Broadway won’t be taking a break this winter, with a full slate of shows opening starting in December and going all the way up to the Tony Awards deadline in April. The biggest buzz is for some stage adaptations of major movies, like 1980s classics Tootsie and Beetlejuice. And, per usual, stars will be shining throughout the Theatre District with Annette Bening (All My Sons), Ethan Hawke (True West) and Bryan Cranston (Network) taking the spotlight.
There are also new musicals and plays with great word-of-mouth that are guaranteed to get people talking once they open. Be More Chill is a fan-favorite Off-Broadway hit about high school that, after going viral, will be transferring in March. Nathan Lane and Andrea Martin headline Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, a wildly imagined follow-up to one of the Bard’s bloodiest plays. And the Brit hit Ink, about media maven Rupert Murdoch, arrives from London’s West End.
Read on for more details on all the shows coming to NYC this winter and spring 2019.
Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St., through March 17, 2019
If you’ve seen the classic 1970s feature by Sidney Lumet, you know why this new stage adaptation is more timely than ever. Howard Beale, played by Bryan Cranston, is a network news anchor on the verge of a nervous breakdown in this London transfer inventively directed by Ivo Van Hove (View from the Bridge, The Crucible).
The buzz: The unusual use of live video brings Cranston’s intense performance up close and personal to every seat in the house.
Buy tickets if….you are mad as hell and you’re not gonna take it anymore!
Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St., ongoing
This new musical looks at the prom from the angle of two girls who want to go together. When their Midwest town gets all twisted, some musical theater actors (!) come to save the day. Or do they only make things worse? This comic look at a uniquely American ritual is full of laughs and new songs from the team behind Elf.
The buzz: The amazing audience response from its Atlanta production propelled it to Broadway.
Buy tickets if…you want to take someone to the prom.
Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St., through January 20, 2019
This new solo performance by comedian, storyteller and actor Mike Birbiglia focuses on the trials and joys, or maybe more the trials, of being a father for the first time. Birbiglia’s realistic storytelling and sly sense of humor have charmed audiences at his previous one-man shows like Sleepwalk with Me, but this latest marks his Broadway debut.
The buzz: Providing some direct maternal material, Birbiglia’s wife shares writing credit with him.
Buy tickets if…you are thinking about being a parent, or already are one.
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St., performances begin December 12, through February 17, 2019
Tarell Alvin McCraney was an up-and-coming playwright when this drama set in an African American boys’ school debuted Off-Broadway in 2013. A few years and an Oscar (for screenplay adaptation of Moonlight) later, McCraney will see play transfer to Broadway with most of the original cast returning, including Chuck Cooper and Austin Pendleton. Also present: the glorious gospel music that is a key part of this unique drama.
The buzz: Though technically not a musical, the cast’s singing voices in the show wowed audiences the first time out, along with the beautiful choral arrangements.
Buy tickets if…you want to go to church—figuratively speaking.
American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St., performances begin December 27, through March 17, 2019
The late playwright Sam Shepard’s work is known for its brutal honesty, not to mention its brutality. In this revival of his 1980 play, Paul Dano and Ethan Hawke star as brothers housesitting for their mother in suburban Los Angeles. Then things get dicey, to say the least.
The buzz: Hawke and Dano have worked together twice before, giving them the familiarity the play demands for the family fireworks.
Buy tickets if…you’re not a fan of toasters or typewriters.
Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th St., performances begin February 13, 2019
This little-show-that-could, adapted from a YA novel by the late Ned Vizzini, got its start at a regional theater in New Jersey back in 2015. Since then, it has developed a cult following among high schoolers for its real depiction of the anxieties and challenges of teen life explored in some painfully funny situations and extremely quirky musical numbers.
The buzz: The song about being stuck in the bathroom is already a YouTube hit.
Buy tickets if…you’ve ever felt awkward at a party.
Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St., performances begin February 14, through June 2, 2019
One of Broadway’s biggest stars, Kelli O’Hara (The King and I, South Pacific), leads this revival of Cole Porter’s backstage take on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Stocked with American songbook classics like “So in Love,” “Wunderbar” and “Another Op’nin’, Another Show,” the show promises to be a big, glossy production from veteran director Scott Ellis (She Loves Me) and Tony-winning choreographer Warren Carlyle (Hello, Dolly!).
The buzz: O’Hara is already an awards-season favorite for this juicy leading role.
Buy tickets if…you think there’s a thin line between love and hate.
Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St., performances begin February 28, 2019
The life story of Motown supergroup the Temptations gets the Jersey Boys treatment in this brand-new jukebox musical. Director Des McAnuff, who had success with this formula directing both Jersey Boys and the Donna Summer musical currently on Broadway, jams 30 songs into a nonstop musical retelling of the vocal group’s humble beginnings and many changes over the years.
The buzz: With successful runs in Los Angeles and Washington, the show is a crowd-pleasing favorite.
Buy tickets if…you like to sing along.
Cort Theater, 138 W. 48th St., performances begin February 28, through July 7, 2019
Last season 82-year-old Glenda Jackson returned to Broadway after 30 years, wowed audiences and won a Tony for her role in Three Tall Women. This spring she’s upping the actorly ante playing the royal lead in this epic family drama about a generational fight for survival. Another notable element of this production: an original score by Philip Glass.
The buzz: In 2016 Jackson played the part in London to wide critical acclaim.
Buy tickets if…you want to see a performance people will talk about for years.
Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St., performances begin March 5, 2019
Those familiar with Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus will recognize this world premiere play as an unlikely improvisation on the bloody end of that drama. Two Roman servants, played by Nathan Lane and Andrea Martin, are cleaning up after the Bard’s mess, as it were, in this arch comedy from the mind of downtown performer-playwright Taylor Mac, with direction by George C. Wolfe (Shuffle Along).
The buzz: Mac’s star is rising after receiving a MacArthur “genius” grant for his 24-hour history of American pop music.
Buy tickets if…you like extremely modern takes on Shakespeare’s tales.
Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St., performances begin March 16, 2019
Playwright Lucas Hnath made a big splash in 2017 with his audacious Tony-winning “sequel” to A Doll’s House, starring Laurie Metcalf. He returns this season with a new play and the same star to tell the tale of a woman (Metcalf) running for president in 2008 who happens to be married to a former president (John Lithgow). Sound familiar?
The buzz: The dramatist has explicitly forbidden actors from doing imitations, demanding they play characters and not caricatures.
Buy tickets if…you continue to be fascinated and/or flummoxed by the Clintons.
Winter Garden Theatre, 1634 Broadway, performances begin March 28, 2019
Costing over $20 million, this big-budget adaptation of Tim Burton’s ’80s classic pulls out all the stops with puppetry, special effects and wild stage tricks to convey the craziness of the dead and living trying to, well, live together. Alex Brightman, who successfully took on the Jack Black role in School of Rock, steps into the even bigger shoes of Michael Keaton’s character for this musical romp with a supernatural twist.
The buzz: Newcomer Sophia Caruso shines in the role that made Winona Ryder a star.
Buy tickets if…Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!!!
Marquis Theatre, 210 W. 46th St., performances begin March 29, 2019
This adaptation of another movie favorite from the ’80s takes the title and basic concept but diverges from its source material to zany effect. Instead of a man playing a woman on a soap opera, the role up for grabs in this role-reversal comedy is now in a new musical about Juliet’s life after Romeo. Santino Fontana (Frozen, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) transforms into a beautiful and bossy Dorothy Michaels, singing David Yazbek’s (The Band’s Visit) jazzy score.
The buzz: The meta-musical satirizes not only the male ego but also big Broadway shows.
Buy tickets if…you love a backstage rom-com.
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St., performances begin April 2, 2019
As head of the worldwide News Corp., billionaire Rupert Murdoch has often made news himself. This play, which got raves in the West End, examines how the newspaper and TV mogul got his start when he bought London’s The Sun in 1969, shaking up the UK media establishment and launching his empire.
The buzz: Director Rupert Goold returns to Broadway, where he got people’s attention with his striking production of American Psycho.
Buy tickets if…you want to know the stories behind the news.
American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St., performances begin April 4, through June 23, 2019
Annette Bening returns to the Broadway stage more than 30 years after her Tony-nominated turn in Coastal Disturbances. This time out, she plays the matriarch in Arthur Miller’s intense family drama set in the post-war America of the 1940s.
The buzz: Bening will be paired with playwright-actor Tracy Letts (August: Osage County) as her husband.
Buy tickets if…you want to see a true movie star shine in person.