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New Shows Coming to Broadway This Fall That Are Worth a Trip

Get out your calendars, theater lovers

Signage and a crowd on Broadway outside of The August Wilson Theatre

Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Signage for the production of "Pass Over" on Broadway at The August Wilson Theatre on August 4, 2021 in New York City.

En español | The COVID-19 pandemic officially shut Broadway down on Mar. 12, 2020, and its 41 theaters went dark — but not anymore! On June 26, Springsteen on Broadway reopened, and on Aug. 4, Times Square came roaring back to life with the opening of Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s drama, Pass Over, ushering in a fall season that’s filled with unique new shows and returning hits. Here, your guide to all the new plays and musicals beginning performances (or, in some cases, returning after their original runs were cut short) between now and the end of the year. And remember, before you book a ticket: Broadway theaters are requiring proof of vaccinations.

On Stage Now

The Show: Pass Over

The Premise: The first play to begin performances on Broadway this season is Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu's audacious and timely drama about two Black men standing on a street corner and dreaming about the promised land. Theater lovers will recognize parallels to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, while viewers of faith might pick up references to the Bible's Exodus story. If you can't make it to New York this fall, you're in luck: Spike Lee, 64, filmed the show for Amazon Prime Video in 2018.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Nwandu's poetic dialogue touches on subjects like racism and police brutality in fresh and interesting ways that you might not have considered before.

The Details: August Wilson Theatre, playing now

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Performances Beginning in September

The Show: Lackawanna Blues

The Premise: Playwright Ruben Santiago-Hudson, 64, stars in the Manhattan Theatre Club revival of his 2001 one-man show about his childhood in 1950s Lackawanna, New York, just outside of Buffalo. You may be familiar with the 2005 HBO movie version of the play, starring S. Epatha Merkerson, 68, as his surrogate mother at a neighborhood boardinghouse; she won an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for the role.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Santiago-Hudson will be accompanied onstage by Blues Hall of Fame guitarist and Grammy nominee Junior Mack, 61.

The Details: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, from Sept. 14

The Show: Six

The Premise: If you can't get enough of British history and radio-friendly pop singles, you'll love this concert-style musical, which recasts the six wives of Henry VIII as contemporary pop divas. Catherine of Aragon, for instance, is inspired by Jennifer Lopez, 52, and Beyoncé, while Anne Boleyn draws on the likes of Avril Lavigne and Miley Cyrus.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: The whip-smart (and decidedly anachronistic) lyrics by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss reference everything from dating apps to the Protestant Reformation.

The Details: Brooks Atkinson Theatre, from Sept. 17

The Show: Chicken and Biscuits

The Premise: In this laugh-out-loud comedy, the Jenkins clan is coming together for the funeral of their patriarch, when a family secret shows up and disrupts the memorial. The show, which had its premiere in 2020 at the Queens Theatre and had to cut its run short due to the start of the pandemic, is the brainchild of playwright Douglas Lyons and director Zhailon Levingston, the youngest Black director in Broadway history at just 27 years old.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Musical powerhouse Norm Lewis, 58 — who played Porgy in Porgy and Bess and Javert in Les Misérables and was the first Black actor to don the Phantom of the Opera's mask and cape — is making his nonmusical Broadway debut.

The Details: Circle in the Square Theatre, from Sept. 23

The Show: Is This a Room

The Premise: This fall, two offbeat plays will transfer to Broadway from downtown's Vineyard Theatre (see Dana H. below) and share the stage in a rotating schedule. The first to begin performances is this thought-provoking docudrama about Reality Winner, a former NSA contractor who was arrested for leaking information to the media about Russian election interference. Playwright Tina Satter conceived of the show, but she didn't write a word of the script: Every piece of dialogue spoken on stage is taken directly from the 2017 FBI interrogation of Winner at her Georgia home.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: It's rare to be able to watch a political play that has no editorializing, but this show truly invites you to see events as they happened and draw your own conclusions.

The Details: Lyceum Theatre, from Sept. 24

The Show: The Lehman Trilogy

The Premise: This grand, centuries-spanning epic about the New York City banking world begins in 1844 with the arrival of German-Jewish immigrant Henry Lehman, who founded the Lehman Brothers firm, and continues through to the company's 2008 bankruptcy and the financial crisis that followed. Three actors — Simon Russell Beale, 60, Adam Godley, 57, and Adrian Lester, 52 — play three generations of Lehmans and all other minor characters, including wives, children and business partners.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Director Sam Mendes, 56, knows a thing or two about wrangling complicated historical tales: His films include 1917Revolutionary Road and Road to Perdition.

The Details: Nederlander Theatre, from Sept. 25

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Performances Beginning in October

The Show: Thoughts of a Colored Man

The Premise: Set over the course of 24 hours in Brooklyn, this daring new play by Keenan Scott II combines slam poetry, spoken word, humor, dance and music to shed a light on the diverse experiences of Black men in America. Through a series of vignettes, the show tackles such subjects as racism, gentrification and sexual identity.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: The ensemble includes three-time Emmy winner Keith David, 65, who you might recognize from his roles in PlatoonRequiem for a Dream and the OWN TV series Greenleaf.

The Details: John Golden Theatre, from Oct. 1

The Show: Dana H.

The Premise: The risk-taking playwright Lucas Hnath has had two shows on Broadway in the past five seasons: A Doll's House, Part 2 (2017) and Hillary and Clinton (2019). His third, which will be staged in repertory alongside Is This a Room, is undoubtedly his most experimental. The concept: Hnath's dramatic collaborator Steve Cosson interviewed Hnath's mother, Dana Higginbotham, a psychiatric ward chaplain who was kidnapped by an ex-convict, and then acclaimed actress Deirdre O'Connell, 68, dons a headset and lip-syncs to a recording of Dana's voice as she tells her own story.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: This incredibly intimate form of documentary theater will scratch an itch for fans of true-crime podcasts.

The Details: Lyceum Theatre, from Oct. 1

The Show: Caroline, or Change

The Premise: Set during the height of the Civil Rights movement in 1960s Louisiana, this soulful musical follows the story of Caroline, a Black woman who works as a maid for a Jewish family and keeps herself occupied by imagining objects — such as the radio, the washing machine and the bus — as talking and singing people. The show, which premiered off-Broadway in 2004, is a collaboration between Pulitzer Prize–winning Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner, 65, and Tony-winning Fun Home composer Jeanine Tesori, 59.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: British musical icon Sharon D. Clarke, 54, has been a part of this revival production since it premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2017, and she picked up her second of three Olivier Awards when it transferred to the West End in 2018.

The Details: Studio 54, from Oct. 8

The Show: Girl from the North Country

The Premise: Some jukebox musicals use an artist's songs to tell their own biography (see: Jersey BoysBeautiful), but others take a more abstract approach. This darkly beautiful new musical uses 20 Bob Dylan tunes to illustrate life in a Duluth, Minnesota, guesthouse during the Great Depression. Divorced from the Nobel Prize winner's distinctive voice, the songs — now performed by characters old and young, Black and white, poor and poorer — take on a new kind of poetry.

Why You Should Book A Ticket: Mare Winningham, 62, who you might know from roles in St. Elmo's Fire and Georgia, makes “Like A Rolling Stone” sound brand new.

The Details: Belasco Theatre, from Oct. 13

The Show: Mrs. Doubtfire

The Premise: Rob McClure earned a 2013 best actor Tony nomination for playing the Little Tramp in the musical Chaplin. This season, he steps into the role of another all-time-great funny man in the musical adaptation of the 1993 Robin Williams comedy about an out-of-work actor who disguises himself as a Scottish nanny to be close to his kids after losing custody.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: The musical is directed by Jerry Zaks, 74, who has won four Tonys for best direction out of a whopping eight nominations.

The Details: Stephen Sondheim Theatre, from Oct. 21

The Show: Trouble in Mind

The Premise: A Tony winner for The Color Purple, LaChanze, 59, leads the ensemble of this scathing 1955 backstage comedy about a Black actress rehearsing for a fictional anti-lynching play. Legendary writer Alice Childress was set to transfer her show to Broadway in 1957, but when producers demanded too many changes to the script, she pulled out of the production. It wasn't until two years later, with Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, that the first Black female playwright would have a show on Broadway.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Among the diverse crew working behind the scenes is costume designer Emilio Sosa, who you may recognize from his second-place finishes on Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars.

The Details: American Airlines Theatre, from Oct. 29

Performances Beginning in November

The Show: Diana

The Premise: Fans of The Crown should seek out this biographical musical about the Princess of Wales, starring Jeanna de Waal as the beloved but doomed royal. The production was written by playwright Joe DiPietro, 60, and Bon Jovi keyboardist/composer David Bryan, 59, who won a Tony Award for best musical for their first Broadway collaboration, Memphis.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Judy Kaye, 72, who originated the Broadway roles of Carlotta Giudicelli in The Phantom of the Opera and Rosie in Mamma Mia!, plays Queen Elizabeth.

The Details: Longacre Theatre, from Nov. 2

The Show: Clyde's

The Premise: This new play by Lynn Nottage, 56, is set at a truck stop sandwich shop where the kitchen is staffed by formerly incarcerated workers who are trying to make new lives for themselves. The cast includes two acclaimed television stars who got their start in theater: Ron Cephas Jones, 64, who won two Emmys playing William Hill (Randall's biological father) on This Is Us, and Uzo Aduba, who won three for her roles in Orange Is the New Black and Mrs. America.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Nottage is the only female playwright with two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, for 2009's Ruined and 2017's Sweat.

The Details: Hayes Theater, from Nov. 3

The Show: Flying Over Sunset

The Premise: This new musical from Lincoln Center Theater, set in the 1950s, dramatizes an imagined meeting between writer Aldous Huxley, politician Clare Boothe Luce and actor Cary Grant. What did they have in common? They all used LSD back when it was a legal method of psychological exploration, before it became a symbol of the ‘60s counterculture.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: If anyone can handle a complicated plot like this one, it's book writer James Lapine, 72, who collaborated with Stephen Sondheim, 91, on musicals like Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park With George.

The Details: Vivian Beaumont Theater, from Nov. 11

The Show: Company

The Premise: In this gender-swapped revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical comedy classic, Katrina Lenk, Tony winner for The Band's Visit, stars as the perpetually single Bobbie on her 35th birthday. British director Marianne Elliott, 54, who is known for her stripped-down and modern takes on plays like Angels in America, helms the revival.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Theater legend Patti LuPone, 72, costars as the acerbic Joanne, a role made famous by Elaine Stritch and known for the show-stopping solo, “The Ladies Who Lunch.”

The Details: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, from Nov. 15

Performances Beginning in December

The Show: MJ the Musical

The Premise: This Michael Jackson jukebox musical takes audiences behind the scenes as the King of Pop prepares for his 1992 “Dangerous World Tour” and features 25 of his hit singles. Critics are waiting with bated breath to see how (and if) playwright Lynn Nottage and director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon will handle the more controversial aspects of Jackson's biography.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Broadway newcomer Myles Frost will take on the role of MJ in what could prove to be a star-making turn.

The Details: Neil Simon Theatre, from Dec. 6

The Show: The Music Man

The Premise: Even a casual musical fan can probably sing along to at least four or five tunes from this 1957 Tony-winning blockbuster by playwright and composer Meredith Willson. Hugh Jackman, 52, steps into the role of con man Harold Hill, with Younger and Thoroughly Modern Millie star Sutton Foster playing “Marian the Librarian.” This should prove to be one of the hottest tickets of the season, with orchestra seats going for as high as $599 (before fees).

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Theater legends Jefferson Mays, 56, and Jayne Houdyshell, 67, are sure to steal scenes as Mayor and Mrs. Shinn.

The Details: Winter Garden Theatre, from Dec. 20

The Show: Skeleton Crew

The Premise: Playwright Dominique Morisseau won a 2018 MacArthur “genius grant” for her incisive dramas about communities dealing with economic and social change, including a trilogy set in her hometown called The Detroit Project. The final of those three shows follows a group of automotive workers grappling with the possibility of unemployment as their factory faces foreclosure during the 2008 financial crisis.

Why You Should Book a Ticket: Phylicia Rashad, 73, returns to Broadway for the first time since 2009, when she played matriarch Violet Weston in August: Osage County.

The Details: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, from Dec. 21

Nicholas DeRenzo is a contributing writer who covers entertainment and travel. Previously he was executive editor of United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Sunset and New York magazine.