14 Reasons to Go Off-Broadway This Fall

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Photo Source: Joan Marcus

If the 2015–16 Broadway season is bursting at the seams with exciting new talent, it’s nothing compared to what’s happening on Off-Broadway stages. Bundle up and check out some of this fall’s offerings from the likes of MCC Theater, Playwrights Horizons, the Public Theater, and Lincoln Center!

“Fondly, Collette Richland” (Opened Sept. 28), “Lazarus” (Previews begin Nov. 18) at New York Theatre Workshop
Kicking off NYTW’s season is a continuation of Elevator Repair Service’s foray into new work, a phantasmagorical collaboration with playwright Sibyl Kempson. Later, the theatrics continue with the always-busy director Ivo van Hove’s riff on Walter Tevis, featuring words and original music from Enda Walsh and David Bowie.

“Barbecue” (Opens Oct. 8), “Eclipsed” (Opens Oct. 14) at the Public Theater
Robert O’Hara’s latest comedy tackles family barbecues, interventions, and race—plus several theatrical twists too good to spoil. Next up is Danai Gurira’s (“The Walking Dead”) Liberian civil war drama, starring Lupita Nyong’o in her NYC stage debut. We get chills just thinking about it.

“Perfect Arrangement” (Opens Oct. 15) at the Duke on 42nd Street
Primary Stages brings Topher Payne’s new play to the stage, a Red Scare–era comedy featuring two gay couples that have married each other’s partners as a coverup. This one’s for gay rights activists and “I Love Lucy” fans alike.

“Kill Floor” (Opens Oct. 19) at the Claire Tow Theater, “Dada Woof Papa Hot” (Opens Nov. 9) at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater
Abe Koogler’s world premiere “Kill Floor” stars Marin Ireland as an estranged mother working at a slaughterhouse; downstairs, another new play, “Dada Woof Papa Hot” by Peter Parnell, features John Benjamin Hickey navigating the modern world of gay parenting.

“Ripcord” (Opens Oct. 20) at New York City Center Stage I, “Important Hats of the Twentieth Century” (Opens Nov. 23) at the Studio at Stage II
Manhattan Theatre Club kicks off 2015–16 with David Lindsay-Abaire’s world premiere comedy starring Holland Taylor and directed by David Hyde Pierce, followed by Nick Jones’ equally uproarious ode to millinery with Moritz von Stuelpnagel at the helm.

“Hir” (Opens Nov. 8) at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater, “Marjorie Prime” (Previews begin Nov. 20) at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater
Expect the unexpected from Taylor Mac, the mastermind performance artist behind “Hir,” starring Kristine Nielsen as a newly liberated housewife intent on demolishing the patriarchy. Later, Jordan Harrison’s new play asks an all-too-relevant question: Can technology replace human identity?

“Lost Girls” (Opens Nov. 9) at the Lucille Lortel Theatre
MCC Theater has extended Matthew Lopez’s Elvis-to-eleganza comedy “The Legend of Georgia McBride” until Oct. 11, but next up is a hard-hitting look at blue-collar life written by John Pollono and directed by Jo Bonney. If “Lost Girls” is anything like their previous collaboration, “Small Engine Repair,” it’s a can’t-miss.

“Dear Elizabeth” (Previews begin Oct. 26) at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre
Sarah Ruhl teams up with the Women’s Project Theater for a drama depicting the correspondence between 20th-century poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Kate Whoriskey directs a rotating cast of stars who bring to life the 400-plus letters between the two writers.

“Mother Courage and Her Children” (Opens Dec. 9) at Classic Stage Company
CSC’s reputation for updating old works is currently bolstered by its wide-reaching Greek Festival, but we can hardly wait for its take on Bertolt Brecht’s classic. Not only is it led by director Brian Kulick with original music from Duncan Sheik—it stars the inimitable Tonya Pinkins.

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Jack Smart
Jack Smart is the awards editor at Backstage, where he covers all things Emmy, SAG, Oscar, and Tony Awards. He also produces and hosts Backstage’s awards podcast “In the Envelope” and has interviewed some of the biggest stars of stage and screen.
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