15 Shows Not to Miss Off-Broadway June 1–15

Off-Broadway News   15 Shows Not to Miss Off-Broadway June 1–15
See new musicals, screen stars onstage, and world-premiere plays.
The cast of <i>Sweetee </i>
The cast of Sweetee Matthew Murphy

June 1: The New York premiere of Sweetee, Gail Kriegel’s musical about a bi-racial woman growing up during the era of Jim Crow, officially opens in the Ford Foundation Studio at the Signature Theatre. Two-time Emmy winner and five-time Tony nominee Patricia Birch directs a cast that is led by Frozen’s Jelani Alladin and Jordan Tyson in the title role.

June 1: Performances begin for Irish Rep’s mainstage production: Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie, a musical portrait of the folk singer who influenced the likes of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. The show features a handful of Guthrie’s best-known songs, including “This Land is Your Land” and “So Long It’s Been Good To Know Yuh.”


Quincy Dunn-Baker, Sue Jean Kim, Matthew Perry, and Jennifer Morrison Joseph Marzullo/WENN

June 5: Matthew Perry makes his New York playwriting and acting stage debut with The End of Longing. The play received its world premiere on the West End last year—where it broke box-office records at the Playhouse Theatre—and arrives Off-Broadway in a revamped production from MCC Theater. Perry’s dark comedy is the story of four deeply flawed strangers whose lives become irreversibly intertwined after meeting in a bar.

June 6: The New York premiere of Clare Lizzimore’s Animal officially opens at Atlantic Theater Company, starring Golden Globe nominee Rebecca Hall. The Machinal actor plays a woman who seemingly has it all: marriage, a house, her career—until she begins to have visions. The play, according to production notes, examines “the underside of domesticity, the complexity of the brain in chaos, and the thin line between sinking and survival.”

June 6: The world premiere of Chisa Hutchinson’s Somebody’s Daughter opens at the McGinn/Cazale Theater, launching Second Stage’s 2017 Uptown series. Three generations of women find their identity in question in the new play, which sees a Chinese-American guidance counselor help a protégé deal with gender bias. “For me, Chisa's work is relatable, funny, and emotional with nuanced characters and captivating arcs,” Michelle Kim, who stars in the production, tells Playbill. “I love that her work is female-driven and explores social issues without bias.” The production recently announced a one-week extension, with performances now scheduled through June 25.

June 7: Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living officially opens at New York City Center. The Women’s Project Lab alum returns Off-Broadway following the success of last year’s critics’ pick, Ironbound. Her newest play—about the ways in which abled and disabled bodies meet each other—was written specifically for and in collaboration with actors with disabilities. The production was a hit at last summer’s Williamstown Theatre Festival, which is co-producing the New York premiere with Manhattan Theatre Club. Jo Bonney directs.

June 7: Cherry Lane Theater’s Founder’s Project and La Femme Theatre Productions’ revival of Horton Foote’s 1955 play The Traveling Lady begins previews at the Cherry Lane Theater. Jean Lichty stars as Georgette Thomas, a woman driving through Texas with her young daughter, on her way to greet her husband coming out of prison. Tony winner Karen Ziemba is also in the cast.

June 9: Ars Nova and Roundabout Underground alum Meghan Kennedy debuts her newest work, Napoli, Brooklyn, with Roundabout Theatre Company. The coming-of-age drama takes place in Park Slope during the 1960s, and follows three sisters who find themselves at odds with their parents’ traditional values. Jordyn DiNatale, Lilli Kay, and Elise Kibler star as the Muscolino sisters at the heart of the play, which will officially open June 27.

Anna Martine Freeman in <i>Rotterdam </i>
Anna Martine Freeman in Rotterdam Hunter Canning

June 10: Don’t miss the New York debut of Jon Brittain’s Olivier Award-winning play Rotterdam at 59E59 Theaters as part of Brits Off Broadway. The bittersweet comedy about gender, sexuality, and relationships plays its final performance June 10. The festival continues through July 2.

June 11: New York Theatre Workshop wraps up its extended engagement of Sojourners and Her Portmanteau, two new works by Mfoniso Udofia that have been playing in repertory at the downtown theatre since April 22. The plays, which have been named NYT critics' pick, are part of Udofia’s epic, nine-part Ufot Cycle, which chronicles the triumphs and losses of a Nigerian immigrant woman living in America.

June 12: Kirsten Childs’ wildly imaginative new musical Bella: An American Tall Tale opens at Playwrights Horizons with direction by Robert O’Hara. Set in the 1870s, the show takes the audience on the trip of a lifetime through the Wild West, complete with a train robbery and buffalo soldiers. Ashley D. Kelley stars as Bella, a young African American woman on the run.

June 13: The Barrow Group’s staging of Expecting Isabel officially opens at the TBG Theatre. Lisa Loomer’s comedy follows the adventures of a New York couple trying to have a baby—from the difficulties of trying to conceive, to navigating the fertility industry, and the intricacies of adoption.

June 15: Previews begin for The Lincoln Center Theater production of Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline. The playwright returns Off-Broadway following the success of last year’s sold-out hit, Skeleton Crew, with a new play about an inner-city public high school teacher and her son. Karen Pittman and Namir Smallwood lead the cast.

June 15: Irish Rep’s second show of the summer, The Aran Islands, begins performances in the theatre’s smaller W. Scott McLucas Studio Theatre. Adapted and directed by Joe O’Byrne, the play captures the spirit of Irish writer John Millington Synge, who, in 1898, went to live and explore the mystical land on the West Coast of Europe.

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