October 2018 Highlights on Broadway and Beyond
Check out our guide to the biggest theatrical events of the month.
Fall is here and that means that the Broadway season shifts into fifth gear, as October brings a plethora of new shows to the Great White Way! There's also a handful of exciting cast changes coming up for some of Broadway's long-running shows, as Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. reprises his West End role as Billy Flynn in the Broadway production of Chicago from October 6 at the Ambassador Theatre, TV favorite Al Roker makes his Broadway debut in Waitress at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre from October 5, and two-time Tony Award nominee Brandon Uranowitz joins the cast of The Band's Visit from October 9 at the Barrymore Theatre.
In terms of new productions, we're going to be spoiled with thought-provoking period pieces, timely and topical thrillers and even musicals of monstrous proportions! This is certainly going to prove a diverse and breath-taking month for theatregoers, so, without any further ado, let's jump right in and see what's in store...
On October 2, London's Olivier Award-winning "Best Play" and box office smash The Ferryman begins previews at Broadway's Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Written by Jez Butterworth, best known to Broadway audiences for his 2011 Tony-nominated play Jerusalem, and directed by Sam Mendes, who last helmed the 2014 Broadway revival of Cabaret, the production features much of the original London cast, including BAFTA Award-winner Paddy Considine, Olivier Award-winner Laura Donnelly, and Genevieve O’Reilly. It will be interesting to see how New York audiences will relate to this detailed portrait of rural life in Northern Ireland during the time period known as "The Troubles" - a political and nationalistic conflict between unionists and republicans. However, the shocking twists and turns in Butterworth's writing make The Ferryman a must-see event, regardless of your knowledge of recent Irish history. An official opening is set for October 21.
The Ferryman Tickets are available now for performances from October 2, 2018, through to February 17, 2019.
After years of anticipation, the wait is finally over! King Kong staged its world premiere as a musical at the Regent Theatre, in Melbourne, Austrailia, in the summer of 2013, and since then, it has been completely revamped for its much-hyped Broadway premiere. Now featuring a book by Jack Thorne (the Tony and Olivier Award-winning playwright behind Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), the musical is based on the novel of the original 1933 screenplay and promises "a contemporary take on the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast". Rising star Christiani Pitts is our contemporary Ann Darrow; the young actress enlisted by maverick filmmaker Carl Denham (Eric William Morris) to take that fateful voyage to the uncharted Skull Island and become the star of his latest picture... Ms. Pitts' co-star, of course, is the one-tonne, six-metre-high, animatronic puppet that simply has to be seen to be believed! Talk about wonders of the world! Is Kong set to run rampage all over New York City once more? Find out for yourselves and book a trip to the Broadway Theatre.
King Kong Tickets are available now for performances from October 5, 2018 through to April 14, 2019.
Perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated plays of the fall sees the return of Golden Globe & Emmy Award nominee Kerry Washington to the Great White Way. For the first time since her Broadway debut back in 2009's premiere of Race, the "Scandal" star is set to once again tread these infamous boards as she takes on the role of Kendra Ellis-Connor in the Broadway premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown's American Son at the Booth Theatre. Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon has also enlisted some stellar support with Drama Desk nominee Steven Pasquale, Eugene Lee, and the hugely popular Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan! The play itself promises to be a tense thriller, set in a Florida police station, where two distraught parents are reporting their teenage son missing. American Son also promises to tackle issues of race at a time when these conversations could not be more crucial.
American Son Tickets are available now for performances from October 6, 2018 through to January 27, 2019.
And the hits just keep on coming! One of Second Stage Theater's most recent smashes was it's off-Broadway revival of Torch Song, making waves in the fall of 2017 at the Tony Kiser Theater. Michael Urie's re-invention of Arnold Beckoff, made famous by the play's original star and author Harvey Fierstein, seemed to achieve the impossible, as he bravely followed in Fierstein's footsteps and carved out an Arnold with his own signature charm and vulnerability that refused to dwell in the shadows of its predecessor. It was only a matter of time before this sold-out production would get the nod and transfer to the Great White Way. Now, under the title of Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song, the entire cast returns (which also just happens to feature a formidable, show-stealing performance by Tony & Academy Award winner Mercedes Ruehl as Ma Beckoff!) as previews begin at the Hayes Theater on October 9. Mr. Fierstein's writing about a gay Jewish man, drag queen and torch singer's search for happiness and creating a family of his own in 1970's/80's New York City was way ahead of its time. Perhaps viewed somewhat as science fiction in the '80s, now the play resonates loudly with the impact of today's possibilities. Rather nostalgically and fittingly, the original Broadway premiere Torch Song Trilogy ran in the same theatre from 1982 through to 1985, so let's keep our fingers crossed for a dose of history repeating and a similar level of success for this first-ever Broadway revival.
Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Tickets are available now for performances from October 9, 2018 through to February 24, 2019.
The world premiere of The Lifespan of a Fact, directed by Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman, is well underway at Broadway's Studio 54 and marks the first official Broadway opening of the month on October 18. Find out what New York's critics make of Daniel Radcliffe, two-time Tony Award winner Cherry Jones and two-time Tony Award nominee Bobby Cannavale's performances as they attempt to seperate fact from fiction in this new drama based on John D'Agata's essay What Happens There, examining the Las Vegas suicide of teenager Levi Presley. We may live in a society riddled with "Fake News" at the moment, but thank goodness that "Fake Reviews" have not followed suit! Better yet, get yourselves down to the theatre and decide for yourselves...
The Lifespan of a Fact Tickets are available now for performances through to January 13, 2019.
October 23 might just be the most 'loverly' day of the month because Tony Award winner Laura Benanti is joining the cast of Lincoln Center Theater's lavish revival of Lerner & Loewe's My Fair Lady at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. We've grown accustomed to her face in previous Broadway revivals such as She Loves Me, Gypsy, Nine, Into the Woods, and The Sound of Music, and we can't wait to see her sink her teeth into the meaty role of Eliza Doolittle! If you would like to catch original cast member and Tony Award nominee Lauren Ambrose in the role, she is set to play her final performance on October 21. We could've danced all night when we heard the news that Ms. Benanti is the next Eliza and we're confiden this Broadway favorite won't disappoint!
My Fair Lady Tickets are available now for performances through to April 7, 2019.
Another reason Broadway fans need to mark October 23 down in their diaries is because previews begin at the Longacre Theatre for the new Broadway musical comedy ("with issues") The Prom! Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, The Prom was positively received during its Atlanta world premiere in 2016 and the bright lights of Broadway beckoned. So find out what happens when a small town in Indiana is invaded by a host of Broadway stars in support of a student who finds herself banned from attending her prom because she wanted to bring her girlfriend as her date. This clash of cultures could bring the house down at the Longacre... And if that doesn't, then the teased 11 o'clock number definitely could!
The Prom Tickets are available now for performances from October 23, 2018 through to October 20, 2019.
Following the official openings of The Lifespan of a Fact and The Ferryman, it may be a case of "Good things comes in threes," as the third and final official Broadway opening this month is the Broadway premiere of Oscar winner Kenneth Lonergan's 2001 memory play The Waverly Gallery at the Golden Theatre. Inspired by his own grandmother's struggles with dementia, we're tipping this one to be perhaps the most emotionally moving production of the fall (if not, the whole season) and it boasts a star-studded cast to back that up with the likes of Elaine May, one half of the legendary comedy duo Nichols and May, Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges, Tony Award nominee Michael Cera, 3-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen, and Tony Award-winning director David Cromer. The drama was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 and we are thrilled that The Waverly Gallery is finally getting the Broadway treatment.
The Waverly Gallery Tickets are available now for performances through to January 27, 2019.
The Off-Broadway scene positively explodes this month with a whole host of exciting news shows, so here is a selection of important off-Broadway dates for your diary...
October 1 – The Bob Dylan-infused musical play Girl from the North Country and Heidi Schreck's What the Constitution Means To Me officially open at the Public Theater and New York Theatre Workshop, respectively.
October 2 – The Primary Stages production of Final Follies officially opens at the Cherry Lane Theatre, whilst the following productions all begin preview performances: Midnight at the Never Get at York Theatre Company (official opening: 10/11), Keen Company's Ordinary Days at Theatre Row (official opening: 10/17), Gloria: A Life at Daryl Roth Theatre (official opening: 10/18) , and Manhattan Theatre Club's India Pale Ale at New York City Center (official opening: 10/23).
October 4 – Pound, starring Christopher Lloyd, begins performances at Theatre Row.
October 5 – Sakina’s Restaurant, starring Aasif Mandvi, begins previews at Minetta Lane Theatre (official opening: 10/14) and The Book of Merman begins previews at St. Luke's Theatre (official opening: 10/21)
October 10 – Black Light officially opens at the Greenwich House Theater.
October 16 – Roundabout Theatre Company's Apologia, starring Stockard Channing, officially opens at the Laura Pels Theatre, whilst the return engagement of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play begins previews at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (official opening: 10/22)
October 17 – Mother of the Maid, starring Glenn Close, officially opens at the Public Theater.
October 20 – The Atlantic For Kids production of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach begins performances at the Linda Gross Theater.
October 21 – Eve’s Song begins previews at the Public Theater.
October 26 – The Other Josh Cohen begins previews at the Westside Theatre.
So, no tricks but plenty of theatrical treats to sink your teeth into this month! Until next time... Enjoy!