Curtains Up: Autumn on Broadway

Written by | Entertainment, Stage, Things to Do

Growing up in sunny Southern California, I never appreciated summer, other than as a reprieve from school. I had no seasonal affective disorder to recover from when the days got long once again each spring. Even after 25 years of living in NYC, it still surprises me how my heart soars on the first bright, shiny day with the dawning realization I’ve been depressed for three months. Now I live for summer, for sun and sand and all the other stuff I could take or leave as a child. Fall is then a tricky time for me because I’m sad another warm season is coming to an end, but also can’t resist the charms of autumn in New York. Undoubtedly one of those charms is the fall theater season, and with a handful of new productions starting performances in August, I can have my cake and eat it too, seeing shows in between final trips to the beach. 

Well, speaking of my childhood, few pop cultural tent poles were more towering than Back to the Future, and the smash hit London musical stage adaptation is crossing the pond to Broadway’s legendary Winter Garden Theater (opens August 3rd, open-ended).

And while we’re gazing backward, Stephen Sondheim fans still unsatiated after recent revivals of Company, Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd, can look forward to the first Broadway revival of his beloved 1982 cult flop, the reverse chronological Merrily We Roll Along at the Hudson Theatre (previews September 19, open-ended). If those peerless songs weren’t enough, this acclaimed production, transferring from New York Theatre Workshop, boasts three brilliant stars in Jonathan Groff, Lindsay Mendez, and Daniel Radcliffe. 

Also retrospective, but certainly with contemporary political resonance, Ossie Davis’s 1961 Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch at the Music Box Theatre (previews September 7, open-ended) comes back to Broadway starring Hamilton Tony-winner Leslie Odom, Jr. Kenny Leon directs a promising ensemble cast certain to deliver this timely tale of the Jim Crow South with bite.

Proving that cabaret can encompass all the bite of New York’s fiercest counterculture, Joe’s Pub offers a typically stimulating lineup of shows to entertain this late summer season:

  • Jeff Hiller – August 4 – August 9
  • Jackie Hoffman – August 8 – August 15
  • Joey Arias – August 10 – August 13
  • Claybourne Elder – August 12 – August 13
  • Michelle Collins – August 16 – August 22
  • Betty Buckley – September 29 – October 1

And uptown, but not uptight, 54 Below features some of the best from Broadway and beyond:

  • Isaac Mizrahi – August 3 – 6
  • Ann Hampton Callaway Sings the Seventies – August 9 – 12
  • Jason Danieley: Without a Song… – August 18 & 19
  • Ben Crawford: Songs I Like to Sing That I Hope You’ll Like to Hear – August 24 – 26
  • Adam Pascal – August 30, 2023 – September 2
  • Bradley Gibson: Songs of My Heart – September 7 & 8
  • Santino Fontana – September 10 – 14
  • Christine Andreas: Paris to Broadway – September 15 & 16
  • Laura and Linda Benanti: Mothers Know Best – September 19 – 23

And no current New York City cabaret roundup could be complete without mention of The Green Room 42, the most exciting thing to happen to 10th Avenue since the Highline.

When the Green Room 42 opened in 2017, people wondered whether the business model of nightclub with no food or drink minimum could last. Time has proven it can thrive, fueled by a diverse and exciting community of up-and-coming theatrical performers and theatre lovers on stage and in the audience, and providing an artistic home to some of the most interesting cabaret talents of the next generation, and even a few of the previous ones.

Inaugurating the newly renovated Green Room 42 this summer are:

  • Natalie Joy Johnson – August 4
  • Austin J. Danza – August 5
  • Nathan Madden & Brenna Yeary – August 12 & 14
  • Liz McCartney – August 20
  • Brett Boles – September 7
  • Paul Iacono – September 7
  • Jodie de Guzman – September 8 & 10
  • Linda Purl – September 11
  • Tanner Callicutt – September 13
  • Daniel Nolen & Billy Recce – September 15
  • Sara Jean Ford – September 22

And finally, the perfect marriage of summer and entertainment lies just 46 miles outside the city on Fire Island, where Daniel Nardicio has reinvigorated the Ice Palace to offer world class performances for fans who don’t want to change out their swimsuits:

  • Broadway Sings Beyonce – August 17
  • Chita Rivera- August 19
  • Patti LuPone – August 26
  • Amber Martin: Bette, Bathhouse & Beyond – August 26

Last modified: August 1, 2023