Broadway Fall 2019 Preview - The Plays
We take a closer look at eight new productions opening on Broadway this fall...
As the Broadway season shifts up a gear and we head gleefully into the autumn, the emphasis seems to be on new plays in the coming months. Of course, there will also be a delightful sprinkling of musicals and genre-defying entertainment shows (check back in with us next week) alongside a couple of revivals, but what's really got us excited is seeing brand new works and recent transfers given the green light to find wider audiences on the Great White Way.
The 2019-2020 Broadway season already kicked off over the summer with a short-lived, but widely celebrated revival of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, starring six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and Tony & 2-time Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon, at the Broadhurst Theatre. The next play to officially open, which theatregoers can still catch at the Hudson Theatre through September 29, was the Broadway premiere of Sea Wall/A Life, starring Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and Tony Award nominee Tom Sturridge, which offers a unique evening (or afternoon) of intimate storytelling by two supremely gifted actors, each delivering poignant and moving monologues that perfectly compliment each other.
Sea Wall/A Life Tickets are available now for performances through September 29, 2019.
So, let's take a look at the plays yet to officially open on Broadway for the remainder of the year...
Already in previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre is the Broadway transfer of the acclaimed West End production of Harold Pinter's classic Betrayal, which is scheduled to officially open on September 5. Under the direction of Olivier Award winner Jamie Lloyd, this stripped-back, tense revival of the Pinter drama, which infamously unfolds in reverse chronological order, stars a trio of British talents, who are currently at the top of their game. In the mix are a couple of "Marvel Cinematic Universe" favorites - Golden Globe and Olivier Award winner Tom Hiddleston (aka Loki) and Charlie Cox (aka Daredevil) - alongside UK television star Zawe Ashton, who are all making their respective Broadway debuts. This exhilirating piece about a seven-year extramarital affair between Jerry, best friend of Robert, and Robert's wife Emma earned rave reviews in London earlier this year and fans were clammering to see these famous faces up close and personal. Judging from fan reactions at the stage door, New York is certainly following suit...
Betrayal Tickets are available now for performances through December 8, 2019.
The second London import this fall, courtesy of Manhattan Theatre Club, brings with it two true legends of the theater. It's been 13 long years since Dame Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce graced the Broadway stage, but the wait is almost over. On September 10, previews begin at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre for the American premiere of Tony Award nominee Florian Zeller's The Height of the Storm, centering on a 50-year long, loving marriage that faces turmoil and adversity. Zeller enjoyed great success with MTC back in 2016, receiving his first Tony Award nomination for the Broadway premiere of The Father, and will be hoping that lightning can strike the same theatre twice. He has a proven track record of deeply emotional, heart-wrenching stories on stage and there are no safer hands to be in than those of Atkins and Pryce. With two Tonys and four Olivier Awards between them, they might well find themselves in need of a bigger mantelpiece, come The 74th Annual Tony Awards next year. An official opening is set for September 24.
The Height of the Storm Tickets are available now for performances from September 10 through November 17, 2019.
Broadway aficionados will fondly remember Bryan Cranston's first Tony Award-winning performance back in 2014, when he gave a stage acting master class as President Lyndon B. Johnson in All The Way for his Broadway debut. Fast forward five years and playwright Robert Schenkkan now brings us the second of his LBJ plays, entitled The Great Society. Taking on the leading role for this next chapter is Emmy and two-time Olivier Award winner Brian Cox, most recently seen on the HBO series "Succession," who is set to portray LBJ through the rise of the Civil Rights Movement and the atrocities of Vietnam. All The Way was justly honored with the Tony Award for "Best Play" in 2014 and expectations are therefore appropriately high for The Great Society, which begins previews at the Vivian Beaumont Theater (at Lincoln Center Theater) on September 6, ahead of an official opening on October 1 and a limited run through November 30.
The Great Society Tickets are available now for performances from September 6 through November 30, 2019.
Perhaps the most shockingly provocative play on offer this fall is Jeremy O. Harris' acclaimed drama Slave Play, which took New York Theatre Workshop by storm last fall, earning very favorable reviews. Almost the entire Off-Broadway cast has remained intact for the Broadway transfer, which begins previews at the Golden Theatre on September 10, including Ato Blankson-Wood and Paul Alexander Nolan. Already showered with awards on its journey to Broadway, Slave Play explores issues of race, sexual attraction and relationships through the lens of four couples, and due to its explicit use of nudity, sexual content, sexual violence, and racially violent language, it may not be for the more conservative theatregoer. For the liberals amongst you, buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a bumpy ride! An official opening is scheduled for October 6.
Slave Play Tickets are available now for performances from September 10, 2019, through January 5, 2020.
Second Stage Theater's first Broadway offering of the season is the Steppenwolf production of Linda Vista, written by Tracy Letts, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright behind August: Osage County. Starring Ian Barford, the play follows 50-year-old Wheeler who bounds from a divorce to a midlife crisis in one fell swoop, as Letts juggles notions of identity and self-awareness with the middle-aged dating game. The play was warmly received in Los Angeles earlier this year and should kick off Second Stage's biggest Broadway season at The Hayes Theater yet. Previews begin on September 19, ahead of an official opening on October 10 and a limited engagement through November 10.
Linda Vista Tickets are available now for performances from September 19 through November 10, 2019.
Roundabout Theatre Company launches its 2019-2020 Broadway season with a revival of Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo, which previously delighted audiences at Williamstown Theatre Festival in the summer of 2016. Now Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei, who currently plays Aunt May in the "Marvel Cinematic Universe," reunites with director Trip Cullman to bring the iconic character of Serafina Delle Rose back to life on the Broadway stage. The 1951 Tony Award-winning "Best Play" is set in New Orleans and follows Serafina, a widow who "rekindles her desire for love, lust and life in the arms of a fiery suitor." Tomei is as gifted a stage actor as she is on screen and anyone who's seen the likes of "The Wrestler" can testify that's no small feat. The Rose Tattoo plays the American Airlines Theatre from September 19 through December 8, with an official opening set for October 15.
The Rose Tattoo Tickets are available now for performances from September 19 through December 8, 2019.
Another Williamstown Theatre Festival import this fall is Adam Rapp's The Sound Inside, which was commissioned by Lincoln Center Theater and premiered in Williamstown last summer. This riveting two-hander between a tenured professor and her gifted student stars Tony, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Mary-Louise Parker alongside Will Hochman, who are both set to reprise their roles on Broadway at the iconic Studio 54, once again under the direction of Tony Award winner David Cromer. Parker has a busy season ahead of her, as she will star in the long overdue Broadway premiere of How I Learned to Drive for Manhattan Theatre Club next spring, so make sure you catch this highly in-demand actor this fall as this teacher-pupil relationship takes a scandalous turn. Previews begin on September 14, ahead of an official opening on October 17.
The Sound Inside Tickets are available now for performances from September 14, 2019 through January 12, 2020.
The final play to open in 2019 (and the third London import this fall) has a great deal of momentum behind it, having won no less than four Olivier Awards earlier this year (including “Best Director” for Stephen Daldry and “Best New Play”). Matthew Lopez's epic, two-part drama The Inheritance begins performances at the Barrymore Theatre on September 27 (with Part 2 beginning October 11) and many of the original London cast are crossing the pond for the Broadway transfer, including Tony Award winner John Benjamin Hickey and Kyle Soller, who will be reprising his Olivier Award-winning performance in New York City. The play explores the modern identity of the post-AIDS generation of gay men in the Big Apple, questioning notions of community and what this generation owes to its predecessors. Although The Inheritance was born in London, it was born to run in New York and may well become the runaway hit of the season. Don't let the nearing 7-hour running time of the two parts discourage you from what may well be your theatrical highlight of a lifetime. An official opening is scheduled for November 17.
The Inheritance - Part 1 Tickets are available now for performances from September 27, 2019 through March 1, 2020.
The Inheritance - Part 2 Tickets are available now for performances from October 11, 2019 through March 1, 2020.
Check in with us next week when we take a closer look at the new musicals and entertainment shows in store for Broadway fans this fall...
UPDATE: Read our Broadway Fall 2019 Preview - Musicals and Entertainment here...