Our guide to plays and musicals coming to New York stages and a few last-chance picks of shows that are about to close. Our reviews of open shows are at nytimes.com/reviews/theater.
Previews & Openings
‘DROPPING GUMBALLS ON LUKE WILSON’ at A.R.T./New York Theaters (previews start on June 11; opens on June 18). The playwright Rob Ackerman (“Tabletop”) also works as a property master, and this new comedy, adapted from a true story, recalls a time on an AT&T commercial when he demonstrated something less than mastery. For the Working Theater, Theresa Rebeck directs a cast that includes Ann Harada and Dean Nolen.
‘FAIRVIEW’ at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center (in previews; opens on June 16). Jackie Sibblies Drury’s radiantly uncomfortable play, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for drama, is ready to unnerve you all over again. Ben Brantley described this piece, now at Theater for a New Audience, as “a glorious, scary reminder of the unmatched power of live theater to rattle, roil and shake us wide awake.”
‘MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING’ at the Delacorte Theater (in previews; opens on June 11). Sigh no more, Shakespeare fans. Shakespeare in the Park — its tickets distributed free by line and lottery — returns with this sparkling comedy of sparring lovers. In postwar Messina, Beatrice (Danielle Brooks) and Benedick (Grantham Coleman) are a couple who despise each other. Until they don’t. Kenny Leon directs.
‘THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES’ at the Atlantic Theater Company at the Linda Gross Theater (in previews; opens on June 13). A new musical from Lynn Nottage, Duncan Sheik and Susan Birkenhead swarms into the Atlantic. Based on Sue Monk Kidd’s novel, set in South Carolina in 1964, it follows a young girl and her housekeeper who take refuge with three sisters (LaChanze, Eisa Davis and Anastacia McCleskey). Sam Gold directs.
‘[VEIL WIDOW CONSPIRACY]’ at Next Door at NYTW (previews start on June 8; opens on June 15). A meditation on truth, fiction and DVD extras, Gordon Dahlquist’s new play revisits a century-old murder in western China through a blockbuster movie, DVD interviews and, years from now in a future Brooklyn, one hushed, imperfect recap. Aneesha Kudtarkar directs for National Asian American Theater Company.
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
‘WE’RE ONLY ALIVE FOR A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME’ at the Public Theater (previews start on June 13; opens on June 27). In many of David Cale’s plays, characters change their lives or their lives are changed for them. In this new piece, a solo autobiographical play with music (Cale wrote the songs with Matthew Dean Marsh), he charts his own adolescence and the catastrophe that shaped him. Robert Falls directs.
‘KING LEAR’ at the Cort Theater (closes on June 9). Sam Gold’s controversial revival, starring Glenda Jackson as the beleaguered king, abdicates. Ben Brantley praised Jackson’s “powerful and deeply perceptive performance,” while noticing that “much of what surrounds her in this glittery, haphazard production seems to be working overtime to divert attention from that performance.”
‘LUZIA’ at Citi Field (closes on June 9). This traveling Cirque du Soleil show, subtitled “A Waking Dream of Mexico,” goes to lay its head somewhere else. It combines striking costumes, lighting and puppetry with dazzling acrobatics. This spectacle, Elisabeth Vincentelli wrote, helps you understand how the company “has so successfully straddled art and business all these years.”
‘MAC BETH’ at the Lucille Lortel Theater (closes on June 9). Erica Schmidt’s playful riff on Shakespeare’s tragedy, which finds a group of schoolgirls staging the Scottish play, ends its bloody run. What’s powerful, Laura Collins-Hughes wrote, is “watching a group of girls meet Shakespeare on their own electric terms — with ferocity, abandon and the occasional wild dance break.”
‘NETWORK’ at the Belasco Theater (closes on June 8). Even when you’re mad as hell, you have to wrap it up sometime. Ivo van Hove’s reimagining of the 1976 Paddy Chayefsky movie finishes its Broadway run. If you love Bryan Cranston, catch it soon, because as Ben Brantley wrote, “if you’re a glutton for great, high-risk acting, you owe Mr. Cranston the courtesy — and yourself the thrill — of watching his self-immolation.”
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