Seeing a play on Broadway has an added level of specialness because, unlike musicals, they very rarely run for an extended period of time. To Kill a Mockingbird is a bit of an anomaly as it has enjoyed a long run (500+ performances and counting), likely fueled by leading man Jeff Daniels and a general love for the source material.
For some context, out of the 20 longest running Broadway shows of all time, only two of them are plays, and they ran back in the 1930s and 40s. All this to say, when a great play comes to town you have to jump on it!
Here are four current Broadway Plays that I am excited about! All of them are limited runs.
Alice Childress’s play was set to open on Broadway in 1957, but only on the condition that she change her script to downplay the racial issues of New York Theatre that her play exposed. She refused and never saw her work performed on Broadway in her lifetime. But now it is here, it is fantastic, and still ever so timely. Set within rehearsals for a new play that purportedly confronts racism, we see instead the realities of stereotyping, racism and inequity behind the curtain revealed. The exquisite LaChanze leads a stellar cast.
I am thrilled that Slave Play is back on Broadway for a limited run. Jeremy O. Harris has written a masterpiece. I find it impossible to convey how and why this play is so skillful and important. You will likely be provoked, but if you are willing to listen and consider where each character is coming from you may learn something about implicit bias, racism, relationships, trauma, and maybe even yourself. Warning: contains very explicit sexual content!
This play follows the Lehman brothers over decades as they pursue the American Dream. If that sounds dry, I can assure you that this inventive production will keep you interested! The set design alone will capture your imagination, and the work of the three actors, who play multiple characters, is absolutely captivating. I saw the recorded version of the National Theatre Production, but you can see it live on Broadway until January 2nd.
I will sign myself up for any play by Lynn Nottage (Sweat, Mlima’s Tale, Intimate Apparel) and this one is delectable! It is a story about making the perfect sandwich, a quest shared by the formerly incarcerated kitchen staff of a roadside diner, and derided by its diabolical owner (Uzo Aduba). It is a journey, it is a metaphor, it is funny, and you will enjoy thinking about it long after it is over!
UPDATE: Clyde’s will be live streaming it’s performances January 4th – 16th so you can watch it from anywhere! Tickets and information can be found HERE!
One of the allures of a Broadway play is that they often feature A-list actors from film and TV! I have been thrilled to see the likes of Bryan Cranston, Ethan Hawke, Bobby Canavale, Marcia Gay Harden, Mercedes Ruhl, and Edie Falco give amazing performances on Broadway.
For me, a playwright can also have celebrity allure! Here are three shows opening soon with star power all around:
By Neil Simon, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. Previews begin Feb 25 2022.
By Paula Vogel, starring original cast members Mary Louise Parker and David Morse. Opening Spring 2022.
By David Mamet, starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss. Starting March 2022.
Add the ones that appeal to your list, and stay tuned for my next post about Off-Broadway Theatre, which has far more opportunities to see plays than Broadway!!
About Luisa Tanno: Book Nation Theatre Advisor
Luisa is multitalented…a singer/songwriter, a yoga, meditation and dance instructor and choreographer, a massage therapist, a writer, blogger and a storyteller. A lifelong teacher and student, she recently graduated from The New School with a BFA in Musical Theatre! Follow her on Instagram @luisastanno to keep up with all things theatre.