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
‘AIN’T NO MO’’ at the Public Theater (previews start on March 12; opens on March 27). When Donald J. Trump was elected president, a lot of people talked about fleeing to Canada or elsewhere. Few made good on it. But Jordan E. Cooper’s play imagines a world where black Americans prepare to depart en masse. Stevie Walker-Webb directs a satire in which black lives mobilize.
‘ANYTHING THAT GIVES OFF LIGHT’ at Joe’s Pub (previews start on March 14; opens on March 16). The Highlands of Scotland and the hills of Appalachia unexpectedly collide in this new work presented by the TEAM and the National Theater of Scotland, with music by the Bengsons. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, the play tracks an American woman, who finds herself alone on her second honeymoon in Scotland, and the two men she meets at a pub.
‘BE MORE CHILL’ at the Lyceum Theater (in previews; opens on March 10). A favorite of some blissfully uncool young fans, this Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz musical about a teenager who swallows a potentially malevolent supercomputer is booting up on Broadway. Reviewing the Off Broadway production, Ben Brantley called it a “high-energy, high-anxiety musical.” Stephen Brackett directs.
‘HATE____’ at the WP Theater (in previews; opens on March 13). The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes it wants what the brain strongly objects to. WP Theater and Colt Coeur present Rehana Lew Mirza’s play about a literature professor (Kavi Ladnier) and the novelist (Sendhil Ramamurthy) she may or may not detest. Adrienne Campbell-Holt directs.
‘IF PRETTY HURTS UGLY MUST BE A ________’ at Playwrights Horizons (in previews; opens on March 10). Tori Sampson makes her Playwrights Horizons debut with a parable of blackness and beauty. Set in the village of Affreakah-Amirrorkah, the play is a collision of Greek drama, Brechtian teaching plays and anguished contemporary comedy. Leah C. Gardiner directs a cast that includes Nike Uche Kadri as the town’s most beautiful girl.
‘KISS ME, KATE’ at Studio 54 (in previews; opens on March 14). Brush up on your Shakespeare and your Cole Porter, too, because the Roundabout is reviving this 1948 musical, a metatheatrical riff on “The Taming of the Shrew.” Under Scott Ellis’s direction, Kelli O’Hara stars alongside Will Chase, Corbin Bleu and Stephanie Styles. Has the show aged poorly or will it be just wunderbar?
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
‘THE MOTHER’ at the Atlantic Theater Company at the Linda Gross Theater (in previews; opens on March 11). Florian Zeller’s “The Father,” a chilling, brain-addling play about dementia, was on Broadway in 2016. Now this earlier drama, about a middle-aged woman questioning her reality, arrives Off Broadway. Isabelle Huppert stars as a woman suspicious of her husband (Chris Noth) and her son. Trip Cullman directs.
‘SKINNAMARINK’ at the Fourth Street Theater (previews start on March 8; opens on March 13). Before Dick and Jane ran, American children fumbled toward literacy with McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers, a few of which are still in use today. In its new show, Little Lord, the plunderer of cultural memory, revisits these primers and the queasy moral indoctrination they taught alongside proper spelling and grammar. Michael Levinton directs.
‘SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY’ at the Clurman Theater at Theater Row (in previews; opens on March 13). At a struggling Newark school, a neglected middle schooler and a lunch lady form a lasting bond. Chisa Hutchinson’s play for Keen Company promises more than the usual R.D.A. of uplift and maybe some cartons of milk, too. Jessi D. Hill directs. Jay Mazyck and Brenda Pressley star.
‘WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME’ at the Helen Hayes Theater (previews start on March 14; opens on March 31). Part constitutional law seminar, part rollicking comedy, Heidi Schreck’s show about her fraught romance with the Constitution finds a more perfect home: Broadway. Jesse Green called the play, which also stars Mike Iveson, Rosdely Ciprian and Thursday Williams, “one of those subversive and eye-opening new experiences.”
‘BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK’ at the Pershing Square Signature Center (closes on March 10). Lynn Nottage’s spiky Hollywood comedy readies for its final close-ups. The play, which ranges from 1933 to 2003, weaving in and out of the life of an African-American actress, isn’t especially tidy, but it’s brainy, fizzy and ultimately wrenching in its consideration of stereotype and erasure.
‘CHOIR BOY’ at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater (closes on March 10). Directed by Trip Cullman, Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play about prep-school boys warbling their way toward maturity performs its final encores. Although Jesse Green critiqued the flimsiness of the plot and some of the characters, he wrote that “Choir Boy” is “a script, or at least a production, that is far more powerful than its flaws might indicate.”
‘MIES JULIE’ AND ‘THE DANCE OF DEATH’ at Classic Stage Company (closes on March 10). Two of August Strindberg’s bad romances, running in repertory, reach the end. Ben Brantley wrote that even though neither Yaël Farber’s adaptation of “Mies Julie,” directed by Shariffa Ali, nor Conor McPherson’s version of “The Dance of Death,” directed by Victoria Clark, kindles Strindberg’s “infernal heat,” each introduces the audience to a “complex and uncomfortable world.”
‘TRUE WEST’ at the American Airlines Theater (closes on March 17). Sam Shepard’s tale of brotherly animus and noxious masculinity, produced by Roundabout Theater Company, stages its last showdown. James Macdonald’s revival, starring Ethan Hawke as a drifter, Paul Dano as a screenwriter and several houseplants as their innocent victims, moved Ben Brantley to write, “everyday sibling rivalry has seldom felt this ominous.”
Source: Read Full Article