fall preview 2016

45 Plays Premiering This Fall

Hopefully, you’ve had a few minutes to play around with our Fall Entertainment Generator. But if you’re looking for straight and simple lists of things to look out for by medium, we’ll be breaking them out separately. Here’s a look at fall theater.


Twelfth Night

Delacorte Theater in Central Park
The Public Theater’s free Public Works program has a new director, Kwame Kwei-Armah, and returns with a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s play.


Playwrights Horizons; in previews 8/19
Using three interrelated stories, playwright Julia Cho looks at how the preparation of a perfect meal can change lives.

Marie and Rosetta
Atlantic Theater Company; in previews 8/24
Kecia Lewis plays Sister Rosetta Tharpe — the formidable 1930s and ’40s gospel-rock trailblazer — and Rebecca Naomi Jones her young mentee in George Brant’s new play-with-music.


BAM Harvey Theater
Isabelle Huppert adds to her résumé of masterfully portrayed conflicted women as Euripides’ queen.

A 24-Decade History of Popular Music

St. Ann’s Warehouse
Taylor Mac’s long-gestating project: a series of eight three-hour theatrical concerts (and one 24-hour marathon on October 8) covering American music from 1776 to the present. Expect themes like “Founding Father Drag, Women’s Lib, and Crazy Jane” (1776–1806) and “A March, a Riot, and a Backroom Sex Party” (1956–86), plus very sparkly clothes.

What Did You Expect?

Public Theater, in previews 9/10
Parts two and three of Richard Nelson’s trilogy about the Gabriel family of upstate New York: good, cultured liberals struggling to understand what has become of the life — and country — they know. Part one (Hungry) whetted the appetite as primary season began; how could you not want to know what happens to the clan by Part Three, which opens on Election Night?

Nat Turner in Jerusalem

New York Theatre Workshop; in previews 9/7
Nathan Alan Davis contemplates slave-revolt leader Nat Turner’s last night in a Virginia jail cell.

All the Ways to Say I Love You

Lucille Lortel Theatre; in previews 9/6
There will be lots of TV and movie stars onstage this fall (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Josh Groban), but the one I’m most excited to see is Judith Light, a perennial supporting actress onstage (with two Tony Awards) and onscreen (Transparent). In Neil LaBute’s latest drama, about a teacher’s relationship to a former student, she’s not only the star but the whole cast.

The Encounter

Golden Theatre; in previews 9/20
Simon McBurney’s show about a Nat Geo photographer who got lost in Brazil in 1969; audiences get headphones to experience a 3-D audio soundscape.

Twelfth Night. Photo: Joan Marcus/AP



BAM Harvey Theater
Thirty years ago, Peter Brook inaugurated this room with his epic The Mahabharata; his team returns to stage this minimalist exploration of the hidden costs of war.

Holiday Inn

Studio 54; in previews 9/1
Two song-and-dance men with charm to spare, Corbin Bleu and Bryce Pinkham, step into Astaire’s and Crosby’s shoes in this adaptation of the classic movie.


Women’s Project Theater; in previews 9/23
Comedian Lisa Lampanelli tries playwriting, focusing on women’s often absurd relationship with food.

Oh, Hello on Broadway

Lyceum Theatre; in previews 9/23
Nick Kroll and John Mulaney’s hilariously cantankerous elderly Upper West Siders get the big stage they may or may not have always wanted as their Off Broadway hit transfers uptown; Alex Timbers again directs.


Samuel J. Friedman Theatre; in previews 9/20
Simon Stephens’s transfixing two-hander moves to Broadway; Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt return as two apparent strangers who meet in a London train station.

Letter to a Man

BAM Harvey Theater
Robert Wilson and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s compelling partnership continues in this multimedia work, based on the diaries of Nijinsky as he descended into schizophrenia.

The Cherry Orchard

American Airlines Theatre; in previews 9/15
A new Chekhov adaptation by The Humans’s Stephen Karam, with Diane Lane.


Manhattan Theatre Club; in previews 9/27
Sarah Jones follows her Tony-winning Bridge & Tunnel with another multicharacter tour de force — this time based on the real experiences of sex workers.

Love, Love, Love

Laura Pels Theatre; in previews 9/22
Playwright Mike Bartlett (King Charles III) turns his attention to the Summer of Love generation and its less idealistic adulthood.

Oh, Hello on Broadway.

The Front Page

Broadhurst Theatre; in previews 9/20
The whole ensemble — Nathan Lane, John Slattery, John Goodman, Jefferson Mays, Robert Morse, Holland Taylor, and Sherie Rene Scott — is marquee-level in Jack O’Brien’s blockbuster revival of Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht’s 1928 homage to a Chicago newsroom.

Public Theater; in previews 10/4
Rachel Weisz and Corey Stoll in David Hare’s drama about a British secret agent unmoored in peacetime.

A Life

Playwrights Horizons; in previews 9/30
Watching David Hyde Pierce contemplate the universe — well, there are worse ways to spend an evening. He’ll do just that as Nate, the desperately single protagonist looking to the stars for answers in Adam Bock’s new play.

The Harvest
Claire Tow Theater; in previews 10/8
Spring Awakening
alumnus Gideon Glick plays a young Idaho missionary bound for the Middle East in Samuel D. Hunter’s new play.


Manhattan Theatre Club; in previews 10/4
Miss Saigon
it’s not: Qui Nguyen draws from his parents’ story in a new rom-com–drama about Vietnam War refugees who meet in a midwestern relocation camp.


Walter Kerr Theatre; in previews 9/29
William Finn and James Lapine’s 1992 musical, about an extended family of gay and straight boomers during the first years of AIDS, returns to Broadway just as New York hopes to end the epidemic here within four years. I’m not sure my tear ducts can handle it.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Booth Theatre; in previews 10/8
Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer scheme, glower, and grope in this Donmar Warehouse production.


Notes From the Field

Second Stage Theatre; in previews 10/15;
Anna Deavere Smith channels over 200 first-person accounts of the system that funnels American youth from school into incarceration.

Kings of War

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Director Ivo van Hove, the busiest man in theater, brings in his Toneelgroep Amsterdam troupe for his second monumental Shakespeare adaptation, absorbing Henry V, Henry VI Parts 1, 2, and 3, and Richard III into one very power-hungry evening.

The Cherry Orchard.

Public Theater; in previews 10/18
Lynn Nottage, who made her mark with Intimate Apparel and won a Pulitzer Prize for Ruined, has not had a new play in New York since By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, five years ago. In her latest, which rides a tide of raves into town this fall, she turns her attention from the past and the foreign to the grippingly here and now: a working-class postindustrial community under stress.

Women of a Certain Age

Public Theater; in previews 11/4
Parts two and three of Richard Nelson’s trilogy about the Gabriel family of upstate New York: good, cultured liberals struggling to understand what has become of the life — and country — they know. Part one (Hungry) whetted the appetite as primary season began; how could you not want to know what happens to the clan by Part Three, which opens on Election Night?

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World

Signature Theatre; in previews 10/25
Suzan-Lori Parks kicks off her Signature residency with this early play, a linguistically dense piece that subverts stereotypes (one of her characters is called Black Man With Watermelon).

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

Imperial Theatre; in previews 10/18
A bearded Josh Groban makes his Broadway debut (and plays the accordion!) in Dave Malloy’s immersive musical take on one chunk of War and Peace.

Party People

Public Theater; in previews 11/1
Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed) directs a new play from the innovative Universes ensemble — known for their blend of jazz, rap, poetry, and politics — about the Black Panthers and the Young Lords.

Dead Poets Society

Classic Stage Company; in previews 10/27.
John Doyle, a director of musicals (The Color Purple), begins as captain (my captain!) of Classic Stage with an unexpected choice: a staging of the beloved film adapted by its screenwriter, Tom Schulman, with Jason Sudeikis in the Robin Williams role.

Sweet Charity

Pershing Square Signature Center; in previews 11/2
A perfect match of star and role: triple threat Sutton Foster as Charity Hope Valentine. Leigh Silverman directs the New Group’s production; Joshua Bergasse, an expert at reinventing classics, choreographs.

This Day Forward

Vineyard Theatre; in previews 11/3
Nicky Silver’s new play, about a wife’s honeymoon confession and, 50 years later, the children who deal with her secrets.

Letter to a Man.


A Bronx Tale

Longacre Theatre; in previews 11/3
Chazz Palminteri’s one-man show gets its third life (and a full cast) as a new musical co-directed by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks.

Dear Evan Hansen

Belasco Theater; in previews 11/14
Last season’s best Off Broadway musical may be this season’s best Broadway musical, if the creators of this devastating show about teen anxiety and social media can scale it up judiciously.

Longing Lasts Longer
St. Ann’s Warehouse; in previews 12/1
Penny Arcade takes on gentrification (a subject the former Warhol superstar knows from), blending comedy, memoir, and a pop soundtrack.

The Babylon Line

Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater; in previews 11/10
Josh Radnor continues to prove his beyond–How I Met Your Mother chops as a creative-writing teacher who travels to Levittown from the Village in 1967; Elizabeth Reaser is his star pupil.

Rancho Viejo

Playwrights Horizons; in previews 11/11
Neighbors will and do talk in Dan LeFranc’s play, in which a never-seen couple’s shaky marriage causes shock waves in the husband’s parents’ well-off town.

The Winter’s Tale
BAM Harvey Theater
The imaginative British troupe Cheek by Jowl creates theater that often feels like a dream played out onstage; see how that approach enhances Shakespeare, enacted here with song, dance, and a minimal set (a hut and a bench).

Tiny Beautiful Things

Public Theater; in previews 11/15
Nia Vardalos puts all big fat Greek weddings in the past in this new play based on Cheryl Strayed’s book about her adventures as an advice columnist.

The Band’s Visit

Atlantic Theater Company; in previews 11/11
Tony Shalhoub and Something Rotten’s John Cariani lead the cast of David Yazbek’s new musical, based on Eran Kolirin’s film about a band — composed of Egyptian police — that comes to Israel to play a show and gets stranded in the desert.

In Transit

Circle in the Square Theatre; in previews 11/10
Is this Missed Connections: The Musical? Frozen’s Kristen Anderson-Lopez co-wrote this show about 11 strangers on the New York subway and their intertwining lives. Plus: It’s totally a cappella!


New York Theatre Workshop; in previews 11/22
“Bond-slaves and pagans shall our statesmen be”: Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo star. Directed by Sam Gold.

*This article appears in the August 22, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.