The 10 best shows to see on Broadway right now

After some 18 months of grim uncertainty, Broadway is – right now – essentially back, with many shows that were shut down by the pandemic now previewing or fully open. (You don’t have to be a Bad fan for footage from the first few minutes of its opening night to put you in the mist.)

Planning your own return to the theater? Below, find a list of the best plays and musicals to see right now.

American Utopia: Open now

American Utopia is based on David Byrne’s 2018 album and concert tour of the same name, the former Talking Heads singer’s first solo work in over a decade. Starring choreography by Annie-B Parson, it challenges the format of a traditional rock show, favoring a more layered storytelling performance instead. Among other things, it has a group of 12 people who move freely and sometimes chaotically on the stage. “It’s part rock concert, part theatrical performance and part intimate exploration of the career of a major artist,” said the show’s production consultant Alex Timbers. Vogue. Byrne added inspiration: “I thought, folks! People on stage! I felt like as human beings when we go to a show that’s what interests us, that it’s the people who really touch us.

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Caroline or Change: currently in preview, opening October 27

Written by Tony Kushner with composer Jeanine Tesori, the semi-autobiographical musical Caroline, or Change– centered on the relationship between a Jewish boy and his family’s dark maid in the Jim Crow South – was last featured on Broadway in 2004, when it earned Tony six nods (including for Best Musical) and a win (for Anika Noni Rose, who played Caroline’s flamboyant daughter, Emmie Thibodeaux). For this iteration, English actress Sharon D Clarke is Caroline, a woman with strong values ​​and strict faith. (Clarke won an Olivier for the role last year.) “Tony Kushner said he wrote Caroline as an African-American maid who felt like a president,” director Michael Longhurst told Danny Leigh in a story for Vogue, “and Sharon has that quality.”

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Supreme Love Freestyle: Open now

Supreme Love Freestyle, the improvised freewheeling rap show directed by Thomas Kail (and featuring a cast that has variously included Utkarsh Ambudkar, Christopher Jackson, Daveed Diggs, James Monroe Iglehart and Lin-Manuel Miranda) caused such a stir during its released to the Booth Theater in late 2019 which he won a Special Tony Award at this year’s ceremony (along with the Broadway Advocacy Coalition and American Utopia) – and returned to Broadway for another limited engagement. “I’m not sure if there’s a show I’ve done that hurts the back of my head – in the best sense of the word – the way that Free style done, ”Kail said Vogue in 2019. “[The cast has] been in each other’s lives and in each other’s faces for a long time, and there’s just something about their energy that still generates some of the purest expressions of joy I’ve ever seen.

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Girl from the north of the country: opening October 13

Designed by director and playwright Conor McPherson from Bob Dylan’s songbook, Girl from the north of the country is located in a Depression-era Minnesota guesthouse, where the lives of its owners and guests dramatically overlap. The show incorporates twenty songs in its narrative fabric, early favorites (such as the song that gives its title to the musical, released in the years 1963 Bob Dylan’s freewheel) to more recent canon entries (1997 “To Make You Feel My Love”, “Duquesne Whistle 2012”). But hymns like “Blowin ‘in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin'” are conspicuously left out: “McPherson gracefully avoids the trap of an investigation into the greatest hits; only three songs on the score date from Dylan’s cultural heyday in the 1960s, and even the most famous have been rearranged, truncated, combined into medleys. Free time‘s Adam Feldman said in his review. “McPherson uses Dylan’s songs as an atmosphere in the broadest sense: they are the air the characters breathe. And when the composure of the musical gains strength, it acquires a piercing cold.

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The Lehman Trilogy: currently in preview, opening October 14

Adam Godley, Simon Russell Beale and Ben Miles. Hair and makeup, Giuseppe Cannas and Moira O’Connell. Session Editor: Tonne Goodman.

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, March 2020

The Lehman Trilogy is the story of Lehman Brothers, from its founding by German emigrants Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman as a cotton factoring company in pre-war Alabama, to its emergence (and its collapse which turned the world upside down in 2008) as an investment bank. It stars Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Adrian Lester, replacing Ben Miles.

In 2020, Sarah Crompton joined the chorus of praise for the play, which sees its protagonists take on a myriad of roles, both major and minor, during the series’ action. “Transformations between different eras and personalities occur without the aid of costume or prop changes,” she wrote. “The three actors, dressed in dark, formal frock coats, give imposing and subtle performances as they lift a collar or bow their heads to become women, children, plantation owners, city tycoons.” (His glass cabinet, by the way, modeled by set designer Es Devlin after a corporate conference room, turns out to be just as modifiable.) Sam Mendes directs.

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Red Mill!: Open now

The song and dance show, based on Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 film of the same name, offers a dizzying glimpse into the glamorous, grainy nightlife of 1890s Paris – a fictionalized world brought to life by lavish settings, fabulous costumes and a soundtrack of hits. by The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

In director Alex Timbers, Luhrmann found the perfect person to adapt one of his most beloved works. “When I saw Bloody bloody Andrew Jackson, I could tell that his aesthetic and the way he told a story – very energetic, very theatrical, ironic but also moving – had some kinship with mine, “Luhrmann said of Timbers in 2019.” And after that I met him, I knew he would have his own interpretation but that he would also understand the language of the film. Their collaboration has been rewarded: Red Mill! won 10 Tonys this fall.

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Six: The Musical: Open now

Actors (far left) Anna Uzele, Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet and Brittney Mack.  Hair, Paul Warren and Justin Arrellano;  makeup, Erica Whelan, Danielle Terry and Celleste Valeanu.

Actors (far left) Anna Uzele, Abby Mueller, Samantha Pauly, Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet and Brittney Mack. Hair, Paul Warren and Justin Arrellano; makeup, Erica Whelan, Danielle Terry and Celleste Valeanu.

Photographed by Paul Wetherell, Vogue, February 2020

In Six: The Musical, from co-composers and lyricists Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Henry VIII’s many wives are fabulously reinvented as a modern day girl group. For just over an hour, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne de Clèves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr each explain why her marriage to the king has been the most unhappy, no matter how it turned out. ended. (You know the old rhyme: divorced, beheaded, dead, divorced, beheaded, survived.) “As unlikely as it sounds,” Sarah Crompton wrote in 2020, “the musical is a tumultuous outburst of spirit that speaks forcefully and dynamically until today.”

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Thoughts of a colored man: currently in preview, opening October 13

Thoughts of a colored man, Keenan Scott II’s lucid and lyrical take on contemporary black manhood, offers a 24-hour snapshot into the lives of seven black men in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. “I feel honored to be at the forefront of a change that I think Broadway is about to see,” Scott told Adam Green earlier this year. “Too often black men are portrayed as monoliths, based on stereotypes and tropes – the superathlete or the supercriminal… With these seven men, I wanted to show the specter of black men’s existence. I wanted to show each of them, and all of us, as a whole. Stars of the play include Dyllón Burnside (Pose), Bryan Terrell Clark (Hamilton) and Tristan Mack Wilds (Thread).

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Tina: The Tina Turner Musical: Open now

With Adrienne Warren, Tina features the first decades of the life and career of this legendary artist, from Turner’s childhood in Tennessee to his abusive relationship with Ike Turner and his hard-earned comeback as a solo artist. Adam Green writes: “While the turmoil of Turner’s life seems quite relevant in this #MeToo era, the heart of Tina, of course, is the extraordinary catalog of songs she made famous from the early 1960s, from “Proud Mary” and “River Deep — Mountain High” to, decades later, “Private Dancer” and ‘What’s Love Got to Do With Ce.’ Corn [director Phyllida Lloyd and book writer Katori Hall] didn’t want to trot the songs like a bigger hit streak to cheer; instead, they use them to move the story forward and amplify its emotions. The show received rave reviews in London and New York, winning Warren a Tony.

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Kill a mockingbird: Open now

Bartlett Sher’s production of Kill a mockingbird, written by Aaron Sorkin, translates the captivating linear narrative of Harper Lee’s 1960 novel into deliberately theatrical terms, including a fractured timeline and a modular ensemble that quickly moves from a bare stage to a porch to a courthouse. Jeff Daniels plays Atticus Finch, a white lawyer whose faith in the law is tested when he defends a (clearly innocent) black man accused of raping a white woman; Celia Keenan-Bolger plays Scout, the daughter of Atticus and the narrator of the novel. (She won a Tony for the role in 2019.) “He’s a small town lawyer who sometimes gets paid in vegetables and he is raising two children on his own,” Daniels said of his character. “He is an optimist who believes in the justice system and that the truth will prevail. And then he walks into the circular saw of this trial and the jury’s racism right hook, and he throws out his prepared statement and makes up his argument on the spot. The audience can watch this guy struggle to find what to say – and he finds it, and it’s pretty good looking.

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Originally appeared on Vogue