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    24 Broadway And Off-Broadway Shows To See This Fall

    The Deaf West production of Spring Awakening, Jennifer Hudson's Broadway debut, and so much more.

    1. Whorl Inside a Loop

    Joan Marcus

    Where it's playing: Second Stage at the Tony Kiser Theatre (Off-Broadway)

    When previews begin: Aug. 4 (currently running)

    When it opens: Aug. 27

    What it's about: An accomplished actor (Sherie Rene Scott, who co-wrote the play with Dick Scanlan) gets a group of inmates to share intimate details of their lives so she can help them tell their stories. Meanwhile, her life spirals out of control.

    Why we're excited: The play is based on the real experiences of Scott and Scanlan — and, more importantly, the inmates they visited at New York's Woodbourne Correctional Facility. It's fictionalized, but grounded in an often unexplored reality.

    Buy tickets here.

    2. Spring Awakening

    Kevin Parry

    Where it's playing: Brooks Atkinson Theatre

    When previews begin: Sept. 8

    When it opens: Sept. 27

    What it's about: This revival of the Tony Award–winning 2006 musical follows a group of adolescents trying to comprehend their burgeoning sexual desires amid the repressive atmosphere of late 19th century Germany.

    Why we're excited: It's soon for a revival, but director Michael Arden offers a completely new take on the show with this fully accessible Deaf West production that includes a cast of deaf and hearing performers.

    Buy tickets here.

    3. Daddy Long Legs

    Mark Frohna

    Where it's playing: The Davenport Theatre (Off-Broadway)

    When previews begin: Sept. 10

    When it opens: Sept. 27

    What it's about: Jerusha Abbott (Megan McGinnis) is the oldest orphan at the John Grier Home. Each month she writes a letter to her mysterious benefactor, whom she knows only as Daddy Long Legs, while he pays for her education.

    Why we're excited: This musical has been produced all over the world since its 2009 premiere and is now finally making its New York debut. Composer Paul Gordon (Tony-nominated for Jane Eyre) won an Ovation Award for his score.

    Buy tickets here.

    4. Old Times

    Where it's playing: American Airlines Theatre

    When previews begin: Sept. 17

    When it opens: Oct. 6

    What it's about: Deeley (Clive Owen) and his wife Kate (Kelly Reilly) are visited by a mysterious friend from Kate's past named Anna (Eve Best). Though things start off fine, they soon heat up into a passionate power play among the three.

    Why we're excited: Owen is making his Broadway debut — in Pinter, no less. As an added benefit, we get to see Reilly doing infinitely more than she did on True Detective. Plus: original music by Thom Yorke.

    Buy tickets here.

    5. Barbecue

    Zack DeZon

    Where it's playing: The Public Theater - Newman Theater (Off-Broadway)

    When previews begin: Sept. 22

    When it opens: Oct. 8

    What it's about: The O'Mallery family is gathered for an intervention under the pretense of a barbecue. Although wayward sibling Barbara is supposedly out of control, the whole family begins to collapse over the course of the afternoon.

    Why we're excited: Playwright Robert O'Hara (pictured) earned rave reviews for Bootycandy. Barbecue boasts a great cast including Becky Ann Baker, Kim Wayans, and Constance Shulman (yes, Patti Mayonnaise/Yoga Jones).

    Buy tickets here.

    6. The Gin Game

    Where it's playing: Golden Theatre

    When previews begin: Sept. 23

    When it opens: Oct. 14

    What it's about: In this Pulitzer Prize–winning play, nursing home residents Weller Martin (James Earl Jones) and Fonsia Dorsey (Cicely Tyson) play a series of gin games that develop into heated conversations.

    Why we're excited: Hopefully we'll have many years to see these stars in future shows, but Jones is 84 and Tyson is 90 — and they may want to retire from acting at some point. It would be unwise to pass up their performances in this classic play.

    Buy tickets here.

    7. Eclipsed

    Clemens Bilan / Getty Images
    Jason Merritt / Getty Images

    Where it's playing: The Public Theater - LuEsther Hall (Off-Broadway)

    When previews begin: Sept. 29

    When it opens: Oct. 14

    What it's about: Set during the Liberian Civil War, Eclipsed follows the captive wives of a rebel officer as they struggle to form a tenuous community and determine their own forms of survival.

    Why we're excited: This play from Danai Gurira — yes, you may know her as Michonne from The Walking Dead — first made waves when it premiered at Yale Rep in 2009. Now it's making its off-Broadway debut, and so is Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o.

    Buy tickets here.

    8. First Daughter Suite

    Keystone / Getty Images

    Where it's playing: The Public Theater - Anspacher Theater (Off-Broadway)

    When previews begin: Oct. 6

    When it opens: Oct. 20

    What it's about: Michael John LaChiusa's musical, a follow-up to 1993's First Lady Suite, looks at — you guessed it — the daughters and wives American presidents.

    Why we're excited: The great LaChiusa returns to familiar territory with these frequently forgotten stories. The cast is a cavalcade of incredible female performers: Mary Testa, Barbara Walsh, Caissie Levy, Alison Fraser, and many more.

    Buy tickets here.

    9. Ripcord

    Where it's playing: Manhattan Theatre Club at New York City Center Stage I (Off-Broadway)

    When previews begin: Sept. 29

    When it opens: Oct. 20

    What it's about: In this new comedy by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire, cranky Abby (Holland Taylor) and chipper Marilyn (Marylouise Burke) battle for control of their highly contested room at their assisted living home.

    Why we're excited: Lindsay-Abaire's work is sharp and darkly funny — even Rabbit Hole had laughs. Ripcord should offer much of the same with a great cast that also includes Rachel Dratch and Glenn Fitzgerald.

    Buy tickets here.

    10. Dames at Sea

    Where it's playing: Helen Hayes Theatre

    When previews begin: Sept. 24

    When it opens: Oct. 22

    What it's about: In this parody of '30s Busby Berkeley musicals, newcomer Ruby (Eloise Kropp) arrives from Utah determined to be a Broadway star. She ends up earning a chorus girl gig, just as the theater where she's performing is about to be torn down.

    Why we're excited: Dames at Sea was conceived as a very small off-off-Broadway show — that was the point — so it will be interesting to see how it works on Broadway. Also Lesli Margherita is leaving Matilda for this, so there's that!

    Buy tickets here.

    11. The Humans

    Where it's playing: Roundabout Theatre Company - Laura Pels Theatre (Off-Broadway)

    When previews begin: Sept. 30

    When it opens: Oct. 25

    What it's about: Erik Blake (Reed Birney) brings his Pennsylvania family to his daughter's Manhattan apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving. Strange things start happening — both around and directly to the apartment's inhabitants.

    Why we're excited: Stephen Karam's previous works Sons of the Prophet and Speech & Debate won rightful acclaim. Not to mention this exceptional cast: Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Sarah Steele, Joyce Van Patten, and more.

    Buy tickets here.

    12. Sylvia

    Where it's playing: Cort Theatre

    When previews begin: Oct. 2

    When it opens: Oct. 27

    What it's about: Greg (Matthew Broderick) adopts a new dog, Sylvia (Annaleigh Ashford — yes, playing a dog), who quickly upends his life and disrupts his marriage to Kate (Julie White).

    Why we're excited: A. R. Gurney's play is a hilarious delight. This is its first time on Broadway, and it's hard to imagine a better cast. Ashford, who won a Tony for her performance in You Can't Take It With You, is perfect for the role of Sylvia.

    Buy tickets here.

    13. Thérèse Raquin

    Where it's playing: Studio 54

    When previews begin: Oct. 1

    When it opens: Oct. 29

    What it's about: Thérèse Raquin (Keira Knightley) has resigned herself to a loveless marriage with her husband (and first cousin!) Camille (Gabriel Ebert) when she meets and embarks on an affair with the handsome Laurent (Matt Ryan).

    Why we're excited: Keira Knightley is making her Broadway debut in this play that's been performed since 1873. It's dark and sexy — perfect fare for Studio 54 — and it also stars Judith Light and Matt Ryan (hey, Constantine fans!).

    Buy tickets here.

    14. King Charles III

    Where it's playing: Music Box

    When previews begin: Oct. 10

    When it opens: Nov. 1

    What it's about: The titular King Charles III is the royal currently known as Prince Charles. The play imagines a future in which he takes over the monarchy from his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

    Why we're excited: It's an interesting conceit — and it will be even more fascinating to see how it plays in the U.S. (it premiered in the U.K.). Let's face it, Americans are entranced by the British royal family. See also: The Audience.

    Buy tickets here.

    15. On Your Feet!

    Where it's playing: Marquis Theatre

    When previews begin: Oct. 5

    When it opens: Nov. 5

    What it's about: Gloria and Emilio Estefan are producing this jukebox musical about their love story and their journey to international music stardom — and a whole lot of Grammy Awards.

    Why we're excited: "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You." "Get on Your Feet." "Conga." If you love Gloria Estefan, this show should be a blast. Director Jerry Mitchell, who did Kinky Boots, will bring even more life to the show.

    Buy tickets here.

    16. Allegiance

    Where it's playing: Longacre Theatre

    When previews begin: Oct. 6

    When it opens: Nov. 8

    What it's about: Inspired by George Takei's real-life story, Allegiance has Takei playing Sam Kimura, who flashes back 60 years to his life in an internment camp during World War II.

    Why we're excited: Allegiance premiered in 2012 and is making its long-awaited debut on Broadway, as is Takei, in order to tell his own story. The cast also includes the great Lea Salonga and Telly Leung.

    Buy tickets here.

    17. Hir

    Zack DeZon

    Where it's playing: Playwrights Horizons - Peter Jay Sharp Theater (Off-Broadway)

    When previews begin: Oct. 16

    When it opens: Nov. 8

    What it's about: Isaac (Cameron Scoggins) returns home to the suburbs to find his family falling apart. His mother, Paige (Kristine Nielsen), has enlisted her newly out trans son Max (Tom Phelan) in her battle against the patriarchy.

    Why we're excited: As if that brief plot synopsis doesn't say it all! It's wonderful to see trans issues explored onstage, particularly with an actual trans actor. Tom Phelan, who won acclaim for his role on The Fosters, will do great work here.

    Buy tickets here.

    18. Dada Woof Papa Hot

    Jemal Countess / Getty Images
    Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

    Where it's playing: Lincoln Center at the Mitzi E. Newhouse (Off-Broadway)

    When previews begin: Oct. 15

    When it opens: Nov. 9

    What it's about: An older married couple, Alan and Rob, run into trouble when Alan finds himself attracted to a younger gay dad and worries that his 3-year-old daughter Nicola prefers her other dad.

    Why we're excited: Playwright Peter Parnell has experience raising a daughter as a gay dad — that should bring some very grounded humor to his new play, which stars John Benjamin Hickey, among other fabulous actors.

    Buy tickets here.

    19. Misery

    Where it's playing: Broadhurst Theatre

    When previews begin: Oct. 22

    When it opens: Nov. 15

    What it's about: Romance novelist Paul Sheldon (Bruce Willis) is rescued from a car accident by superfan Annie Wilkes (Laurie Metcalf), who soon reveals herself to be psychotic enough to keep him from leaving her home.

    Why we're excited: Where to begin! William Goldman, who adapted Stephen King's novel for film, has written the play. Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf are pitch-perfect casting. And haven't you ever wanted to see a hobbling up close?

    Buy tickets here.

    20. China Doll

    Where it's playing: Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

    When previews begin: Oct. 21

    When it opens: Nov. 19

    What it's about: Billionaire Mickey Ross (Al Pacino) has bought a new plane for his young fiancée and is about to enter semi-retirement, but not before giving instructions to his assistant (Christopher Denham).

    Why we're excited: It's Pacino doing David Mamet — what more do you need to know?

    Buy tickets here.

    21. School of Rock

    Where it's playing: Winter Garden Theatre

    When previews begin: Nov. 9

    When it opens: Dec. 6

    What it's about: Failed rock star Dewey Finn (Alex Brightman) poses as a substitute teacher at a prep school, where he learns that his fifth-grade students are musically gifted and encourages them to form a rock band.

    Why we're excited: Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote new music for this show, but rest assured the songs from the movie are also included. The longtime home of Mamma Mia! is the perfect venue for another likely crowd-pleaser.

    Buy tickets here.

    22. Lazarus

    Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images
    Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

    Where it's playing: New York Theatre Workshop

    When previews begin: Nov. 18

    When it opens: Dec. 7

    What it's about: Based on the book The Man Who Fell to Earth, which was previously adapted for the screen with David Bowie, Lazarus follows Thomas Newton (Michael C. Hall), an alien who crash-lands on Earth in search of water.

    Why we're excited: Hall channeled his inner Bowie when he took on the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He's a great fit for this production, which features new music composed by Bowie himself.

    Buy tickets here.

    23. The Color Purple

    Where it's playing: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre

    When previews begin: Nov. 10

    When it opens: Dec. 10

    What it's about: Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel by Alice Walker, The Color Purple is the story of Celie and the hardships she faces as she grows up separated from her beloved sister Nettie.

    Why we're excited: Jennifer Hudson is making her Broadway debut in this gorgeous show, which also stars Orange Is the New Black standout (they're all standouts, really) Danielle Brooks. There will be tears when Cynthia Erivo sings "I'm Here."

    Buy tickets here.

    24. Fiddler on the Roof

    Gary Gershoff / Getty Images
    Jemal Countess / Getty Images

    Where it's playing: Broadway Theatre

    When previews begin: Nov. 12

    When it opens: Dec. 17

    What it's about: Poor milkman Tevye (Danny Burstein) and his wife Golde (Jessica Hecht) raise three daughters while struggling to maintain their Jewish tradition in a quickly changing Anatevka.

    Why we're excited: Fiddler on the Roof is a gorgeous and too often underappreciated show. This excellent cast — Burstein and Hecht will be wonderful — and direction from Bartlett Sher should usher in a new era of fans.

    Buy tickets here.


    A previous version of this post listed Fran Kranz as Al Pacino's co-star in China Doll. He was recently replaced by Christopher Denham.


    The title of the upcoming play at the Mitzi E. Newhouse at Lincoln Center is Dada Woof Papa Hot. A previous version of this post misstated the title. Also, Robert O'Hara's play Bootycandy premiered at Playwrights Horizons, not The Public as previously reported.