Broadway Fall 2018 Preview - The Plays
We take a closer look at nine new productions opening on Broadway this fall...
Some Broadway critics voiced their concerns last season about the lack of new plays on the Great White Way, with only Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two generating any sort of real buzz and dominating the "Best New Play" category. Away from the Wizarding World, it was undeniably a year for star-powered revivals with the likes of Tony Kushner's Angels in America (starring Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane in Tony Award-winning performances), Edward Albee's Three Tall Women (with Glenda Jackson and Laurie Metcalf also picking up Tony Awards for their respective performances), as well as Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh (starring Denzel Washington as Hickey) and Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero (featuring a Broadway debut for "Captain America" star Chris Evans, alongside Michael Cera).
Judging by the slate of new productions scheduled to open this fall, the 2018-2019 season looks like its on a mission to right last season's wrong with no less than eight Broadway premieres officially opening in the next few months, as well as the Broadway transfer of Second Stage Theater's hit production of Harvey Fietsein's Torch Song!
And just a little reminder, at this time, that the first new play of this season - the Broadway premiere of Young Jean Lee's Straight White Men (starring Golden Globe nominees Armie Hammer and Josh Charles in their Broadway debuts) - continues its limited engagement at the Hayes Theater through to September 9!
So, without further ado, take a look at all the plays imminently heading your way...
Beginning previews at the American Airlines Theatre tonight, Bernhardt/Hamlet is a world premiere comedy written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Theresa Rebeck and directed by Tony Award nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel. The talented playwright has forged a tremendous career both on the Broadway and off-Broadway stage with hits such as Omnium Gatherum to her résumé and now thanks to Roundabout Theatre Company, her latest play opens directly on the Great White Way. Bernhardt/Hamlet focuses on early stage great Sarah Bernhardt, who famously risked it all back in 1899 by breaking gender stereotypes and taking on the role of the Danish Prince himself, Hamlet. And who better to play this legendary leading lady than Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe, Tony & Olivier Award winner Janet McTeer? She was last seen on the New York stage in a captivating performance as La Marquise de Merteuil in Les Liaisons Dangereuses and defied gender barriers herself as Petruchio in an all-female "Shakespeare in the Park" production of The Taming of the Shrew in 2016. To be, or not to be a Broadway hit? Find out when Bernhardt/Hamlet officially opens on September 25, 2018!
Bernard/Hamlet Tickets are available now for performances through to November 11, 2018.
From September 5 through to November 11, 2018, Manhattan Theatre Club presents the U.S. premiere of The Nap at its Broadway home of the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Written by Olivier Award nominee Richard Bean, best known to Broadway audiences for his hilarious, madcap comedy One Man, Two Guv'ors (which starred James Corden in a Tony Award-winning performance back in 2012), and directed by Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan, The Nap delves into the unpredictably thrilling world of snooker (a sport similar to pool for those keeping score). Billed as a "fast-paced comedy thriller," the play promises an exploration of the darker side of sports with match fixing and underhanded dealings with a host of colorful characters portrayed by the likes of "Transparent" star Alexandra Billings in her Broadway debut, as well as Tony Award nominee John Ellison Conlee and two-time Tony Award nominee Johanna Day. Oh, and just for good measure, four-time and current 2018 United States National Snooker Champion Ahmed Aly Elsayed will also be showing off his skills, as the snooker tournament plays out live on stage. The Nap is set for an official opening on September 27, 2018.
The Nap Tickets are available now for performances from September 5 through to November 11, 2018.
Whilst Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continues to play to capacity audiences at the Lyric Theatre, over at Studio 54 the star of the Harry Potter movie franchise Daniel Radcliffe is set to make a return to Broadway to star in the world premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact. He'll be joined on stage by two-time Tony Award winner Cherry Jones and two-time Tony Award nominee Bobby Cannavale in this new play based on the book by John D’Agata & Jim Fingal, which revolves around the Las Vegas suicide of teenager Levi Presley. Written by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell and Gordon Farrell and directed by Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman, Mr. Radcliffe will be playing Jim Fingal, Ms. Jones his boss, Emily, and Mr. Cannavale is set to portray John D'Agata in this most topical of dramas about checking the facts, whilst the endless debate regarding Fake News rages on in the United States. Performances run from September 20, 2018 through to January 13, 2019, with an official opening scheduled for October 18.
The Lifespan of a Fact Tickets are available now for performances fro September 20, 2018 through to January 13, 2019.
One of London's most recent smash hit plays is Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman, which enjoyed a year-long, twice-extended run in the West End, following its premiere at the Royal Court Theatre, and took home the Olivier Award for "Best New Play" in April 2018. The visionary playwright previously made waves on Broadway in 2011 with Jerusalem (starring Mark Rylance) and followed it up with the Hugh-Jackman led drama The River in 2014 and hopes to mirror the play's phenomenal success on this side of the pond. Returning to helm the Broadway transfer is Sam Mendes, who also took home the Olivier for "Best Director" this year, alongside the majority of the London cast, including standouts Genevieve O’Reilly, BAFTA Award-winner Paddy Considine, and Olivier Award-winner Laura Donnelly. Set in rural Northern Ireland in 1981 during what was known as "The Troubles" (an ethno-nationalist conflict between unionists and Irish nationalists), the explosive drama follows the Carney family, caught in the crossfire of political uncertainty, violence and retribution. Performances begin at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on October 2, 2018, ahead of an official opening on October 21.
The Ferryman Tickets are available now for performances from October 2, 2018, through to February 17, 2019.
Fresh off the success of last season's Broadway premiere of Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero, which originally premiered off-Broadway in 2001, the Academy Award winner's memory play The Waverly Gallery is also finally getting the Broadway treatment. The play originally opened off-Broadway in 2000 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2001, so expectations are already high, and it could be a case of third time's a charm with the casting of Tony Award nominee Michael Cera as Don Bowman. The gloriously awkward actor could be described as Lonergan's lucky charm, having appeared in all three of his Broadway premieres to date (including Lobby Hero and 2014's This Is Our Youth) and he's part of a stellar cast that also features Elaine May, one half of the legendary comedy duo, Nichols and May, Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges (who starred in Lonergan's acclaimed movie "Manchester By the Sea"), 3-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen, and Tony Award-winning director David Cromer, who is making a welcomed return to acting for the production. The play centers on Gladys, a longtime owner of a small art gallery in Greenwich Village, and her final battle against Alzheimer’s disease, and is scheduled to run at the Golden Theatre from September 25, 2018 through to January 27, 2019, with an official opening set for October 25.
The Waverly Gallery Tickets are available now for performances from September 25, 2018 through to January 27, 2019.
Stepping into the shoes of Harvey Fierstein and attempting to re-invent his iconic performance as Arnold Beckoff in his equally iconic Torch Song Trilogy was never going to be an easy task. Kudos, therefore, to Drama Desk Award winner Michael Urie who not only stepped up to the plate, but also amazingly managed to create an Arnold that could step out from Fierstein's shadow into a spotlight of his own during Second Stage Theater's off-Broadway Torch Song revival in the fall of 2017. Fast forward one year and the entire cast will reunite for the Broadway transfer (now under the title of Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song) which is set for a limited engagement at the Hayes Theater from October 9, 2018 through to February 24, 2019, with an official opening scheduled for November 1. And the good news is that includes Tony & Academy Award winner Mercedes Ruehl, reprising her formidable performance as Ma Beckoff. Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song is the ultimate portrayal of a gay man's search for happiness in New York City, balancing family values in the most traditional and non-traditional respects. A must-see for those unfortunate enough not to have caught this splendid revival off-Broadway!
Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Tickets are available now for performances from October 9, 2018 through to February 24, 2019.
The next Broadway premiere sees the hotly anticipated return of Kerry Washington, Golden Globe & Emmy Award-nominated star of TV's "Scandal," to the Great White Way. She'll be joined by Broadway favorites Steven Pasquale and Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan in this new play by Christopher Demos-Brown. American Son is a thriller set in a Florida police station as two parents report their missing teenage son and fear for the worst. The production, directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon, begins previews at Broadway's Booth Theatre on October 6, 2018, ahead of an official opening on November 4 and a limited engagement through to January 27, 2019. Arguably the drama with the highest stakes of the season so far, American Son promises to be a gripping and emotionally raw night out at the theatre!
American Son Tickets are available now for performances from October 6, 2018 through to January 27, 2019.
Tony and Olivier Award winner Lee Hall's stage adaptation of Network, based on the Oscar-winning film by Paddy Chayefsky, was one of London's National Theatre's biggest hits in recent memory. Largely due to a phenomenally commanding performance by Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Bryan Cranston as leading man Howard Beale in his UK stage debut, leading to his first Olivier Award win, and due to the technical wonders of the production, Network was considered the hottest ticket in town. A Broadway transfer was just a question of time, yet, it will be intriguing to see how the National Theatre production (presented in the vast space of the Lyttelton Theatre with the added gimmick of an onstage restaurant for patrons) will translate to the more intimate Cort Theatre on Broadway. Director extraordinaire Ivo van Hove and his longtime design collaborator Jan Versweyveld are on board, once again, so the production is likely to stay true to its London world premiere with perhaps one or two adjustments. Find out for yourselves what happens when Howard Beale gets mad as hell and is not gonna take it anymore, when performances begin on November 10, 2018, ahead of an official opening on December 6!
Network Tickets will be available soon.
It seems like we've been waiting an eternity for this brand new production of the Harper Lee classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, newly adapted for the stage by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin, but the wait is nearly over. Four-time Golden Globe and two-time Tony Award nominee Jeff Daniels is set to return to Broadway to take on the iconic role of Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's heartwrenching tale of racial injustice in Alabama in the 1930s. Written during the early stages of the Civil Rights Movement, To Kill a Mockingbird feels desperately timely in the wake of the Black Lives Matter Movement. It is a crucial reminder of how far we have yet to go as a nation. Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher directs a huge cast, which also includes Broadway favorite and three-time Tony Award nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger as Scout, at the Shubert Theatre. Performances begin on November 1, 2018, ahead of an official opening on December 13.
To Kill a Mockingbird Tickets are available now for performances from November 1, 2018 through to March 17, 2019.
And that about wraps it up for the wealth of new plays opening on the Great White Way this fall and what a diverse selection! So, whether you prefer witty comedies or gripping thrillers, newly re-invented classics or deeply personal plays of an autobiographical nature, there is certainly something for you to sink your theatrical teeth into over the autumn.