mostly plays, mostly new york city & only $50 (or under)
LAST UPDATED: 9/20/2022
PLEASE CHECK BACK REGULARLY!
Friends always ask me how I see so many plays that they’ve never even heard of. The long answer is, “I get recommendations, pay attention to playwrights whose work I’ve liked in the past and most crucially, I also subscribe to (and skim) many, many individual theater’s newsletters.” The short answer is, “It’s weirdly hard and annoying!” And EXPENSIVE.1
This is a free newsletter, but it’s also an ever-updating landing page and a list of what I’m seeing, as well as what I’d like to see in-theater. But I am not a theater critic! Just a fan. And I’ll annotate when it feels right: a star* means I have tickets and a double star** means I saw something and really enjoyed it. If something disappears from this list, wellllllll, it wasn’t that good. This letter will appear in your inbox when there’s enough worthy of an update. Otherwise, please check back! Now get out there and buy some theater tickets.
currently running (and about to run)
Marie It’s Time by Julia Jarcho (Sept 7 - Oct 1, HERE)*
The Memory Exam by Oberon Theatre Ensemble (Sept 3 - 25, 59E59)
Fraternity, A Fantastic Tale by Caroline Guiela Nguyen (Sept 16 - 17, Skirball)
“…an ensemble cast of professional and amateur actors, ages 16 to 79, take audiences on a fantastic voyage. In a freak incident, part of the human race disappears from the planet. Those who remain try to heal and make sense of the unexpected loss; now navigating their world without partners, parents and friends.”
KATE by Kate Berlant (August 20 - October 8, Connolly Theater)*
Mud / Drowning by María Irene Fornés (Sept 21 - Oct 9, Mabou Mines)
Mabou Mines is an iconic theater group who once did a show called “Mabou Mines Dollhouse” in 2003 which was Ibsen’s A Doll’s House where the men were played by actors under 5 feet tall and the women were played by actresses who were nearly 6 feet.
It’s true, there are TWO off-off-Broadway Titanic parodies? (tributes?) coming to the stage in the coming months. They are very different — and yet — you may enjoy both. (Although only one is a Critic’s Pick.) (The other got a pretty good review, too.)
AMERICAN (TELE)VISIONS by Victor I. Cazares (Sept 9 — Oct 16, NYTW)
Radio Macbeth by SITI Company (October 20 - 22, Skirball)*
Dodi & Diana by Kareem Fahmy (Oct 1st - OCT 5 – NOV 209, HERE)
Open Mic Night by Peter Mills and Julia Mounsey (Oct 13 - 30, JACK)*
I! Love! These! Two! Crazy! Playwrights!
peerless by Jiehae Park (Sept 24 - Nov 6, 59e59)
A take on Macbeth, but set in the world of “elite” college admissions…
Wise Children’s Wuthering Heights by Emma Rice (Oct 14 - Nov 6, St Ann’s Warehouse)
Montag by Kate Tarker (Oct 12 - Nov 13, Soho Rep)*
“Montag is a domestic thriller, a sleep deprivation comedy, and a rebellion celebration under threat of annihilation.”
The Unbelieving by Marin Gazzaniga (Oct 20 - Nov 19, The Civillians @ 59E59)
“The Unbelieving takes a penetrating look into the lives of practicing clergy members—Catholics, Episcopalians, Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Jews, Mormons, Muslims—who have stopped believing in God … using their actual words, obtained during a groundbreaking study by philosopher Daniel C. Dennett and qualitative researcher Linda LaScola.”
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen (Oct 5 – Nov 20, Bedlam @ Irondale)
My Broken Language by Quiara Alegría Hudes (Oct 18 - Nov 27, Signature Theatre)
The Patient Gloria By Gina Moxley (Nov 16 - Dec 4, St Ann’s Warehouse)
Sandra by David Cale (Nov 3 - Dec 11, Vineyard Theater)*
Straight Line Crazy by David Hare (Oct 18 – Dec 18, The Shed)
“Ralph Fiennes is Robert Moses…” Well, OK!
Philadelphia Fringe Festival (Sept 2 - Oct 8, Various Locations)*
Yes, this is in Philadelphia! But this is a line-up that is getting me to considering a day trip to go see something from this super promising line-up, including (but not limited to): Geoffrey Sobelle’s FOOD**, Annie Dorsen’s Spokaoke, Wolfsmouth Players Company’s Effigy & Josephine Decker + Pig Iron Theatre Company’s The Path of Pins or the Path of Needles.
Ensemble Studio Theater’s 38th Annual One-Act Plays (Oct 16 - Nov 13, EST)
Radical Acts Festival @ JACK (November 10 - 19)
“Each night features a different artist and their interpretation of radical – radical joy, radical mayhem, radical experiments in design, time, language, and radical confrontations with today’s pressing issues.”
theater over $50 & quite possibly worth it
Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski by Clark Young and Derek Goldman (Sept 24 - Oct 1, TFNA)
I’m Revoting by Gracie Gardener (Sept 8 - Oct 16, The Atlantic Theater)*
Bottom Of The Ocean by Houseworld Immersive (ongoing, “Somewhere in Bushwick”)
From a review in the Times: “I can’t really tell you what “Bottom of the Ocean” — which you can experience singly, doubly or in a group of five — is about… More abstract than immersive hits like “Sleep No More” or “Then She Fell,” “Bottom of the Ocean” dilates, broadly, on themes of change, death and rebirth.”
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry (September 27 - November 6, The Public Theater)*
Catch as Catch Can by Mia Chung (Oct 13 – Nov 20, Playwrights Horizons)
You Will Get Sick by Noah Diaz (Oct 14 - Dec 11, Roundabout Theatre)
Downstate by Bruce Norris (Oct 28 - Dec 11, Playwrights Horizons)*
Evanston Salt Costs Climbing by Will Arbery (Oct 25 - Dec 18, The Pershing Square Signature Center)*
Yet another play by Will Arbery this season — his last was the lauded Corsicana at Playwrights Horizons. (And the one before was the controversial(???) Heroes of the Fourth Turning.)
Becky Nurse of Salem by Sarah Ruhl (Oct 27 - Dec 31, Newhouse Theater @ Lincoln Center Theater)
Sarah Ruhl is a storied playwright (The Clean House, etc.) and Deidre O’Connell is theater’s It Girl right now after starring in the Lucas Hnath’s Dana H., and then Will Arbery’s Corsicana. This show premiered at Berkley Rep earlier this year.
on the horizon
BAM’s Next Wave Festival (Starting in October, BAM)**
Some of the best shows I’ve ever seen have been courtesy of the BAM Next Wave Festival. But they often don’t run very long, so you gotta just go for it. Right now I have tickets to: A Little Life, 300 el x 50 el x 30 el & Trojan Woman.*
A Simulacrum by Lucas Hnath (May 25 - June 25, 2023, The Atlantic Theatre)
“Lucas is a playwright. Steve is a magician. Lucas asked Steve to show him some magic tricks. Steve did. And this is what happened.” (Lucas previously wrote the Vineyard Theatre-to-Broadway hit, Dana H.)
Quite a few theater companies have “Under 35” OR student discounts. I won’t be noting them here, but you should check for them when you’re buying tickets and you happen to be blessed with the gift of youth. (Or you have an active student ID.) Other ways to get cheaper tickets: sign up for the theater’s newsletter (they’ll often send out codes for discounts) or check TodayTix. (And for $10 off your first TodayTix — yes, I’m really doing this — you can use the code: http://www.todaytix.com/who.)