Hot Town: New York Summer Theatre

The Beat & The Heat: It’s officially “hot town, summer in the city” season, making now all about slipping into a New York theatre for musicals with “dancing in the street” reputations for cranking up the heat—in air conditioned comfort, of course. My recommendations:

Broadway: On Your Feet! The Gloria & Emilio Estefan Musical; Jersey Boys; Beautiful; School of Rock; Motown; and Kinky Boots...Off-Broadway: Trip of Love; The Marvelous Wonderettes; Stomp!; and  newcomer Spamilton, a savvy little send-up of...(you fill in the blank!).

the cast of beautiful on broadway

The cast of Beautiful. Photo: Zachary Maxwell Sterz 

The Countdown Is On: Did you know that former CIA employee Edward Snowden is appearing Off-Broadway? Okay, you got me, not live—but even on video it’s a nifty little promo point for Privacy, the Public Theater’s new drama starring Daniel Radcliffe, up and running (but only through 8/14). Not that the show—inspired by Snowden’s disclosures and featuring SNL alum Rachel Dratch—needs much help. Rumor has it, this is already a tough ticket to score.

Speaking of the hard score: once they post a closing date, Broadway shows tend to sell out fast. (Just ask anyone angling to see Shuffle Along with Tony winners Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell before its doors slam shut 7/24.) Get cracking for shows bowing out due to limited runs like Fully Committed starring Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, closing 7/31, and An Act of God with Sean Hayes, exiting 9/4. Long-running productions departing to make room for the new crop of fall shows include: Finding Neverland, the charming musical about playwright James M. Barrie’s creation of Peter Pan, leaves on 8/21, while the hit revival of Les Misérables and the Tony-winning Best Play of 2015, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, bid adieu on 9/4.

As for 2015’s groundbreaking Tony-winning musical Fun Home, it’s taking its act (and some actors, including Tony-winner Michael Cerveris) on the road following its final performance 9/10. But do catch it during its last weeks on Broadway if you can—it’s life changing. Plus seeing it in the round at Circle in the Square Theatre makes the experience all the more wonderful.

Cagney by Carol Rosegg

Image: Carol Rosegg

Americana, Big Apple Style: July 4th is in the rear view mirror, but we’ve got some red-white-and-blue hits to ease the heat and humidity. Off-Broadway is being especially kind to us with the ultimate Yankee Doodle Dandy of a show, Cagney, a theatrical bio celebrating stage/screen icon James Cagney. Starring powerhouse performer Robert Creighton in the title role, we’re talking must-see!

Liberty: A Monumental New Musical is another patriotic show (it opened on Independence Day!) that’s generating family-friendly buzz for its entertaining take on the events surrounding the arrival of the Statue of Liberty in New York and how a young French immigrant (Abigail Shapiro) comes to embody the true spirit of the lady in New York Harbor. Extremely timely and, at a fast-paced 80 minutes, this one’s a keeper.

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