After some 18 months of grim uncertainty, Broadway is – right now – essentially back, with many shows that were shut down by the pandemic now previewing or fully open. (You don’t have to be a Bad fan for footage from the first few minutes of its opening night to put you in the mist.)
Planning your own return to the theater? Below, find a list of the best plays and musicals to see right now.
American Utopia: Open now
American Utopia is based on David Byrne’s 2018 album and concert tour of the same name, the former Talking Heads singer’s first solo work in over a decade. Starring choreography by Annie-B Parson, it challenges the format of a traditional rock show, favoring a more layered storytelling performance instead. Among other things, it has a group of 12 people who move freely and sometimes chaotically on the stage. “It’s part rock concert, part theatrical performance and part intimate exploration of the career of a major artist,” said the show’s production consultant Alex Timbers. Vogue. Byrne added inspiration: “I thought, folks! People on stage! I felt like as human beings when we go to a show that’s what interests us, that it’s the people who really touch us.
Book your tickets here.
Caroline or Change: currently in preview, opening October 27
Written by Tony Kushner with composer Jeanine Tesori, the semi-autobiographical musical Caroline, or Change– centered on the relationship between a Jewish boy and his family’s dark maid in the Jim Crow South – was last featured on Broadway in 2004, when it earned Tony six nods (including for Best Musical) and a win (for Anika Noni Rose, who played Caroline’s flamboyant daughter, Emmie Thibodeaux). For this iteration, English actress Sharon D Clarke is Caroline, a woman with strong values and strict faith. (Clarke won an Olivier for the role last year.) “Tony Kushner said he wrote Caroline as an African-American maid who felt like a president,” director Michael Longhurst told Danny Leigh in a story for Vogue, “and Sharon has that quality.”
Book your tickets here.
Supreme Love Freestyle: Open now
Supreme Love Freestyle, the improvised freewheeling rap show directed by Thomas Kail (and featuring a cast that has variously included Utkarsh Ambudkar, Christopher Jackson, Daveed Diggs, James Monroe Iglehart and Lin-Manuel Miranda) caused such a stir during its released to the Booth Theater in late 2019 which he won a Special Tony Award at this year’s ceremony (along with the Broadway Advocacy Coalition and American Utopia) – and returned to Broadway for another limited engagement. “I’m not sure if there’s a show I’ve done that hurts the back of my head – in the best sense of the word – the way that Free style done, ”Kail said Vogue in 2019. “[The cast has] been in each other’s lives and in each other’s faces for a long time, and there’s just something about their energy that still generates some of the purest expressions of joy I’ve ever seen.