What to “Fall” for on Stage

The Season’s Lineup of New Shows

The Band’s Visit (Credit: Ahron R. Foster)

Autumn in New York City is an extraordinary thing. The golden brilliance of the changing leaves and romance of crisp winds blowing through the streets of the city are the subject of countless books, movies, and songs. As the temperatures begin to cool, the city comes alive in a blaze of exciting cultural events. Nowhere is this more apparent than the bustling theatre district where the stages of Broadway welcome a new fall season. For the Great White Way, autumn marks an exciting time filled with daring new productions, reimaginings of beloved classics, and countless stage debuts for some of Hollywood’s brightest stars. This October we take an in-depth look at everything Broadway has to o er as the city settles into a glorious new season.

 

The Parisian Woman

Film legend and Academy Award nominee Uma Thurman (Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction) makes her Broadway debut in the electric and politically charged new play The Parisian Woman. Written by House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, the play is a new interpretation of Henry Becque’s controversial 1885 play Le Parisienne.

Thurman stars as Chloe, a charming and witty Washington, D.C. socialite who is faced with her past, her marriage, and the unavoidable realities of politics in the face of an uncertain future. In the fallout of the 2016 election and with an intoxicating blend of dark humor and drama, Chloe reckons with a pivotal moment on a personal and national scale in a time where the truth isn’t clear and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf) directs this timely drama, which also features seasoned film star Josh Lucas (Sweet Home Alabama, Undertow) and Broadway favorite Blair Brown (Copenhagen, Cabaret). The Parisian Woman deftly creates a world where friends of influence are the only kind worth having and nothing is what it seems. (Hudson Theatre, 139- 141 W. 44th St.)

 

Time and the Conways
Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern makes a celebrated return to Broadway in a revival of J.B. Priestley’s classic time-traveling play Time and the Conways. The play opens in 1919 at the end of the First World Waras Mrs. Conway (McGovern) celebrates her daughter’s 21st birthday in a lavish celebration that captures the optimism and decadence of the age where anything seems possible. Twenty years into the future, however, their lives have taken unimaginable courses forever altering the family’s destiny.

Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Emmy nominee Elizabeth McGovern brings emotional nuance and poise to the role of Mrs. Conway and is joined by Pitch Perfect star Anna Camp and Tony Winner Gabriel Ebert and a powerhouse ensemble of seasoned Broadway actors in this British classic. Time and the Conways is a universal examination of time, choice, chance, and the unexpected events that shape our lives. Recent Tony Award-winning director Rachel Taichman (Indecent) is at the helm in this highly anticipated revival of Priestley’s masterwork. (American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St.)

 

M. Butterfly
Visionary theatrical and film director Julie Taymor returns to Broadway with a revival of David Henry Hwang’s Tony award-winning play M. Butterfly starring Clive Owen. In this first revival of the play since it premiered in 1988, Owen plays a French diplomat who falls into an illicit affair with a Chinese opera singer whose true identity lies deep below the surface.

With her singular style and imagination, Taymor brings to life this captivating tale, which was inspired by a true-life scandal that rocked the world. Clive Owen, a film star who is no stranger to the stage, last appeared on Broadway in Old Times and is joined by Jin Ha, who plays the enigmatic Song Liling. Featuring exhilarating stagecraft, dazzling choreography, and sumptuous scenic elements, Taymor and her team tell this masterpiece with breathtaking artistry, making this one of the most highly anticipated new productions of the fall season. (Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St.)

 

Junk
Following the Pulitzer Prize winning success of the powerfully charged drama Disgraced, playwright Ayad Akhtar brings his newest work Junk to the Vivian Beaumont Theater at the Lincoln Center this fall. Junk immerses audiences in the dizzying high-stakes financial world of the 1980s as it shows how money became the greatest American value.

Theatre veteran Steven Pasquale (The Bridges of Madison County, TV’s Rescue Me) leads the ensemble as Robert Merkin, an insatiable financier bent on taking over an iconic American manufacturing firm. As he bends the rules to suit his own needs he sets in motion a civil war in the world of finance as he pits competitors and allies and individuals and companies against one another. Heralded as “America’s Alchemist,” the zealous Merkin reshapes the way the country thinks about debts and assets. Tony Award- winning director Doug Hughes (Doubt) is at the helm directing the large ensemble in this period piece which proves just as relevant today as in the era in which it is set. (Vivian Beaumont Theater at the Lincoln Center, 150 W. 65th St.)

 

The Band’s Visit
Following a sold-out and critically acclaimed Off- Broadway run at the Atlantic Theater Company, the new musical The Band’s Visit transfers to Broadway this fall. The Band’s Visit follows the story of an Egyptian Police Band that travels to Israel to play a concert. After a mix-up at the border, the band is mistakenly sent to a remote desert village, where they become stranded for the night. With no sign of shelter the band is taken in by the local villagers, and under the magic of the dazzling desert night sky their lives become intertwined in the most unexpected of ways.

Tony Shalhoub leads the ensemble of this touching new musical, which examines the power of music and laughter to highlight the universal human experience. The Band’s Visit features an original score by the Tony-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning composer David Yazbek (The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and a book by award-winning playwright Itamar Moses (The Fortress of Solitude), inspired by the film of the same name. Winning Obie, Outer Critic’s Circle, and Lucille Lortel Awards for Best Musical, The Band’s Visit is one of the most anticipated new productions of the fall season on Broadway. (Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St.)

 

Once on This Island

The beloved musical Once on This Island dances its way back onto Broadway this fall in a heartfelt new production at the Circle in the Square Theatre. From Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, the award-winning team behind Ragtime and Anastasia, Once on This Island is a story bursting with hope which celebrates the power of community, creating art, and unconditional love. The musical is the story of two star-crossed lovers who find each other on a beautiful Caribbean island inhabited by magical gods and extraordinary figures.

When the young peasant girl Ti Moune falls in love with a young aristocrat from the other side of the Island and their disparate cultures threaten to keep them apart, the island gods work together to reunite the lovers. Director Michael Arden (Spring Awakening revival) creates a hopeful world where the ravages of a tropical storm lead to the healing power of song, dance and love. Newcomer Hailey Kilgore plays Ti Moune and is joined by Broadway legend Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Allegiance) and Glee alum Alex Newell. This remarkable and moving musical is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit in the face of life’s storms and a reminder of why we tell stories. (Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 W. 50th St.)

 

Meteor Shower
Hollywood comedic leading lady Amy Schumer makes her Broadway debut in Tony Award-winning playwright and comedic legend Steve Martin’s newest play Meteor Shower. Joining Schumer in this wildly entertaining comedy is Tony winner Laura Benanti, lm and TV star Keegan-Michael Key and stage veteran Alan Tudyk.

Meteor Shower follows one California couple’s misadventures when their dinner party with another couple spirals out of control. What starts out as a civilized way to avoid the heat quickly becomes something much more volatile when their guests make it clear they aren’t interested in a relaxed evening of small talk. The evening’s derailment is only bested by the meteor shower blazing through the night sky as the dinner party unfolds. Tony winner Jerry Zaks directs this cosmic ride from the mind of one of America’s true comedic geniuses. Martin’s knack for finding the absurd comedy in the most pedestrian of situations paired with the ensemble’s comedic chops make this a theatrical event not to miss. (Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St.)

 

SpongeBob SquarePants

One of the world’s most beloved cartoon characters finds himself coming to life on Broadway this fall in an exuberant new musical featuring an entirely original score from some of music’s biggest names. After a colorful out- of-town tryout in Chicago, SpongeBob SquarePants arrives on the Great White Way with the rest of the crew from Bikini Bottom. Acclaimed theatre visionary Tina Landau re-imagines the world of SpongeBob with imaginative theatricality and pizzazz.

This inventive new production features a score made up of original songs by some of the recording industry’s biggest stars including Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Lady Antebellum, and many others. Tony award-winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli (Newsies) adds his personal style to the fun as well. The new musical sees the characters of Nickelodeon’s cherished series joining together to fight for Bikini Bottom when their undersea world is threatened with annihilation. As their destinies hang in the balance an unexpected hero takes center stage and saves the day. SpongeBob SquarePants represents a joyous new energy on Broadway and is a perfect night out at the theatre that the whole family can enjoy. (Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway)