Our guide to plays and musicals coming to New York stages and a few last-chance picks of shows that are about to close. Our reviews of open shows are at nytimes.com/reviews/theater.
Previews & Openings
‘A STRANGE LOOP’ at Playwrights Horizons (previews start on May 24; opens on June 17). The playwright Michael R. Jackson (yeah, the middle initial is important) offers a semi-autobiographical musical about the search for selfhood. Larry Owens stars as Usher, a young man also trying to write a semi-autobiographical new musical, while working his day job: ushering for “The Lion King.” Stephen Brackett directs with choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.
‘BRIEF CHRONICLE BOOKS 6-8’ at Access Theater (previews start on May 23; opens on June 2). Two summers ago, Alex Borinsky’s “Of Government” teamed mermaids, a bake sale and a Swiss hotel in a pageant of personal and civic discontent. In this new piece, she returns with a story about a man, a mom, a ghost and a vacation. Augustus Heagerty directs.
‘CABIN’ at the Bushwick Starr (in previews; opens on May 25). Has anyone who tried to get away from it all ever actually succeeded? In Sean Donovan’s dance-theater piece, three queer men seek love and solace in a cabin in the woods. Odds are they don’t find it. The play, which also explores the vagaries of memory and narrative, stars Donovan, Tyler Ashley and Brandon Washington, with original compositions by Heather Christian.
‘FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE’ at the Broadhurst Theater (in previews; opens on May 30). A waitress and a short-order cook fall into bed. Can they fall into anything else? As two lost souls who just might have found each other, Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon star in the director Arin Arbus’s revival of Terrence McNally’s 1987 play.
‘PUBLIC SERVANT’ at the Clurman Theater at Theater Row (previews start on May 25; opens on June 6). Bekah Brunstetter has had dessert. Now she’s ready for a second course. Part of a trilogy that began with “The Cake,” this new play for Theater Breaking Through Barriers is about a county commissioner tasked with a small request. Geordie Broadwater directs. Christine Bruno, Chris Henry Coffey and Anna Lentz star.
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
‘SOMETHING CLEAN’ at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theater (in previews; opens on May 29). Kathryn Erbe, a longtime star of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” explores another side of crime and punishment. In Selina Fillinger’s drama for Roundabout Underground, she plays Charlotte, a woman whose son has been convicted of sexual assault. Daniel Jenkins and Christopher Livingston also star. Margot Bordelon directs.
‘UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME’ at Ars Nova at Greenwich House (previews start on May 30; opens on June 1). Ready for another round? This provocative performance piece, created and performed by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard, returns to Ars Nova. This “in-all-ways sensational play,” Ben Brantley wrote in 2016, “is about finding ways to speak to one another about an unspeakable American institution a century and a half after its official end.”
‘AVENUE Q’ at New World Stages (closes on May 26). Everyone is still a little bit racist and online porn remains plentiful, but “Avenue Q,” the risqué take on “Sesame Street” that ran Off Broadway, on Broadway and off again, is putting down its puppets. Back in 2003, Ben Brantley described this Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty musical about navigating young adulthood as “savvy, sassy and eminently likable.”
‘NETWORK’ at the Belasco Theater (closes on June 8). Even when you’re mad as hell, you have to wrap it up sometime. Ivo van Hove’s reimagining of the 1976 Paddy Chayefsky movie finishes its Broadway run. If you love Bryan Cranston, catch it soon, because as Ben Brantley wrote, “if you’re a glutton for great, high-risk acting, you owe Mr. Cranston the courtesy — and yourself the thrill — of watching his self-immolation.”
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