Broadway fall preview: Stars share the shows they can't wait to see

Cast members from this fall's hottest new shows and long-running hits share which new Broadway musicals and plays they're looking forward to this season.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

"There are so many wonderful plays and musicals opening this fall," said Sierra Boggess of the new musical Harmony. "Theatregoers are in for such a fabulous season!"

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Harmony, the Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman-composed musical about a famous 1920s choral group, is just one of the many exciting new productions on Broadway this fall. But rather than us just telling you about them, we asked the stars of this season's Broadway shows which fall Broadway shows they're looking forward to and why.

From starry revivals to groundbreaking new plays to musicals led by a group of fresh talents, this fall season has it all. Read the stars' picks for fall theatre in New York below, and discover all the shows coming to Broadway this fall.

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For the reunion we've all been waiting for: Gutenberg! The Musical

Alli Mauzey, of 2023 Best Musical Tony Award winner Kimberly Akimbo, "couldn’t tell you what [Gutenberg! The Musical] is about," but that Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad on stage together again thrills her enough to go.

That's high praise for the comedy skills of the pair, last seen together in the original 2011 cast of The Book of Mormon. And for those wondering, they now play hapless composers trying to pitch an inaccurate Broadway musical about Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press.

Mauzey's not alone in her excitement. "Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells are hilarious together," echoed How to Dance in Ohio's Desmond Edwards. Added Jasmine Forsberg of Here Lies Love, "I had the pleasure of watching a studio run of the show, and my abs were sore from the constant laughter. Josh and Andrew are a comedic goldmine."

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For the reunions you didn't know you needed: I Need That

This new comedy about a reclusive hoarder cleaning up his life sees the reunion of a celebrated creative duo. Pulitzer-nominated writer Theresa Rebeck and Tony-nominated director Moritz Von Stuelpnagel join forces once more following 2018's Bernhardt/Hamlet.

“I love Theresa Rebeck’s writing, and her and Moritz Von Stuelpnagel seem to have a great time working together, said Reg Rogers of Merrily We Roll Along.

But that's not the only exciting duo you need to see. On stage, Danny DeVito stars as the hoarder Sam alongside his real-life daughter, Lucy DeVito.

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For something old that feels new: Purlie Victorious

Purlie Victorious premiered on Broadway in 1961, starring playwright Ossie Davis and his wife, Ruby Dee, as a preacher and his aide in a scheme to reclaim his inheritance from an oppressive white landowner. But it hasn't been on Broadway since, so this revival — led by Tony winner Leslie Odom, Jr. and Tony nominee Kara Young — is all but new for many audiences today. “With so many heavy hitters, it is a must-see for me,” said Hadestown's Brit West.

"They are making history with this first ever revival of this play, and I cannot wait to see it!" said Sierra Boggess of Harmony. Echoed her co-star Chip Zien, "A great cast lead by the thrilling Leslie Odom, Jr. marking his return to Broadway. With the great [director] Kenny Leon at the helm, this is a 'comedy' that couldn't be timelier and a theatrical event not to be missed."

Lakisha May of Jaja's African Hair Braiding has plenty of love for this show already. “I saw a production at Spelman College when I was a student there," she said. "Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee are definitely inspirations — their love, their work, their talent, and their activism. And I can’t wait to see this Broadway cast play!”


For a blast from the past: Back to the Future and Merrily We Roll Along

Two shows on Broadway are taking audiences back in time this fall. The stage adaptation of Back to the Future, which opened in August, zips to 1985 and 1955 at 88 miles per hour. According to Wicked's William Youmans, the man who makes it all happen — scientist Doc Brown, played by Roger Bart — is reason enough to go: "Roger Bart is one of the funniest actors alive."

A few blocks away, the first Broadway revival of Merrily We Roll Along tells the story of a crumbling 20-year friendship in reverse. Jonathan Groff, Daniel Radcliffe, and Lindsay Mendez play the doomed trio of pals Frank, Charley, and Mary.

"I have a special affection for Merrily We Roll Along," said Amelia Cormack of Hadestown. "It was our last show at drama school, and I got to play Mary, so it’s a definite nostalgia moment. Plus, this cast is incredible.”

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For an unexpected wave of emotion: The Shark Is Broken

This Jaws-inspired play, on through November 16, delivers great-white-sized laughs as it dramatizes the famous feud between Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, and Roy Scheider on set. What struck Back to the Future star Hugh Coles, though, was how moving it is: Ian Shaw co-wrote and stars in The Shark Is Broken in his father's memory.

"I had the privilege of watching The Shark is Broken in London," Coles said. "You’d think the best speech in the show would be about the U.S.S. Indianapolis — but there’s a beautifully written, moving and powerfully delivered monologue about Shaw’s father that blows it out of the water (pun intended)."

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For a niche story with universal appeal: Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Jocelyn Bioh is known for her lighthearted, widely appealing comedies that shed light on the experiences of Black women in Africa and America. Her latest work, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, tells a story of love, community, and gentrification by way of a group of women in the title Harlem salon.

"Jocelyn has an incredible gift of comedy (which we saw in School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play) that truly is necessary in this moment in time," said Leandra Ellis-Gaston of Six. "On top of that, this show speaks about a very niche and special experience that Black women, particularly in New York, have of getting our hair braided. We talk about representation in regards to seeing our Black bodies on stage, but it’s taking it a step forward to see and share our routine experiences on a Broadway stage."

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For a full house of comedic talent: The Cottage

Will & Grace's Eric McCormack, Legally Blonde: The Musical's Laura Bell Bundy, Saturday Night Live's Alex Moffat, Tootsie's Lilli Cooper, and more all under one roof? You'll have to see this old-fashioned farce, about a web of infidelities unraveling, to believe it.

“I’m a fan of every actor in this cast — it’s a full roster of amazing comedians, all of whom I have admired for a long time," said Katie Rose Clarke of Merrily We Roll Along. "I also love that it’s an ensemble play. It’s right up my alley. It seems like they’ve created something really fun and special.”

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For an immersive theatre experience: Here Lies Love

Immersive theatre — in which the audience participates in the show, which unfolds all around them — is rare on Broadway. But Here Lies Love turned the Broadway Theatre into a disco nightclub to tell the story of infamous dictator (and disco enthusiast) Imelda Marcos of the Philippines. An all-Filipino cast stars.

"I love the idea of fully immersing the audience into the show," said Jake Pedersen of Wicked. "The whole company is stacked with incredible storytellers fueled by a powerful plot. A must-see for sure!"

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For a royally good laugh: Spamalot

This musical based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail hasn't held court on Broadway since winning the Best Musical Tony Award in 2005. Broadway stars with fond memories of the movie, the Broadway premiere, or their former co-stars now headlining the revival are now planning to take their seats at the round table.

“I am most excited to see my dear, dear friends (and former co-workers at Hamilton), James Monroe Iglehart and Nik Walker, in Spamalot," said Merrily We Roll Along's Krystal Joy Brown. "I cannot wait to get to enjoy them in all of their hilarious glory! Also, I grew up on Monty Python, so it’s a bit nostalgic, and who doesn’t want a good laugh and a good time at the theatre?”

Julie Benko, of Harmony added: "I remember bringing my sister to the original production back when I was in high school, and now, I can't wait to bring my husband. I suspect he's going to laugh so hard he pees himself and will then spend the following six months demanding shrubberies around the house."

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For the next generation of Broadway: How to Dance in Ohio

This new musical, based on the Peabody Award-winning documentary about autistic young adults coming of age, is bringing many new faces to the world of Broadway. Director Sammi Cannold, writers Rebekah Greer Melocik and Jacob Yandura, choreographer Mayte Natalio, and all seven autistic lead actors make their debuts with this show.

“I'm excited to see a brand-new musical on Broadway, and I look forward to seeing how the team has adapted this beautiful story about human connection from the documentary to a musical," said Liana Hunt of Back to the Future. "I've heard bits of the music, and it sounds really beautiful. I also love that so many members of this show are making their Broadway debuts! There's something really special about that.”

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For a timely, touching drama: Prayer for the French Republic

Joshua Harmon's epic drama, about multiple generations of a French Jewish family facing similar doubts about assimilation and safety, received near-universal acclaim for its 2021 Off-Broadway premiere. It's perhaps more poignant and relevant now, as the show prepares to begin Broadway performances in December.

"I saw it in its Off-Broadway run and was blown away by the writing, direction, the performances - everything," Benko said. "It's a complex look at contemporary Jewish life and we need those plays on Broadway now more than ever."

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For Off-Broadway fun with bite: Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors

Off-Broadway theatres have a wealth of new fall shows, too, if you're looking for even more theatre to see beyond the Great White Way. One of them is Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors, a queer, comedic revamp of Bram Stoker's Gothic horror classic.

"Arnie Burton is a stage comedy genius," Purlie Victorious's Bill Timoney said of why he wants to see it. Burton is joined by four other actors who shapeshift between costumes and characters faster than a vampire turns into a bat.

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Other fall Broadway shows to see

These shows don't even cover all the exciting work on stage this fall. Other notable productions include My Window, an intimate solo show from Melissa Etheridge; Appropriate, the Broadway-debut play of Pulitzer Prize finalist Branden Jacobs-Jenkins starring Sarah Paulson; and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, an Off-Broadway play with Broadway-caliber talent: Christopher Abbott and Aubrey Plaza in her stage debut.

So follow the stars — the stars' recommendations, that is — and see all the Broadway fall season has to offer.

Get tickets to Broadway shows on New York Theatre Guide.

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Quotes have been condensed and edited for length and clarity.

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