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The Best Pieces of Theater On Stage Now

By: Jennifer Friedel

With so many performances around New York City at any given minute, it’s pretty hard to choose what to see, but we’ve narrowed down the shows you better not sleep on! From the heartbreaking to joyful, Playbill classics and the unconventional, make sure you snag a ticket (some are available via TKTS!) to the shows below.

The Best Pieces of Theater On Stage in September

Daryl Roth Theater | Closing September 14, 2019

If you run, you can catch Hannah Gadsby’s limited run show before she continues off on her international tour. The sophomore piece to her previous smash hit, Nanette, is another solo performance touching on autism (Gadsby was diagnosed as an adult), art history, patriarchy and her dog, for which the show is named. Gadsby’s unique style of setting up her stand-up, lighthearted self-deprecation, and perfectly comedically balanced quips, hot takes, and confrontations challenge, humor and inspire yet again.

Credit: Playbill
Sea Wall/A Life
Hudson Theater | Closing September 29, 2019

Jake Gyllenhaal. That’s it, that’s the reason. (But if one of you needs more prodding, the acclaimed two-man play is a stirring portrait of a family on vacation in the south of France, touching on the bumpy journey of love and loss, and the beauty of life.)

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Stephen Sondheim Theater | Closing October 27, 2019

The 5-year stunner is coming to a close, so you’re running out of time to see it on Broadway. Beautiful tells the melodic story of Carole King’s life, from a 15-year-old singer to a teenaged chart topper, onto becoming one of the most successful female songwriters and performing artists of the 20th century. The Tony and Grammy winner will have you singing along (no, really, it’s hard to resist!) and hopefully feeling a bit inspired, or at the very least, in total awe. 

Credit: Joan Marcus
The Wrong Man
MCC Theater | Opening September 18; Closing October 27, 2019

Multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ross Golan, who has written hits for artists across the Billboard charts, brings together Hamilton alums including its award-winning director Thomas Kail and actor Joshua Henry for this highly anticipated new musical. The show takes place in Reno, and focuses on the winding life of a man who is at the wrong place at the wrong time, and gets framed for a murder. We’re looking forward to this final creation – 10 years in development – which follows Golan’s hard hitting concept album, released by Interscope Records (produced by Ricky Reed [The Weeknd, Twenty One Pilots], and featuring Dr. Dre’s rhythm section), and a trippy animated film adaptation which premiered earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Credit: MCC Theater
Brook Atkinson Theatre | Closing January 5, 2020

Based on the 2007 movie, Waitress serves up the seriously funny, heartbreaking and hopeful tale of “Jenna,” a pie-maker extraordinaire and waitress stuck in rocky marriage in a small town who yearns for some change and finds it in her mixing bowl. Sara Bareilles’ award-winning musical keeps things fresh with a rotating starring cast. Go by September 15 to see YouTube stars Colleen Ballinger (better known as Miranda Sings) and Todrick Hall, then Jordin Sparks joins as “Jenna” from September 16 – October 27, 2019.

Credit: Waitress

See More Of Our Curated Dates This Week

Freestyle Love Supreme
Booth Theatre | Preview September 13; Opening October 2; Closing January 5, 2020

If you still haven’t won the Hamilton lottery, check out this freestyle hip-hop comedy show dreamed up by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail and Anthony Veneziale. Lin himself and a ton of the Hamilton original Broadway cast are going to be doing drop-ins. No two shows are the same as the crew takes suggestions from the crowd and starts spitting lyrics, backed by keyboards and human percussion. Just an FYI, you’ll be asked to put your phones, smart watches, etc. in a lockable pouch that will remain in your possession throughout the performance to keep you engaged – and off social media.

Credit: Freestyle Love Supreme
The Sound Inside
Studio 54 | Preview September 14; Opening October 17; Closing January 12, 2020

This New York Times Critic’s Pick, starring Mary-Louise Parker and directed by David Cromer, who won a Tony for directing The Band’s Visit, draws on the tension between a writing professor who prefers her solitude and independence, and her difficult oft mysterious student, of whom she’s forced to ask an important favor. This suspenseful play will have you on the edge of your seat, but it may not end the way you expect.

Credit: Carolyn Brown
Walter Kerr Theatre | Ongoing

Forget Romeo and Juliet (for real, please; you know they both needlessly die, right?), here are true love stories. Hadestown retells the myths of King Hades and his wife Persephone, and Orpheus and his fiancé Eurydice; Orpheus journeys to the underworld to rescue Eurydice (with some personal risks, of course). The show started as a folk musical in Vermont, then because of its popularity (including a cult following thanks to YouTube clips) hit the circuit winning crowds over around the world, continuing to evolve into the present-day Tony sweeper. Beyond the music, the stage design and direction for this mythological steampunk town is unique and intriguing, encircling its cast – and your imagination – in the depths of Hell.

Credit: Hadestown, Facebook
Come From Away
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre | Ongoing

An important and beautifully written and performed piece of theater, this award-winning musical relays the true story of the 38 planes full of 7,000 passengers re-routed to a small town in Newfoundland on 9/11. From fear and laughter to heartbreak and new love, Come From Away takes its audience on an emotional journey, leaving you with happy and sad tears streaked cheeks, and a heart full of optimism.

Credit: Come From Away, Facebook
Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish
Stage 42 | Ongoing

This may seem like something your grandparents would be more interested in, but the show, which due to its popularity keeps extending its dates and upgrading its address, has attracted a celebrity audience, including most recently RBG. Billed as “the language of love,” you don’t need to know, or even like Yiddish to be moved by this stripped-down version of the classic, directed by Tony Award-winner Joel Grey (plus there are English and Russian supertitles). The cast is also packed with young up-and-coming stars, including Rachel Zatcoff, who played “Christine Daae” in Phantom of the Opera, appeared in the New York City Opera’s Candide, and starred as “Maria” in the international tour of West Side Story.

Credit: Matthew Murphy
Honorable Mentions

For the non-traditional enthusiasts, check out Drunk Shakespeare (The Lounge at Roy Arias Stages), Who Killed Edgar Allen Poe? The Cooping Theory 1969 (RPM Underground, opening September 16), or Broadway Sings Unplugged. Drunk Shakespeare is pretty much as it sounds, take a few skilled Shakespearean actors, load them up with at least five shots of whiskey, and watch them go. At The Cooping Theory, a multi-room immersive ghost story come to life, you’re the one drinking – and part of the show, as a guest at a ‘60s cocktail party seance gone wrong. Broadway Sings Unplugged is an ongoing NYC concert series that reworks a pop singer’s hits, like Beyoncé or Ariana Grande, performed by stage stars past and present. The next showcase focuses on Sara Bareilles, with performances through November.

See Our Curated Date Ideas This Week