NY Theater June 2016: On and Off the Great White Way

In New York it’s the months of May and June that rock the town’s sizzling theatrical world, with celebrity hosts and coveted trophies honoring the shows and artists that soared throughout the past season. From Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Drama League, Lucille Lortel, and Obie awards on up to the Tonys, the red carpets continue to unfurl. Yet even as the statuettes for 2015-2016 are being handed out, new productions are arriving on the scene—some of which will be scooping up these prizes a year from now.

sean hayes act of god

Take for example the Broadway revival of the fiercely funny An Act of God—starring Sean Hayes of Will and Grace fame as heaven’s head honcho—in previews at the Booth Theatre...or the recently opened Cirque du Soleil Paramour, an unforgettable theatrical event in which lavish spectacles from Hollywood’s Golden Age are intertwined with romance and Cirque’s gorgeously executed feats of physical OMG!

Meanwhile, if you like your theatre al fresco (and free of charge) you’ll want to put the first summer offering at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater, Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female production of The Taming the Shrew, on your must-see list...not just for the airy venue, but for the fine-tuned cast that includes Olivier Award nominee Cush Jumbo (The Good Wife) as Katherina, and Tony and Olivier winner/Oscar nominee Janet McTeer (A Doll’s House; Tumbleweeds) as Petruchio.

And should you be on the market for shows that run the gamut from little kid to grownup, I suggest you turn your attention to Off-Broadway, where the selection is far-reaching and fabulous! Here are some critic- and audience-approved best bets for your theatergoing circle.

For the Wee Ones: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. With its 75 colorful puppets and four magical storylines, this charming production keeps even the youngest in your party enthralled—and don’t be surprised if you’re not as smitten as the kids!

For Grade-Schoolers on Up: Blue Man Group, aka the messiest, craziest, off-the-wall sensory-rocking show in town...nearly 25 years old and counting; and Stomp, where found objects and street chic collide and percussive beats and dynamic dance moves redefine momentum.

For Nostalgia Buffs: I recommend the retro groovy Trip of Love, a time machine joy ride through 1960s music and fashion, covering everything from surf-side shenanigans to the psychedelic scene.

cagney on broadway

Image: Carol Rosegg

For TMC Fans: It’s Cagney, hands down. This new musical bio captures the man behind Tinseltown’s original tough guy antihero from his vaudeville song-and-dance entry into showbiz, to his love-hate relationship with studio magnate Jack Warner, to the love of his life—his wife, Billie. As the title character, Robert Creighton’s channeling of Cagney is a triumph, while the show’s other five actors (who play multiple roles) are outstanding as well.

About the Author

City Guide Theatre Editor Griffin Miller moved to New York to pursue an acting/writing career in the 1980s after graduating magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, she has written for The New York Times, For the Bride, Hotels, and a number of other publications, mostly in the areas of travel and performance arts. An active member of The New York Travel Writers Association, she is also a playwright and award-winning collage artist. In addition, she sits on the board of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Griffin is married to Richard Sandomir, a reporter for The New York Times.

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