What to See on Broadway in February
From a “Cinderella” retelling to a “Sweeney Todd” revival, a rundown of everything you need to know.
What to See
For theatergoers, Broadway offers a rich menu to choose from. Here’s an overview of the productions onstage this month, along with some tips on planning your experience — including how to purchase tickets and navigate Covid-19 protocols.
Between Riverside and Crazy
Hanging onto a rent-stabilized apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is the goal for a retired police officer (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and his recently paroled son (Common) in this Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Directed by Austin Pendleton. (Through Feb. 19 at the Helen Hayes Theater.) Read the review.
Paul Bettany plays Andy Warhol opposite Jeremy Pope as Jean-Michel Basquiat in this new play by Anthony McCarten, which reimagines the unlikely painting partnership that Warhol and Basquiat undertook in the mid-1980s. A hot ticket at the Young Vic Theater in London last year, it’s directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah. (Through Feb. 11 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater.) Read the review.
Take Me Out
When a play wins the Tony for best revival the day after its limited run ends, it’s only right to get the team back together — especially when Jesse Tyler Ferguson, one of its stars, also nabbed a Tony last spring. Be prepared once again to place your phone in a locked pouch at Richard Greenberg’s comedy about a big-name baseball player (Jesse Williams) who comes out as gay: Nudity is plentiful in this production, directed by Scott Ellis. (Through Feb. 5 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater.) Read the review.
Shows to Leave You Humming
A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical
The Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter who gave the world “Sweet Caroline” gets the biomusical treatment in this new show starring Will Swenson in the title role. Directed by Michael Mayer, it has a book by Anthony McCarten, choreography by Steven Hoggett and a well-stocked catalog of hits to draw on. Expect “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Holly Holy” and more. (Onstage at the Broadhurst Theater.) Read the review.
Lea Michele stars as the striving then celebrated entertainer Fanny Brice — opposite a sizzling Ramin Karimloo as her roguish husband, Nick — in the first Broadway revival of this Jule Styne-Bob Merrill musical since Barbra Streisand was a sensation in the role in 1964. Tovah Feldshuh plays Fanny’s mom. With Isobel Lennart’s book newly revised by Harvey Fierstein, Michael Mayer directs. (Onstage at the August Wilson Theater.) Read the review.
Anaïs Mitchell’s jazz-folk musical about the mythic young lovers Eurydice and Orpheus won eight Tonys in 2019, including best musical, and picked up a cult following along the way. With Lillias White’s Hermes as our guide, Rachel Chavkin’s splendidly designed production takes audiences on a glorious road to hell. (Onstage at the Walter Kerr Theater.) Read the review.
In the dose of pure joy that is David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori’s musical, Victoria Clark stars as the teenage Kimberly, who has an aging illness that makes her look like she’s 70-something. She also has a sweet crush (Justin Cooley), disappointing parents (Steven Boyer and Alli Mauzey) and a delightfully ne’er-do-well aunt (Bonnie Milligan). Adapted, beautifully, from Lindsay-Abaire’s play of the same name. (Onstage at the Booth Theater.) Read the review.
The moonwalking Myles Frost won a 2022 Tony Award for his Broadway debut in the title role of this dance-infused Michael Jackson jukebox musical. Its other three Tonys include the choreography prize for Christopher Wheeldon, who also directs. Lynn Nottage wrote the book for the show, which is produced “by special arrangement with” Jackson’s estate. (Onstage at the Neil Simon Theater.) Read the review.
Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond star in Michael Arden’s aurally sumptuous revival of Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s musical drama, based on the true story of Leo Frank, a Jewish New Yorker in 1913 Atlanta railroaded into a conviction, and ultimately lynched, for the murder of a girl who worked at the factory he ran. A hit last fall at New York City Center Encores!, this production uses a book and score much revised since the musical’s 1998 premiere. (Starts previews Feb. 21 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, opens March 16; limited run ends Aug. 6.) Read the Encores! review.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Josh Groban returns to Broadway as the vengeful, throat-slitting barber opposite Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford as the human-meat-pie-baking Mrs. Lovett in Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim’s blood-smeared operetta from 1979. Directed by Thomas Kail (“Hamilton”), with choreography by the wizardly Steven Hoggett, the cast includes Ruthie Ann Miles, who got a Tony for “The King and I,” as the Beggar Woman. (Starts previews Feb. 26 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater, opens March 26.)
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Spoiler alert: At the end of “Romeo and Juliet,” both lovers die. Not so in this musical comedy, which imagines — with an assist from Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife — what happens when Juliet goes on living without her Romeo. Running in London’s West End since 2019, the show has a book by David West Read (“Schitt’s Creek”) and a song list full of pop hits by Max Martin (“… Baby One More Time”). (Onstage at the Stephen Sondheim Theater.) Read the review.
In this fairy tale rethink, Cinderella is no wannabe conformist with her eye on the heir; her best pal is Prince Charming’s awkward little brother. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by David Zippel, the show gets feminist cred from its Academy Award-winning book writer, Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”), and takes its new title — changed from plain “Cinderella” in London — from its earwormiest song. Linedy Genao stars, with Carolee Carmello and Grace McLean in the delicious comic parts of the Stepmother and the Queen. (Starts previews Feb. 17 at the Imperial Theater, opens March 23.) Read the London review.
Tom Stoppard’s elegant, cerebral, Olivier Award-winning saga follows generations of a comfortably assimilated Jewish family in Vienna from the end of the 19th century through the rise of the Nazis to a devastated postwar reckoning. Unusually for Stoppard, the play comes with a heart-wrenching autobiographical twist: a little boy named Leo who escapes the Holocaust for the safety of England, and who might just as well have been called Tom. (Through July 2 at the Longacre Theater.) Read the review.
The half-dozen wives of Henry VIII recount their marriages pop-concert style — divorces, beheadings and all — in Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s upbeat musical, which has an all-female cast and an all-female band. It also now has a 2022 Tony Award for best original score, and another for Gabriella Slade’s instantly iconic costumes. (Onstage at the Lena Horne Theater.) Read the review.
Dramas of Domesticity
A Doll’s House
Jessica Chastain plays Nora Helmer in Amy Herzog’s new adaptation of Ibsen’s 19th-century masterpiece about a woman stifled in her marriage to a man who infantilizes her. With Arian Moayed (“Succession”) as Nora’s husband, Torvald, the production is directed by Jamie Lloyd, a specialist in visually austere, emotionally potent, movie star-centered reinterpretations of classics, like his “Betrayal” with Tom Hiddleston and his “Cyrano de Bergerac” with James McAvoy. (Starts previews Feb. 13 at the Hudson Theater, opens March 9; limited run ends June 4.)
Pictures From Home
Nathan Lane, Zoë Wanamaker and Danny Burstein star in this new play, adapted by Sharr White (“The Snow Geese”) from the California photographer Larry Sultan’s 1992 photo memoir of his parents, Irving and Jean. Bartlett Sher directs. (In previews at Studio 54, opens Feb. 9; limited run ends April 30.)
Silver Screen Favorites, Refashioned
Moulin Rouge! The Musical
For those to whom a Broadway show means spare-no-expense spectacle, this lavishly designed adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie musical is just the ticket. Directed by Alex Timbers — and the winner of 10 Tonys, including best musical — this is a doomed Parisian romance showered with confetti and fireworks, and sung to snippets of no fewer than 70 pop songs. (Onstage at the Al Hirschfeld Theater.) Read the review.
Some Like It Hot
Playing crime witnesses on the lam, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon disguised themselves as women in the 1959 film with Marilyn Monroe. In this musical comedy adaptation, Christian Borle, J. Harrison Ghee and Adrianna Hicks inherit those roles. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, with a book by Matthew López and Amber Ruffin, and music by Marc Shaiman, who wrote the lyrics with Scott Wittman. (Onstage at the Shubert Theater.) Read the review.
Song, dance and extravagant design buoy Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie in this winking stage adaptation of Disney’s 1992 animated film, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw. (Onstage at the New Amsterdam Theater.) Read the review.
The Book of Mormon
A pair of Mormon missionaries seek converts in Uganda in this gleefully profane musical comedy, which returned from the pandemic shutdown altered by its creators — Trey Parker and Matt Stone (“South Park”) and Robert Lopez (“Avenue Q”) — to address cast members’ objections to its depiction of the Ugandan characters. (Onstage at the Eugene O’Neill Theater.) Read the review.
The 1996 revival has long outpaced the original production of Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s dark vaudeville about Roxie Hart, Velma Kelly and all that jazz, but the cast still draws boldface names: currently, Charlotte d’Amboise as Roxie, and through March 12, Jinkx Monsoon (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) in her Broadway debut as Matron “Mama” Morton. (Onstage at the Ambassador Theater.) Read the review.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s game-changing musical-theater phenomenon raps its tale of “the 10-dollar founding father without a father.” Ticket prices are no longer swoon-inducing, but the show’s digital lottery for $10 orchestra seats — 46 at each performance — offers hope of a truly inexpensive way in. (Onstage at the Richard Rodgers Theater.) Read the review.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The saga of the grown-up Harry and his Hogwarts friends continues with the next generation, but now in slimmed-down form. No longer a bulky, two-part marathon experience, John Tiffany’s Tony-winning production returns as a shorter, one-part play yet still boasts stagecraft that will astound Potter fans. (Onstage at the Lyric Theater.) Read the review.
The Lion King
Lush with masks and puppetry, Julie Taymor’s visually extravagant retelling of the Disney animated classic is that rare beast: a high-art spectacle that’s also an enduring commercial blockbuster — 25 years and counting. With a score by Elton John and Tim Rice, additional music by the South African composer Lebo M., and choreography by Garth Fagan. (Onstage at the Minskoff Theater.) Read the review.
The Phantom of the Opera
Ronald Reagan was in the White House when this Andrew Lloyd Webber gothic romance opened on Broadway. The masked Phantom has been haunting the Paris Opera House, smitten with his Christine, ever since. But the final curtain looms for this once seemingly forever show. (Through April 16 at the Majestic Theater.) Read the review.
Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s musical spin on “The Wizard of Oz” has remained a strong draw since 2003. It’s the smash that woke up Broadway producers to the voraciousness of girls as a demographic. For teens, tweens and “Oz” fans of all ages. (Onstage at the Gershwin Theater.) Read the review.
How to Get Tickets
If you’re looking for a deal on a hot-ticket show, you will search in vain. The shows offering discounts may still be in previews (which means critics haven’t yet weighed in) or, having been around a while, are running low on fuel. Still, some excellent productions might be in the mix.
Box Office or Show Site
To guard against the heartbreak of counterfeit tickets, the safest bet is to buy through the show’s website or at the box office. The box office in particular has its advantages — including that you don’t have to pay the hefty service fees that are tacked onto online orders. And if you have a discount code, like the ones sometimes offered on theatermania.com or broadwaybox.com, it should work in person, too. But do check to make sure that the box office is open; prepandemic operating hours may not apply.
The TodayTix app is a trustworthy source for often-discounted Broadway tickets, which users buy online. For some shows, you can choose your exact seats; for others, you pick the general section where you want to sit, and TodayTix assigns your seats. Whether you get barcoded electronic tickets delivered to your device or physical tickets that you pick up at the theater box office depends on the show. The app can also be used for entering some shows’ digital lotteries, which offer the chance to buy cheap tickets if you win, or for finding digital same-day rush tickets.
TKTS, that discount-ticket mainstay of Times Square, sells same-day matinee and evening tickets, as well as next-day matinee tickets, at up to 50 percent off. The satellite booth at Lincoln Center is back open now, too. On the TKTS app, or online at tdf.org/tktslive, you can see in real time which shows are on sale at which location, and what tickets cost. But that doesn’t mean there will be any seats left for the show you want by the time you get up to the window, and you have to buy them in person. (For a few Off Broadway shows, sales are cash only.) Options are most plentiful right after the booths open, but new tickets are released all day, even as curtain time nears, so going later can be lucky, too.
Rush Tickets and More
Many shows, though not the monster hits, offer same-day rush tickets — either at the physical box office or online — for much less than full price. Some also sell standing-room tickets if a show is sold out. Don’t count on lucking into these, because availability varies — but it’s worth a shot. Conveniently, Playbill keeps a running online tab of individual shows’ policies on digital lotteries, rush tickets (sometimes just for students, often for everyone), standing room and other discounts.
Refunds and Exchanges
Don’t bet on them. In the early stages of its reopening, Broadway was eager to reassure ticket buyers with flexible policies on exchanges and cancellations. That is not the case anymore. Buyer beware.
A Note on Bad Weather
Is it cascading from the heavens? That may be your chance to snap up some suddenly available seats at the box office, though be prepared to pay face value. Your odds of winning a ticket lottery are better on days like that, too.
So you’ve got the tickets and you’re eager to see the curtain rise. Here’s what to expect.
As of July 1, 2022, most Broadway theaters dropped their mask mandates for audience members. At nearly all performances of nearly all productions, masks are now optional, albeit “strongly encouraged” by the Broadway League. Before you buy your tickets, check the stated rules — as with so many things in this pandemic, they might change on short notice.
When to Arrive
While some theaters are better than others at getting people through the doors quickly, you don’t have to arrive way in advance to join some enormous line snaking down the sidewalk. If you don’t need to pick up your tickets, it’s generally fine to show up maybe 10 minutes before curtain. Get there earlier if you want to stop in the restroom, where the wait, for women, can be long.
In a Car?
Save yourself the headache and reserve a parking spot through one of a number of apps, such as BestParking, ParkWhiz and SpotHero. Lincoln Center also offers its own reserved parking online. Still, allot more driving time than you think you’ll need, especially during the holidays. Not every show admits tardy arrivals. When they do, latecomers risk taking a walk of shame with an usher — and squeezing into their row in the dark.
Navigating Times Square
One upside to passing through Times Square: plenty of outdoor seating. One downside: the jostling yet torpid mass of humanity you will find yourself a part of. If you must walk through it, single file is the way to go. Elsewhere, at the edge of the theater district, foot traffic on the west side of Eighth Avenue moves faster than on the crowd-clogged east side. Likewise, walking north or south on Sixth Avenue, then west to your theater, can be faster.
Finding Green Space
Bryant Park, one of the loveliest oases in Manhattan, is just one block east of Times Square, on 42nd Street at Sixth Avenue. A picnic-friendly, tree-shaded spot with an expansive lawn (currently covered by a skating rink) and lots of bistro tables around the edges, it’s a relaxing place to catch your breath and, if you want, buy something to eat or drink.
At the Show and After
What to Wear
There is no dress code. If you feel like glamming up, great. If your mood calls for jeans, which a lot of New Yorkers wear to shows, you’ll fit right in, too. Just bring something to toss over your shoulders in case the theater gets cold. And if you’re wearing a hat, be kind to the people behind you. Take it off inside.
A laudably comprehensive, easy-to-navigate website, theatreaccess.nyc, can tell you all you need to know — theater by theater, show by show — about wheelchair access, translations for foreign-language speakers, Covid safety rules and accommodations for people with special visual and auditory needs.
Following a lengthy pandemic prohibition, you’re once again allowed to cap your experience by meeting stars at the stage door post-show and asking them to autograph your Playbill or take a selfie with you. The union Actors’ Equity permits such performer-audience interactions, and backstage tours, too, as long as New York County’s Covid-19 community level remains at green, or low, according to the CDC. If it’s yellow or orange, they’re forbidden. You can check the current status on the CDC’s Covid Data Tracker.
So enjoy, but also remember: Actors aren’t obligated to chat or sign or pose, and sometimes they don’t have time. The performance you just saw is what you bought.