Monday, September 26, 2016

2016 Fall Preview Broadway, Off-Broadway Shows

Which Lights Will Shine Brightest This Fall on Broadway?
By Lauren Yarger
Temperatures are finally dropping and along with Fall’s leaves comes another Broadway theater season.

Big name stars continue to be a trend on The Great White Way as producers compete for entertainment dollars not being spent on or saved up for Hamilton tickets The smash hit continues to be the hottest, hard-to-get ticket in New York with theater goers willing to pay thousands of dollars on the secondary ticket market (and hundreds of dollars at the box office) to see Lin-Manuel Miranda’s  hip-hop version of Alexander Hamilton’s life.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of other good shows playing, including some hits from previous years. Stephen Karam’s The Humans, which recently had the distinction of being the only non-musical playing on Broadway.  Karam’s adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard gets a Broadway run this fall too, starring Diane Lane. And by the way, Chekhov’s The Platonov, with a new modern translation called The Present by Andrew Upton starring Cate Blanchett, begins previews this fall for an early January opening.

So what other shows are waiting in the wings? A lot of them, many of them Off-Broadway, so stay tuned to find out which ones are the best by reading the reviews posted here weekly. Meanwhile, here are some highlights of what I am looking forward to this Fall. I will list the official opening date, but most are available for several weeks before that in previews.

Broadway
Heisenberg – Manhattan Theatre Club transfers its Off-Broadway hit from last season to Broadway.  Starring Dennis Arndt and one of my favorite actresses, Mary-Louise Parker, the Simon Stephens play looks at a unexpected encounter that sparks a life-changing game between a woman and a much older man.
Opens Oct. 13 at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Tickets: manhattantheatreclub.com.

The Front Page – a revival of the 1928 comedy by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur about newspaper reporters will star some heavyweight names that can make their own headlines: Broadway favorite Nathan Lane, John Goodman (TV’s “Roseanne”), Jefferson Mays, John Slattery, Rosemary Harris and Sherrie Rene Scott. Old-time newspapers and Nathan Lane? I’m in (but as you can see from the photo above, some vulgarity might exit).

Opens Oct. 20 with a run through Jan. 29, 2017 at the Broadhurst Theatre. Tickets: thefrontpagebroadway.com.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses -- Christopher Hampton’s play about sexual intrigue on 18th-Century France has been a successful play and movie. This revival stars Live Schreiber and Janet McTeer, excellent casting choices for this intellectually – as well as sexually – stimulating game of cat and mouse. (You have been warned – adult content). This production is a transfer from Donmar Warehouse in London.
Opening Oct. 30 with a run through Jan.22 at the Booth Theatre. Tickets: liaisonsbroadway.com.

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 – This modern take on Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” has one of the best opening numbers I ever have enjoyed (music and lyrics are by Dave Malloy). The show traveled around Off-Broadway a few seasons ago and now comes to Broadway with none other than Josh Groban making his debut as Pierre. Let’s just say I have had plenty of offers from people happy to be my plus-one.
Opens Nov. 14 at the Imperial Theatre. Tickets: greatcometbroadway.com.

Dear Evan Hansen – This charming musical by Ben Pasek and Justin Paul, with a book by Steven Levenson, was probably my favorite show from last season. It played Off-Broadway at Second Stage and trumpeted the arrival of one of New York’s best actors: teen star Ben Platt, who took home an Obie and nominations for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards. He reprises the role along with cast originals.
Opens Dec. 4 at the Music Box Theatre. Tickets: dearevanhansen.com.

Off-Broadway

All the Ways to Say I Love You – Stars popular actress Judith Light as a high school teacher and guidance teacher in Neil Labute’s one-hour story of making hard choices and fulfilling desires. This is a world premiere presented by MCC Theatre at the Lucille Lortel Theatre is running now through Oct. 16. Tickets: mcctheater.org.

The Band’s Visit – Presented by Atlantic Theatre Company, this new musical based on the film is directed by David Cromer. That is I need to know to want a seat as his directing and the way he can transform a piece is almost magical. This story (book by Itmar Moses) is about an Egyptian police band arriving to play a concert in Israel… Music and lyrics are by David Yazbek. It plays Nov. 11-Dec. 23 at the Linda Gross Theatre. Tickets: atlantictheater.org.

And upcoming shows this Fall at favorite Off-Broadway houses that you should check out:

Playwrights Horizons: Julia Cho’s interesting Aubergine is currently running through Oct. 2, followed by Adam Bock’s A Life, starring David Hyde Pierce Sept. 30-Nov.13. Info: playwrightshorizons.org.

The Vineyard: This Day Forward Nov. 3-Dec. 18 Info: vineyardtheatre.org.

Irish Rep: Brian Friel’s Afterplay now through Nov. 6 and Finian’s Rainbow Oct.26- Nov. 18. Info: irishrep.org.

The Women’s Project: Stuffed by Lisa Lampanelli and directed by Jackson Gay now through Nov. 6. Info: wptheater.org.

Lauren Yarger reviews Broadway and Off-Broadway theater. She is Second Vice President of the Drama Desk and a voting member of the Outer Critics Circle. She also is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the League of Professional Theatre Women. the Lambs Club, the Episcopal Actors' Guild and Christians in Theatre Arts. www.TheWritePros.com.





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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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