15 New Broadway Plays and Musicals Worth a Trip to NYC This Fall
From thrilling ‘Death of a Salesman’ and ‘The Piano Lesson’ revivals to a Neil Diamond musical, these are the shows you’ll want to book tickets to now
Last season, Broadway’s big return got off to a tentative (and somewhat bumpy) start, with stars often sidelined by COVID-19 diagnoses and ticket sales failing to match pre-pandemic levels. Looking ahead to the fall, the curtain will be coming down on some longtime favorites — including Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen — but in their places will be a slew of exciting openings for all stripes of theater lovers: new works by legendary playwrights (Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt), revivals featuring major Hollywood stars (Samuel L. Jackson in The Piano Lesson), jukebox musicals to sing along to (A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical), screen-to-stage adaptations (Some Like It Hot, Almost Famous) and buzzy off-Broadway hits that are getting their time to shine on the Great White Way (Kimberly Akimbo). Planning a culture-filled getaway to New York this fall? Here, 15 new shows to add to your lineup.
Performances beginning in September
The show: Cost of Living
The premise: Polish-born playwright Martyna Majok won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for this gripping play about people living with disabilities and their caretakers. It’s an often gritty, frequently funny drama about tough realities, populated with realistically complicated characters, without a hint of sentimentality. Reprising the roles they originated off-Broadway are Gregg Mozgala, who has cerebral palsy and plays a graduate student with the same condition, and Katy Sullivan, a bilateral above-knee amputee who is not only an actress but also a track and field star who set records in the 2012 Paralympics.
Why you should book a ticket: Majok is one of the most exciting young playwrights working in New York theater today — you won’t want to miss her first show on Broadway.
See it: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, from Sept. 13
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The show: Leopoldstadt
The premise: This sprawling (yet intimate) historical epic by Sir Tom Stoppard, 85, follows the lives of one prosperous Jewish family in Vienna from 1899 through the first half of the 20th century, as they discuss topics like Zionism, the impact of World War I, the rise of Bolshevism, assimilation, antisemitism and the Holocaust. During the play’s run in London, when it won best new play at the 2020 Olivier Awards, Nick Curtis of The Evening Standard summed the show up as “a late masterwork,” while Lloyd Evans of The Spectator called it “Tom Stoppard’s Schindler’s List.”
Why you should book a ticket: Stoppard has said this very well may be his last play, so it’s a must-see for any serious theater lover.
See it: Longacre Theatre, from Sept. 14
The show: 1776
The premise: Lin-Manuel Miranda revolutionized our understanding of the Revolutionary War era with his hop-hop musical Hamilton. This season, directors Diane Paulus (56) and Jeffrey L. Page are similarly blowing the dust off an old Broadway chestnut, 1776, which charts the efforts of John Adams and his compatriots to declare American independence. In this new revival by Roundabout Theatre Company, the Founding Fathers will be played by a gender-swapped cast of performers who all identify as female, non-binary or trans.
Why you should book a ticket: During the show’s out-of-town tryouts at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theater, critics singled out Crystal Lucas-Perry, who stars as John Adams, with Theatermania critic Sandy MacDonald writing that she “has a voice as clarion and commanding as the Liberty Bell.”
See it: American Airlines Theatre, from Sept. 16
The show: Death of a Salesman
The premise: The Arthur Miller tragedy has been revived on Broadway four times since its original 1949 production, most recently in 2012 with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman starring as the past-his-prime traveling salesman Willy Loman. This latest production started life at London’s Young Vic, before transferring to the West End, where it won two Olivier Awards for best actress (Sharon D. Clarke, 55, who earned a Tony nod last year for Caroline, or Change) and best director (Marianne Elliott, 55, and Miranda Cromwell). The Broadway transfer features London cast members Wendell Pierce, 58, (The Wire) as Willy and Clarke as his long-suffering wife, Linda, alongside newcomer André De Shields, 76 — a recent Tony winner for Hadestown— as Willy’s dead brother, Ben.
Why you should book a ticket: Pierce earned raves for his performance in London, with Stephen Dalton writing in The Hollywood Reporter, “He may be a brawny bear of a man onstage, but Pierce dances and weaves through his dialogue like a jazz musician, breathing life and levity into creaky old lines that might otherwise sound didactic and leaden.”
See it: Hudson Theatre, from Sept. 17
The show: The Piano Lesson
The premise: Part of the late, great August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle — which charts the African American experience across the 20th century — this Pulitzer Prize–winning play debuted in 1987 at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Set in 1936, the drama follows a brother and sister as they debate what to do with the family’s heirloom piano, which is decorated with carvings made by their enslaved ancestor. This new production, directed by actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson (72), will star her husband, Samuel L. Jackson (73), Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) and Trai Byers (Empire).
Why you should book a ticket: Rising star John David Washington is making his Broadway debut, and his father, Denzel — a frequent Wilson collaborator — is reportedly working on a new film version of the play for Netflix.
See it: Ethel Barrymore Theatre, from Sept. 19
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The show: Topdog/Underdog
The premise: Suzan-Lori Parks, 59, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for this 2001 fable about two Black brothers named Lincoln and Booth — one of whom is a con artist, while the other performs as a whiteface Abraham Lincoln impersonator in an arcade. In 2018, The New York Times named it the best American play of the past 25 years, and its themes are no less potent now, more than two decades after it was written. Stepping into the roles originated by Don Cheadle, 57, and Jeffrey Wright, 56, are two of the finest young actors working today: Corey Hawkins, who won raves for his performance as Dr. Dre in Straight Outta Compton, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, an Emmy winner for HBO’s Watchmen.
Why you should book a ticket: Director Kenny Leon, 66, produces consistently compelling theater, and he earned a Tony Award for his work on the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun.
See it: John Golden Theatre, from Sept. 27
Performances beginning in October
The show: Almost Famous
The premise: Cameron Crowe, 65, wrote the book and lyrics for this musical adaptation of his autobiographical, coming-of-age dramedy, about his life as a 15-year-old Rolling Stone writer who went on tour with an up-and-coming band. Tom Kitt, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Next to Normal and a Grammy for Jagged Little Pill, wrote the music, which also includes snippets of ’70s hits like Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” and Joni Mitchell’s “River.” In a sign of just how much Mitchell approves of the project, she made a rare public appearance at the musical’s 2019 premiere in San Diego.
Why you should book a ticket: This could be a star-making turn for actor Chris Wood, who previously appeared in The Vampire Diaries and Supergirl and will be taking on the role of Stillwater guitarist Russell Hammond.
See it: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, from Oct. 3
The show: Kimberly Akimbo
The premise: In 2001, Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire, 52, wrote the off-Broadway critical hit Kimberly Akimbo about a teenager who lives with a disease that causes her to age rapidly; on the eve of her 16th birthday, she looks as if she’s in her 60s. Two decades later, he adapted the show into a quirky new musical with the help of composer Jeanine Tesori, 60, who wrote Fun Home, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Caroline, or Change. The 62-year-old Victoria Clark, a Tony winner for The Light in the Piazza, delivers a feel-everything performance as the young Kimberly, and the off-Broadway production, which opened last winter, won best musical at the Drama Desk Awards, the Lucille Lortel Awards, the Outer Critics Circle Awards and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards.
Why you should book a ticket: Big-voiced belter Bonnie Milligan could be the breakout star of the season for her raucous turn as Kimberly’s aunt, Debra. Don’t be surprised when she shows up in the Tony conversation!
See it: Booth Theatre, from Oct. 12
The show: KPOP
The premise: In recent years, the Great White Way has danced to the rhythms of disco (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), Americana folk (Hadestown), Latin pop (On Your Feet!) and Afrobeat (Fela!), and now Broadway is getting in on the Korean pop craze that has propelled bands like BTS and Blackpink to the top of the charts. This immersive, multimedia musical offers a behind-the-curtain look at the K-pop machine, as talented artists train to become superstars, and it was first staged at Ars Nova, the theater that birthed Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.
Why you should book a ticket: Making her Broadway debut is the real-life K-pop singer Luna, who has appeared in Korean productions of Legally Blonde, In the Heights, Mamma Mia! and more.
See it: Circle in the Square Theatre, from Oct. 13
The show: & Juliet
The premise: Shakespeare purists may quake in their boots at this jukebox musical and West End transfer, which imagines what would happen if Juliet didn’t die at the end of the play. Rather than focus on one recording artist, the musical stitches together a plot using the tunes of Swedish pop hitmaker Max Martin, 51, a five-time Grammy winner with 25 Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles under his belt. You might be able to sing along to almost the entire show, with songs like “... Baby One More Time,” “I Want It That Way,” “Since U Been Gone” and “That’s the Way It Is,” plus a new original called “One More Try,” which Martin wrote with Jessie J.
Why you should book a ticket: The hilarious book was written by David West Read, who won an Emmy for outstanding comedy series for his work on Schitt’s Creek.
See it: Stephen Sondheim Theatre, from Oct. 28
Performances beginning in November
The show: Some Like It Hot
The premise: Chances are you’re familiar with the 1959 comedy, which starred Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as two Prohibition-era musicians who disguise themselves as women to escape from gangsters after they witness a crime. It’s sometimes dangerous trying to adapt a perfect movie, but we’re in unusually good hands with this show’s creative team: The music and lyrics are by Marc Shaiman (62) and Scott Wittman (68), who together won a Tony and a Grammy for Hairspray; the book is by recent Tony-winning playwright Matthew López (The Inheritance) and Emmy-nominated late-night host Amber Ruffin; and the show is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw (59), who won a Tony for directing The Book of Mormon.
Why you should book a ticket: Hot off her role as Catherine of Aragon in Six, Adrianna Hicks is sure to have a huge breakout moment playing Sugar, a part originated by Marilyn Monroe.
See it: Shubert Theatre, from Nov. 1
The show: Ain’t No Mo’
The premise: Jordan E. Cooper wrote and stars in this envelope-pushing comedy, which imagines a world in which the United States government offers Black Americans a one-way ticket to Africa as a way to solve racism. The play combines elements of drag, avant-garde theater, satire and sketch comedy, and when it premiered at the Public Theater, New York Times critic Jesse Green called the show “thrilling, bewildering, campy, shrewd, mortifying, scary, devastating and deep.”
Why you should book a ticket: Cooper delivers what promises to be one of the funniest performances of the season as Peaches, the check-in agent for African-American Airlines flight 1619 — get it?
See it: Belasco Theatre, from Nov. 3
The show: A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical
The premise: Following in the footsteps of Tina Turner, Carole King, Gloria Estefan, Michael Jackson, Cher, Donna Summer and many, many, many more, Neil Diamond, 81, is getting the jukebox bio-musical treatment. The role of Diamond will be divided into “Then” and “Now,” played by Tony nominees Will Swenson (Hair) and Mark Jacoby, 75 (Showboat), with recent Moulin Rouge scene-stealer Robyn Hurder appearing as Diamond’s ex-wife Marcia Murphey. During the show’s pre-Broadway run in Boston, Don Aucoin of The Boston Globe wrote, “As Jessie Mueller did in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Swenson manages to both inhabit and heighten the real-life character he’s playing. Not that his blend of magnetism, virtuosity and dynamism will surprise anyone who’s seen him onstage before.”
Why you should book a ticket: Let’s face it, with a catalog as deep as Diamond’s, this musical has singalong potential not seen since the days of Mamma Mia!
See it: Broadhurst Theatre, from Nov. 2
The show: The Collaboration
The premise: New Zealand–born screenwriter Anthony McCarten, 61, has a way with cinematic biopics: He wrote The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Two Popes and the upcoming I Wanna Dance With Somebody, about Whitney Houston. For his first Broadway play, he’s turning his attention to two fascinating art world figures: Andy Warhol, played by Marvel Cinematic Universe star Paul Bettany (51), and Jean-Michel Basquiat, played by two-time Tony nominee Jeremy Pope. The drama, which debuted this year in London, follows their collaboration on a joint exhibition in the summer of 1984.
Why you should book a ticket: McCarten is having a big moment this season — he also wrote the book for A Beautiful Noise (see above)!
See it: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, from Nov. 29
PERFORMANCE DATES NOT CONFIRMED
The show: Between Riverside and Crazy
The premise: Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, 56, fills his vibrant New York City–set plays with the kinds of characters who don’t always get a voice on Broadway: addicts, dealers, hustlers, prisoners, prostitutes and pimps. He won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for this dark comedy about retired cop Walter “Pops” Washington and his son Junior, who’s recently been released from jail, as they face eviction from a rent-stabilized apartment on Riverside Drive. If you’ve ever dealt with the harrowing world of Manhattan real estate, you’ll understand how that topic can ignite more than a few dramatic sparks.
Why you should book a ticket: The Broadway cast hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Stephen McKinley Henderson, 72 — whom you might recognize as Thufir Hawat in Dune — received rapturous reviews in the play’s earlier incarnations.
See it: Hayes Theater, fall 2022
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.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Aug. 11, 2021. It has been updated with new shows scheduled to open on Broadway during the fall 2022 season.