Due to weak ticket sales or being a limited engagement, or a combination of both in some cases, an unusually large number of Broadway shows will be closing this month.
Into the Woods – Back in May, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s fairy tale musical received a short run concert-style, starry revival at City Center. Thanks to critical acclaim and popular demand, it quickly transferred to Broadway, where it sold out its limited run over the summer and unexpectedly extended its run through the fall. Through Jan. 8 at the St. James Theatre.
1776 – With obvious inspiration from “Hamilton,” the Roundabout Theatre Company gave “1776” a heavy-handed, self-aware, gender-reversed makeover, which received mostly negative reviews and even led to a cast member speaking out against the production. Still, one can admire the considerable thought and enterprise that went into this provocative production. Through Jan. 8 at the American Airlines Theatre.
Beetlejuice – This freewheeling musical adaptation of the 1988 Tim Burton film comedy opened in 2019 to unenthusiastic reviews, unexpectedly won a devoted fan following thanks to social media, announced that it would close prior to the pandemic in order to make way for “The Music Man,” and then reopened after the pandemic at a new theater. Through Jan. 8 at the Marquis Theatre.
Almost Famous – Cameron Crowe’s musical adaptation of his 2000 coming-of-age film, which is closing just two months, is a good example of a “why musical” – a musical that is okay at best and does not add anything of real value to its source of material. If not much else, it provided a good excuse to revisit the original film, which remains supremely enjoyable, heartfelt, and quotable. Through Jan. 8 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre.
A Strange Loop – Michael R. Jackson’s wild, raw, relentless, and unapologetically over-the-top monologue-turned-ensemble musical was an unlikely success story. After opening Off-Broadway in 2019, it went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, reopen on Broadway, win the Tony Award for Best Musical, and briefly become a commercial hit. Through Jan. 15 at the Lyceum Theatre.
Death of a Salesman – The new revival of Arthur Miller’s seminal American tragedy, in which the Loman family was cast with Black actors including Wendell Pierce and Sharon D. Clarke, made for an accessible, compelling, and distinctive re-envisioning. Had I never seen the play before, I could have easily believed that it was written specifically about a Black family. Through Jan. 15 at the Hudson Theatre.
The Music Man – Even if it did not exactly live up to expectations, let’s give credit to Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster, and the large company of “The Music Man.” The revival, which was announced before the pandemic, still managed to open on Broadway and also survived a scandal involving its original lead producer. Through Jan. 15 at the Winter Garden Theatre.
Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man & The Pool – In his second appearance on Broadway, comedian Mike Birbiglia once again offered a well-constructed autobiographical monologue and an affable and heartfelt persona. Here’s hoping that the show is filmed – and that Birbiglia comes back again soon. Through Jan. 15 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.
Topdog/Underdog – Suzan-Lori Parks’ gritty, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of sibling rivalry, which famously involves a young Black man who makes a living impersonating Abraham Lincoln at a bizarre arcade attraction where patrons can reenact Lincoln’s assassination, received an excellent 20th anniversary Broadway revival starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Corey Hawkins. Through Jan. 15 at the Golden Theatre.
The Collaboration – This new bio drama by Anthony McCarten about a 1984 collaboration between Andy Warhol (Paul Bettany) and Jean-Michel Basquiat (Jeremy Pope) opened right before the holidays – even though its opening night performance had to be canceled at the last minute due to illness. Through Jan. 29 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.
The Piano Lesson – One of the best-known works in August Wilson’s monumental 10-part “Century Cycle,” “The Piano Lesson” returned to Broadway with Samuel L. Jackson, Danielle Brooks, and John David Washington (Denzel Washington’s son), with direction by LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Samuel L. Jackson’s wife). Through Jan. 29 at the Barrymore Theatre.