Musical based on a book
Turns out that the snarling, green-faced Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” wasn’t evil, after all; she was just misunderstood. And maybe Glinda the Good Witch wasn’t perfect, just pretty and popular. When the two young women end up as roommates at sorcery school, a clash of values may ensue. The show, which The Times called “equally arch and earnest” back in 2003 (when it starred Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth), won three Tonys and six Drama Desk Awards.
Gershwin Theater, 222 West 51st Street, wickedthemusical.com. 2 hours 45 minutes. Open run. Opened on Oct. 30, 2003.
RECENT BROADWAY ARCHIVES
Shows That Closed in 2019
Drama based on a movie
Who could fill the shoes of Peter Finch, who won a posthumous Oscar for playing Howard Beale, the deranged television news anchor who becomes a media hero, in Paddy Chayefsky’s brilliant 1977 movie, “Network”? Bryan Cranston. Couldn’t be a better choice. Couldn’t be a better performance. Pretty much every critic in town agrees. And although the Dutch director Ivo van Hove’s unconventional staging is so multifaceted (and so tech-driven) that it runs the risk of derailing the whole project, you gotta see this play. As Beale’s producer, Tony Goldwyn is strong but not nearly as old and craggy as William Holden. As the ambitious young producer (when she has an orgasm, she cries out market-share numbers), Tatiana Maslany is interesting but not as gloriously nuts as Faye Dunaway was in the role. Chayefsky saw the future (our present) all too well.
Belasco Theater, 111 West 44th Street; networkbroadway.com, 2 hours (no intermission). Limited run.. Opened on Dec. 6, 2018. Extended through June 8, 2019.CLOSED.
A SEQUEL TO TITUS ANDRONICUS
So. At the end of “Titus Andronicus,” Shakespeare’s most graphically violent play, there are a lot of dead bodies. In Taylor Mac’s comedy sequel, starring Nathan Lane (in photo), Kristine Nielsen and Julie White, someone has to clean up the mess. The Times called it “fabulous and bedraggled, a defiant and beautiful mess” and added that it wasn’t as funny as we’d like it to be but made it an official Critic’s Pick anyway. Behind the scenes: All the best people, among them Santo Loquasto (sets), Ann Roth (costumes), Bill Irwin as the movement expert and George C. Wolfe directing.
Booth Theater, 222 West 45th Street; 212-239-6200, garyonbroadway.com. 1 hour 35 minutes. Opened on April 21, 2019. Limited run. Closes on Aug. 4. [[Closed early, on June 16.]]
THE BAND’S VISIT
Musical based on a movie/CLOSED ON APRIL 7
This quirky story about an Egyptian police band that accidentally travels to the wrong destination, a painfully quiet Israeli desert town, was a huge hit when it played Off Broadway last year at the Atlantic. Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal declared it “downright therapeutic.” It won both the Obie and the Lucille Lortel Award for best musical. Ben Brantley of The New York Times loved it Off Broadway too, but after its move to Broadway he was even more enthusiastic, pronouncing it "one of the most ravishing musicals you will ever be seduced by." Maybe that's why it won 10 Tonys, including best musical! Tony Shalhoub and Katrina Lenk, in photo, were Tony winners too.
Ethel Barrymore Theater, 243 West 47th Street; thebandsvisitmusical.com. 1 hour 30 minutes (no intermission). Open run. Opened on Nov. 9, 2017.
Musical drama based on two movies/CLOSED ON MARCH 31
Such a pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty show! (The Times’s Ben Brantley called it “postcard-scenic.”) Christy Altomare stars as Anya, a beautiful young Russian amnesiac who may or may not be the mysterious missing Romanov daughter, the only member of the ruling family who wasn’t shot dead during the 1918 Revolution. The Tony winner Judy Kaye now plays the Dowager Empress, who had escaped to Paris before the really bad stuff went down, the only person who can identify her for sure. Although it comes from a team of major Broadway talents, The Times didn’t adore it and expressed relief that the firing squad didn’t sing.
Broadhurst Theater, 235 West 44th Street, telecharge.com, 2 hours 25 minutes. Opened on April 24, 2017.
Musical based on a movie/CLOSED ON APRIL 7
A nice young Englishman is struggling to keep his family shoe factory from closing. A nice young drag queen (Lola) is struggling to do his act in inferior footwear. They join forces, and chances are good that everyone will live long and prosper. The show took home six Tonys and has had more Lolas than Barry Manilow.
Al Hirschfeld Theater, 302 West 45th Street, kinkybootsthemusical.com. 2 hours 25 minutes. Open run. Opened on April 4, 2013. Closes on April 7, 2019.
HEAD OVER HEELS
Period jukebox musical
Whoopi Goldberg raved about it. Ben Brantley, writing in The Times, said that it "lacks the courage of its contradictions." What we have here is a difference of opinion. And the '80s music of the Go-Gos inserted into the story of a 16th-century monarchy that, yes, has got the beat and fears losing it. Personally, I enjoyed its sense of fun: The confident beauty is the fat girl. The queen (in photo) looks like Anne Boleyn if she'd had the good luck to live to 40. The Oracle of Delphi is transsexual. The shepherd who loves the other princess finds himself dressing like an Amazon warrior and liking it. Yeah, the show has flaws, but this is a cast of Broadway pros bolstered by a lot of good things, including beautifully fake scenic design. Give it a break.
Hudson Theater, 141 West 44th Street, headoverheelsthemusical.com. 2 hours 30 minutes. Open run. Opened on July 26, 2018. Closed on Jan. 6, 2019.
Things looked good for “Choir Boy” the morning after opening night. Tarell Alvin McCraney’s new play was right at the top of the front of the Arts section of The New York Times. And right next to the title was the official check mark coveted by all New York theater production: “Choir Boy” was a critic’s pick.
So it was a little puzzling when Jesse Green, the author of this review (and The Times’s co-chief theater critic), began to complain about obvious plot points, character credibility, “tonally blurry staging” and more. For a show that readers absolutely shouldn’t miss (which is what the “critic’s choice” designation means), it certainly had a lot of major flaws. The Press Nights review adds its own two cents. (See the February home page.)
Samuel J. Friedman Theater, 261 West 47th Street, manhattantheatreclub.com. 1 hour 45 minutes (no intermission). Opened on Jan. 8, 2019. Limited run. Closed on Feb. 17, 2019.
THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT
Original comic drama
You start with stars like Cherry Jones, Daniel Radcliffe and Bobby Cannavale. You take a sensitive subject like “fake news,” “alternative facts,” what-have-you. It’s the story of a writer who likes to play with the truth, his demanding editor and the fact checker — God help him — in between. The Hollywood Reporter declared the show “invigoratingly taut.” Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal called it a “rib-bustingly funny farce” that gracefully goes darker when it needs to.
Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street, lifespanofafact.com, 1 hour 25 minutes. Limited run. Closed on Jan. 13, 2019.
MIKE BIRBIGLIA’S THE NEW ONE
Original solo comedy show
I saw “Thank God for Jokes” and “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend,” Mike Birbiglia’s earlier solo comedy shows, and loved them. “The New One” is specifically about parenthood, a job Birbiglia recently took on. When he did the show at the Cherry Lane (Off Broadway) this summer, Alexis Soloski liked — most of it. “The first hour, about his wife and cat and brother and vascular repair, is gorgeous.” But after the baby is actually born, she wrote, the appeal “goes down for a nap.” We await the Broadway reviews.
Cort Theater, 138 West 48th Street, thenewone.com, 1 hour 30 minutes (no intermission). Limited run. Opened on Nov. 11, 2018. Closed on Jan. 20, 2019.
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND
Once in a while, all the critics agree, and this was their favorite musical of last season. Somewhere in the French Antilles, a beautiful but poor village girl saves the life of a beautiful but rich boy from the other side of the island, loses him and then sets off for the big city to win his love. All to the tune of gorgeous Caribbean music, punctuated by breathtaking choreography and under the watchful eyes of several inventively costumed gods. It won the best musical revival Tony.
Circle in the Square Theater, 235 West 50th Street; onceonthisisland.com. 1 hour 30 minutes (no intermission). Open run. Opened on Dec. 3, 2017. Closed on Jan. 6, 2019.
THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG
Imagine that you are at a very bad production of something called “The Murder at Haversham Manor,” performed by a very unfortunate British drama society. The Times called it “a gut-busting hit.” Variety deemed it “comic gold.” They loved it in London; it won the Olivier Award for best new comedy. Here, it only won the Tony for best set.
Lyceum Theater, 149 West 45th Street; broadwaygoeswrong.com. 2 hours. Open run. Opened on April 2, 2017. Closed on Jan. 6, 2019. But moving Off Broadway!
SCHOOL OF ROCK
Musical based on a movie
Sometimes the odd-bedfellows thing works: Take a Richard Linklater movie starring Jack Black as a shaggy would-be musician posing as a substitute teacher at a private school, then sets out to turn his brainy students into a rock band. Who writes the new music for the stage version? Andrew Lloyd Webber. Who writes the book? Julian Fellowes, the man who gave us “Downton Abbey.” Yet The Times acknowledged that the show “charmingly walks the line between the cute and the precious” in Act I and, even when it turns saccharine later, is “surprisingly easy to swallow.”
Winter Garden Theater, 1634 Broadway (between 50th and 51st Street), schoolofrockthemusical.com. 2 hours 15 minutes. Opened on Dec. 6, 2015. Closed on Jan. 20, 2019
It’s back: Harvey Fierstein’s award-wining tale of a drag queen (“gender illusionist”) and his mother, this time with Michael Urie in the lead role. Mercedes Ruehl is his co-star. Moises Kaufman is their director. Ben Brantley of The Times called it “a seriously entertaining interpretation of living large as a proactive defense against feeling small.” Yet it’s closing a month and a half earlier than planned.
Hayes Theater, 240 West 44th Street, torchsongbroadway.com, 2 hours 30 minutes. Limited run. Opened on Nov. 1, 2018. Closed on Jan. 6, 2019.
THE WAVERLY GALLERY
Elaine May, 86, stars in this revival of Kenneth Lonergan’s drama about a woman losing everything to dementia. The Chicago Tribune called May’s performance — her first on Broadway since she and Mike Nichols were bright young newcomers — “one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see in a Broadway theater.” Her co-stars, including Joan Allen, Michael Cera and David Cromer, are no slouches either.
Golden Theater, 252 West 45th Street, thewaverlygalleryonbroawday.com 2 hours 15 minutes. Opened on Oct. 25, 2018. Limited run. Closed on Jan. 27, 2019.
Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale star as an estranged couple brought together again one tension-filled night in a Florida police station. Their mixed-race teenage son is missing. The New York Times critic spent paragraphs praising Washington’s performance. He also compared the production to a nightmare, but in a good way.
Jeremy Jordan plays the young cop in charge. The playwright is Christopher Demos-Brown. Directed by Kenny Leon, who took home a Tony for “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Booth Theater, 222 West 45th Street, americansonplay.com, 1 hour 30 minutes (no intermission). Limited run. Closed on Jan. 27, 2019.
SHOWS THAT CLOSED IN 2018
RUBEN & CLAY’S FIRST ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CAROL FAMILY FUN PAGEANT SPECTACULAR REUNION SHOW
Holiday music special
It was one of the biggest “American Idol” finales ever. Fifteen years ago, Clay Aiken (in photo, standing) and Ruben Studdard (seated) were the competition reality show’s hugely popular finalists, and although Studdard won that night, both men went on to successful singing careers. Now Studdard, a Birmingham, Ala., native who turned 40 in September, and Aiken, a Raleigh, N.C., native who just turned 40 himself, come together for an evening of holiday classics and comedy. It will be their first time on a national stage together since 2003.
Imperial Theater, 249 West 45th Street, telecharge.com or rubenandclay.com, 2 hours. Limited run. Opened on Dec. 11, 2018. Closed on Dec. 30, 2018.
"From gospel choir to dance floor diva." That's what the show's website says, and that just about sums up "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical." Ariana DeBose (in photo) is one of three actresses who play Summer in this posthumous biographical jukebox special. Jesse Green, unfortunately, called it "a blight" and "dramaturgy by song hook" (well, it wouldn't be the first time) in his Times review. If you go just for the music, though, it's a nice concert, with hits like "Bad Girls," "She Works Hard for the Money" and "Hot Stuff."
Lunt-Fontanne Theater, 205 West 46th Street, 988-250-2929; thedonnasummermusical.com. 1 hour 40 minutes (no intermission). Open run. Opened on April 23, 2018. Closed on Dec. 30, 2018.
SPRINGSTEEN ON BROADWAY
Solo musical event
What else is there to say? Bruce Springsteen fans who've seen dozens of his big-arena shows say that seeing him in a 975-seat theater is a totally new (and thrilling) experience. They gave Bruce a special Tony.
Walter Kerr Theater, 219 West 48th Street; ticketmaster.com. 2 hours (no intermission). Opened on Oct. 12, 2017. Limited run. Closed on Dec. 15, 2018.
Original comic drama inspired by real life
Janet McTeer, who swept New York audiences off their feet in“A Doll’s House” two decades ago (time flies!), plays Sarah Bernhardt, the world’s most acclaimed actress in the early 20th century. Bernhardt is so bored that she’s decided that the next stage role she wants is Hamlet. And only she could get away with it. In Theresa Rebeck’s fast and furious script, McTeer (in photo with Dylan Baker) sees Bernhardt through some challenges — including a backstage visit from her lover’s wife and a revised script that takes all the poetry out of Shakespeare. The New York Times called the production “a deep-inside love letter to the theater.”
American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street, roundabouttheatre.org, 2 hours 20 minutes. Limited run. Closed on Nov. 11, 2018.
Musical revival / Closed on Sept. 16, 2018
Newsweek adored it (“delightful,” “a highlight reel of the best of the Golden Age of Broadway”). The Daily News found it a “wobbly” show that “cries out for cohesion.” The amNewYork critic hated everything (“misguided,” “a disappointing, bewildering and frustrating experience”). But then the critic is also a lawyer whose profile picture is a scowl. The Wall Street Journal was on the fence (“remarkably sung” but “disappoints in other ways”). And The Times’s verdict? A “heartfelt, half-terrific revival” that’s “ravishingly scored.” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” is the story of a naïve working-class girl who falls in love with a carnival sharpie. He turns out to be an inept criminal and a habitual wife-beater who gets a second chance for redemption in the afterlife. Most important, Renée Fleming is there, as the cousin, to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Imperial Theater, 252 West 45th Street; 212-239-6200, carouselbroadway.com. 2 hours 45 minutes. Opened on April 12.
Musical based on a Nickelodeon cartoon show / Closed on Sept. 16, 2018
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea and works as a Crabby Patty fry cook? SpongeBob, of course, as his many television, film and merchandising fans know. And now he's a Broadway musical getting great reviews, and the whole gang is here, including Squidward (great costume!), Patrick (Bob's starfish BFF) and Sandy Cheeks (a squirrel from Texas -- there's really no room here to explain). The plot: An impending volcanic disaster threatens the town of Bikini Bottom. The world will end tomorrow at sundown if somebody doesn't save the day. The Times called Tina Landau's super-splashy production "exhaustingly imaginative," and I can vouch for that with a silly, childlike smile on my face. In fact, it makes "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812" (last seasons's spectacular triumph of Broadway staging) look like "Our Town."
Palace Theater, 1564 Broadway (at 50th Street); spongebobbroadway.com. 2 hours 20 minutes. Opened on Dec. 4, 2017.
GETTIN' THE BAND BACK TOGETHER
A 40-year-old Wall Street guy gets fired and goes home to his mom (Marilu Henner) in New Jersey. But she's behind on her mortgage payments, so the only thing to do is reunite his high school garage band and win some money. Critics disagree. In Variety, Marilyn Stasio found the show endearing, "grooving along mainly on its very goofy throwaway lines" with a welcome result: "It feels so good to laugh real laughs on Broadway." In The Times, Jesse Green called the production "empty-headed entertainment" and "a calculated rehash of a million tired tropes." But look how skinny Henner is!
Belasco Theater, 111 West 44th Street, gettinthebandbacktogether.com. 2 hours 15 minutes. Opened on Aug. 13. Open run. Closed on Sept. 16, 2018.
Musical comedy revival based on a play / Closed on Aug. 25, 2018
In January, Bernadette Peters replaced Bette Midler as Dolly Levi, the Yonkers matchmaker with a secret agenda, in what was last season's hugest musical hit. Jesse Green of The New York Times and other critics gave her a thumbs-up. But now Midler is back for a big encore, and she's brought her original co-stars David Hyde Pierce and Gavin Creel with her. They'll be here until closing night in late August.
Shubert Theater, 225 West 44th Street, telecharge.com. 2 hours 35 minutes. Opened on April 20, 2017.
A BRONX TALE: THE MUSICAL
Musical based on a movie / Closed on Aug. 5, 2018
It was a streetwise 1993 film starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Chazz Palminteri. Now it’s a streetwise musical with the same plot: New York boy torn between his good-guy father and a mob boss who wants to recruit him. “Sometimes plain old pasta with red sauce is just what the doctor ordered,” Charles Isherwood wrote in his New York Times review, comparing the show to Italian comfort food. Nick Cordero stars. De Niro is credited as the co-director, with Jerry Zaks.
Longacre Theater, 220 West 48th Street, abronxtalethemusical.com. 2 hours 10 minutes. Opened on Dec. 1, 2016.
ANGELS IN AMERICA
Drama revival /Closed on July 5, 2018
The critics are running out of superlatives for this one. In The New York Times, Ben Brantley called it “flat-out fabulous.” In The Washington Post, Peter Marks used terms like “riveting production” and “sublime entertainment.” Sara Holdren of Vulture called it a “brilliant rendering” that “couldn’t feel more vivid, more eloquently outraged.” And The Daily News went out on a limb: “the most electrifying production you’re apt to ever see" of Tony Kushner’s master work. For those who don’t know, “Angels” is a two-part, Tony-winning, Pulitzer-winning epic that first appeared on Broadway in 1993. It’s set in the 1980s when a generation of young men (and others) were dying of AIDS while the Reagan administration ignored them. This production, which originated in London (the National Theater), stars Andrew Garfield as Prior Walter (a PWA, person with AIDS, whom the angel visits) and Nathan Lane as Roy Cohn (also a PWA, the satanic midcentury lawyer who taught Donald Trump everything he knows). The Wall Street Journal called Lane “deliciously odious” in the role. UPDATE: Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane and the play (as best revival) won at the Drama Desk Awards on June 3.
Neil Simon Theater, 250 West 52nd Street; angelsbroadway.com. Part I: “Millennium Approaches,” 3 hours 35 minutes. Part II: “Perestroika,” 3 hours 55 minutes. Limited run.
ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE
Jukebox musical / Closed on July 1, 2018
The music and worldview of Jimmy Buffett, with tropical prints on the actors and margaritas in the lobby bar. “Maybe bottom 10, lifetime,” Peter Marks of The Washington Post wrote on Facebook as a lead-in to his review. Jesse Green of The New York Times wrote, “If you’re not drunk or a Parrothead, as Mr. Buffett’s fans are called, you’re in trouble,” describing the show as “denatured country-calypso ditties and horndog smarm.”
Marquis Theater, 210 West 46th Street; 877-250-2929, escapetomargaritavillemusical.com. 2 hours 20 minutes. Opened on March 15, 2018.
Drama revival / Closed on June 10, 2018
Let's all travel back to 15th-century France, where a teenage girl says she's hearing voices from God -- and so many people believe her that she becomes riotously dangerous to the powers that be. Condola Rashad, who has done beautiful work on Broadway (she's 31, and this is her fourth Tony nomination in the last six years), plays Joan as a rational, clear-eyed and undeniably sane heroine, just the way Shaw wrote her. The cast also includes John Glover, Patrick Page and the director Walter Bobbie.
Samuel J. Friedman Theater, 261 West 47th Street; 212-239-6200, saintjoanbroadway.com. 2 hours 45 minutes. Opened on April 25. Limited run.
THREE TALL WOMEN
Drama revival / Closed on June 25, 2018
“Glenda Jackson Gets Her ‘Queen Lear’ Moment.” That’s the New York Times’s web headline for Jesse Green’s review of “Three Tall Women,” and there you have it. Back in the 1990s, Edward Albee won his third Pulitzer Prize for this character study, said to be based on his adoptive mother, with whom he had (they say) a hideous relationship. The title characters are A, a dying 92-year-old (Jackson, who won the Drama Desk for best actress in a play); B, her caretaker (Laurie Metcalf); and C, a young legal type who’s always around (Alison Pill). There’s not much plot, except the difficulties of aging and dying, until the second part when all three actresses turn into A at three different ages. Vulture called it “a staggering example” of the actor’s art. Time Out New York used the words “exquisite new revival” and “scalpel-sharp production” (thank you, Joe Mantello). Marilyn Stasio of Variety said watching Jackson was “like looking straight into the sun.” But Green wrote the best review sentence of all, explaining that the play “slips Beckettian existentialism through the commercial barricades …” Well, he goes on.
John Golden Theater, 252 West 45th Street; 212-239-6200, threetallwomenbroadway.com. 1 hour 45 minute (no intermission). Opened on March 29, 2018. Limited run.
CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD
Drama revival / Closed on May 27, 2018
Let's simplify: She's deaf, and she likes it that way. He's her teacher, and he thinks he knows better. And somewhere along the way, he falls in love with her. Mark Medoff's play won three Tonys, including best play, the first time around (1980). Critics are generally calling this revival uneven and a little dated but are praising both lead performances to high heaven. With Lauren Ridloff, who has been nominated for a Tony, and Joshua Jackson.
Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street; 212-239-6200, childrenofalessergodbroadway.com. 2 hours 20 minutes. Opened on April 11.
Minskoff Theater, 200 West 45th Street, lionking.com. 2 hours 30 minutes. Opened on Nov. 13, 1997.
Drama revival / Closed on May 13, 2018
Two security guards and two New York City cops hang out in a seedy apartment-building lobby and face difficult decisions. Everyone has a chance to do the wrong thing, and they do. Kenneth Lonergan’s 2001 Off Broadway drama about alibis, lies, sexism, racism and moral relativism has finally made it to Broadway, and the reviews are glowing. The New York Times made it a Critic’s Pick; Ben Brantley’s praise included “meticulously acted,” “achingly funny” and “a fascinating reflection” on moral instincts. Time Out New York, The Guardian and EW each gave it four stars. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter found it engrossing and saluted Lonergan’s “clear-eyed yet forgiving view of human nature,” which makes his writing “such a gift.” With Michael Cera and Chris Evans. David Rockwell’s scenic design is just the one set, but it moves periodically, cleverly helping us see new angles in more ways than one.
FARINELLI AND THE KING
Original historical drama / Closed on March 25, 2018
The king is sad. The king is enraged. The king needs a distraction or something -- maybe an amazing castrati tenor. And maybe there's something for everyone to learn about the divide between art and artist, the relationship between public self and true self. The king, Philippe V of Spain, is played by one of Broadway's most honored British actors, and Ben Brantley of The New York Times is fairly enthusiastic. "Uncork the Champagne and unfurl the straitjacket," he wrote in his review. "Mark Rylance is once again ruling audiences at the Belasco" in a production that Brantley calls "strangely enchanting" and "a shimmering fairy tale for grown-ups."
Belasco Theater, 111 West 44th Street; farinelliandthekingbroadway.com. 2 hours 20 minutes. Opened on Dec. 17, 2017. Limited run.
THE PARISIAN WOMAN
Drama / Closed on March 11, 2018
Uma Thurman makes her Broadway debut in this political drama with dark humor, starring as a Washington socialite trying to help get her tax-lawyer husband (Josh Lucas) a judgeship amid the current Trumpian moral climate. Actually, the climate suits her just fine. Critics agree that Thurman (like Derek McLane's upscale-living sets) looks great, but The New Yorker described her performance as "blank, swanning and sighing as if impersonating the leading lady of an old drawing-room comedy." The Times review suggested renaming the play "Dangerless Liaisons." The playwright, Beau Willimon, knows something about the underside of contemporary D.C.; he created “House of Cards.”
Hudson Theater, 139-141 West 44th Street; parisianwomanbroadway.com. 1 hour 30 minutes (no intermission). Opened on Nov. 30, 2017.
JOHN LITHGOW: STORIES BY HEART
Solo performance / Closed on March 4, 2018
So a tall, balding, 72-year-old Tony-winning, Emmy-winning, Oscar-nominated actor stands on a stage, talks about his father and storytelling and actually performs short stories by Ring Lardner and P.G. Wodehouse, and most of the critics love it. Peter Marks of The Washington Post called it delightful, one of the best solo shows he had ever seen and one that “offers new vigor for a form” that so few actors can truly master. Jesse Green of The New York Times offered a confession -- “I didn’t expect to enjoy such an old-fashioned show” – and declared the production delightful, illuminating and uplifting. Sara Holdren of Vulture said that at its best, the show was “pure entertainment of the most ancient and appealing kind.” The Daily News, The Wrap and Entertainment Weekly were less impressed.
American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street, roundabouttheatre.org. 2 hours 15 minutes. Opened on Jan. 11, 2018. Limited run.
LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS
Solo show / Closed on Feb. 25, 2018
John Leguizamo, the Emmy, Drama Desk and Theater World Award winner and stand-up-comedy genius, brings his sold-out Off Broadway show uptown. The subject, treated with Mr. Leguizamo’s usual irreverence, is his people – from Montezuma to Menudo, from the Mayans to Ricky Ricardo. When the show played at the Public earlier this year, The Times called it “harshly funny, surprisingly poignant.”
Studio 54, 254 West 54th Street; latinhistorybroadway.com. 1 hour 35 minutes (no intermission). Opened on Nov. 15, 2017.
Drama / Closed on Feb. 4, 2018
The earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear plant meltdown were bad enough. And now an unexpected houseguest? In Lucy Kirkwood's play, which has come to New York straight from the Royal Court Theater in London, three physicists -- a married couple and another woman -- reunite at a seaside cottage, and one has a secret agenda. The New York Times made it a Critic's Pick, praising its direction. its success as an eco-thriller ("bristling with chills and suspense"), its larger meaning, and its "uncanny interweaving of banality and atrocity."
Samuel J. Friedman Theater, 261 West 47th Street; thechildrenbroadway.com. 1 hour 50 minutes (no intermission). Opened on Dec. 12.
Comedy / Closed on Jan. 21, 2018
This one was an advance hit. Steve Martin wrote it. Amy Schumer and Keegan-Michael Key, Laura Benanti and Jeremy Shamos are the stars. And the show’s P.R. firm announced on the first day of previews that it had already taken in more than $7.5 million in ticket sales. The setup: One California couple invites another California couple over for dinner, and things go crazy. Jesse Green seemed torn in his New York Times review of the Broadway opening. It's "definitely funny," he wrote, but "more of a laugh demonstration" than a laugh riot. "Unless you're Oscar Wilde, tiny wit bombs" -- Martin's genius, Green observes -- "do not make a satisfying play."
Booth Theater, 222 West 45th Street; meteoronbroadway.com. 1 hour 20 minutes (no intermission). Opened on Nov. 29, 2017.
Musical drama revival, inspired by an opera / Closed Jan. 24, 2018
The helicopter is here. The Engineer is played by an actual Asian this time. And Eva Noblezada was Tony-nominated for best actress in a musical for her role as a Saigon bar hostess who falls in love with an American serviceman. The show, usually described as the Vietnam War version of “Madame Butterfly,” won three Tonys the first time around (1991).
Broadway Theater, 1681 Broadway (at 53rd Street), saigonbroadway.com. 2 hours 40 minutes. Opened on March 23, 2017.
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Musical comedy based on a movie based on a book / Closed Jan. 14, 2018
You couldn’t ask for a more talented candy man than the Tony winner Christian Borle, who stars here as Willie Wonka, the chocolate mogul who sponsors a contest with golden tickets to invite loyal customers to his factory and possibly identify his successor. The plot (from Roald Dahl’s novel and the movie versions) is nicely sinister, as obnoxious children keep dying in goofily gruesome ways. Variety called it an “inflated spectacle,” but The Times thought it came together in Act II. And the puppets won the Drama Desk Award.
Lunt-Fontanne Theater, 205 West 46th Street, charlieonbroadway.com. 2 hours 30 minutes. Opened on April 23, 2017.
SHOWS THAT CLOSED IN 2017
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Musical revue / Closed Dec. 30, 2017
What happens to the winners from shows like “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice”? Here, a fairly unlikable selection of them land on Broadway in an evening of Yuletide songs, from “O Come All Ye Faithful” to “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” And unfortunately a lot of songs none of us have ever heard before. What? The rights to "Silent Night" weren't available?
August Wilson Theater, 245 West 52nd Street; holidaysonbroadway.com. 1 hour 30 minutes (no intermission).
Musical revival based on a book of poems / Closed Dec. 30, 2017
Back in the early 1980s, Andrew Lloyd Webber turned a T.S. Eliot poem into a musical. Human beings dressed up as cats, hung around in a junkyard and sang about their feline lives, including one killer song, “Memories” (“I was beautiful then”) and invented the megamusical. Frank Rich of The New York Times praised the original because of the complete fantasy world it created. The show won a boatload of Tonys, including best musical, and ran on Broadway for 18 years. This revival pretty much delivers, for better or worse, what the first one did.
Neil Simon Theater, 250 West 52nd Street, ticketmaster.com. 2 hours 20 minutes. Opened on Aug. 2, 2016.
Drama revival / Closed on Dec. 17, 2017
“It was dark, and she was very modest.” That’s the French diplomat’s explanation after he learns that his beautiful Japanese lover of 20 years was actually a man. Oh, and a spy. The original 1988 production, which starred John Lithgow and B.D. Wong, was hailed by Frank Rich, then the chief theater critic of The New York Times, as “a brilliant play of ideas” and won almost every theater prize around. This time, Clive Owen and Jin-Ha play the couple, and The Times is less enthusiastic. “The show fails to generate any visual enchantment,” Ben Brantley wrote, adding that the play had “morphed into a more prosaic creature.”
Cort Theater, 138 West 48th Street; mbutterflybroadway.com. 2 hours 20 minutes. Opened on Oct. 26, 2017.