Fall 2019 Broadway Guide

Brian Sloan

This fall on Broadway brings a selection of original and classic plays. The season is packed with dramas featuring stars like Jake Gyllenhaal, Mary-Louise Parker, Tom Hiddleston and Marisa Tomei. On-the-rise playwrights Matthew Lopez, of London hit Inheritance, and Jeremy O. Harris, of downtown sensation Slave Play, make their Broadway debuts, while established American dramatists Tracy Letts (a Tony winner for August: Osage County) and Adam Rapp (a Pulitzer nominee for Red Light Winter) take new works to the stage. There’s also a major revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Rose Tattoo.

Those who prefer musicals will want to check out innovative shows that are already generating critical buzz. Lin-Manuel Miranda debuts a new version of Freestyle Love Supreme, his pre-Hamilton improv creation. Jagged Little Pill, based on Alanis Morissette’s ’90s album, arrives after a successful Boston tryout. And à la Cher and Donna Summer in recent years, Tina Turner gets the Broadway treatment with Tina, the rockin’ musical tale of her life. On the revival front, look for a modernized version of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.

For more details on this season’s new shows, read on.

Sea Wall/ A Life. Courtesy, AKA NYC

Sea Wall / A Life

Hudson Theatre, 141 W. 44th St., through September 29

These two one-act plays go together due to their similar themes about fatherhood and mortality. Tom Sturridge stars in the first, written by Simon Stephens (Heisenberg); Jake Gyllenhaal takes the stage in the second, from British playwright Nick Payne (Constellations).

The buzz: This production offers two gripping stories told by two amazing actors.
Buy tickets if…you like your drama served with star power.

Betrayal. Courtesy, AKA NYC

Betrayal

Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St., August 14–December 8

Harold Pinter’s 1978 drama of a marriage undone by an affair is famously told backward. This production comes directly from a sold-out London run. Marvel Cinematic Universe regular Tom Hiddleston comes down to earth for his Broadway debut, starring along with Charlie Cox and Zawe Ashton.

The buzz: Hiddleston’s performance got raves in the UK.
Buy tickets if…you heart a good love triangle.

The Great Society. Courtesy, AKA NYC

The Great Society

Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Lincoln Center, 105 W. 65th St., September 6–November 30

Lyndon B. Johnson is the subject of this sequel to 2014’s Tony-winning play All the Way, which covered LBJ’s ascension to the presidency. This companion piece focuses on the four years after Johnson’s 1964 reelection as he pushed through a raft of progressive legislation.

The buzz: This historical epic’s topics of race relations and economic justice resonate today.
Buy tickets if…you’d like to revisit another pivotal moment in American politics.

Derren Brown: Secret. Courtesy, RPM

Derren Brown: Secret

Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St., September 6–January 4

This magician and mentalist has made a name for himself with some compelling and confounding Netflix specials. Now he brings his unusual live act to Broadway for a limited run. A hit Off-Broadway, it’s transferred with help from Hollywood producer-director J. J. Abrams. Volunteer at your own risk.

The buzz: Brown does not claim supernatural powers, and critics have hailed the psychological and symbolic elements of his work.
Buy tickets if…you want to recapture a sense of wonder.

The Height of the Storm. Courtesy, Getty

The Height of the Storm

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St., September 10–November 17

An elderly couple married for 50 years finds their lives coming apart in subtle, surprising ways. This Pinter-esque play from Florian Zeller (The Father) examines the nature of reality and longtime love, with British thespians Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins as the leads.

The buzz: These two actors create memorable roles in a moving, mysterious show.
Buy tickets if… you want to see a pair of accomplished performers in their prime.

Slave Play. Photo: Jenny Anderson/NYTW

Slave Play

Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St., September 10–January 5

After making shockwaves downtown last year, this controversial new show will surely shake up Broadway with its explicit take on sex, slavery and race relations. Set today, it’s about three interracial couples entering a type of group therapy that involves some 19th-century role-play.

The buzz: Critics raved over this breakout work from 30-year-old dramatist Jeremy O. Harris.
Buy tickets if…you’re ready to confront some provocative material.

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Freestyle Love Supreme. Courtesy, RPM

Freestyle Love Supreme

Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St., September 13–January 5

Nearly a decade before Hamilton made him a household name, Lin-Manuel Miranda and his director pal Thomas Kail created this improv-based hip-hop comedy Off-Broadway. Now it’s back in a big way, with Broadway guest stars like Christopher Jackson and Daveed Diggs.

The buzz: The material changes every night based on suggestions from the audience.
Buy tickets if…you want an unpredictable, unpretentious night at the theater.

The Sound Inside. Courtesty, AKA NYC

The Sound Inside

Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St., September 14–January 12

This two-hander from Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp begins in a college professor’s office as she talks to a favorite male student. Their conversations ultimately lead to an unusual request and serious confrontation that strains their student-teacher relationship.

The buzz: The play is a showcase for Mary-Louise Parker in an intriguing, nuanced role.
Buy tickets if…you like an intense, one-on-one drama.

Linda Vista

Hayes Theater, 240 W. 44th St., September 19–November 10

Tracy Letts’ drama is a portrait of a 50-year-old divorced man starting over in the San Diego suburb of the play’s title. He tries revving up a couple romances along the way as he comically struggles to adjust to middle age and the realities of his new life.

The buzz: Critics love Ian Barford, of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater, in the lead role.
Buy tickets if…you’re a man of a certain age.

The Rose Tattoo

American Airlines Theatre, 222 W. 42nd St., September 19–December 8

In this 1951 Tennessee Williams classic, a widowed Italian seamstress living in the deep South meets a local truck driver—sparking an unlikely romance. For this latest revival, Marisa Tomei takes on the bigger-than-life role of Serafina Delle Rose (famously portrayed by Anna Magnani in the film version).

The buzz: Tomei originally played this role in 2016 at Williamstown, to much acclaim.
Buy tickets if…you enjoy a feisty rom-com.

The Inheritance

Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St., September 27–January 5 (in general, parts I and II will alternate weekday nights with an afternoon-evening twin bill on weekend days)

Playwright Matthew Lopez’s new two-part, six-hour-plus drama surveys the advances and setbacks of the LGBTQ+ community over the last 30 years. The show’s multigenerational cast explores numerous storylines about love and loss in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

The buzz: The show has earned comparisons to Angels in America and won multiple Olivier Awards.
Buy tickets if…you’re a big binge-watcher.

David Byrne’s American Utopia

Hudson Theatre, 141 W. 44th St., October 4–January 19

The Talking Heads frontman comes to Broadway with a concert-style experience that’s been touring the world since 2018. Byrne performs with an ensemble of 11 international musicians playing works from his recent American Utopia album, back catalog hits and even a Janelle Monae cover.

The buzz: This combines Broadway production values with the energy of a Talking Heads concert.
Buy tickets if…you like to get up and dance in the theater.

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. Courtesy, AKA NYC

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St., October 12–ongoing

The dramatic story of Turner’s life and multi-decade career features a score packed with the pop diva’s greatest hits.

The buzz: Adrienne Warren blew the roof off the theater in London with a star-making performance as Tina.
Buy tickets if…you don’t wanna fight and just want a jukebox musical everyone can enjoy.

Jagged Little Pill

Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St., November 3–ongoing

This new musical, featuring songs from Alanis Morissette’s 1994 album, tells the story of a suburban family in crisis. The audience will also hear other Morissette songs, including two she wrote specifically for the show.
The buzz: Diane Paulus’ Boston production got raves, as did Morissette’s new songs.
Buy tickets if…you aren’t too picky about the exact meaning of “ironic.”

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West Side Story

Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway, December 10–ongoing

It’s been more than half a century since this show about rival gangs took Broadway by storm, its Leonard Bernstein score thrilling audiences. The iconic American musical gets a reboot from director Ivo van Hove, who is known for his stripped-down, intense takes on plays like The Crucible.

The buzz: The young, multicultural cast is mostly made up of actors performing in NYC for the first time.
Buy tickets if…you like the classics but are also down for a hip, new take.


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