10 Shows I’m Excited to See This Fall … and WHY! by Luisa Tanno, Theatre Advisor


Art is subjective.  I love that about it, don’t you?  The thing that draws us to a piece of music, a painting, a book, or a play can be hard to quantify.  But as we move through life and develop our tastes we begin to discover threads or through lines that guide us as we seek out art.  Using those threads, here is a list of shows I’m really looking forward to this fall … and WHY! 


Because … Sondheim!

Sondheim revolutionized musical theatre by putting storytelling at the forefront of composition.  His work can be complicated and dissonant, but then again so can people, so his songs reflect the characters.   When I was in Musical Theatre school we were not allowed to sing any Sondheim in our first year.  This suggests that a certain level of maturity and experience is required to perform his work.  We all ignored this rule because we loved him, but in hindsight the reasoning was sound. His music is wonderfully sophisticated.


Since his passing in 2021 there have been three magnificent revivals of his beloved shows (Company, Into the Woods, and currently Sweeney Todd).  We get another this fall in Merrily We Roll Along.  Historically, Merrily is Sondheim’s underachieving musical (it closed after 16 performances in it’s initial Broadway run in 1981).  Through the years, countless revivals have tried to make it work because the music is heavenly and the story of a trio of friends throughout the decades appealing. By many accounts this current production (which premiered to great delight at New York Theatre Workshop this spring) got it right, and with Broadway superstars Jonathan Groff, Lindsay Mendez and Daniel Radcliffe it is a must-see for me!  Previews begin September 19th at the Hudson Theater

Here we are

Here We Are is the musical that Sondheim had been working on for years prior to his death.  It is debuting off-Broadway with a cast that almost too good to be believed.  Seriously, it even has Bobby Cannavale (a perpetual personal favorite, and not usually for musicals!).  Honestly, I don’t know much about it, but I will be there for certain!  To learn more, here is a great articleStarts September 28th at The Shed 


Because … Laughter!

I think comedy is the most difficult of all the art forms.  There is one specific desired reaction (laughter) and when it succeeds it is glorious and when it fails it’s painful.  There are fewer things better in life than being in a theatre filled with laughter, so I am going into these with an open heart, and my laugh at the ready.


Gutenberg! The Musical! reunites Book of Mormon stars Andrew Rannells and Josh Gadd.  Even though I am one of a handful of people on the planet who didn’t like The Book Of Mormon, I do love these actors.  It tells the story of two friends trying to create a musical about the inventor of the printing press.  Musicals about musicals are aplenty, but I’ve loved a few of them in my day, and am hopeful this will make me laugh the way Something Rotten and The Drowsy Chaperone did.  Previews begin September 15th at the James Earl Jones Theatre

I need that

I Need That by Theresa Rebeck stars Danny DeVito as a man with hording tendencies who is being forced to clean up his property or get evicted.  Rebeck is a prolific playwright and her comedy is not so much laugh out loud, as it is grounded in human interaction.  Danny DeVito is a wonderful comedic actor and this play also stars his daughter Lucy. Previews start October 13th at Roundabout at American Airlines Theatre


Because … Playwrights!

My fellow book lovers, you know that feeling you get when your favorite author is coming out with a new book? That combination of excitement and curiosity and hope?  Well that is how I feel about certain playwrights, including these three!

Paula Vogel

Paula Vogel has a brand new play coming to Broadway! It is starring Jessica Lang, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Jim Parsons! Vogel won the Pulitzer Prize for How I Learned to Drive and is a mentor to many contemporary playwrights.  Mother is  “about the hold our family has over us and the surprises we find when we unpack the past.” Coming April 2024 to Second Stage (ok, so not the fall – my mistake! But let’s put it on our lists, as it is sure to be a hot ticket!)


For more family unpacking, we have Appropriate by the ever-dynamic Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.   His recent play The Comeuppance was a critical darling and I flipped for its realism and momentousness.  (I worked this show at Signature Theatre and many notable playwrights came to see it – which was thrilling and goes to show that he is a playwright’s playwright). Appropriate tells the story of a family discovering its own dark history, and stars Sarah Paulson.  Previews start November 23rd at the Helen Hayes Theatre

Annie Baker

I went to see Infinite Life, because I’ve been intrigued by its writer Annie Baker.  Her work is known for its pauses and sparseness.  I read her Circle Mirror Transformation and loved its pacing so I was eager to see this.  Infinite Life is set in a healing retreat and brings together six people with different experiences of different illnesses.  I found it quiet and human (and often funny!), and it was my cup of tea.  If you like to lean in and listen, it might be your cup of tea too. Through October 8th at Atlantic Theatre Company

Because … Subject Matter!

I believe that art can make a difference.  By showing us ourselves, and our history we can see a deeper truth. By showing us a different perspective we can expand our world view. This can be done through drama, of course, but it can also be extremely effective through humor and music.


Purlie Victorious ‘s subtitle, A Non-Confederate Romp through the Cotton Patch, gives us a clue to its tone.   Actor, writer, and activist Ossie Davis wrote this satirical comedy in 1961.  This first Broadway revival stars Leslie Odom Jr. in the title role of a preacher trying to reclaim his church in a small Georgia town in the 1950s.  The entire cast is top-notch including Kara Young, Billy Eugene Jones, and Jay O. Sanders.  It is directed by the illustrious Kenny LeonFYI the musical Purlie is based on this play.   In previews now at the Music Box Theatre


Harmony, with original music by Barry Manilow and written by Bruce Sussman, tells the amazing story of the real life singing group The Comedic Harmonists who were becoming a world sensation just as Hitler’s influence was on the rise.  I saw it when it ran off-Broadway and it is chilling.  And also beautiful: the score, the relationships and the way it is told through the recollections of a former member (played by Chip Zien).  I think you’ll want to see this one!  Previews begin October 18th at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre

Swing State

From what I can gather, Swing State by Rebecca Gilman explores the divisiveness and isolation of present day America, and does so empathetically.  It is set in rural Wisconsin in 2021.  I am very interested in looking at our differences through the lens of understanding, so I really want to see this.  It was also be my first time to the Minetta! Through October 21st at the Minetta Theatre

These shows are at the top of my list but I am certain I will be adding more. I am so enthusiastic for this season of theatre – what are you looking forward to seeing?  

As a bonus, I will share that some of my theatre-loving friends have recommended The Shark is Broken, Pay the Writer, A Beautiful Noise, and Titanique all currently running!!

Luisa and me


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