Check out these Off-Broadway shows this spring
Spring is known for flowers, Easter bunnies, and so many shows in New York City. After two years of no performances, this spring is overflowing with moving dramas, daring musicals, side-splitting comedies, and a play about waiting at the stage door of If/Then.
As the weather is warming up, it’s a great time to take yourself out to discover a new show, and even a neighborhood you might not usually check out when theatregoing. Let us at TodayTix help you decide which spring premiere is the perfect show for you. Below are 10 Off-Broadway new plays and musicals you should see this spring.
Alex Edelman: Just For Us
The phrase “one-person show” can inspire groans among many people. But this one’s really a stand-up comedy show (which might make it sound more fun), and the premise is legitimately wild: Comedian Alex Edelman grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family. After experiencing anti-Semitic attacks online, he decides to infiltrate a neo-Nazi meeting.
Hilarity and surprising insight about white identity ensues. Just For Us ran to acclaim at the Cherry Lane Theatre earlier this year, and it’s back for an encore run at SoHo Playhouse. If politics has got you down, let Edelman make you laugh. Just For Us runs through April 30, and the show will play yet another engagement at the Greenwich House Theater from June 13 to July 23.
Two sisters, one language barrier, one internet barrier. Legal drama meets family drama in Golden Shield, Anchuli Felicia King’s play named for the Chinese government’s internet firewall. When the lawyer Julie Chen takes on a lawsuit against an American tech company accused of colluding with the Chinese government, she hires her sister Eva to be her translator for the Chinese witnesses. But before they can do their jobs, much less win the case, they have to put aside their past differences and learn to figuratively speak the same language first.
Alison Leiby: Oh God, A Show About Abortion
The New York Times named Alison Leiby’s show the best political comedy of 2021 after she performed Oh God, A Show About Abortion across New York City. Now, the show will settle into the Cherry Lane Theatre for a run from April 25 to June 4, presented by fellow comedienne Ilana Glazer. Leiby recounts the mundane exploits of one summer that “started with a bang” and ended with an abortion — from picking the right outfit to getting two root canals to facing the fertility aisle at CVS — and the perspective she gained from them.
Have you ever wondered what Shakespeare’s Hamlet would be like if it was set at a Southern cookout? If so, Fat Ham is the show for you. At such a cookout — which also doubles as his mother and uncle’s wedding reception — Juicy plots to avenge his father’s murder like Hamlet before him. Where he differs from the Bard’s character, though, is that Juicy is a Black, queer college kid in search of liberation. As much as he wants revenge on his uncle, he wants to know if there’s another way besides violence. Classical tragedy meets modern comedy in Fat Ham, at The Public Theater from May 12 to June 12.
Little Girl Blue
Nina Simone is definitely one of those singers who’s overdue for a musical about her life. This new show, with original songs written by Laiona Michelle who also stars as Simone, follows the format of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Little Girl Blue is not a linear examination of Simone’s life; instead, it’s structured like a concert, where Simone talks directly to the audience. And with Michelle playing piano and performing Simone’s signature songs (as well as some of her own original compositions), Little Girl Blue promises to be an unforgettable evening. Little Girl Blue runs at New World Stages through May 22.
Exception to the Rule
Dave Harris has had a very good season. His Off-Broadway debut play Tambo & Bones shocked audiences when it premiered earlier this year at Playwrights Horizons. His new play, Exception to the Rule has an intriguing premise: Six Black students are stuck in detention in an underfunded high school. Can they make it out?
Considering these students live in poverty and are undervalued by society, what does making it out even mean? Harris’s new play promises to be both smart and provocative. MaYaa Boateng, who stole the show in the sensational Pulitzer Prize winner Fairview, stars. Exception to the Rule runs at Roundabout Theatre Company from April 28 to June 26.
Company XIV is known for putting on burlesque-inspired dance shows. Its newest show is inspired by the seven deadly sins, and the setting is the Garden of Eden. It’s the theatre version of church, so expect sultry singing, acrobatic dancing, and eye-popping costumes. Yes, trouble awaits, but considering it’s Company XIV, it’ll be the best kind of trouble. Seven Sins runs April 1 to August 28.
…what the end will be
Mansa Ra, formerly known as Jiréh Breon Holder, has also had a busy season. His play In the Southern Breeze had an acclaimed Off Broadway run this past fall, and it was based on his own suicide note. Ra’s new play …what the end will be is about three generations of Black queer men living under the same roof.
Ra is a beautiful, lyrical writer, and in a time when anti-gay legislation is spreading around the U.S., …what the end will be is a necessary work. The play runs at Roundabout Theatre Company from May 12 to July 10.
This new musical is based on the true story of Tony Valdovinos, an undocumented American who came to the U.S. when he was two years old. In high school, Valdovinos discovered he’s undocumented and since then, has become a community organizer — advocating for protections for DREAMers and making sure communities of color are registered to vote.
He even served on the Phoenix, Arizona city council. Valdovinos is a local hero in Phoenix, where the musical premiered. And the Arizona nonprofit Chicanos Por La Causa invested $1.7 million to bring ¡Americano! to NYC, showing this is a musical that’s close to its community. ¡Americano! runs at New World Stages March 31 to June 19.
To My Girls
JC Lee’s new play follows a group of gay men who take a trip to Palm Springs after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maulik Pancholy (of 30 Rock) and Britton Smith (Be More Chill) are among those starring in the play, where lifelong friends discover that they don’t quite know each other after this major worldwide event. To My Girls promises to be both funny, touching, and relatable — after all, are any of us the same after 2020? To My Girls runs at Second Stage Theater through April 24.
Which Way to the Stage
Raise your hand if you love Idina Menzel, specifically Idina Menzel in If/Then. If you do, you may not love If/Then as much as actor-turned-playwright Ana Nogueira. She wrote an entire play about it: Which Way to the Stage, which is about two friends stagedooring at If/Then. It’s so theater-nerdy that I can’t help but be excited. If you ask me “which way to the stage” now, I’ll point towards MCC Theater and to Nogueira’s play (especially if you’re Idina Menzel). Which Way to the Stage runs from April 14 to May 22.
At the Wedding
I’ve been a fan of Bryna Turner’s work since her play Bull in a China Shop was at Lincoln Center Theater, which was about real-life suffragists (and lesbian couple) Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks. Her newest play At the Wedding is not a period drama, but it does center on a queer relationship.
In the play, one woman shows up unannounced to her ex-girlfriend’s wedding. It’s a popular rom-com setup, but Turner’s play offers a fresh, funny take on the premise. At the Wedding runs at Lincoln Center Theater through April 24.
A new Dominique Morisseau play is always a must-see event. Morisseau’s Skeleton Crew was on Broadway earlier this year, and she wrote the book for the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud. Her new play Confederates is going to be a conversation starter: It is about racism and sexism in academia, and follows two Black women living over a hundred years apart.
Confederates promises to be an exploration of how America’s racist past influences its present, and considering it’s written by Morisseau, expect moments that will make you want to stand up and clap. Confederates runs at Signature Theatre through April 17.