Features Published 28 March 2019

Exeunt NYC Recommends: April

Daniel Fish and Heidi Schreck make it to Broadway, while Ivo van Hove and Enda Walsh take Brooklyn by storm. Our critics recommend all that and more this April.

Exeunt Staff

The 2018-2019 Broadway season draws to a close in April, with Tony Award nominations announced on the last day of the month. That means shows are scrambling to open before the April 25 cut-off, and we have several Main Stem recommendations to offer. Some of them might even be familiar. But New York theater extends far beyond Broadway, and we have plenty to endorse in all corners of the city.

Daniel Fish’s highly acclaimed production of Oklahoma! finally makes it to Broadway. (Photo: Paula Court)

Oklahoma! (Circle in the Square Theatre) (Open run, now playing): I’ve wanted to see this show since its sold-out run at St. Ann’s Warehouse last fall. The enthusiastic tweeting and reviews from critics (including some Exeunt ones) has convinced me that I need to drag everyone I know with me to see “Sexy Oklahoma” in its new home on Broadway. (Alicia Kort)

What the Constitution Means to Me (Hayes Theatre) (March 15-June 9): Yes, I am bit of a broken record on the subject of this play. (See my review of the initial Off-Broadway production here). But seriously—everyone in America right now needs to be having the conversation this play is starting: about what our republic is, who it’s for, and how we reconcile the Constitution’s flaws with its promises, its betrayal of so many of our country’s citizens with its reputation as a beacon of hope. It is relevant, human, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at the same time, and when it feels like there’s precious little hope in the world, I cling to what I can. (Loren Noveck)

All My Sons (American Airlines Theatre) (April 4-June 23): I’ve seen quite a few Arthur Miller plays, but I haven’t seen All My Sons yet, so this revival starring Annette Benning and Tracy Letts is on my list for April. All My Sons was Miller’s commercial breakthrough, and he based it on the true story of a corporation that conspired with Army officials to make faulty military aircraft engines during WWII. There have been a few exciting Miller revivals in the past few years, and I want to see where this falls in the pack. (Alicia Kort)

Frequent collaborators Cillian Murphy and Enda Walsh bring Grief is a Thing with Feathers to Brooklyn. (Photo: Colm Hogan)

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers (St. Ann’s Warehouse) (April 20-May 12): Max Porter’s 2016 novel Grief Is the Thing with Feathers was a trim, lyrical oddity of a debut, a simple story about grief embellished with a touch of magical realism in the form of a human-sized talking crow who visits a family dealing with the death of a wife and mother. Director/playwright Enda Walsh adapted this work for the stage and will be directing this American premiere, which stars Cillian Murphy as the grieving widower who, along with his two sons, hosts the feathered beast. Murphy will surely be interesting to watch, with his signature cool intensity and dark, off-kilter charm (hopefully used here to its best effect), but, at the very least, Walsh’s act of translation—whether the play can match the macabre whimsy and fable-like feel of the original text—will be plenty intriguing in its own right. (Maya Phillips)

Socrates (Public Theater) (April 2-May 19): Michael Stuhlbarg was such a ubiquitous presence on New York stages while I was in college in the mid-aughts, it’s nearly impossible to believe he hasn’t trod the boards in more than a decade. He returns to the Public Theater in a new play by the excellent writer/actor Tim Blake Nelson that examines the title Greek philosopher from a personal angle. That should make for an interesting perspective, and few actors can imbue a character with rich inner life like Stuhlbarg. To sweeten the prospect even further, the production boasts a large ensemble cast stocked with stage talent: Teagle F. Bougere, Robert Joy, Lee Wilkof, Peter Jay Fernandez, David Aaron Baker, and Tom Nelis, among others. (Cameron Kelsall)

The Brothers Paranormal (Pan Asian Rep/Theatre Row) (April 28-May 19): This sounds possibly a little insane, in the best possible way, braiding together topics I never thought would appear in the same story: ghost hunters, Asian immigration, post-Katrina New Orleans, and the limits of sanity. But I love theater that’s genuinely spooky and scary, and I’m intrigued. Plus, the cast includes the wonderful Emily Kuroda. (Loren Noveck)

Hot Brown Honey (NYU Skirball) (April 19-20): When Hot Brown Honey started getting buzz in 2016 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it caught my attention not only for the positive reviews but that it involved artists of color. A feminist, activist work by women of color was very exciting and stood out in a festival that can feel too centered around whiteness. I bought a ticket for my last night and then I promptly got sunstroke—I’m the only person who could do this in Scotland—and was too ill to make the show. So I am glad I have another chance to see it now in New York. With a cast with backgrounds from First Nations in Australia, Indonesia, Samoa, South Africa, and Tonga working in the space of cabaret and burlesque, this show uses those forms to bring a decidedly political message to the fore. I’m expecting something smart, dazzling, and challenging. (Nicole Serratore)

Ivo van Hove stages Janáček’s song cycle Diary of One Who Disappeared. (Photo: Jan Versweyveld)

Diary of One Who Disappeared (BAM Gilman Opera House) (April 4-6): Janáček’s haunting not-quite-opera Diary of One Who Disappeared is usually presented in unstaged recent settings, despite the overwhelming potential for drama in this song-cycle for three voices. Enter Ivo van Hove. The ubiquitous, frustrating, and frequently brilliant director brings his fully staged production of the piece, which originates from the Flemish Muziektheater Transparant, to Brooklyn for three performances only. Whether you love the Czech composer’s folk-tinged musical language, the Dutch auteur’s bold visual world, or are simply curious, this is an event that shouldn’t be missed. (Cameron Kelsall)

Exeunt Staff is a contributor to Exeunt Magazine