Summer is over. And while that may mean an end of Shakespeare in the Park and several other Off-Broadway productions, there's still plenty of theater to enjoy in the fall. Trying to list every Off-Broadway production opening in NYC this fall might just be suicide -- but we've got a roundup of some of the productions we're most looking forward to in the next couple months. Whether you go in for comedy, horror, romance, musical theatre, or Shakespeare, we guarantee there's something playing Off-Broadway this October and November that you'll love.
TOP FIVE PICKS:
Tiny Beautiful Things – Last season, this comedy starring Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) played a sold-out run. Now it’s back, and so is Vardalos. Tiny Beautiful Things centers on Cheryl Strayed, or, as she’s more widely known: anonymous advice-columnist Sugar. Based around the real letters Strayed received as a columnist, Tiny Beautiful Things purports to be cathartic, uplifting, and sassy. And with Vardalos in the main role, how could it not be? Thomas Kail (Hamilton) directs. Previews begin Sept 19. Opens Oct 10. Newman Theater at The Public, 425 Lafayette Street, https://www.publictheater.org/Public-Theater-Season/Tiny-Beautiful-Things/
Torch Song – Harvey Fierstein’s Tony-Award winning play Torch Song Trilogy is back, this time starring Michael Urie as Arnold Beckoff: a Jewish homosexual drag queen living in 1979 New York City. Fierstein has hinted that this revival, celebrating the show’s 35th anniversary, will feature a newly edited script, and the production features fresh directorial vision from Moisés Kaufman. Previews begin Sept. 26. Opens Oct. 19. Tony Kiser Theater at Second Stage Theater, 305 W 43rd St, https://2st.com/shows
Frankenstein the Musical - Just in time for Halloween, Frankenstein the Musical retells the ever-popular (and ever-relevant) Gothic horror story by Mary Shelley: this time with a steampunk flair. With so many musical and non-musical adaptations of Frankenstein out there (most of which have flopped), a new adaptation is never guaranteed to be a success. But this one looks promising, and its live percussion-based chamber ensemble is definitely a plus. Music by Michael Sgouros. Book & Lyrics by Brenda Bell. Previews begin Oct. 2. Opens Oct. 9. St. Luke's Theater, 308 W 46th St, http://monsteroffbroadway.com/
Shadowlands - Shadowlands tells the true story of the romance between English author C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) and divorced American ex-communist poet Joy Davidman. Written by William Nicholson and adapted into an Academy Award Winning film, Shadowlands is set to be revived for the first time since its debut in 1991, when it received a Tony nomination. The play kicks off Fellowship for Performing Arts’ third Off-Broadway season. Daniel Gerroll and Robin Abramson lead the cast, with Christa Scott-Reed directing. Previews begin Oct. 17. Limited run opens Nov. 1. The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, http://www.theatrerow.org/acornnowplaying/
Pride and Prejudice – Because who doesn’t love Mr. Darcy? Or Elizabeth Bennett? Following up her successful stage adaptations of Sense and Sensibility and Vanity Fair, Kate Hamill returns with a play adapted from one of the most beloved books in Western literature – and one of the best romances. Kate Hamill and Jason O’Connell lead an intimate cast doubling up on parts. Amanda Dehnert directs. Opens Nov. 7. Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street, http://www.cherrylanetheatre.org/onstage/pride-and-prejudice/.
Illyria - This world premiere sounds like a must for any theatre-loving New Yorker. In 1958, the future of the arts in New York City looked bleak: but Joe Papp was determined to continue mounting his free Shakespeare in the Park productions. Yes, it’s that Shakespeare in the Park. Discover “a forgotten chapter” in the history of The Public Theater. Fittingly, this show, written and directed by Richard Nelson, runs at The Public through December 10. Previews begin Oct. 22. Opens Oct. 30. Anspacher Theater at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, https://www.publictheater.org/Public-Theater-Season/Illyria/.
The Dead, 1904 – An immersive production based on James Joyce’s short story “The Dead” is set to be revived in a restored period building on Fifth Avenue. An authentic holiday meal will be catered onsite by Great Performances. Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Muldoon and novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz have penned this adaptation directed by Ciaran O’Reilly. Previews begin Nov. 18. Opens Nov. 30. The American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue.
Shakespeare in the Park may be over for the year, but Shakespeare productions in general are alive and well. Here are some notable picks:
As You Like It – Classic Stage Company has already started performances of their jazz-age inspired As You Like It, with songs by Stephen Schwartz. Hannah Cabell, Kyle Scatliffe, and Ellen Burstyn form only a small part of this production’s flamboyant cast. Now through Oct. 27. If you like this one, you might want to come back for Classic Stage Company's production of Twelfth Night, beginning in November. Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street, https://www.classicstage.org/shows/2017/09/as-you-like-it/.
Measure for Measure – Elevator Repair Service's staging of Shakespeare’s “problem play” at the Public features slapstick comedy inspired by the Marx Brothers alongside weightier passages. The play is currently in previews, and opens Oct. 10. LuEsther Hall in The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, https://www.publictheater.org/Public-Theater-Season/Measure-For-Measure/.
Desperate Measures – If you like your Shakespeare distilled a bit, York Theatre Company is staging a comic Western musical “loosely based on” Measure for Measure. The show features a book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg and music by David Friedman. Bill Castellino directs a cast that includes Broadway alumni Lauren Molina and Nick Wyman. Now through Oct. 15. The York Theatre Company, 619 Lexington Avenue, http://www.yorktheatre.org/desperate-measures.html.
And if none of those struck your fancy, there are a lot more Off-Broadway shows out there! So what are you waiting for? Go support live theatre! (And let us know if you see any great shows.)