Broadway was one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic, and despite more than a few roadblocks, the fall 2021 season proved surprisingly triumphant. It represented both a return to form and a peek into what American theater could look like in the future, complete with a record-breaking number of shows by Black playwrights.
As 2022 begins, new problems have arisen: The omicron variant has closed some shows temporarily and others permanently, but cast and crew members are rolling with the punches, as understudies have gamely stepped into the spotlight to ensure that the show will go on. The next few months will bring a thrilling spring season that includes plays by Broadway favorites (David Mamet, Thornton Wilder, Neil Simon), one-of-a-kind theatrical experiences (like The Little Prince) and a full roster of A-list performers, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Billy Crystal, Daniel Craig and Debra Messing. Here’s your guide to all the plays and musicals beginning performances in the next few months. And remember, before you book a ticket: All theaters in NYC are requiring proof of vaccinations.
ON STAGE NOW
Check out our fall season guide to learn about other new shows, including The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.
PERFORMANCES BEGINNING IN FEBRUARY
The show: Paradise Square
The premise: If you’ve seen the film Gangs of New York, you might remember its setting: the rough-and-tumble Five Points slum in Lower Manhattan. That neighborhood is the backdrop for a lush new musical about the city’s Irish and Black communities, who lived and worked together during the Civil War, before their period of relative racial harmony was torn apart by the New York City draft riots of 1863. Lovers of dance will be dazzled by the choreography by Bill T. Jones (69), Garrett Coleman and Jason Oremus, which combines elements of tap, Irish step dancing and African Juba.
Why you should book a ticket: Leading the cast as saloon owner Nelly O’Brien is next big thing Joaquina Kalukango, who costarred as Betty X in last year’s One Night in Miami… and earned a Tony nomination for her role in Broadway’s Slave Play.
The details: Barrymore Theatre, from Feb. 22
The show: Plaza Suite
The premise: It’s been 26 years since Sarah Jessica Parker (56) and Matthew Broderick (59) last appeared together on a Broadway stage in the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. They’re finally teaming back up for this urbane Neil Simon comedy, in which they star as three different couples — one long-married duo, one pair of old flames, and the father and mother of the bride — living out their dramas inside the same suite at New York City’s Plaza Hotel.
Why you should book a ticket: Simon’s shows were once fixtures on the New York City stage. The last to appear on the Great White Way was the musical Promises, Promises, for which he wrote the book; it closed in January 2011.
The details: Hudson Theatre, from Feb. 25
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PERFORMANCES BEGINNING IN MARCH
The show: Mr. Saturday Night
The premise: In 1992, Billy Crystal, 73, made his directorial debut with this comedy about the rise and fall of standup comic Buddy Young Jr. He’s adapted it into a musical with the help of three-time Tony-winning composer Jason Robert Brown, 51, who wrote Parade and The Bridges of Madison County. It’s been eight years since Crystal last appeared on Broadway, in a 2013-14 revival of his one-man show 700 Sundays.
Why you should book a ticket: David Paymer, 67, got an Oscar nomination for playing Buddy’s brother and manager, Stan, a role he’ll reprise in the musical.
The details: Nederlander Theatre, from March 1