Features NYC Features Published 26 March 2018

Exeunt NYC Recommends: April

April brings with it a ton of Broadway openings but there’s much to see beyond Broadway as well. Our critics recommend these hot tickets.

Exeunt Staff

James McArdle and Andrew Garfield in Angels in America (Photo: Brinkhoff/Mögenburg)

With a slew of new Broadway openings in April, we share the ones we are prioritizing and the many shows beyond Broadway we are excited about this month.

Broadway

Angels in America (Neil Simon Theatre)(February 23-July 1): It really is the best play. I’d recommend it every month. Tony Kushner’s epic drama is unmissable for the writing alone, but this production, from the National Theatre, also boasts performances from Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, and Nathan Lane, and direction from Marianne Elliott. If you want to hear me go on and on about how great it is and how you shouldn’t miss it, check out Exeunt’s podcast on that subject. (Lane Williamson)

The Iceman Cometh (Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre)(March 24-July 1): Denzel Washington refuses to rest on his laurels. At 63, with two Oscars and a Tony under his belt, he returns to Broadway as Hickey in Eugene O’Neill’s daunting and harrowing The Iceman Cometh. At nearly five hours, it’s one of the longest plays in the standard repertory, and the central roles requires an actor who can seamlessly segue between fever-pitch charisma and clear-eyed resignation. Washington sounds perfect for that. The impressive ensemble cast also includes David Morse, Colm Meaney, Frank Wood, Tammy Blanchard, and Michael Potts, under George C. Wolfe’s direction. (Cameron Kelsall)

Travesties (Roundabout/American Airlines Theatre)(March 29-June 17): On the page, Tom Stoppard’s Travesties makes me burst into uncontrollable laughter, and I haven’t ever seen a professional production. It’s the perfect mix of absurdity, intellectualism, and Stoppard’s trademark metatheatrical flights of fancy, and I hope to laugh so hard I fall out of my chair.  (Loren Noveck)

Off-Broadway and Beyond

The Seafarer (Irish Repertory Theatre)(March 30-May 13): “You’re locked in a space that’s smaller than a coffin. And it’s lying a thousand miles down, under the bed of a vast, icy, pitch-black sea. You’re buried alive in there. And it’s so cold you can feel your angry tears freezing in your eye lashes.” That’s how the Devil describes Hell in Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer, which returns to New York after a ten-year absence via the Irish Rep. Lucifer — or Mr. Lockhart, as he’s called here — will be embodied by Matthew Broderick, who did some of his best work in years in McPherson’s Shining City two years ago. (Cameron Kelsall)

Eliza Bent in Aloha, Aloha, or When I Was Queen (Photo: Knud Adams)

Aloha, Aloha, or When I Was Queen (Abrons Arts Center)(April 4-21): Performer and playwright Eliza Bent draws from the personal again with her new solo show.  Inspired by a school film project she did in 1996 where she starred as Hawaiian queen, Queen Liliuokalani, Bent confronts her own youthful cultural appropriation. As she’s shown with some of her earlier work, she relishes unpacking awkward situations and uncomfortable truths with humor and candor.  I expect she will bring self-awareness and self-deprecation to this piece of her own history. (Nicole Serratore)

Dance Nation (Playwrights Horizons)(April 13-May 27): I was a ballet kid–not a very talented one, to be sure, but it’s left me with a lifelong affection for not just the actual ballet, but any cultural product set in the dance world. But the world of competitive adolescent dance takes the intersection of high culture and pop culture to a whole new level, and I’m fascinated to see what playwright Clare Barron, with her keen eye for character, is going to do with the material. (Loren Noveck)

Summer and Smoke (Transport Group/Classic Stage Company)(April 13-May 20): Transport Group has cornered the market on presenting intimate, surprising stagings of neglected midcentury American plays. In recent years, their productions of John Van Druten’s I Remember Mama (performed entirely by senior actors) and William Inge’s Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba located the humor and the humanity beneath these outwardly fusty works. Director Jack Cummings III now turns his attention to Summer and Smoke, a problem child of the Tennessee Williams canon. Marin Ireland stars as the painfully shy Alma Winemiller, opposite Nathan Darrow as the callow doctor for whom she pines. I can’t wait to see what Cummings and crew discover. (Cameron Kelsall)

Seagullmachine (La MaMa)(April 14-29): The Assembly interprets Hamlet’s existential dilemma as a cri de coeur for theater makers today, taking on Chekhov, Shakespeare and Heiner Müller to reflect on the relevance of theater as a form of expression and resistance in a dystopian future that looks uncannily like the present.  Expect a multidisciplinary piece that speaks to the role of the artist in Trumplandia. (Molly Grogan)

Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (New York Theatre Workshop)(April 18-May 27): Churchill’s plays are never not vital and, despite when they were written or when they are set, they always speak to the current moment, electrically and incisively. This revival of a play from 1976 concerns the fashioning of a new British constitution in 1647, but I’d bet it will feel eerily relevant today. It’s directed by Rachel Chavkin, miracle-worker/genius of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, which makes it necessary theatregoing. (Lane Williamson)

Rufus Wainwright (Photo: Nick Helderman)

Rufus Wainwright: Northern Stars (St. Ann’s Warehouse)(April 19-21): Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright brings a new concert to St. Ann’s Warehouse celebrating the music of his homeland. He’ll perform songs by artists like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell in his signature crepuscular timbre, aching of heartbreak and yearning, which sounds pretty spectacular to me. (Lane Williamson)

The End of Journalism (NY Live Arts)(April 20): As part of New York Live Arts “Live Ideas 2018 Radical Vision” series, acclaimed monologist Mike Daisey performs his not wholly serious reflections on the death of a free, fair and honest press in the US. Promises “hilarious truths” about fake news. (Molly Grogan)

Sasquatch Rituals (The Kitchen)(April 24-28): Über creative Sibyl Kempson and her 7 Daughters of Eve have been engaged in a three-year-long quasi-shamanic ceremony at the Whitney Museum, ushering in every equinox and solstice with a peculiarly beguiling mix of mysticism, feminism, environmentalism and fiber art. Their high mass could be archly kooky but Kempson and her devoted tribe of knitters and musicians are too genuine in their endeavors to make you ever doubt the sincerity of their intentions (nothing short of reinventing the world as a more human place). Next is Sasquatch Rituals which promises to explore nature, science and technology. If you aren’t one of the faithful yet, this is pretty much guaranteed to be like nothing you have ever seen. (Molly Grogan)

Danger Signals (New Ohio Theatre)(April 27-May 19): Wrapping up a two-year residency at the New Ohio and IRT Theaters, theater company Built for Collapse will present a new work that is a collaboration between three female artists–Iranian-American director Sanaz Ghajar, UK playwright Nina Segal, and pop artist Jen Goma.  Built for Collapse’s work keeps popping up on my radar with tantalizing topics that I have not seen staged before. In late March, they are putting on a piece on the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, Red Wednesday. Danger Signals is a multidisciplinary show which deals with traumatic brain injuries and colonization–perhaps not just of peoples and place, but of the mind and spirit.  Jessica Almasy, Robert M. Johanson,  and Eva Jaunzemis will perform. (Nicole Serratore)


Exeunt Staff is a contributor to Exeunt Magazine


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