between World War I and II, and follows the ups and downs of a wealthy British family. The show’s director, Rebecca Taichman, drew raves for her inventive staging of the Tony-nominated Indecent. At American Airlines Theatre, 227 We. 42nd St., through Nov. 26 only.
- Downton Abbey: The Exhibit opens in Midtown on Nov. 18th. See costumes, furnishings and more from the hit show.
SpongeBob SquarePants – Wave if you know Patchy the Pirate and Squidward. Bikini Bottom comes to Broadway, and life under the sea will never quite be the same. This new family-friendly musical features a human cast playing these well-known underwater characters. You can expect a fun-loving and eclectic song list by popstars like Cyndi Lauper and Steven Tyler, country superstars Lady Antebellum, jazzman John Legend and the late David Bowie. The show’s Chicago tryout last summer got positive reviews for its exuberant cast and clever take on the Nickelodeon TV show. At the Palace Theater, 1564 Broadway.
Latin History for Morons – Emmy winner John Leguizamo returns to Broadway in his original one-man riff, direct from his acclaimed engagements at The Public Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theater. Official opening on November 15, at Broadway’s Studio 54.
Carousel – The iconic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical returns with an all-star cast including Joshua Henry, Tony Award-winner Jessie Miller and Metropolitan Opera star Renee Fleming, choreographed by Justin Peck and directed by three-time Tony Award Winner Jack O’Brien. Previews begin Feb. 28th, at the Imperial Theater, with opening night set for April 12. The show opened originally in 1945 and ran for nearly 900 performances, with choreography by Agnes deMille, and starring John Raitt, father of folk singer Bonnie Raitt, as the carnival barker Billy Bigelow. The show includes the well-known songs “If I Loved You”, “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (which always reduces me to tears, no matter who sings it). Richard Rodgers later wrote that Carousel was his favorite of all his musicals. Preview tickets are as low as $59 from Telecharge.
The Parisian Woman – From the writer of Netflix’s House of Cards, Beau Willimon’s update of a French play from 1885 stars Uma Thurman in her Broadway debut, , along with Josh Lucas and Blair Brown. Set in the familiar territory of Washington DC’s conniving political world, Willimon had to rewrite the show after the 2016 election to reflect the current political reality. At the Hudson Theatre.
Farinelli and the King – Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Steven Spielberg’s 2015 film Bridge of Spies), returns to Broadway for the third time in four years in a play with music written by his wife, Claire Van Kampen. It’s based on a real-life king of Spain who found a cure for his madness in the voice of the famous castrato. Some performances feature famed British countertenor Lestyn Davies as Farinelli. While Rylance is worth watching in any role, you have to enjoy opera at least a little to enjoy this. Performances begin December 5, through May 22, 2018. At the Belasco Theare, 111 W. 44th.
Children of a Lesser God – Mark Medoff’s landmark play will return to Broadway this spring for the first time since its 1980 Tony Award-winning premiere production. Starring Joshua Jackson and introducing Lauren Ridloff in their Broadway debuts, and directed by Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon, Children of a Lesser God will begin performances at Studio 54 on March 22, with an opening night set for April 11.
Frozen – Disney Theatrical’s newest Broadway musical has set its opening night. The stage adaptation of the hit film that tells the tale of two sisters pulled apart by a mysterious secret will begin previews on February 22, 2018, and officially open at the St. James Theatre on March 22.
- The NY Times reviews this as “darker” than the sunny film version.
The Iceman Cometh – Tony Award®-winner Denzel Washington will return to Broadway this spring in a new production of the classic Eugene O’Neill drama. Previews begin March 22 in advance of an opening night on April 26 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
Meteor Shower – Comedy-world icon Steve Martin’s new play will star Emmy Award-winners Amy Schumer and Keegan-Michael Key in their Broadway debut, along with past Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti and Alan Tudyk; four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks will direct. Previews begin November 1, 2017 at the Booth Theatre. Opening night is set for November 29.
See more Broadway and Off-Broadway show previews here.