Off-Broadway Preview: Winter 2017

Special Features   Off-Broadway Preview: Winter 2017
 
Revivals, world premieres, Tony-winning artists, and Hollywood stars—Here’s what not to miss January through March.
Harvey Fierstein, Branden Jacobs Jenkins, Sarah Ruhl, Bobby Cannavale, Leigh Silverman, Alex Timbers, and Liesl Tommy
Harvey Fierstein, Branden Jacobs Jenkins, Sarah Ruhl, Bobby Cannavale, Leigh Silverman, Alex Timbers, and Liesl Tommy

For those who enjoy an intimate New York theatre experience, Off-Broadway is booming with talent. Mark your calendar for these select incoming shows (the dates below are the date of the production’s first preview performance) hitting the smaller stage from January through March of 2017.

January 4-15: The Public Theater launches its 13th annual Under the Radar Festival. The 12-day event is a showcase for cutting-edge theatre and features a host of innovative artists from all over the world. To date, the festival has presented work from over 210 companies from 41 countries.

Dascha Polanco and Selenis Leyva
Dascha Polanco and Selenis Leyva Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

January 10: Basil Kreimendahl’s Orange Julius debuts at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in a co-production with Page 73. The memory play follows the relationship between a dying Vietnam vet and his adult child, Nut. The playwright is part of an important movement to bring trans stories by trans artists to the stage.

January 11: Atlantic Theater Company presents the world premiere of Paola Lázaro’s Tell Hector I Miss Him. The new play by the Puerto Rican-born actor and playwright is set in Old San Juan with a cast that includes Orange Is the New Black co-stars Dascha Polanco and Selenis Leyva.

January 11: BAM kicks off its new season with a 20th-anniversary revival of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane from acclaimed Irish theatre company Druid. Garry Hynes, who won a Tony Award for directing the play on Broadway, returns to helm the dark comedy.

January 11: Playwright David Ives returns to the Classic Stage Company for his sixth collaboration with the Off-Broadway theatre: The Liar. The play is an adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 17th Century farce of mistaken identities and secrets, Le Menteur, directed by Michael Kahn.

January 12: Anna Jordan’s play Yen debuts Off-Broadway, following an acclaimed London premiere. The new production from MCC Theater features two young breakout screen stars: Manchester by the Sea‘s Lucas Hedges, and The Get Down’s Justice Smith.

January 13: Phyllida Lloyd returns to St. Ann’s Warehouse with her staging of The Tempest, starring Harriet Walter. The American premiere culminates the director’s acclaimed trilogy of all-female Shakespeare productions.

January 24: Laugh it Up, Stare it Down playwright Alan Hruska debuts his newest play, Ring Twice for Miranda at New York City Center. The dystopian tragi-comedy is centered on an escapee chambermaid named Miranda.

January 25: Tanya Saracho’s (writer and co-producer of How to Get Away with Murder) behind-the-scenes comedy Fade has its New York premiere at Cherry Lane Theatre. The new work by the playwright and screenwriter, presented by Primary Stages, follows the friendship between Lucia and Abel, two Latinos of Mexican descent working at a ruthless Hollywood studio.

January 26: Second Stage theatre debuts Tracy Letts’ Man from Nebraska. In the play—a 2004 Pulitzer Prize finalist—the August: Osage County playwright explores what happens when we lose our belief system and the people that make ours lives meaningful.

January 31: MacArthur “Genius” winner Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has already made waves Off-Broadway with a number of hit plays: An Octoroon, Gloria, and Appropriate, to name a few. The young playwright premieres his newest work, Everybody at the Signature Theatre—billed as a modern riff on one of the oldest plays in the English language.

Yen_Meet_and_Greet_MTC_07_HR.jpg
Lucas Hedges, Ari Graynor, Stefania LaVie Owen, Justice Smith, and Jack DiFalco Joseph Marzullo/WENN

January 31: The New Group presents the U.S. premiere of Wallace Shawn’s Evening at the Talk House, starring the playwright and actor himself, along with two-time Tony winner Matthew Broderick. The company’s artistic director Scott Elliott, helms the debut.

January 31: New York Theatre Workshop opens its doors for Geoff Sobelle’s immersive theatrical installation The Object Lesson. The theatre is turned into a giant storage facility for the production, allowing audiences to roam and poke through the clutter.

February 2: Kid Victory, the new musical from Chicago composer John Kander and writer Greg Pierce arrives at the Vineyard Theatre. Tony nominee Liesl Tommy, who helmed the world-premiere, returns to direct.

February 2: Steven Levenson, book writer for Dear Evan Hansen, now on Broadway, returns to Roundabout Theatre where he got his start. If I Forget takes place in the final months before 9/11 and follows a liberal Jewish studies professor at odds with his family and their history.

February 3: A new Russian indie rock musical, from the mind behind Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, debuts in a fully operational church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn from Pipeline Theatre Company. Dave Malloy and Jason Craig’s Beardo chronicles the ascent of the infamous Rasputin.

February 7: Lucille Lortel and Obie Award winner Will Eno brings his newest work, Wakey, Wakey, which he also directs, to the Signature Theatre.

February 7: Manhattan Theatre Club stages the American premiere of Penelope Skinner’s timely new comedy Linda. Olivier Award winner Janie Dee stars in the title role as a highly successful senior executive, mother, and wife—but does she have it all?

February 7: Marin Ireland stars in Martín Zimmerman’s On the Exhale at Roundabout Theatre Company. The Tony nominee plays a college professor whose life is changed by a senseless act of gun violence.

February 8: Atlantic Theater debuts the world-premiere of The Penitent by co-founder David Mamet. The story is centered on a renowned psychiatrist whose refusal to testify on behalf of a young patient may cost him his career.

Tony Sheldon, Lauren Worsham, and Kyle Scatliffe
Tony Sheldon, Lauren Worsham, and Kyle Scatliffe

February 8: Encores! Presents a concert staging of Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn at New York City Center. Adapted from Mark Twain’s celebrated novel, the musical features a book by William Hauptman, and a Tony-winning bluegrass, gospel, and honky tonk score by Roger Miller. The Color Purple star Kyle Scatliffe plays Jim, and She Loves Me’s Nicholas Barasch is Huckleberry Finn.

February 11: Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3 program—dedicated to showcasing new artists—debuts Bryna Turner’s Bull in a China Shop. The world-premiere play follows Mary Woolley and her partner, Jeannette Marks, as they work to revolutionize women’s education during the suffrage movement.

February 12: Following her acclaimed production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, director Arin Arbus returns to Theatre for a New Audience to stage Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth.

February 14: David Byrne and Alex Timbers, the duo behind the Public Theater’s immersive musical hit Here Lies Love, reunite at the downtown theatre for the world-premiere of Joan of Arc: Into the Fire. The rock musical concert explores the rise of the 15th century heroine.

February 15: The Royal Court Theatre brings Caryl Churchill’s newest work, Escaped Alone to the BAM stage. The acclaimed dark comedy features an all-female cast.

February 17: From the minds of the Obie-winning, Brooklyn-based company Debate Society, comes The Light Years—a love story spanning four decades and a tribute to the now-forgotten theatrical impresario, Steele MacKaye. Hannah Bos, Paul Thureen, and Oliver Butler’s world-premiere work is staged at Playwrights Horizons.

February 23: Sarah Ruhl, whose acclaimed plays The Oldest Boy and In The Next Room played at Lincoln Center, returns to the theatre with an exploration of love, fidelity, and parenthood in How to Transcend a Happy Marriage. Her latest work sees two married couples coming to terms with the limits of marriage and friendship.

February 23: Ethan Lipton returns to Joe’s Pub at the Public with a limited engagement of The Outer Space, a new musical directed by Leigh Silverman. The show, which follows a married couple’s journey into the stratosphere, features music composed and performed by Lipton, Vito Dieterle, Eben Levy, and Ian Riggs.

February 24: Inspired by an observation that Latinos were often overlooked in the teaching of American history, Emmy winner John Leguizamo debuts his newest monologue play Latin History for Morons at the Public Theater.

February 27: The Playwrights Realm continues its female-driven season with the New York premiere of Jen Silverman’s The Moors. The comedy is a riff on the lives and works of the Brontë sisters.

Harvey Trailblazer awards_HR_3239.JPG
Honoree Harvey Fierstein Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

February 28: Women’s Project Theater joins forces with the ever-adventurous Ars Nova for the world-premiere of Rachel Bonds’ Sundown, Yellow Moon. The playwright’s latest offering is a play with music—a collaboration with Brooklyn indie rock duo The Bengsons and Obie-winning director Anne Kauffman.

March 9: Direct from its staging at the Delaware Theatre Company, Bruce Graham’s White Guy on a Bus arrives at 59E59 Theaters. The two characters at the center of this play: a wealthy white businessman and a struggling black single mother, unravel a tale of moral ambiguity, revenge, and racial bias.

March 14: Martin Sherman’s Gently Down the Stream, directed by Sean Mathias, receives its world premiere at the Public Theater. Harvey Fierstein plays Beau, a pianist expat living in London who meets an eccentric young lawyer at the dawn of the internet dating revolution.

March 15: Following its acclaimed, sold-out production of Sense & Sensibility, Bedlam theatre company kicks off its new season with a staging of Stephan Wolfert’s Cry Havoc! The solo piece is written and performed by veteran Wolfert about his experiences pre- and post-service.

March 17: Playwrights Horizons stages the world premiere of Zayd Dohrn's The Profane, about two families forced to face the limits of their religious beliefs, cultural traditions, and prejudices. The timely play is the recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

March 25: Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale stars in a re-imagining of The Old Vic production of Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape at Park Avenue Armory. The iconic American play, directed by Richard Jones, examines the divide between the rich and the poor in the industrial age.

Things to look out for in the spring: Dianne Wiest in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, the new musical Bella: An American Tall Tale, as well as new plays by Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Baker and Suzan-Lori Parks, and Martyna Majok, Hamish Linklater, and Friends star Matthew Perry, to name a few. Check back for a more comprehensive Off-Broadway Spring Preview in 2017.

Any given Off-Broadway season is abundant and extensive. This list contains only a selection of the coming productions and is not meant to a completely comprehensive list. Visit Playbill.com's Off-Broadway listings for more information throughout the season.

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