Top theatre to see in New York in April
Here are our top picks of theatre to check out in April 2022.
Spring has officially sprung, and theatre openings have officially sprung into high gear with it. With the Tony Awards just a few months away and the cutoff date for eligibility on April 29, tons of new plays, new musicals, and revivals are opening in the hopes of soon getting honored as the year's best theatre. There couldn't be a better month for the height of the theatre season: Children go on spring break, meaning it's the perfect time for a family theatre outing, even if you're traveling to New York. And with the weather getting warmer, you can take yourself or your friends to the theatre without having to brave the cold.
But even though there are plenty of people flocking to Broadway in the spring, there are still plenty of Broadway tickets available this spring. With so many shows going on, there's something for everyone, from classic musicals and plays to adventurous stand-up comedy to burlesque.
Read on to learn about the Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre opening in April. Many shows that started up last month have their official opening nights in April and continue performances through the month, so check out our list of New York theatre in March for even more shows to see this spring.
Broadway shows in April
April is one of the busiest months of the Broadway season. It almost seems like there's a new Broadway show opening every day. That's not quite true, but there are enough new shows that you can go to the theatre twice a week and not see the same premiere twice. Check out the Broadway shows beginning performances in April.
Funny Girl is bringing together all the greatest stars. The first Broadway revival of the classic musical began performances at the August Wilson Theatre the end of March, with Beanie Feldstein starring as Fanny Brice. Ramin Karimloo stars opposite her as Nicky Arnstein in the story of the real-life showgirl Fanny, whose deep love for Nicky blinded her to his shady past at the height of her vaudeville fame. Glee star Jane Lynch rounds out the leading cast as Fanny's mother, Mrs. Rosie Brice. Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter now that Funny Girl is on Broadway for the first time in decades with such a cast.
The Skin of Our Teeth
Thornton Wilder is best known for his play Our Town, but a different one of his works is getting a Broadway revival at Lincoln Center Theater this March: The Skin of Our Teeth, a Pulitzer Prize winner that broke with tons of theatrical conventions in its time. The play follows the Antrobus family of Excelsior, New Jersey, through a war, a biblical flood, and an Ice Age in a three-act allegory for human resilience in the face of peril. Considering the pandemic and other global troubles we're persevering through, there's perhaps no better time for this play than now. Performances of The Skin of Our Teeth, which began March 31, coincide with Wilder's would-be 125th birthday.
A Strange Loop
Even before A Strange Loop announced a Broadway run, the musical made history. When Michael R. Jackson won the Pulitzer Prize of Drama for it (after winning numerous Off-Broadway awards for the 2019 premiere), A Strange Loop became the first musical to win before going to Broadway and only the 10th musical to win. Plus, Jackson became the first Black musical writer to win and the first openly gay Black writer to win. His musical comedy centers on, self-referentially, a Black, queer musical writer named Usher, who aspires to a full-time writing career while battling his relentlessly self-deprecating thoughts.
How I Learned to Drive
How I Learned to Drive had its world premiere off Broadway in 1998 and received instant acclaim. Paula Vogel won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the Off-Broadway production was showered with Drama Desk, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards, many for its stars: Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse. Parker starred as Li'l Bit, a woman trying to retake control of her life and leave her traumatic memories of sexual assault, inflicted by her Uncle Peck (Morse), behind once and for all. Parker and Morse are reuniting more than 20 years later for How I Learned to Drive on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, as is the show's original Off-Broadway director, Mark Brokaw.
Small-town scandal makes for big-time drama in The Minutes, Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts's newest play. The 90-minute show takes place at a town council meeting in the fictional town of Big Cherry, which guards its history and its secrets very closely. The way the town is something that nobody questions — until a newcomer shows up to the meeting and questions everything, exposing hidden greed and hypocrisy. Letts stars in his own show alongside Tony winner Jessie Mueller, Schitt's Creek star Noah Reid, Orange Is the New Black actress Blair Brown, and more.
Audiences have been left hanging for long enough: After initially closing for good amid the pandemic in 2020, Hangmen is getting a second life on Broadway in 2022. David Threlfall (of the U.K. version of Shameless) and Game of Thrones actor Alfie Allen lead Martin McDonagh's dark comedy, set just after hanging was outlawed in England in 1965. Suddenly, tons of reporters and townspeople flock to the bar owned by the country's second-most famous executioner, as they want his reaction to the news. A mysterious London stranger also shows up, however, with murkier motives. At the Golden Theatre from April 8, Hangmen is set to be a killer show.
The star-studded female ensemble of POTUS would make a formidable presidential cabinet. Titled in full POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive, Selina Fillinger's farce features Lilli Cooper, Lea DeLaria, Rachel Dratch, Julianne Hough, Suzy Nakamura, Julie White, and Vanessa Williams as the inner circle of a problem president. They have to save his skin and his career — as usual — when he makes a public relations faux pas that balloons into an international crisis. The Shubert Theatre becomes 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from April 14.
The Little Prince
Your favorite children's book is now a Broadway spectacle for all ages. After playing to acclaim in Paris, Sydney, and Dubai, the stage adaptation of The Little Prince flew onto Broadway on March 29. Acrobatics, gymnastics, dance, video projections, and more combine to bring the titular character's interplanetary journey to life. The prince tells of his travels to a marooned pilot, and the two quickly discover they're kindred spirits. The Little Prince Broadway show isn't just for children, but anyone with a sense of childlike whimsy and a limitless imagination.
for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
If you happened to catch Ntozake Shange's groundbreaking theatre work for colored girls in the 70s, you might recall that the show had its world premiere at The Public Theater before going on to a Broadway run at the Booth Theatre. Over 40 years later, for colored girls repeats that trajectory: The 2019 Public revival is performing at the Booth from April 1, with Camille A. Brown making her Broadway directorial debut and choreographing. The "choreopoem," a blend of music, movement, and poetry, centers on seven Black women's stories of survival in a world shaped by racism and sexism.
Mr. Saturday Night
Billy Crystal takes the Broadway stage for the first time since 2014 with Mr. Saturday Night, the new musical comedy adaptation of his 1992 film. He joined his original co-screenwriters, Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz, to adapt their screenplay for the stage, with The Last Five Years and The Bridges of Madison County composer Jason Robert Brown and lyricist Amanda Green added to the team. Crystal reprises his starring role as Buddy Young Jr., a washed-up comedian who gets one more shot at fame and at rebuilding the relationships he destroyed years before.
Off-Broadway shows in April
Don't forget about Off-Broadway shows amid all the April Broadway openings! This month's Off-Broadway theatre includes a star-studded play, stand-up comedy, a sinfully spectacular variety show, and so much more. If you're looking for a different experience than seeing a traditional play or musical on a Broadway stage, check out these Off-Broadway shows in April.
The Vagrant Trilogy
Mona Mansour workshopped the three parts of The Vagrant Trilogy separately, but never have all three parts been staged together in New York — until now. From April 8, The Public Theater is staging The Vagrant Trilogy, which centers on a Palestinian scholar traveling to London for work. His home country erupts into war while he's there, and he has to make a choice: stay in London and become a refugee, or return home to turmoil? The final two acts of The Vagrant Trilogy show each of these outcomes and how the scholar's life turns out differently.
Alison Leiby: Oh God, A Show About Abortion
Brooklyn-based comic Alison Leiby's stand-up show was named the best political comedy of 2021 by The New York Times after she performed it across the city in fall 2021. Now, Alison Leiby: Oh God, A Show About Abortion is settling into the Cherry Lane Theatre for a six-week run beginning April 25. She describes the summer leading up to an abortion she had at Planned Parenthood, telling anecdotes about braving the fertility section of CVS and freaking out over what to wear.
Company XIV's sinfully spectacular show is back. The world-premiere run of Seven Sins ended abruptly in 2020, but the show is now reopening at Théâtre XIV from April 1. Burlesque dance, circus performance, and music bring to life a lush paradise inspired by the Garden of Eden, as well as humanity's fall from grace as they give in to the seven deadly sins. Cocktails and treats are also on offer during the show, letting audiences indulge their own guilty pleasures.
Cyrano de Bergerac
X-Men star James McAvoy assumes the title role in Martin Crimp's adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac, which won an Olivier Award upon its premiere in London. Unbounded by time, the play tells a centuries-old story — that of a witty yet insecure soldier who helps another man woo the woman he loves — with contemporary costumes, spoken word, and beatboxing. If you loved the Cyrano film adaptation that came out this year, see Cyrano's story live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music from April 5. Read a Cyrano de Bergerac review on London Theatre.
Golden Shield is named for the Chinese government’s internet firewall, a key component of Anchuli Felicia King's American-premiere courtroom drama. The show centers on a savvy lawyer who files a lawsuit against an American company colluding with Chinese government officials responsible for that firewall, and she hires her sister as the translator for her Chinese witness. The sisters have a fraught history, however, which they must overcome to speak the same language, literally and figuratively, to win the case.
Which Way to the Stage
Miss meeting Broadway actors at stage doors? Live vicariously through the main characters in Which Way to the Stage, which is set at the stage door of Broadway's If/Then. While two friends are waiting to meet the musical's star, they have a conversation that alters their long-standing friendship. And they have to contend with lots of tourists. Ana Nogueira’s play begins performances at MCC Theater April 14.
Wish You Were Here
Fresh off the closing of her acclaimed play English comes a new world premiere from Sanaz Toossi. Wish You Were Here, at Playwrights Horizons from April 13, centers on a group of Iranian women trying to cling to a semblance of normalcy as the 1978 Iranian Revolution is brewing. Amid protests that worsen by the day, each woman has to decide whether to flee or stay. Both choices lead to uncertainty and the potential loss of each other's presence in their lives.
A Case for the Existence of God
Samuel D. Hunter's latest play, A Case for the Existence of God, explores the complex lives people can lead in even the smallest, quietest towns. In the play, two single fathers from different backgrounds try to balance the terms of a loan in their Idaho office. The Obie Award-winning playwright's work begins performances with Signature Theatre on April 12.