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The reopening of not-for-profit Off-Broadway

The Visitor
“The Visitor”
Photo: Joan Marcus

While the reopening of Broadway following the COVID shutdown has been the subject of considerable media attention in recent weeks, less discussed has been the gradual return of Off-Broadway, including the many not-for-profit companies that have officially opened new productions as part of new seasons in recent weeks. 

Below are some of the most high-profile Off-Broadway plays and musicals currently being produced by not-for-profit companies, many of which were already in the works before the pandemic. 

“Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” – Anna Deavere Smith’s panoramic documentary drama, which played Broadway in 1994, uses interviews with hundreds of Angelenos to dissect the explosive 1992 Los Angeles riots following the acquittal of the four police officers who were charged with assaulting Rodney King. Smith has revised the piece (which she originally performed as a one-woman show) for an ensemble of five actors and to acknowledge George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Signature Theatre, 480 W. 42nd St., signaturetheatre.org, through Nov. 14.

“The Visitor” – This new musical, which has songs by the “Next to Normal” team of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, is based on a 2007 indie film of the same name a widower who befriends a young immigrant couple. It was days away from beginning performances when the pandemic struck. Leading the cast are David Hyde Pierce and Ahmad Maksoud (who recently replaced Ari’el Stachel for undisclosed reasons). Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Ave., publictheater.org, through Nov. 28.

“Assassins” – Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s darkly comic, twisted, and brilliant 1990 musical examines the men and woman who assassinated and attempted to assassinate the Presidents of the United States. Director John Doyle’s eagerly-anticipated revival, which was in rehearsal at the time of the shutdown, has a mighty impressive ensemble cast including Steven Pasquale, Judy Kuhn, Ethan Slater, Will Swenson, and Tavi Gevinson. Classic Stage Company, 136 E. 13th St., classicstage.org, through Jan. 8.

“Morning Sun” – Edie Falco is joined by Marin Ireland and Blair Brown in the world premiere of a new play by Simon Stephens (“Heisenberg”) about a woman’s life over the course of 50 years in New York City. Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center, 131 W. 55th St., manhattantheatreclub.com, through Dec. 19.

“Nollywood Dreams” – Jocelyn Bioh, who is best known for the acclaimed teen comedy “School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play,” returns with a new feel-good comedy about an aspiring young actress in the Nollywood film industry of 1990s Nigeria. MCC Theater, 511 W. 52nd St., mcctheater.org, through Nov. 28. 

“Gnit” – “Peer Gynt,” a fantastical, rarely-performed, 19th century verse drama by Henrik Ibsen, is transformed by the experimental and divisive playwright Will Eno (“The Realistic Joneses”) in contemporary adaptation of the play about a young man in search of himself that is described as “part horror story, part fairy tale, and part road movie.” Theatre for a New Audience at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center, 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, tfana.org. Through Nov. 21.

“Kimberly Akimbo” _ Composer Jeanine Tesori (“Caroline, or Change,” “Fun Home”) teams up with playwright and lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire (“Rabbit Hole,” “Good People”) for a musical adaptation of Abaire’s 2000 play about a New Jersey teenage girl who looks like a 72-year-old woman because of a disease that causes her to age rapidly. Atlantic Theater Company at Linda Gross Theater, 336 W. 20th St., atlantictheater.org, through Dec. 26.

“Selling Kabul” – Sylvia Khoury’s 2015 drama depicts an interpreter for the U.S. military in Afghanistan who finds his life in danger as the Taliban gains power and the U.S. withdraws.  Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St., playwrightshorizons.org, through Dec. 23.

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