November 2018 Highlights on Broadway and Beyond
Check out our guide to the biggest theatrical events of the month.
November is here. Thanksgiving is almost upon us and thanks to the theatre gods, we have a whole lot to be grateful for this month! Not only will a host of high-profile new productions face the music (and the Broadway critics) as they celebrate their official openings on the Great White Way, but also a generous dose of new, exciting productions will also begin previews this November, including the likes of the Bryan Cranston-led London import of Network, the Jeff Daniels-led revival of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, and, of course, the most glittering jukebox musical to ever grace the stage - The Cher Show!
There will also be a couple of additions to the Great White Way this month that are bound to send hoards of teenage girls' hearts into a flutter, as singer-songwriters Cody Simpson and Conor Maynard are set to make their Broadway debuts in Anastasia and Kinky Boots, respectively. And if that wasn't enough for you, then how about Destiny's Child member Michelle Williams making a welcomed return to Broadway in Once on This Island?
And we'll also say a sad farewell to a handful of stars too, so be sure to catch Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. as Billy Flynn in Chicago, and Nicolette Robinson & Al Roker's Broadway debut engagements in Waitress, before they all razzle dazzle their way out of the diner... (a little Broadway "mash-up" for you there)... All three are set to play their final performances on November 18.
So, without any further ado, let's take a closer look at what's in store for us theatre fans this month...
We kick off the month with a Broadway Opening Night straight out of the gate! Yes, Second Stage Theater's acclaimed revival of Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song officially opens tonight at the Hayes Theater with the entire Off-Broadway cast intact and that, of course, includes Drama Desk Award winner Michael Urie and Tony & Academy Award winner Mercedes Ruehl. This dynamic duo are reprising their stellar performances as Arnold Beckoff and his mother, Ma Beckoff, re-imagining their fraught relationship, warts and all, for all to bewonder. Alongside Angels in America, it could be argued that no other play has accomplished the level of exposure and done as much for highlighting gay issues of the modern era as much as the Torch Song Trilogy. Harvey Fierstein was a writer and a star way ahead of his time, back in 1982, and as his milestone play returns to the very same venue over 36 years later, Torch Song feels as current and as topical as ever.
Harvey Fiertsein's Torch Song Tickets are available now for performances through to February 24, 2019.
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves... and a Broadway musical! The wait is finally over, Cher fans! This brand new bio-musical goes by the name of The Cher Show and does exactly what it says on the tin (if that tin just happens to be the most fabulously bejewelled, glittering tin ever to be made, that is!) and previews start at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre today! Long-time Cher-collaborator Bob Mackie was brought on board as the production's costume designer and from what we hear from the pre-Broadway world premiere in Chicago this past summer, the costumes for The Cher Show, as you'd expect, are nothing less than epic! And there are not one, not two, but three leading ladies (Micaela Diamond as Babe, Teal Wicks as Lady, and 2-time Tony Award nominee Stephanie J. Block as Star), portraying Cher at various stages of her career. This one has got us ready to Believe all over again!
The Cher Show Tickets are available now for performances through to May 26, 2019.
Recently names America's best-loved novel in the Grand Finale of the PBS series "The Great American Read," Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird will finally grace the stage of Broadway's Shubert Theatre tonight in a long-in-the-works adaptation by Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin. Directed by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher and starring two-time Tony Award nominee, four-time Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch, this classic tale of racial injustic in 1930s Alabama could not have arrived on the Great White Way at a more poignant time in this nation's history. This one is bound to make headlines, folks, so be sure to be a part of the action and a part of the conversation.
To Kill a Mockingbird Tickets are available now for performances through to March 17, 2019.
The next Broadway opening takes place on November 4 and welcomes the return of Golden Globe & Emmy Award nominee Kerry Washington to the Great White Way, starring alongside Drama Desk nominee Steven Pasquale, Eugene Lee, and the immensely popular Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan, in the Broadway premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown's American Son at the Booth Theatre. With Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon, this tense, police drama, set in a Florida police station, where two distraught parents are reporting their teenage son missing, has everything going for it on paper. But how will this gripping new thriller fare with New York's cut-throat critics?
American Son Tickets are available now for performances through to January 27, 2019.
Perhaps the biggest opening of the fall (quite literally!) is the long-in-the-works Broadway premiere of King Kong, which finally roars into its opening night on November 8 at the Broadway Theatre. The musical has gone under extensive re-writes and the creative team has experienced some re-shuffling since its world premiere as a musical at the Regent Theatre, in Melbourne, Austrailia, in the summer of 2013, with Jack Thorne (the Tony and Olivier Award-winning playwright behind Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) now being credited with the book and Olivier Award winner Drew McOnie, now serving as director and choreographer. Based on the novel of the original 1933 screenplay, King Kong promises "a contemporary take on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast" and stars Christiani Pitts as a contemporary Ann Darrow; and Eric William Morris as maverick filmmaker Carl Denham. The one-tonne, six-metre-high, animatronic puppet - a true wonder of the world (of technology) - is, of course, the star of the show, so take your seat and prepare for Kong to run rampage all over New York City once again!
King Kong Tickets are available now for performances through to April 14, 2019.
Is it that time already?! Yes, folks, Santa Claus is coming to town... and so are the Radio City Rockettes! New York City's favorite festive tradition returns for its 91st annual edition at Radio City Music Hall. As always, Christmas Spectacular starring The Radio City Rockettes is the perfect holiday gift for the whole family - an enchanting, timeless show, brimming with the holiday spirit! This year, the production promises a whole new finale, featuring 100 flying drones and a new Christmas lights special. Performances begin on November 9 as they deck the Radio City Music Hall with bows of holly and invite you to experience New York's elite dance troupe in action!
Christmas Spectacular starring The Radio City Rockettes Tickets are available for performances from November 9, 2018 through to January 1, 2019.
He's mad as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore! That famous line is, of course, exclaimed by the iconic character of anchorman Howard Beale, portrayed by Tony, Olivier, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Bryan Cranston in a career-defining, Olivier Award-winning performance that he now reprises for New York audiences. The National Theatre production of Network, based on the Academy Award-winning film by Paddy Chayefsky and adapted for the stage by Tony and Olivier Award winner Lee Hall, transfers to Broadway and begins performances at the Belasco Theatre on November 10. Under the direction of Tony Award winner Ivo van Hove, the production is a multi-media spectacle that has lifted the bar of possibilities for live theatre and was an instant sell-out and smash hit in London. We're sure it will be just as widely received and praised on this side of the Atlantic and may well prove to be the theatrical must-see of the season!
Network Tickets are available now for performances from November 10, 2018 through to March 17, 2019.
Mike Birbiglia's The New One officially opens at the Cort Theatre on Broadway on November 11, marking the comedian and actor's Broadway debut. His previous solo shows have created quite the buzz off-Broadway, earning Lucille Lortel Award nominations for Sleepwalk With Me in 2008 and Thank God for Jokes in 2016 and winning a Lortel Award for Mike Birbiglia's My Girlfriend's Boyfriend in 2011. This new solo show, ingeniously entitled The New One, was an instant hit this past summer at the Cherry Lane Theatre and a Broadway debut was long overdue.
Mike Birbiglia's The New One Tickets are available now for performances through to January 20, 2019.
Do you remember your Prom? Something tells us it didn't quite play out like this new musical comedy ("with issues"), which officially opens at the Longacre Theatre on November 15. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, The Prom promises laughter, tears and a good 11 o'clock number (and we all love one of those!), so find out what happens when smalltown Indiana girl Emma is banned from bringing her girlfriend as her date to the prom and a host of Broadway actors rally in her defense. A toe-tapping, step-ball-change invasion, if there ever was one! Hardcore Broadway fans will also identify and delight in the eccentric traits of the Broadway "stars" portrayed on stage. So, all that's left to say is... Have you got your invite?
The Prom Tickets are available now for performances through to October 20, 2019.
Everybody Say Yeah on November 20 because UK pop sensation Conor Maynard is making his Broadway debut in the 2013 Tony Award-winning "Best Musical" Kinky Boots! You may know him from such hits as "Can't Say No," "Vegas Girl," "Turn Around, and "Animal," but from November 20 through to January 10, 2019, he'll mostly be baring the "Soul of a Man" as Charlie Price at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. As Kinky Boots is set to close its doors on Broadway in April of next year, this might be the perfect time to re-visit the world's most fabulous shoe factory... And if you're still yet to pop your Kinky Boots cherry, where on earth have you been?! Get down to the "Land of Lola" pronto!
Kinky Boots Tickets are available now for performances through to April 7, 2019.
After you've had your fill of turkey, why not head down to the Marquis Theatre on Broadway for a generous helping of magic to wash it down? That's right, muggles - Mr. Potter and his Cursed Child aren't the only ones masters of magic on the Great White Way this holiday season because The Illusionists are back! Following their previous Broadway engagements (Witness The Impossible, Live on Broadway, and Turn Of The Century), this international troupe of magicians - with a revolving cast - are set to astound New York audiences with an unprecedented fourth Broadway show... The Illusionists: Magic Of The Holidays! This year's cast is headlined by the recent winner of "America's Got Talent" Shin Lim (as “The Manipulator”), starring alongside Darcy Oake (as “The Grand Illusionist”), Adam Trent (as “The Futurist”), Colin Cloud (as “The Deductionist”), and Chloe Crawford (as “The Sorceress”). The production also features a special guest appearance by the popular light-up dance crew Light Balance.
The Illusionists: Magic Of The Holidays Tickets are available now for performances from November 23 through to December 30, 2018.
Once Upon a... Well, it's almost December... Get ready for screaming teenage girls outside the Broadhurst Theatre because Australian singer-songwriter Cody Simpson is set to make his Broadway debut on November 29, taking over the leading male role of Dmitry in the hit musical Anastasia! His hardcore fanbase will know him from his three studio albums - "Paradise" (2012), "Surfers Paradise" (2013), and "Free" (2015) - and his five EPs, spawning such hits as "iYiYi," "All Day," and "Pretty Brown Eyes" and wider audiences will remember him as a contestant on the 18th season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" in 2014. Now, Mr. Simpson is ready to take a journey to the past and add yet another feather to his bow...
Anastasia Tickets are available now for performances through to September 1, 2019.
Do you remember the music video for the Grammy Award-winning track "Survivor," where Michelle Williams, along with fellow Destiny's Child members Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland, were washed up on a beach? Well, Ms. Williams will be back on a beach from November 30 and we're not talking any ole beach, no. We're talking Broadway's favorite beach in the Tony Award-winning "Best Revival of a Musical" Once on This Island at the Circle in the Square Theatre. No stranger to the stage, having already starred in the Broadway productions of Aida and Chicago, as well as the National Tours of Fela! and The Color Purple, we're sure she will be welcomed back with open arms and a lot of love. She is set to play Erzulie (the Goddess of love, of course) through to June 2, 2019.
Once on This Island Tickets are available now for performances through to September 29, 2019.
Finally, here are some of our picks for what's going down off-Broadway this month...
November 7 – Eve’s Song officially opens at the Public Theater, whilst the Primary Stages production of Downstairs, starring real-life siblings Tyne and Tim Daly, begins preview performances at the Cherry Lane Theatre, ahead of an official opening on November 18. In addition, the Ma-Yi Theater Company returns to Theatre Row with The Chinese Lady, which officially opens November 10.
November 14 – New York City Center presents A Chorus Line on the Mainstage from November 14 to 18. In addition, the Classic Stage Company revival of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and the Public Theater's New York premiere of Wild Goose Dreams celebrate their respective official openings.
November 19 – Lincoln Center Theater's New York premiere of Tom Stoppard's The Hard Problem officially opens at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, whilst the New York premiere of Slave Play begins previews at New York Theatre Workshop.
November 20 – The New Group's world premiere of Amy Heckerling's Clueless: The Musical and the Signature Theatre production of Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine both begin preview performances at Pershing Square Signature Center.
November 25 – Pan Asian Repertory Theatre returns to Theatre Row with the New York premiere of The Emperor’s Nightingale.
November 27 – The New York premiere of Noura begins previews at Playwrights Horizons.
And that's all, folks! Join us next month for another round-up as we hurtle into the Holiday Season!