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Fall Preview

The 2021 Broadway Fall Preview

The shows will go on! New York theatres are gearing up for a glorious return to business this fall. So without further ado, as the lights go up again on Broadway, here’s a guide to help you plan your theatergoing.


REOPENING ON BROADWAY

Here are the shows that will resume performances after being prematurely shut down when the pandemic hit in March 2020. The list includes some of last season’s contenders for the 2020 Tony Awards, which will be presented September 26.

Anaïs Mitchell’s folk-jazz musical take on the Orpheus myth, Hadestown (winner of eight 2019 Tonys, including Best Musical), features André De Shields, Tony winner for his portrayal of Hermes. From September 2 at the Walter Kerr Theatre.

Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles returns to play the lead role of Jenna the pie-maker in her own musical, Waitress. From September 2 (for a limited run through January 9) at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly are ready to razzle-dazzle again in the long-running revival of Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. From September 14 at the Ambassador Theatre.

Miguel Cervantes in Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Miguel Cervantes in Hamilton. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s theatrically exuberant landmark musical about the charismatic founding father, Hamilton, won 11 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. From September 14 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

Disney’s enduring hit musical The Lion King is stunningly staged by Julie Taymor with masks and puppets. From September 14 at the Minskoff Theatre.

Wicked, the Wizard of Oz backstory about the young woman with emerald-green skin, written by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman, has captivated hearts since 2003. From September 14 at the Gershwin Theatre.

The feel-good musical Come From Away is based on the true story of the kindness of a Newfoundland town that opened its heart and homes to stranded strangers in the wake of the September 11 attacks. From September 21 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

Nominated this year for 14 2020 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, a lavish stage extravaganza about doomed bohemians in Paris, is crafted out of 70 pop songs. From September 24 at the Al Hirschfield Theatre.

Director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw brings back his joyous and colorful stage adaptation of Disney’s animated crowd-pleaser Aladdin. From September 28 at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

Jeff Daniels will reprise his role as Atticus Finch and Celia Keenan-Bolger her Tony Award–winning performance as his daughter, Scout, in Aaron Sorkin’s popular stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. From October 5 at the Shubert Theatre.

Adrienne Warren, 2020 Tony nominee for best actress in a musical, reprises her high-voltage performance as the incomparable rock goddess in Tina – The Tina Turner Musical (nominated for 12 2020 Tony Awards, including Best Musical). From October 8 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

Girl From the North Country, which reimagines songs by Bob Dylan in an affecting story about a group of desperate souls at a guesthouse in Duluth, Minnesota, at the height of the Depression, boasts an ensemble cast that includes Mare Winningham. From October 13 at the Belasco Theatre.

Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, the spirited musical that charts the spectacular rise of the popular Motown group, showcases their greatest hits. From October 16 at the Imperial Theatre.

Inspired by Grammy Award winner Alanis Morissette’s emotionally powerful alt-rock album, Jagged Little Pill (nominated for 15 Tony Awards, including Best Musical of 2020) explores the joys and pains of a suburban family. From October 21 at the Broadhurst Theatre.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s gothic romance about the masked specter who falls in love fatally, The Phantom of the Opera regains its claim as the longest-running show on Broadway. From October 22 at the Majestic Theatre.

The irreverent musical satire about a pair of mismatched Mormon missionaries set loose in Africa, The Book of Mormon (Best Musical Tony of 2011) rings Broadway’s doorbell again. From November 5 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.

Without losing the magic or the spectacular stagecraft, the original two-part Tony Award–winning marathon Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows the saga of the Boy Who Lived into the next generation, now slimmed down to a single evening. From November 16 at the Lyric Theatre.

Dear Evan Hansen, the emotional story of a lonely high school misfit who catapults to fame through a misunderstanding that mushrooms out of proportion via social media, won six 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. From December 11 at the Music Box Theatre.


THE NEW SEASON: FALL PREVIEW

Even as we celebrate the return of the long-running hits, there is always the incomparable excitement and anticipation of a new season. Here are the new plays and musicals slated through December — including the productions that couldn’t open as scheduled in 2020. The new 2021 season has already made headlines for providing a record seven Black playwrights with the opportunity to get their work produced on Broadway, five of them for the first time. Hopefully a heartening sign of continuing diversity on the Great White Way.

The first new play to begin performances on Broadway post the pandemic shutdown, Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s Pass Over is a provocative mash-up of Waiting for Godot and the biblical Book of Exodus transferred to a modern urban setting. As Nwandu describes it, her 2019 Lucille Lortel Award–winning play portrays two young Black men (played by Jon Michael Hill and Namir Smallwood) “wrestling with whether or not there is a promised land for Black men in the United States.” The production is directed by Danya Taymor. Through October 10 at the August Wilson Theatre.

In a remarkable tour de force, Ruben Santiago-Hudson portrays more than 20 characters in his autobiographical solo work, Lackawanna Blues, which celebrates Miss Rachel, the woman who raised him in a 1950s boarding house outside Buffalo, New York. The Manhattan Theatre Club production, which the actor-playwright also directs, features a blues score by Bill Sims Jr., played live on stage by guitarist Junior Mack. Previews from September 14, opens September 28, for a limited run through October 31 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

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Only one of King Henry VIII’s six wives survived him, but they all get to dish on the plump Tudor tyrant in SIX, the concert-style, high-energy pop musical written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, featuring an all-female cast and an all-female band. Codirected by Moss and Jamie Armitage, this production was cheated of its opening night the day Broadway shut down. Previews resume September 17 for an opening October 3 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

Last year’s Special Tony Award winner American Utopia, a sleekly designed, energetic concert performance by singer-songwriter and Talking Heads founder David Byrne and an eclectic band, makes a return engagement. From September 17 through March 6 at the St. James Theatre.

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After this past year and half, what better time for a belly full of laughs? The discovery of a family secret disrupts the funeral and loving celebration in Chicken & Biscuits, a raucous comedy written by former actor Douglas Lyons, one of the new Black playwrights of the season. Zhailon Levingston makes his Broadway directorial debut with a lively ensemble cast, including Broadway veterans Norm Lewis (Porgy and Bess) and Michael Urie (Torch Song). Previews from September 23, opens October 10 for a limited run through January 2 at Circle in the Square Theatre.

Adam Godley, Adrian Lester, and Simon Russell Beale play the three Bavarian brothers who founded a fabled New York financial institution, as well as a host of other characters, in Stefano Massini’s sweeping saga The Lehman Trilogy, adapted by Ben Power. It weaves together nearly two centuries of family history while tracking the ebb and flow of American capitalism. The theatrical epic is directed by Sam Mendes, Tony Award winner for The Ferryman. Resumes previews on September 25, opens October 14 for a limited run through January 2 at the Nederlander Theatre.

Critically acclaimed during its Off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theatre, Is This a Room is an unnerving documentary conceived and directed by Tina Satter, who crafted the work from actual FBI interrogation transcripts. Emily Davis portrays Reality Winner, the former military contractor who went to prison for leaking government documents. Previews from September 24, opens October 11, playing in repertory with Dana H. at the Lyceum Theatre.

Dana H., a harrowing tale of abduction from playwright Lucas Hnath (A Doll’s House Part 2), is adapted from his mother’s own recorded recounting of the real-life terrifying events she experienced in 1997. Deirdre O’Connell reprises her acclaimed Off-Broadway solo performance as Hnath’s mother in the production directed by Les Waters. Previews from October 1, opens October 17, playing in repertory with Is This a Room at the Lyceum Theatre.

Playwright Keenan Scott II explores, through spoken word and slam poetry, the lives of seven Black men living in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in his Broadway debut, Thoughts of a Colored Man. Directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, the vibrant production features choreography by Millicent Marie Johnnie and music by Te’La and Brother Kamau, and a cast that includes Dyllón Burnside (Pose), Bryan Terrell Clark (Hamilton), Da’Vinchi (Black Mafia Family), Luke James (The Chi), Tony Award nominee Forrest McClendon (The Scottsboro Boys), Grammy Award nominee Tristan “Mack” Wilds (The Wire), and Tony Award nominee Keith David (Seven Guitars). Previews from October 1, opens October 31 for a limited run that ends March 20 at the John Golden Theatre.

Last year’s Special Tony Award winner Freestyle Love Supreme, the hugely popular hip-hop improv comedy created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale, makes a return engagement. Cast members (and surprise guests) rap on the fly, taking cues from the audience. Previews from October 7, opens October 19 at the Booth Theatre.

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Sharon D Clarke reprises her transcendent Olivier Award–winning London performance as an African American maid who works for a Louisiana Jewish family in this revival of Caroline, or Change. The politically charged musical set in 1963, written by two-time Tony Award winner for Angels in America Tony Kushner (book and lyrics) and Tony Award winner for Fun Home Jeanine Tesori (music), explores the fragile friendship between Caroline and the young son in the family. The Roundabout Theatre Company production is directed by Michael Longhurst. Previews from October 8, opens October 27 and plays through January 9 at Studio 54.

Rob McClure, last seen on Broadway in Beetlejuice, plays an out-of-work actor who disguises himself as a nanny to stay close to the kids he lost in a custody battle in Mrs. Doubtfire. The new musical, based on the 1993 hit film starring Robin Williams, is written by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, the Tony-nominated team behind Something Rotten! The production is directed by four-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Zaks (also represented this season with The Music Man). Previews resume October 21 for a December 5 opening at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

Sixty-four years late, but not a moment too soon: Alice Childress’s backstage satire Trouble in Mind finally reaches Broadway. The pioneering African American playwright (who died in 1994) became the first Black woman to win an Obie Award in 1956 for her wry, frank, and comedic look at racism in the American theater — but a proposed move to Broadway the following year was scrapped when Childress refused to compromise her unsettling play to meet producers’ demands. In the play-within-a play plotline, an African American cast, led by their lead actress, now played by LaChanze (2006 Tony winner for best actress for The Color Purple), chafe against stereotyping and condescension from their European American director. The Roundabout Theatre production is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. Previews from October 29, opens November 18 at the American Airlines Theatre.

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Jeanna de Waal plays the beloved Princess of Wales in Diana The Musical, a musical about the fairy-tale princess who won hearts around the world but not that of her prince. Roe Hartrampf plays Prince Charles, Erin Davie is Camilla Parker Bowles, and two-time Tony winner Judy Kaye is Queen Elizabeth. Music and lyrics are written by Bon Jovi founder David Bryan and the book is by Joe Di Pietro (both won Tony Awards for Memphis). The production, which features costumes by six-time Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, is directed by Christopher Ashley, Tony Award winner for Come From Away. Previews resume November 2 for an opening on November 17 at the Longacre Theatre.

Clyde’s, a new comedy from Lynn Nottage (2017 Pulitzer Prize winner and Tony nominee for Sweat), is set in a truck-stop restaurant. Ron Cephas Jones, Reza Salazar, and Kara Young play ex-cons working in the kitchen who dream to create the perfect sandwich. They work under the wary gaze of the owner of the joint, played by Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes in Orange Is the New Black). The Second Stage production is directed by Kate Whorisky. Previews from November 3, opens November 22 for a limited run through January 16 at the Helen Hayes Theater.

Tony, Drama Desk, and Pulitzer Prize winner James Lapine imagines a fictional meeting between movie star Cary Grant (played by Tony Yazbek), playwright Clare Booth Luce (Carmen Cusack), and writer Aldous Huxley (Harry Hadden-Paton) in Flying Over Sunset. The score is by Tom Kitt (music) and Michael Korie (lyrics). Lapine (Sunday in the Park With George, Falsettos), who also directs the Lincoln Center Theater production, concocted the story after he read a magazine article that revealed that the three celebrities each experimented with the hallucinogenic drug LSD in the 1950s. Previews from November 11, opens December 13 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.

The fourth Broadway revival of Company, Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s landmark 1970 musical about married life and relationships in Manhattan, flips the gender of the protagonist: Bobby is now Bobbie, played by Tony Award winner Katrina Lenk (The Band’s Visit). Director Marianne Elliott (who directed the 2018 Broadway revival of Angels in America) collaborated with Sondheim to update the musical to the present day; Bobby’s girlfriends are reimagined as boyfriends and the about-to-be-married couple Amy and Paul are now same-sex partners Jamie and Paul. The production features two-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone as the caustic, much-divorced Joanne. Resumes previews November 15, opens December 9 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.

Myles Frost makes his Broadway debut as Michael Jackson in MJ. The musical biopic is written by Lynn Nottage (also represented this season with Clyde’s) and incorporates more than 25 hits from the indisputable King of Pop. Christopher Wheeldon directs and choreographs the production, which is designed by an award-winning team, including Derek McLane (scenic design), Natasha Katz (lighting), and Paul Tazewell (costumes). The cast includes Quentin Earl Darrington, Whitney Bashor, Gabriel Ruiz, and Antonie L. Smith. Previews from December 6, opens February 1 at the Neil Simon Theatre.

Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winner Hugh Jackman plays the fast-talking, irresistible con man Harold Hill, and two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster plays Marion Paroo, the librarian who loses her heart, in the highly anticipated revival of Meredith Wilson’s cherished Golden Age musical classic The Music Man. The stellar cast includes Tony Award winners Jayne Houdyshell, Jefferson Mays, Marie Mullen, and Shuler Hensley. The production is directed by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle. Previews from December 20, opens February 10 at the Winter Garden Theatre.

Phylicia Rashad (2004 Tony Award winner for best actress in A Raisin in the Sun) plays a union representative at a small Detroit auto manufacturing plant in the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Skeleton Crew, a powerful drama by Dominique Morisseau (book writer for Ain’t Too Proud). The play, the third in Morrisseau’s “Detroit trilogy,” takes place during the Great Recession of 2008. Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Lackawanna Blues). Previews from December 21, opens January 12 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.