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
‘CLUELESS, THE MUSICAL’ at the Pershing Square Signature Center (previews start on Nov. 20; opens on Dec. 11). Amy Heckerling has adapted her 1995 movie, a zippy, quippy clotheshorse update of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” into a musical for the New Group. Kristin Hanggi directs, with choreography by Kelly Devine. Dove Cameron stars as Cher, with Ephie Aardema and Zurin Villanueva as her friends and Dave Thomas Brown as her ex-stepbrother.
‘THE DEAD, 1904’ at the American Irish Historical Society (previews start on Nov. 17; opens on Nov. 29). Is your soul swooning? Is your stomach rumbling? The Irish Repertory Theater’s dinner theater adaptation of James Joyce’s novella, which The Times called “an unusually sparkling affair,” returns for another holiday season. The American Irish Historical Society, a stunning Upper East Side townhouse, once again plays host.
‘DOWNSTAIRS’ at the Cherry Lane Theater (in previews; opens on Nov. 18). Sibling revelry. In Theresa Rebeck’s new play for Primary Stages, Tim and Tyne Daly portray a brother and sister under the same roof. When Tim’s Teddy moves into the basement of the home owned by Tyne’s Irene and her husband, Gerry (John Procaccino), what family secrets and mold will he unearth? Adrienne Campbell-Holt directs.
‘FABULATION, OR THE RE-EDUCATION OF UNDINE’ at the Signature Theater (previews start on Nov. 19; opens on Dec. 10). These days, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage (“Ruined,” “Sweat”) isn’t known for her comedy. But this 2004 show about an ambitious African-American publicist forced to return to — horrors! — Brooklyn is a punchy satire. Lileana Blain-Cruz directs the revival, starring Cherise Boothe, who also appeared in “Ruined.”
‘THE HARD PROBLEM’ at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center Theater (in previews; opens on Nov. 19). What is consciousness? And is there a consciousness more sportive and splendid than Tom Stoppard’s? His most recent play, which is about neuroscience, finance and a lot more, stars Adelaide Clemens as a research scientist grappling with big professional questions and bigger personal ones. Jack O’Brien directs.
‘HYPE MAN: A BREAK BEAT PLAY’ at the Flea Theater (in previews; opens on Nov. 20). In Idris Goodwin’s play, racial injustice pushes a warm-up guy center stage. Verb, who is black, works as a hype man for the white rapper Pinnacle. When Verb wants to take their music in a more political direction, Pinnacle resists. Kristan Seemel and Niegel Smith direct, with members of the Flea Theater’s resident company, the Bats, starring.
‘SLAVE PLAY’ at New York Theater Workshop (previews start on Nov. 19; opens on Dec. 9). Whatever Jeremy O. Harris’s characters are gone with, it probably isn’t the wind. In this New York Theater Workshop production, sex, race and power collide on an imagined plantation. The play is directed by Robert O’Hara (“Bootycandy”), another artist who enjoys provocation.
‘WHAT TO SEND UP WHEN IT GOES DOWN’ at A.R.T./ New York Theaters (in previews; opens on Nov. 19). Aleshea Harris’s tenacious neo-western “Is God Is” was a play bent on revenge. This new show, which mixes poetry and protest, is more concerned with healing. A reaction against racial violence, it asks audiences to join in imagining a safer and more joyful world.
‘BERNHARDT/HAMLET’ at the American Airlines Theater (closes on Nov. 18). Good night, sweet prince. In Theresa Rebeck’s semi-biographical play, Janet McTeer gives her final performances as the tragedienne Sarah Bernhardt, taking on one of the greatest challenges of her career: that melancholy Dane. The play, according to Jesse Green, “is so clever it uplifts, so timely it hurts.”
‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WANDA JUNE’ at the Duke on 42nd Street (closes on Nov. 29). A man who went away to war and returned after a long absence is about to disappear yet again. In the spring, when the Wheelhouse Theater Company presented an Off Off Broadway production of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s update on “The Odyssey” for the Vietnam era, Laura Collins-Hughes described it as a “shaggy but zingingly relevant comedy.”
‘UNCLE VANYA’ at the Frederick Loewe Theater at Hunter College (closes on Nov. 18). Richard Nelson’s hushed staging of Chekhov’s tragicomedy, in a new translation by Nelson, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, empties its samovar. Ben Brantley wrote that the production, which features Jay O. Sanders in the title role, “is as naked and fully human an ‘Uncle Vanya’ as we’re likely to see.”
Source: Read Full Article