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 and Openings
‘THE CHER SHOW’ at the Neil Simon Theater (in previews; opens on Dec. 3). Gypsies, tramps, thieves and ticket holders will be lining up for this biographical musical. Using Rick Elice’s book and 35 (35!) of Cher’s songs, three actresses tell the story of one life and many headdresses. Jason Moore directs Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks and Micaela Diamond, while the costume designer Bob Mackie directs a lot of sequins.
‘CIRCUS ABYSSINIA: ETHIOPIAN DREAMS’ at the New Victory Theater (performances start on Nov. 30). Created by Bichu and Bibi Tesfamariam, Ethiopian brothers who really did run off and join the circus, this holiday show mixes marvels and memoir. The tumbling, contortion and juggling — performed by colleagues from the brothers’ Addis Ababa circus school — is meant to delight children of all ages.
‘THE JUNGLE’ at St. Ann’s Warehouse (previews start on Dec. 4; opens on Dec. 9). In Calais, France, refugees gather in an encampment and share their stories with aid workers and audience. Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin direct a script by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, playwrights who created a theater in the Calais camp. When Ben Brantley saw it in London, he described the feelings it conjured as “oddly inspiring.”
‘NASSIM’ at Stage II at City Center (previews start on Dec. 6; opens on Dec. 12). The Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour, last seen with “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” hares after another improvised theatrical experience. At each performance an unrehearsed actor breaks open a sealed envelope and performs Soleimanpour’s script, creating a meditation on intimacy, empathy and exile. Omar Elerian directs and Soleimanpour cameos.
‘NETWORK’ at the Belasco Theater (in previews; opens on Dec. 6). The suave Belgian director Ivo van Hove has never seemed mad as hell, but he is taking an adaptation of the 1976 Paddy Chayefsky film to Broadway. When Ben Brantley saw the production in London last fall, he called it a “a bravura exercise in torturously applied pressure.” Bryan Cranston, “in a state of radioactive meltdown,” stars as the newscaster Howard Beale.
‘SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY’ at the Lucille Lortel Theater (closes on Dec. 9). The girls of Jocelyn Bioh’s hilarious and devastating comedy about colorism, directed by Rebecca Taichman, are again about to graduate. When the play, set in Ghana, had its premiere last fall, Jesse Green wrote that the “nasty-teen comedy genre emerges wonderfully refreshed and even deepened by its immersion in a world it never considered.”
‘THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING)’ at the Pershing Square Signature Center (closes on Dec. 9). A lonely, logorrheic man finally runs out of words as the Signature’s revival of Will Eno’s career-making early work ends its run. Ben Brantley found that in this word-drunk monologue, now starring Michael C. Hall and directed by Oliver Butler, “it’s Mr. Eno’s love for and grasp of rhythmic language that most impress here.”
‘WHAT TO SEND UP WHEN IT GOES DOWN’ at A.R.T./New York Theaters (closes on Dec. 8). Playwright Aleshea Harris’s new work — a synthesis of dialogue, monologue and participatory celebration — performs its final rituals. Ben Brantley wrote that Ms. Harris (“Is God Is) “has a gift for pushing the familiar to surreally logical extremes” and that her piece is “truly sui generis, truly remarkable.”
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