Do you have your tickets for “Leopoldstadt”? Tom Stoppard’s Olivier Award-winning latest features a huge cast, and follows a Viennese Jewish family from 1899 through two world wars. At the 92nd Street Y recently, Stoppard said his previous lack of curiosity about his Jewish heritage was a “lapse of character.” His 19th play to find its way to Broadway repairs that fault. (Longacre Theater, October 3.)
Looking ahead to more excitement in the coming theater season, “Ohio State Murders” finds Audra McDonald starring in a horror story about the destructiveness of racism in the United States. Playwright Adrienne Kennedy finally gets Broadway recognition for the 2007 official New York premiere of her play. (James Earl Jones Theater, December 11.)
If you’re a Gabriel Byrne fan, you won’t want to miss “Walking With Ghosts.” Byrne’s one-man commentary explores his Irish childhood, his stardom, and a career spanning stage and screen as actor, writer and director. (Booth, November 17.)
First seen off-Broadway, Martyna Majok’s Pulitzer Prize winner “Cost of Living” has been called insightful and moving, and a powerhouse examination of the caring and those being cared for. (Samuel J Friedman Theater, October 6.)
For those who crave a musical fix, “Almost Famous” is adapted from the 2000 Cameron Crowe film. Crowe is credited with the book, Tom Kitt with the music, and both share work on the lyrics. The setting is 1973, when Rolling Stone hired an aspiring music journalist to go on the road with an up-and-coming band. TV and film name Chris Wood heads the cast. (Bernard Jacobs Theater, November 10.)
“& Juliet” promises lots of camp in its reimagining of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Here the heroine opts out of suicide and goes all out for empowerment, with performers belting out the best from Max Martin’s pop hit catalog. (Stephen Sondheim Theater, November 20.)
Neil Diamond lovers will feast on “A Beautiful Noise,” a bio-musical about Diamond’s life and career. Will Swenson plays Diamond. Think of titles like “Song Sung Blue” or “Sweet Caroline” and the melodies pop to mind. (Broadhurst, December 8.)
Even the revivals sound interesting. Samuel L. Jackson heads a starry cast in “The Piano Lesson,” August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winner about a family warring over a family heirloom. (Ethel Barrymore Theater, October.)
“Topdog/Underdog,” Suzan-Lori Parks’ deeply theatrical comic drama, is a fable of brotherly love and family identity. (John Golden, October 27.) Roundabout Theatre Company is bringing back “1776” with casting that challenges race and gender. (American Airlines, October 6.)
“Death of a Salesman” takes Arthur Miller’s 1949 classic and, with Wendell Pierce as Willy Loman, views it through the prism of the Black experience. Some may miss an exploration of race which the casting puts front and center but the text does not explore. (Hudson, October 20.)
Off Broadway shows to watch for: Lincoln Center’s “Becky Nurse of Salem,” Sarah Ruhl’s dark comedy about a modern-day descendent of an accused witch. “The Far Country,” The Atlantic Theater Company’s commissioned play by Lloyd Suh. It’s about one family’s journey from rural China to California in the wake of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.
And there’s more: The Public Theater, 2nd Stage, the Vineyard, 59 East 59, Playwrights Horizons and the New York Theatre Workshop. Then there are the dozens of tiny organizations that put on often innovative productions at bargain prices. The Eden Theatre Company is presenting Diane Davis’ “Complicity,” about why sexual predators continue to flourish, and about women holding women accountable. Tickets are as low as $30.
Looking for something for kids? “Sesame Street: The Musical” features many of the beloved characters, from Elmo to Oscar the Grouch. Special guest stars are promised, and audiences hear the classic songs, with some new ones as well. (Acorn Theater, runs through November 27.)
Every production mentioned takes us only through the end of 2022 and hasn’t even considered Brooklyn, where Theatre for a New Audience and the venerable Brooklyn Academy of Music can be counted on for imaginative programming.
The Year Ahead
Looking at 2023, “New York, New York” is based on the 1977 film that featured John Kander - Fred Ebb songs, including the title tuner that’s become a standard. In addition to those, this world premiere boasts new music and lyrics by none other than Lin-Manuel Miranda. (April 2023.)
Two art world legends collide working on an exhibition in Manhattan Theatre Club’s “The Collaboration.” In performances hailed as bravura in London, in New York, Paul Bettany plays Andy Warhol and Jeremy Pope takes on the role of Jean-Michel Basquiat. (Samuel J Friedman Theater, March 26.)
Look for Josh Groban and Tony Award winning Annaleigh Ashford in Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” “Sweeney Todd” has been called a modern American opera. (Lunt-Fontanne, April 13.) The Lincoln Center big one in the spring is the Alan Jay Lerner - Frederick Loewe 1960 tuner, “Camelot.” Aaron Sorkin will provide the revised book, and Bartlett Sher will direct. (Vivian Beaumont, April 13.)
There’s so much lip-smacking promising live theater that’s coming our way in the 2022-2023 season, it’s not possible to include every show. The worst of COVID seems to be behind us, and even with variants lurking and the flu season coming up, some theaters have eliminated the mask mandates and booster IDs. At some performances, masks are required, at others they’re optional. Ticket buyers will have to check. Beyond that, the question hovers, asking whether there are enough theater-lovers who feel safe enough to fill all — or most — of those waiting seats.
But here’s to those who are excited by the abundant riches coming our way. Curtain up!