10 must-see Off-Broadway shows

Conrad Ricamora and the company of “Soft Power,” with play and lyrics by David Henry Hwang, music and additional lyrics by Jeanine Tesori, choreography by Sam Pinkleton, and direction by Leigh Silverman, running at The Public Theater. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

While many new Broadway shows have opened and will continue to open through the end of the fall, this is also an especially bountiful time for Off-Broadway, with some of the most well-known not-for-profit companies presenting ambitious and diverse productions.

Below are 10 newly-opened Off-Broadway shows that are worth looking into, including three being produced just by the Public Theater.

‘Soft Power’

“The King and I” gets mixed up with China and Hillary Clinton in David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly”) and Jeanine Tesori’s (“Fun Home”) wild new musical in which an Asian-American playwright is asked to write a Broadway musical for Shanghai. Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., publictheater.org. Through Nov. 17.

‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf’

Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking “choreopoem,” which consists of raw poetic monologues by African-American women, is being revived by the Public Theater, which originally produced it back in the 1970s. Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., publictheater.org. Through Dec. 8.

‘The Michaels’

Following “The Gabriels” and “The Apple Family Plays,” playwright-director Richard Nelson continues his series of naturalistic dramas in which families from Rhinebeck, NY confront both their own problems and national politics. Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., publictheater.org. Through Nov. 24.

‘The Wrong Man’

Based on a concept album by pop songwriter Ross Golan, “The Wrong Man” tells the tale of a man framed for murder in classic noir style. It has direction by Thomas Kail (“Hamilton”), with the lead role played at alternating performances by Joshua Henry (“Carousel”) and Ryan Vasquez. MCC Theater, 511 West 52nd St., mcctheater.org. Through Nov. 24.

Raúl Esparza and Krysta Rodriguez in a scene from MCC Theater’s “Seared.” (Photo by Joan Marcus)


The latest work by the prolific Theresa Rebeck (“Bernhardt/Hamlet,” “Smash”) takes on trendy New York City restaurants, with tensions mounting between a demanding chef and his business partner. Leading the cast are Raúl Esparza (“Company”) and Krysta Rodriguez (“Hercules”). MCC Theater, 511 West 52nd St., mcctheater.org. Through Dec. 1.


Real-life husband and wife Corey Stoll (“House of Cards”) and Nadia Bowers play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in a streamlined and scaled-down production of “The Scottish Play.” Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th St., classicstage.org. Through Dec. 15.

The cast of “Scotland, PA.” (Photo by Nina Goodheart)

‘Scotland, PA’

For those who can’t get enough of ‘Macbeth,’ this dark new musical comedy (adapted from a 2001 cult film) reinterprets the Scottish soldier as the manager of a Pennsylvania fast food restaurant. Laura Pels Theatre, 111 West 46th St., roundabouttheatre.org. Through Dec. 8.

‘Bella Bella’

Actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein, who is no stranger to drag performance, now portrays the late New York City politician Bella Abzug in a solo show set in the 1970s. City Center-Stage I, 131 West 55th St., manhattantheatreclub.com. Through Dec. 1.

Becca Blackwell, TL Thompson, Peter Simpson in “Is This A Room.” (Photo by Carol Rosegg)

‘Is This a Room’

Based on FBI transcripts, this docudrama explores the interrogation of 25-year-old former Air Force linguist Reality Winner, who was charged with and convicted for leaking evidence of Russian interference in U.S. elections. Vineyard Theatre, 108 East 15th St., vineyardtheatre.org. Through Nov. 24.

‘Heroes of the Fourth Turning’

Whereas New York theater is commonly associated with liberal viewpoints, Will Arbery’s new drama explores four young conservatives who get bogged down by current politics during a hometown reunion. Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd St., playwrightshorizons.org. Through Nov. 17.