As is the case every year, a large number of shows will close in early January, freeing up those theaters for the spring. Below are seven shows I highly recommend checking out before they bid farewell to Broadway.
‘Fiddler on the Roof’
Except for the unusually spare scenic design, Bartlett Sher’s revival of the classic 1964 musical is superb, enlivening the material while respecting it. Broadway regular Danny Burstein leads the cast with a deeply felt performance as Tevye that eschews the broad antics that have become associated with the role. “Fiddler” will surely continue to be performed throughout the world, but who knows when it’ll be back on Broadway with a full orchestra playing the timeless score? Through Dec. 31 at the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway, fiddlermusical.com.
‘Matilda the Musical’
Like “The Lion King” did before it, “Matilda” (adapted from Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s fantasy novel about a freethinking and highly intelligent young girl) raised the bar for family-oriented musicals. Matthew Warchus’ imaginative and inventive production does not shy aware from depicting Matilda’s peers as unashamedly self-indulgent and the world around them as garish and threatening. Tim Minchin’s score is melodic and unpredictable. Through Jan. 1 at the Shubert Theatre, 225 W. 44th St., matildathemusical.com.
This Shakespeare-inspired musical comedy (about a struggling playwright who schemes to become more successful than the Bard) is an exuberant crowd-pleaser with old-fashioned showmanship, hyperactive silliness and hummable songs. It got overshadowed when it opened in spring 2015 (by “Fun Home,” “An American in Paris” and buzz over “Hamilton”) but still managed to run nearly two years. Through Jan. 1 at the St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St., rottenbroadway.com.
‘The Color Purple’
One of the relatively few instances where a musical revival is vastly superior to the original production, director John Doyle’s signature style of stripped-down production values and a sobering mood worked wonders for this musical adaptation of the 1982 Alice Walker novel about a poor black woman who finds the courage to start a new life after years of mistreatment. Cynthia Erivo deservedly won a Tony for her roof-shaking performance. Jennifer Holliday recently joined the cast. Through Jan. 8 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St., colorpurple.com.
Farcical comedy and heartbreaking drama are served in equal measure in this triumphant revival of William Finn’s unconventional musical about a New York family, which consists of the freewheeling, fast-paced “March of the Falsettos” followed by the more sober-minded “Falsettoland.” The cast (including Christian Borle, Andrew Rannells and Stephanie J. Block) brings out the show’s manic heights and tender pauses. Through Jan. 8 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St., lct.org.
Oh, what a run. The Tony-winning musical biography of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, which combines a gritty behind-the-scenes saga with a multitude of pop hits, has reached the finish line after an 11-year run. It is by far the most critically acclaimed “jukebox musical” to date. Mark Ballas (“Dancing with the Stars”) is currently playing Valli. Through Jan. 15 at the August Wilson Theatre, 245 W. 52nd St., jerseboysInfo.com.
Stephen Karam’s sobering family drama, about a middle-class Scranton family that comes together over Thanksgiving in the midst of economic problems and serious illness, is one of the most unlikely success stories in recent memory. After premiering off-Broadway, it transferred to a small Broadway theater for a limited run and then transferred to an even larger theater down the street. Through Jan. 15 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St., thehumansonbroadway.com.
- ‘The Illusionists: Turn of the Century’ — Through Jan. 1 at the Palace Theatre, 1564 7th Ave., theillusionistslive.com.
- ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses’ — Through Jan. 8 at the Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th St., liaisonsbroadway.com.
- ‘The Encounter’ — Through Jan. 8 at the Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St., theencounterbroadway.com.
- ‘Holiday Inn’ — Through Jan. 15 at Studio 54, 254 W. 54th St., roundabouttheatre.org.