The fall theater season in New York City is full of gems. From new Broadway productions like Jaja’s African Hair Braiding and Purlie Victorious to long-running Off-Broadway hits like Little Shop of Horrors and Titanique, there is something onstage for everyone. Here, we are breaking down the top five most exciting new works coming to the Off-Broadway stage in the next couple of months!
For one week only in November, New York City Center Encores! will present a reimagined take on the 1941 Rodgers & Hart musical as part of their annual gala. The musical is directed by Tony Goldwyn and Savion Glover, and stars Ephraim Sykes, Elizabeth Stanley, Aisha Jackson, Loretta Devine, Brooks Ashmanskas, and more. With an all-new book, jazzy arrangements of classics pulled from across the Rodgers & Hart catalog, and percussive tap choreography by the legendary Savion Glover, this one is not to be missed.
The latest play from David Adjmi is set entirely inside a recording studio, taking its inspiration from 1970s rock acts like Fleetwood Mac, where tempers, egos, and love affairs threaten to destroy, or maybe enhance, musical genius. The production features original music by Will Butler of the band Arcade Fire, and actors such as Will Brill and Juliana Canfield will be playing their musical instruments live on stage.
I Can Get It For You Wholesale
Classic Stage Company presents a revival of this rarely-seen musical about 1930s Jewish garment workers. In 1961 it gave Barbra Streisand her Broadway debut and her first Tony nom at age 19 for a featured role as a beleaguered secretary. Directed by Trip Cullman and with a revised book by John Weidman (Assassins, Pacific Overtures), the cast features Santina Fontana, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Julia Lester, Adam Chanler-Berat, Judy Kuhn, Sarah Steele, and Joy Woods.
Here We Are
You can now see the final work of Stephen Sondheim onstage at The Shed. Information about the show remains sparse, but we know it’s based on two surrealist Luis Buñuel films that satirize the upper class. It features direction by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello and a murderer’s row of theater stars, including Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannavale, Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Jin Ha, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O’Hare, Steven Pasquale, David Hyde Pierce, and Jeremy Shamos.
Danny and the Deep Blue Sea
Aubrey Plaza is set to star in this new production of John Patrick Shanley’s 1984 romance, directed by Jeff Ward. The Parks& Recreation and White Lotus star makes her stage debut opposite Girls’ Christopher Abbott. Playing for 10 weeks only beginning October 30 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, rumor has it this won’t be the last we see of this production on the island of Manhattan…
Already seen everything Broadway has to offer? Ahead of this year’s autumn equinox, here’s Broadway’s Best Shows’ picks for what you should catch around New York City this fall. These shows are currently running, and some only have a few performances left, so grab your tickets now!
Little Shop of Horrors
The long-running hit revival of Alan Menken & Howard Ashman’s horror-comedy-musical at the Westside Theatre is still going strong. With the introduction of new stars Corbin Bleu and Constance Wu as Seymour and Audrey, respectively, now is a great time to catch the show, or even return for a repeat viewing!
Atlantic Theatre Company presents Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker’s latest work, Infinite Life. The dramedy, which was extended through October 14, is set at a water-fasting retreat in Northern California where a group of women of a certain age are hoping to cure their bodily pains and disorders.
Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors
If you’re looking for a laugh that will also get you in the Halloween spirit, this monstrous farce now running at New World Stages ought to do the trick. In a fresh and sexy take on the classic vampiric tale, James Daly stars as the fabled foe alongside Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Jordan Boatman, Arnie Burton, and Ellen Harvey. The new play by Steve Rosen (The Other Josh Cohen) and Gordon Greenberg–who also directs–is now making its New York debut after regional productions at Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Florida, Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, and Segal Centre for Performing Arts in Montreal.
Rachel Bloom: Death, Let Me Do My Show
From the creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, this new musical comedy looks death squarely in the eye. Don’t let her “everybody pretend it’s 2019” top of show message fool you–Bloom brings her signature brand of intelligent, raunchy, thoughtful comedy to tackle pandemic grief and confusion. The strictly limited run ends September 30 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.
Céline Dion (as homaged by a roster of mostly former Elphabas) continues to sail through the story of the Titanic at the Daryl Roth Theatre! In this gay fantasia, which opened at Asylum NYC in June 2022 before moving to its current home, Céline uses her own discography to conjure her memory of the iconic ship, confusing fact with James Cameron’s fictional filmic telling.
When Hamilton opened at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in the summer of 2015 it set Broadway ablaze, triggering a cultural phenomenon not seen in the theater for quite some time before then (or since). Given the musical’s zeitgeisty success, it also skyrocketed the profiles of its leading players, many of whom have launched top-notch careers in the years since, both on and off the stage. Here’s our recap of what those original cast members have been up to since starring in Hamilton, one of Broadway’s Best Shows.
The Pulitzer and Tony-winning writer-star of Hamilton has been exceptionally busy since departing the Broadway cast of his hit show. Miranda has lent his talents to several film & TV projects, both on and off screen, having written songs for Moana, Mary Poppins Returns, Vivo, Encanto, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, 2023’s The Little Mermaid remake, and more! He made his feature film directorial debut with Tick, Tick… Boom!, the adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s rock monologue musical.He also appeared onscreen in the Mary Poppins sequel, His Dark Materials, as well as in guest appearances on several long-running TV series. The proshot of Hamilton landed on Disney+ in 2020, featuring the full original cast, and his first Broadway musical, In the Heights, was adapted into a film in 2021 (he even made a cameo appearance!). His freestyle group, Freestyle Love Supreme, had a Broadway run at the Booth Theatre, for which he made multiple guest appearances. He made his Broadway writing return in the spring of 2022, contributing additional for the musical New York, New York, alongside iconic composer John Kander, based on the songs of Kander and his longtime collaborator Fred Ebb.
Leslie Odom, Jr.
Leslie’s star has been on the rise in the years since Hamilton, appearing in several films including Knives Out: Glass Onion, One Night in Miami (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award), and the upcoming reboot of The Exorcist. He has also made television appearances in hit shows Central Park, Abbott Elementary, and more! Six years later, he has made his grand return to Broadway in the titular role of the first ever Broadway revival of Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch by Ossie Davis.
After making her Broadway debut as Eliza in the original Broadway cast, Soo has appeared in four Broadway productions, including the play The Parisian Woman, and musicals Amélie, Into the Woods, and most recently, Camelot. She has also appeared onscreen recently in TV series Dopesick and Shining Girls.
Renée Elise Goldsberry
Goldsberry has not yet made a Broadway return since playing Angelica in Hamilton, but appeared on the New York stage in the summer of 2023 leading the Public Theater’s musical adaptation of The Tempest at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. She has also starred in several television series, including Peacock’s Girls5Eva, and Marvel’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
The actor, rapper, writer, and producer has also been busy since his Hamilton days, appearing in films like Wonder, Ferdinand, The Little Mermaid, Soul, and Blindspotting (which he also wrote alongside collaborator Rafael Casal). He has also had recurring roles in Apple TV+’s Central Park, Netflix’s The Get Down, TNT’s Snowpiercer, and ABC’s Black-Ish, among cameos and guest spots on several series.
Ramos led the 2021 adaptation of In the Heights as Usnavi, appeared as Lady Gaga’s best friend in A Star is Born, and has since become the face of the blockbuster Transformers franchise, starring in its latest installment, Rise of the Beasts. Also a burgeoning recording artist, Ramos has released two albums, and a slew of singles in the years since his Broadway run.
“Oak” has been on Broadway twice since Hamilton, with a brief run as Pierre in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, and more recently, a supporting role in the 2023 revival of A Doll’s House alongside Jessica Chastain under his belt. Onscreen, he is a lead of the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off series Station 19, and appears in the fourth season of Amazon Prime’s action series Jack Ryan.
Cephas-Jones has mostly turned her attention to film and television, appearing with her Hamilton co-star Daveed Diggs in his film Blindspotting, and in the television series based on the film. She also appeared in Marriage Story, Mrs. Fletcher, and #Freerayshawn, for which she won an Emmy in 2020. As a recording artist, she released her EP Blue Bird in 2020. She will next be seen in Ava DuVernay’s upcoming film Origin, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival to rave reviews in September 2023. A wide release date has not been set.
Groff returns to Broadway in fall 2023 in the revival of Merrily We Roll Along, opposite Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez. Immediately post-Hamilton, he starred in David Fincher’s Netflix series Mindhunter for two seasons. He returned to voice Kristoff in 2019’s Frozen 2, and played one of the villains in 2021’s The Matrix: Resurrections. On the stage, he was the original Seymour in the still-running 2019 revival of Little Shop of Horrors off-Broadway.
DeBose appeared in the ensemble of Hamilton as “The Bullet,” the dance soloist during the duel scenes. She graduated to Broadway principal status in 2018’s Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, but her huge break came when Steven Spielberg cast her as Anita in his West Side Story redux. She became the second Latina ever to win an acting Oscar in 2022 for that role, and hosted the Tony Awards in 2022 and 2023. She also voices the main character in Disney’s animated 2023 film Wish, and will appear in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film in 2024.
While the horror and thriller genres are typically reserved for the screen, Broadway can sometimes be a spooky place, where audiences have been left with their hearts racing, for one reason or another. Just like in film, horror theater productions often use their thrills and chills as social critiques. Read on if you dare…
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Theater’s ability to comment on social issues while leaving audiences breathless and entertained might just have reached its pinnacle with the nightmarish Sweeney Todd. It’s class warfare via cannibalism, when a barber back in London after 15 years of wrongful imprisonment starts killing those responsible while shaving them, and since the price of meat is otherwise too high (“times is hard”), his downstairs neighbor bakes the bodies into pies. Maybe the most horrifying part of Sweeney is how, as we learn about the wrongs committed against Mr. Todd and his wife and daughter, they’re just so awful that his string of murders feels almost…reasonable? It’s that moral dilemma that writers Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler explore in the show. Sweeney Todd came back to Broadway in spring 2023, in a Tony-nominated revival starring Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford.
The first play of the 2023-2024 Broadway season, Grey House intentionally pulls from the American horror film oeuvre. Set during a blizzard in an isolated cabin inhabited by weird and precocious children, a collection of horror movie tropes that the play’s script acknowledges, the production utilizes jumpscares, eerie underscoring, and innovative special effects and makeup to scare theatergoers.
This adaptation of the George Orwell novel was infamously gory–it made Broadway audiences faint and throw up during its run in the summer of 2017. It used the book’s political dystopia as a basis for intense horror, divoting almost a third of its runtime to the ‘torture room’ sequences, unlike anything seen on Broadway before.
This 2004 murder mystery made playwright Martin McDonough a household name, with an incredibly dark story of a series of gruesome child murders that are eerily similar to the work of a murder mystery novelist. Particularly shocking to audiences was that, somehow, this play was also funny.
On the surface, Stephen Karam’s 2016 play might seem like a typical Jewish American family drama, set at a contentious Thanksgiving dinner. But something else is lurking in this Chinatown walk-up apartment, as the floors start to creak. While it’s left ambiguous, there are some forces in The Humans that might not be, well…human.
Have you ever wondered, where did the term “gaslighting” come from? Its source is the 1938 play Gaslight, which premiered in New York in 1941 titled Angel Street, and was later a 1944 Hollywood film. On Broadway in 1941, Vincent Price played Mr. Manningham, a London aristocrat who secretly turns the gas lights in his mansion lower and lower over time for nefarious reasons– but when his wife Bella asks him, he says the lights haven’t been lowered, making her lose her mind.
Sleep No More
Though not on Broadway, New York theatergoers have this McKittrick mainstay on the menu for their ghostly cravings. This immersive take on Macbeth lets you roam the halls of this abandoned hotel-turned-performance venue, which also has other productions besides Sleep No More running from time to time.
Little Shop of Horrors
Howard Ashman and Alan Menken used tropes from B horror movies and creature features from the 1950s to create Little Shop, a parable about a poor flower shop assistant on Skid Row who raises a mysterious carnivorous plant he names after his crush, Audrey. A revival directed by Michael Mayer has been running off-Broadway at the Westside Theater since 2019, with a revolving door of stage notables playing Seymour, Audrey, and Orin the Dentist. Joy Woods of Six stars as Audrey – here’s her singing “Somewhere That’s Green” with Menken on the piano.
Across the pond, London audiences have had their fair share of scare with the following shows.
2:22: A Ghost Story
A woman hears noises through her baby monitor every night at 2:22 AM. She and her husband invite two close friends over to stay up and try to figure out what’s going on, and to prove that it’s not a ghost. That’s the concept for 2:22: A Ghost Story, which finished successful runs in the West End in 2021 and 2022, as well as Los Angeles in Fall 2022– it might even start terrifying Broadway audiences soon.
The Woman in Black
This play by Stephen Mallatratt ran continuously in London from 1989 to 2023, for a total of 13,232 performances. It’s a chilling tale of a ghostly apparition and family trauma in Northern England, with a cast of only three actors playing dozens of parts.