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Live Performance in New York: Here’s What to See This Spring

Live Performance in New York: Here’s What to See This Spring

A man in a white tank top lifts a woman in b blue dress on a darkened stage, with drops of rain coming from the rafters.

“The Notebook” and “Cabaret” land on Broadway. Olivia Rodrigo’s tour stops in Manhattan. Plus: Herbie Hancock, Heartbeat Opera and Trisha Brown Dance Company.

THE NOTEBOOK Nicholas Sparks’s 1996 novel (adapted for the screen in 2004) is now a sweeping musical tale of romantic idealism and the decades-long love between Allie and Noah. The Chicago Tribune gave a glowing review to the 2022 Chicago Shakespeare Theater premiere, and several performers from the Chicago cast, including Maryann Plunkett as Older Allie, will reprise their roles. The show features a book by Bekah Brunstetter (“This Is Us”) and music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson, with Michael Greif and Schele Williams directing. Now playing at the Schoenfeld TheaterManhattan.

THE WHO’S TOMMY The show, with music and lyrics by Pete Townshend who wrote the book with Des McAnuff, was on Broadway 30 years ago, but this new take, which had its premiere at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, is very heavy on visual spectacle (and, egad, how theatrical effects have changed in three decades!). Tommy is a traumatized child who witnesses violence and loses his ability to see, hear and speak. He plays mean pinball, though, and in the strange spectacle becomes something of a messiah. The leads, including Ali Louis Bourzgui (Tommy), Alison Luff (Mrs. Walker) and Adam Jacobs (Captain Walker), are revisiting the roles they played at the Goodman. Choreography is by Lorin Latarro (“Waitress”), and McAnuff directs. Performances begin March 8 at the Nederlander Theater, Manhattan.

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A blackened stage shows the projection of a man’s face. At his mouth is an open window frame, through which another man climbs.





Louis Bourzgui in “The Who’s Tommy.”
Credit…Liz Lauren

LEMPICKA The life of the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka was not a screamingly obvious topic for a Broadway musical, but an impressive team has collaborated on this show. The Polish-born Lempicka (1898-1980), who was married, twice, to men, but had female lovers as well, lived through two world wars, surrounded by cultural and political change in Russia, Paris and California. Rachel Chavkin directs a cast led by Eden Espinosa as Lempicka, who returns to the role that wowed critics in productions at the Williamstown Theater Festival and La Jolla Playhouse. The show features music by Matt Gould and lyrics by Carson Kreitzer; they collaborated on the book. Performances begin March 19 at the Longacre Theater, Manhattan.

SUFFS The hard-fought passage of the 19th amendment, which codified women’s right to vote in 1919, is the focus of this musical by Shaina Taub. In addition to the challenge of being book writer, lyricist and composer, Taub also stars as Alice Paul (1885-1977), a leader of the National Woman’s Party. She and a group of like-minded women, including Ida B. Wells (Nikki M. James) and Carrie Chapman Catt (Jenn Colella), battle the patriarchy and, at times, one another. Directed by Leigh Silverman. Performances begin March 26 at the Music Box Theater, Manhattan.

HELL’S KITCHEN Alicia Keys makes her Broadway debut with this semi-autobiographical jukebox musical about a 17-year-old girl named Ali, raised in a small Manhattan apartment by her protective single mother alongside a community of artists. The show features music and lyrics by Keys, a mix of hits, including “Fallin’” and “Empire State of Mind,” and new songs. The show’s premiere last year at the Public Theater received decent, if not exceptional, reviews, but c’mon, this girl is on fire. The book is by Kristoffer Diaz and choreography by Camille A. Brown. Maleah Joi Moon, Shoshana Bean and Brandon Victor Dixon will reprise their roles. The busy Michael Greif (see also “The Notebook”) directs. Performances begin March 28 at the Shubert Theater, Manhattan.

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A woman in an orange baseball jersey and jeans sings at the center of a stage with dancers behind her.
Maleah Joi Moon, center, in the musical “Hell’s Kitchen.”Credit…Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

THE GREAT GATSBY Though the reviews from the Paper Mill Playhouse premiere this fall were not stellar, this new musical based on the 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald is Broadway bound. Marc Bruni (“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”) directs the story of the nouveau riche Jay Gatsby (Jeremy Jordan, “Newsies”) who schemes to win over the moneyed — and married — love of his life, Daisy Buchanan (Eva Noblezada, “Hadestown”). Book by Kait Kerrigan (“The Mad Ones”); songs by Nathan Tysen and Jason Howland (“Paradise Square”). Performances begin March 29 at the Broadway Theater, Manhattan.

CABARET Eddie Redmayne recreates his Olivier Award-winning turn as the Emcee in this innovative revival of the 1966 Kander and Ebb musical, which was a hot — and expensive — ticket in London when it premiered in 2021. The immersive design by Tom Scutt will transform the whole theater, even its lobby, into the Kit Kat Club of Weimar Berlin. (V.I.P. tickets include preshow drinks and dinner.) The cast includes Gayle Rankin, Ato Blankson-Wood, Bebe Neuwirth and Steven Skybell. Direction by Rebecca Frecknall. Performances begin April 1 at the August Wilson Theater, Manhattan

PATRIOTS Vladimir V. Putin was a humble deputy mayor of St. Petersburg before the Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky jump-started his rise to power. This new play by Peter Morgan (“The Crown”), which had a well-received run in London, tracks their terrifying alliance and eventual falling out, including Berezovsky’s political exile. Michael Stuhlbarg, back on Broadway for the first time since 2005, will star as Berezovsky, with the English actor Will Keen reprising his Olivier Award-winning role as Putin. Rupert Goold directs. Performances begin April 1 at the Ethel Barrymore TheaterManhattan(S.M.)

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On a brick stage with neon lights, a man in a suit with a blue necktie stares at a man whose back is to the audience.
Will Keen, in a blue necktie, as Vladimir V. Putin in “Patriots.”Credit…Marc Brenner

UNCLE VANYA For the Chekhov-obsessed, nothing excites like a really good cast in one of his classics, and here it is Steve Carell playing the lovesick title character, toiling away at the family farm with his niece Sonya (Alison Pill). Their lonely lives are disrupted by the arrival of Sonya’s famous father (Alfred Molina) with his new wife (Anika Noni Rose). The cast also includes William Jackson Harper (“The Good Place”) and Jayne Houdyshell (“The Humans”), with Lila Neugebauer (“Appropriate”) directing. This Lincoln Center Theater production features a new translation by Heidi Schreck (“What the Constitution Means to Me”), who worked for a time as a teacher and journalist in St. Petersburg. Performances begin April 2 at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, Manhattan.

MOTHER PLAY A mother with strong ideas about her children’s futures supervises her two teenage kids as they prepare to move to a new apartment in this latest from the Pulitzer Prize winner Paula Vogel (“How I Learned to Drive”). What might they unpack? Set near Washington, D.C., in 1962, the play digs into the complexities and power of family bonds. Tina Landau directs a starry cast — Jessica Lange, Celia Keenan-Bolger (“To Kill a Mockingbird”) and Jim Parsons (“The Boys in the Band”) — in this premiere from Second Stage Theater. Performances begin April 2 at the Hayes Theater, Manhattan. (STEVEN McELROY )

CORRUPTION In this new play, J.T. Rogers writes about the phone-hacking scandal in Britain that threatened to bring down the media mogul Rupert Murdoch more than a decade ago. Based on the book coauthored by Tom Watson, a member of Parliament who fought back against the unsavory tactics of Murdoch’s newspapers, the show features a large cast, including Dylan Baker, K. Todd Freeman, Sepideh Moafi and Seth Numrich. Directed by Bartlett Sher, who also directed Rogers’s “Oslo” and “Blood and Gifts.” Through April 14 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, Manhattan.

THE ALLY and DEAD OUTLAW Itamar Moses (“The Band’s Visit”) has a busy spring coming up. His latest, “The Ally,” has its world premiere at the Public Theater in a production directed by Lila Neugebauer (also busy; see “Uncle Vanya”). It stars Josh Radnor as a Jewish college professor whose identities as a progressive and an artist are challenged when a student asks him to sign a social justice manifesto. Through March 17 at the Public Theater, Manhattan. Nearby at the Minetta Lane Theater, Audible is mounting “Dead Outlaw,” a crazy-sounding tale — based on a true story — of a dead Western robber whose mummified remains traveled all over the country as a sideshow attraction for decades. The book is by Moses and the songs by David Yazbek (also “The Band’s Visit”) and Erik Della Penna. David Cromer directs. Feb. 28-April 7, Minetta Lane Theater, Manhattan.

ILLINOISE This dance-theater hybrid, based on Sufjan Stevens’s 2005 concept album “Illinois,” comes to the Park Avenue Armory after a well-received run at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Justin Peck is the director and choreographer. With the playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury (“Fairview”), Peck also wrote the narrative adapted from the album’s tales of people, places and events in Illinois, following a central character named Henry. March 2-23 at the Park Avenue Armory, Manhattan.

LIKE THEY DO IN THE MOVIES Not a lot of information is available about this world premiere solo show written by and starring Laurence Fishburne. He has described it as “the stories and lies people have told me. And that I have told myself.” Given Fishburne’s magnetism onscreen and in stage roles, from Morpheus in “The Matrix” series to his Tony Award-winning turn in August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running,” it’s a solid bet he’ll be well worth our time even based only on that flimsy description. March 10-31 at the Perelman Performing Arts Center, Manhattan.

STAFF MEAL While the world falls apart, a group of lonely city dwellers take refuge inside a restaurant in this new play by Abe Koogler, who has written effectively about people who work at difficult jobs in both “Kill Floor” and “Fulfillment Center.” Morgan Green, a co-artistic director of the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, directs. April 12-May 19 at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan.

TEETH The Playwrights Horizons season also includes this irreverent and intriguing musical adaptation of the 2007 cult classic film about a young woman with toothed genitalia. The book is by Michael R. Jackson (“A Strange Loop”) and Anna K. Jacobs, with music by Jacobs and lyrics by Jackson. Sarah Benson (“Blasted”) directs. Through March 31 at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan.

SALLY & TOM Suzan-Lori Parks’s new play explores the relationship between the enslaved woman Sally Hemings and her enslaver, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, by staging a play within it. When a contemporary playwright and a director (also an interracial couple) star in this fictional show, the experience naturally impacts their own relationship. This New York premiere arrives after a 2022 debut at Minnesota’s Guthrie Theater. Steve H. Broadnax III directs. March 28-April 28 at the Public Theater, Manhattan.

GRENFELL: IN THE WORDS OF SURVIVORS This is a story about a terrible fire in a London high-rise that killed dozens of people in 2017, partly because of faulty construction. The text is by Gillian Slovo, who assembled transcripts of interviews with survivors and the bereaved, and the play’s premiere at the National Theater in London last year and captivated audiences and critics. Directed by Phyllida Lloyd and Anthony Simpson-Pike, the show was not without controversy as some survivors found revisiting the event to be inappropriate. April 13-May 12 at St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn.

HERE THERE ARE BLUEBERRIES In late 2006, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer sent a letter to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, saying he had a collection of photographs from Auschwitz in the 1940s. The photos offer the cruel and chilling juxtaposition of Nazi officers and employees at leisure — and a group of young women who worked in communications happily eating blueberries — nearby the death camp. Conceived and directed by Moisés Kaufman, a founder of Tectonic Theater Project, and co-written with Amanda Gronich, the show comes to New York following well-received productions at La Jolla Playhouse and the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, D.C. April 17-June 2 at New York Theater Workshop, Manhattan.

THE LONELY FEW Two lesbian rockers take a stab at love in the face of intolerance after meeting in small town Kentucky in this musical, featuring a book by Rachel Bonds (“Jonah”) and music and lyrics by Zoe Sarnak. After several years of development, the show had its premiere at the Geffen Playhouse last year. Trip Cullman (“Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow”) and Ellenore Scott co-direct a cast that includes Lauren Patten, Taylor Iman Jones and Thomas Silcott. April 27-June 2 at MCC Theater, Manhattan.

THREE HOUSES Despite the scant details available, this new musical by Dave Malloy (“Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812”) is likely to be a spring highlight. Malloy writes about the link among three strangers — Susan in Latvia, Sadie in New Mexico and Beckett in Ireland, all haunted by grandparents — in an exploration of the post-pandemic world. Annie Tippe directs. April 30-June 9, Pershing Square Signature Center, Manhattan. (STEVEN McELROY )

BETH GILL: ‘NAIL BITER’ Beth Gill, an exacting choreographer, has a spare, seductive way of revealing a stage and the dancers who inhabit it. In her highly controlled settings, space folds into time just as time folds into space. It’s slow, uncanny and gripping; even the title of her latest work, “Nail Biter,” is a nod to her skill at building tension. Making its long-awaited New York City premiere at N.Y.U. Skirball, “Nail Biter” explores the unease of the present moment. Transformed by Baille Younkman’s arresting costumes and accessories — a tight trench, high white boots, wigs — the dancers come together as something of a portrait of our collective unconscious. Framed by Jon Moniaci’s eerie score, “Nail Biter” has a supernatural feel, but it’s not just about sensation. Gill’s composition is to die for, too: It’s always there to hold her vision together. April 12-13, N.Y.U. Skirball, Manhattan. (GIA KOURLAS)

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A woman crouches like a crow on a piano keyboard; her head is hanging so we see the back of it. Her legs are bare and she wears a white shirt.
Molly Lieber in Beth Gill’s “Nail Biter” at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The dance will have its New York premiere at N.Y.U. Skirball.Credit…Kameron Herndon, via Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

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