Your Guide to the Fall 2017 Off-Broadway Season

Special Features   Your Guide to the Fall 2017 Off-Broadway Season
 
A look at the 40-plus shows to catch September through November, from new plays and musicals to anticipated revivals and West End transfers.
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Graphic by Hannah Vine

SEPTEMBER
In the busiest month of the season, a number of plays will explore gender, queerness, and body politics, kicking off with Suzan-Lori Parks’ Red Letter Plays. The two plays, In the Blood and Fucking A, offer a modern retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s seminal novel, The Scarlet Letter. In Fucking A, opening September 11, an abortionist devotes everything she has to freeing her son from prison. In the Blood, opening September 17, introduces us to Hester La Negrita, a penniless mother of five condemned by the men who love her. Both works are being performed together for the first time at the Signature Theatre, with star-studded casts.

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Suzan-Lori Parks Dan Walters

The ultra-violent and hyper-sexualized world of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange is brought to the stage in U.K. group Action to the Word’s all-male theatrical adaptation. The show begins performances September 2 at New World Stages with British actor Jonno Davies reprising his role as the maniacal Alex DeLarge.

Playwrights Realm, the company behind the Off-Broadway hit The Wolves, presents the world premiere of Michael Yates Crowley's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias. The new play uses the backdrop of Ancient Rome to shine a light on rape culture in America today (opening September 10 at The Duke on 42nd Street).

Downtown, MCC will bring to life the inspiring true story of trans icon Miss Gloria Allen, who changed the lives of students at Chicago’s LGBTQ community center, in Philip Dawkins’ play Charm. The New York premiere features a cast of gender fluid actors (opening September 18 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre).

Beginning September 26, Second Stage Theatre kicks off its 35th anniversary production of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy, re-titled Torch Song. Michael Urie stars as Arnold Beckoff, the role originated by Feinstein, a gay drag performer in a tempestuous relationship with his bisexual, closeted lover.

There are a number of new works to catch Off-Broadway in September: Tony and Emmy nominee Carrie Coon will head the cast of Mary Jane, a new drama by Pulitzer Prize finalist Amy Herzog at New York Theatre Workshop (beginning September 6); Tony-winning Curious Incident playwright Simon Stephens debuts his latest play about family and the size of the galaxy, the Olivier Award-winning On the Shore of the Wide World at Atlantic Theater Company (opening September 12); Playwrights Horizons presents the New York premiere of For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday, the newest work by two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony nominee Sarah Ruhl (opening September 13), alongside the world premiere of Max Posner’s The Treasurer, a story of complicated family dynamics (beginning September 6); and Manhattan Theatre Club debuts John Patrick Shanley’s romantic comedy The Portuguese Kid starring Jason Alexander, Mary Testa, and Sherie Rene Scott (beginning September 19).

Roundabout Theatre Company has two new works lined up for the fall: the Off-Broadway premiere of Anna Ziegler’s The Last Match, a fast-paced comedy drama about tennis, ambition, and relationships (beginning September 28); and downstairs in the Black Box theatre, Roundabout Underground will stage the world premiere of Jiréh Breon Holder’s Too Heavy For Your Pocket. The new play, about the civil rights movement, is sure to resonate today (beginning September 15).

Sherie Renee Scott, Mary Testa, and Jason Alexander
Sherie Renee Scott, Mary Testa, and Jason Alexander

Fans of site-specific theatre will not want to miss Ars Nova’s high-octane collaboration with the Woodshed Collective and Ma-Yi Theatre: KPOP (opening September 22). The show, which is staged in the newly built A.R.T Theatres, gives audiences an all-access, backstage pass to a K-Pop music factory.

If you prefer classical theatre, head to Central Park for the Public Theater’s musical adaption of As You Like It (beginning September 1); or see Classic Stage Company’s John Doyle-helmed take on the Shakespearean comedy with original music by Stephen Schwartz (beginning September 13).

Also in September: WP Theater launches its 40th anniversary season with Monica Bill Barnes & Co.’s brand new show One Night Only (running as long as we can) (beginning September 9 at McGinn/Cazale Theatre); Elevator Repair Service takes on Measure for Measure at the Public Theater (beginning September 17); and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater kicks off its new season with Diana Oh’s {my lingerie play} 2017: The Concert and Call to Arms!!!!!!! The Final Installation (beginning September 27).

OCTOBER
Things are not slowing down in October. The Public Theater continues its fall programming with an additional four productions: Luis Alfaro’s Oedipus El Rey, in which the tragic hero is re-imagined as a troubled Latino man (beginning October 3); a return engagement of Nia Vardalos’ sold-out hit Tiny Beautiful Things (opening October 10); the New York premiere of Julia Cho’s Office Hour, a new drama about a teacher and student desperate to change their own stories (beginning October 17); and Illyria, Richard Nelson’s retelling of the early career of Public founder Joe Papp (beginning October 22).

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Nia Vardalos and Phillip James Brannon in the 2016 production of Tiny Beautiful Things Joan Marcus

Zoe Kazan and Anna Ziegler, two playwrights unafraid to tackle controversial themes, debut their latest works Off-Broadway. Kazan taps into widespread climate change fears in After the Blast, a play set in the wake of an environmental disaster (beginning October 7 at LCT3), while Ziegler explores race and consent on a college campus in Actually at MTC (beginning October 31).

At the Signature Theatre, Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Adly Guirgis kicks off his residency with a revival of his darkly comic exploration of redemption and faith, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (beginning October 3); while down the road at Stage 42, Howard Crabtree’s Off-Broadway musical revue When Pigs Fly returns for an open-ended engagement (beginning October 6).

Also happening in October: Primary Stages launches its 2017–2018 season with The Gospel According To Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens And Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord by Real Time with Bill Maher executive producer Scott Carter (opening October 1 at the Cherry Lane Theatre); Lisa Lampanelli’s Stuffed returns Off-Broadway with an all-new cast at the Westside Theatre (beginning October 5); Alaxsxa|Alaska, a newly devised piece from Ping Chong + Company weaving puppetry, and Central Yup’ik drum and dance, arrives at La MaMa following an Alaskan tour (beginning October 12); Denise Gough reprises her Olivier award-winning role in the American premiere of Duncan MacMillan’s West End hit People, Places & Things at St. Ann’s Warehouse (beginning October 19); David Cale, the Obie-winning writer of Lillian, debuts his monologue play Harry Clarke at the Vineyard Theatre (beginning October 26); and Theatre for a New Audience presents a Marcel + The Art of Laughter, a double bill of comic one-acts featuring Jos Houben and Marcello Magni (beginning October 27).

NOVEMBER
November will see a number of additional new works debut Off-Broadway.

In the world of plays: The New Group will kick off its 2017–18 season with Seth Zvi Rosenfeld’s Downtown Race Riot, which depicts the consequences of a racially charged conflict in Washington Square Park in 1976 (date TBA). MCC will present the world premiere of Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play, directed by Tony winner Rebecca Taichman (beginning November 2). Set at Ghana's most exclusive boarding school, Bioh’s dark comedy depicts the rivalry between two adolescent girls in the lead up to the Miss Universe pageant. And Atlantic Theatre Company will debut Rajiv Joseph’s Describe the Night (beginning November 10); set over the course of 80 years, the play traces the stories of seven men and women connected by history, myth, and conspiracy theories.

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Rajiv Joseph Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Musical lovers won’t want to miss The Bengsons’ new folk-punk musical, Hundred Days, a story about embracing life as if you only had 100 days to live, with a book by playwright Sarah Gancher and direction by Anne Kauffman (beginning November 15 at NYTW); as well as Kerrigan and Lowdermilk’s The Mad Ones, which will kick off Prospect Theater’s three-year residency developing new musicals at 59E59 Theaters (beginning November 7).

Also in November: The Wolves, Sarah DeLappe’s acclaimed play about an all-female soccer team, returns Off-Broadway for a limited run at Lincoln Center Theater (beginning November 1); Primary Stages will present Kate Hamill’s new stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (beginning November 7 at Cherry Lane Theatre); Bedlam presents J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, with a cast of six depicting all of the characters in Barrie’s beloved 1904 play (beginning November 11 at The Duke on 42nd Street); The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit will stage Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (beginning November 26); Love Production Records will present Allan and Pat Harris’ new musical Cross That River, an 1860s-set tale about a run-away slave who escapes from Texas to become one of America’s first black cowboys (beginning November 28 at 59E59 Theaters); and Fiasco Theater’s Twelfth Night will take over Classic Stage (beginning November 29).

(Author's Note: All dates are subject to change. Due to the expansive nature of the Off-Broadway season, this list is in no way intended to be completely comprehensive.)

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