Approximate running times are in parentheses. Theaters are in Manhattan unless otherwise noted. Full reviews of current productions, additional listings, showtimes and ticket information are at nytimes.com/theater. A searchable, critical guide to theater is at nytimes.com/events.
Previews and Openings
‘The Box: A Black Comedy’ (in previews; opens on Wednesday) As the city amends its policing policies and settles lawsuits contesting the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactics, relations between officers and many of those living in black and Latino neighborhoods remain strained. Marcus Gardley explores the subject in this satirical play, produced by the Foundry Theater and directed by Seth Bockley, with music by Imani Uzuri. The script follows a father and son — Deadlust and Icarus — as they navigate “the American labyrinth of policing and prisons.” Irondale Center, 85 South Oxford Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, 866-811-4111, thefoundrytheatre.org. (Alexis Soloski)
‘The City of Conversation’ (in previews; opens on May 5) Jan Maxwell will invite audiences to dinner as she portrays Hester Ferris, a famed Washington hostess, in Anthony Giardina’s capital play. Doug Hughes directs a cast that includes Phillip James Brannon and Kristen Bush in this drama, which runs from the Carter presidency to the current administration and pits family loyalties against political ones. Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center, 212-239-6200, lct.org. (Soloski)
‘The Dutchman’ (previews start on Wednesday; opens on May 3) The last play written by LeRoi Jones before he changed his name to Amiri Baraka, this disturbing social satire concerns a black man and a white woman whose subway flirtation soon turns fatal. The National Black Theater and the Classical Theater of Harlem present this 50th-anniversary revival. National Black Theater, 2031 Fifth Avenue, at 125th Street, Harlem, 866-811-4111, nationalblacktheatre.org. (Soloski)
‘The Fabulous Miss Marie’ (in previews; opens on Thursday) The first play in Ed Bullins’s “Musical Structures” trilogy, this drama mirrors the bebop rhythms and syncopations of a jazz combo. Set in 1960s Los Angeles, it concerns a cocktail party where alcohol flows and resentment seethes. Woodie King Jr. directs this New Federal Theater revival with the rather fabulous Tonya Pinkins as the title character and Roscoe Orman as her husband. Castillo Theater, 543 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-941-1234, castillo.org. (Soloski)
‘The Few’ (in previews; opens on May 8) Samuel D. Hunter (“The Whale”) has molded a career writing about life’s disappointed souls and the ways they console themselves. In this play, directed by Davis McCallum and set in Idaho, an editor returns to the failing local paper he founded years ago. Michael Laurence and Gideon Glick reprise the roles they created at the Old Globe in San Diego. Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, at 11th Street, Greenwich Village, 866-811-4111, rattlestick.org. (Soloski)
‘Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging!’ (in previews; opens on May 4) Whether it’s the treadmill in “Kinky Boots” or the trapeze in “Pippin,” it’s hard not to see certain sequences on Broadway and wonder: “What would ‘Forbidden Broadway’ do with/to this?” After a 10-month hiatus, Schadenfreude-prone theatergoers need wonder no more. Gerard Alessandrini has at those shows and several other newcomers in his latest incarnation. Expect some playful jabs at “Rocky,” “Aladdin,” “The Sound of Music Live!” and “Bullets Over Broadway.” Davenport Theater, 354 West 45th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Eric Grode)
‘Here Lies Love’ (in previews; reopens on Thursday) This invigorating poperetta, conceived by David Byrne and returning to the Public Theater for an open-ended run, sets a new standard for audience participation. Or do I mean coercion? In this heady show about the heady life of Imelda Marcos, staged with infinite inventiveness by Alex Timbers, all the world’s a dance floor, and all the men and women (including the audience) merely disco rats (1:30). Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, (212) 967-7555, publictheater.org. (Ben Brantley)
‘An Octoroon’ (in previews; opens on May 4) The playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (“Appropriate”) adapts Dion Boucicault’s celebrated and controversial 1859 melodrama. Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins spikes this plantation tale of murder, inheritance and miscegenation with contemporary questions and sensibilities. Directing this “old-fashioned, meta-melodrama” for Soho Rep is Sarah Benson, the company’s artistic director. An exploding steamboat is promised. Soho Rep, 46 Walker Street at Broadway, TriBeCa, 866-811-4111, sohorep.org. (Soloski)
‘Red-Eye to Havre de Grace’ (in previews; opens on Wednesday) Edgar Allan Poe believed that the death of a beautiful woman “is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” But for his latest work, the writer-director Thaddeus Phillips has selected the death of an unbeautiful man — Poe himself. This “action-opera” charts Poe’s final lecture tour, with music by the Minneapolis theater-music group Wilhelm Bros. Co. New York Theater Workshop, 79 East 4th Street, East Village, 212-279-4200, nytw.org. (Soloski)
‘The Rivals’ (in previews; opens on May 4) When Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s play debuted in 1775, a newspaper noted “the hisses of the auditors” and declared it “a most fatal disappointment.” Sheridan rewrote it, and now the Pearl Theater Company is reviving it, with Hal Brooks directing this tale of a young woman determined to marry for love and into poverty. Pearl Theater, 555 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-563-9261, pearltheatre.org. (Soloski)
‘Sea Marks’ (in previews; opens on May 5) Remote Irish islands may be great places to fish, but they’re lousy locales for dating. So when Colm, a skilled angler and undiscovered poet, meets Timothea, who works in a publishing house, at a wedding, he attempts a move from shore to city. The Irish Repertory Theater’s producing director, Ciaran O’Reilly, revives this seaside love story, which stars Patrick Fitzgerald and Xanthe Elbrick. 132 West 22nd Street, Chelsea, 212-727-2737, irishrep.org. (Soloski)
‘The Substance of Fire’ (in previews; opens on Sunday) With strong-arm tactics from online booksellers and declining interest from readers, this is hardly a golden age of publishing. But it may be a fine time for a revival of Jon Robin Baitz’s 1991 play, which concerns a foundering literary house. Second Stage hosts Trip Cullman’s restaging, with John Noble as the imperiled patriarch and Halley Feiffer, Daniel Eric Gold and Carter Hudson as his children. Second Stage Theater, 305 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 212-246-4422, 2st.com. (Soloski)
‘Too Much Sun’ (previews start on Thursday; opens on May 18) Medea is one woman who won’t be receiving a Mother’s Day card. Neither, perhaps, will Audrey Langham, an actress preparing the role. In this Nicky Silver comedy, directed by Mark Brokaw, Audrey (Linda Lavin) flees rehearsal only to be rebuffed by her adult daughter (Jennifer Westfeldt). Will Ms. Lavin, who had a recent success with Mr. Silver’s “The Lyons,” roar again? Vineyard Theater, 108 East 15th Street, 212-353-0303, vineyardtheatre.org. (Soloski)
★ ‘Act One’ Playing the theater addict and artisan Moss Hart in James Lapine’s loving adaptation of Hart’s memoir, Tony Shalhoub and Santino Fontana brim contagiously with passion for that endangered religion called the Theater. If the lively, overblown production surrounding them isn’t on their level, their shimmering performances (Mr. Shalhoub is also priceless as Hart’s mentor, George S. Kaufman) are reason to celebrate (2:40). Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lincoln Center, 212-239-6200, lct.org. (Brantley)
★ ‘After Midnight’ The stars of this tribute to the Harlem jazz clubs of the 1920s and ’30s are the 16 virtuosic musicians who perform — with verve, style and a good splash of sheer joy — about 25 songs from the period, with a special emphasis on Duke Ellington both as composer and arranger. The dancers and singers are terrific, and Adriane Lenox all but steals the show with her two lowdown numbers. But it’s really the Jazz at Lincoln Center All Stars on the bandstand at the back of the stage who shine brightest (1:30). Brooks Atkinson Theater, 256 West 47th Street, 212-745-3000, ticketmaster.com. (Charles Isherwood)
‘Aladdin’ Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”) directs and choreographs (and choreographs, and choreographs) the latest Disney musical, adapted from the 1992 animated movie. While the familiar formulas are not entirely abandoned, Mr. Nicholaw and the book writer, Chad Beguelin, stuff so much splashy, shticky business into this show that the more syrupy bits hardly register. James Monroe Iglehart stands out as the showboating, scene-stealing genie (2:20). New Amsterdam Theater, 214 West 42nd Street, 866-870-2717, aladdinthemusical.com. (Isherwood)
‘All the Way’ Bryan Cranston makes a commanding Broadway debut as Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s mostly absorbing drama about the tumultuous first year of the Johnson presidency. The play, directed by Bill Rauch, sorely needs streamlining, but Mr. Cranston’s dynamic performance gives it a compelling center (2:50). Neil Simon Theater, 250 West 52nd Street, 800-745-3000, allthewaybroadway.com. (Isherwood)
‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’ This friendly, formulaic jukebox show about the New York-born singer-songwriter might as well be called “Brooklyn Girl,” so closely does it adhere to the template of the megahit “Jersey Boys” (about the Four Seasons). Jessie Mueller, though, is extraordinary as Ms. King, making us feel the connection between a singer and her songs (2:25). Stephen Sondheim Theater, 124 West 43rd Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Ben Brantley)
‘The Bridges of Madison County’ As a questioning farmer’s wife who briefly discovers a love with all the answers, Kelli O’Hara brings a rich and varied topography to what might have been strictly flat corn country. Adapted from Robert James Waller’s best-selling novel, this musical features a sumptuous score by Jason Robert Brown and a lust-worthy leading man in Steven Pasquale (2:30). Gerald Schoenfeld Theater, 236 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Brantley)
‘Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical’ This occasionally funny but mostly just loud adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1994 film, directed by Susan Stroman, features a score of 1920s standards and esoterica. If watching the movie was like being gently tickled into a state of hysteria, this musical version feels more like being head-butted by linebackers. Make that linebackers in blinding sequins (2:30). St. James Theater, 246 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Brantley)
‘Casa Valentina’ A gentle magic whispers amid the speechifying of Harvey Fierstein’s prolix play about cross-dressing in the Catskills in the early 1960s. Directed with ripples of beauty by Joe Mantello, and featuring a first-rate cast, this production has the heaviness of an old-fashioned message drama. But it captures the blessed consummation that occurs for ordinary men transformed into women (2:15). Samuel J. Friedman Theater, 261 West 47th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Brantley)
★ ‘The Cripple of Inishmaan’ Michael Grandage’s splendid production of Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy from 1996 is a ringing testament to the talents of everyone involved. That includes its star, Daniel Radcliffe, who plays a misshapen boy from rural Ireland with Hollywood dreams; an unimpeachable ensemble; and, most important, Mr. McDonagh, whose spellbinding narrative powers have seldom been so alluringly displayed (2:20). Cort Theater, 138 West 48th Street, 212-239-6200, crippleofinishmaan.com. (Brantley)
★ ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’ Playing eight different victims of a sweet-faced killer (Bryce Pinkham) in Edwardian England, Jefferson Mays sings, dances, prances and generally makes infectious merriment in this daffy, ingenious new musical. Written with real wit by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, the show has been stylishly directed by Darko Tresnjak (2:20). Walter Kerr Theater, 219 West 48th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Isherwood)
★ ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ Though he plays an “internationally ignored song stylist” of undefinable gender in John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s 1998 rock musical, Neil Patrick Harris is in full command of what he becomes here. That’s a bona fide Broadway star, who can rule an audience with the blink of a sequined eyelid. Michael Mayer directed this mightily entertaining exercise in crowd control (1:30). Belasco Theater, 111 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Brantley)
‘If/Then’ This new musical from Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (“Next to Normal”) is a gleaming drawing board of a show, full of polished surfaces and clearly drawn lines. The shiny-voiced Idina Menzel portrays a conflicted urban planner pondering two different roads her life might have taken. The show feels less like a variation on a theme, than a dogged reiteration of it (2:35). Richard Rodgers Theater, 226 West 46th Street, 877-250-2929, ifthenthemusical.com. (Brantley)
★ ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill’ Audra McDonald scales her lustrous soprano down to jazz-soloist size to portray the great Billie Holiday in this concert-cum-solo-play by Lanie Robertson. Ms. McDonald’s terrific performance moves beyond mimicry to become a haunting portrait of a troubled artist who could only find equilibrium in her life when she lost herself in her music (1:30). Circle in the Square, 235 West 50th Street, 212-239-620, telecharge.com. (Isherwood)
‘Les Misérables’ It’s back — again. Capitalizing on the popular movie, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil’s musical about the French fellow who steals a loaf of bread and lives to regret it storms Broadway in a new production. Ramin Karimloo, as the long-suffering bread-stealer, and Will Swenson, as his relentless foe, Javert, give sterling performances (2:50). Imperial Theater, 249 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Isherwood)
‘Mothers and Sons’ In this impeccably acted production about the legacy of AIDS, Terrence McNally uses the old-fashioned form of the drawing room drama to take pulse of a gay American subculture. It doesn’t avoid the stasis of most debate plays. But it features affecting moments from Frederick Weller, Bobby Steggert and the formidable Tyne Daly (1:30). John Golden Theater, 252 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Brantley)
‘Of Mice and Men’ In Anna D. Shapiro’s respectable, respectful and generally inert revival of John Steinbeck’s classic portrait of a friendship, James Franco and Chris O’Dowd are the immortal itinerant farmhands George and Lenny. These two undeniably talented screen stars here wear their archetypes like armor. The competent cast includes Leighton Meester as the woman who destroys their lives (2:20). Longacre Theater, 220 West 48th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Brantley)
★ ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ Despite the presence of a movie megastar, Denzel Washington, in a central role, Kenny Leon’s disarmingly relaxed revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s epochal drama has a welcome egalitarianism. This engrossingly acted ensemble piece makes us newly aware of one family’s dynamics. The very good cast also includes LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anika Noni Rose and Sophie Okonedo (2:40). Ethel Barrymore Theater, 243 West 47th Street, 212-239-6200, raisinbroadway.com. (Brantley)
★ ‘The Realistic Joneses’ Plays as moving and funny, as wonderful and weird as Will Eno’s meditation on the confounding business of being alive (and contemplating mortality) do not come along often on Broadway. Or ever. Sam Gold directs a flawless cast: Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Marisa Tomei (1:30). Lyceum Theater, 149 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Isherwood)
‘Rocky’ The final 16 minutes of this adaptation of the 1976 movie — about a schlemiel who coulda been a contender — are terrific. That’s when the climactic boxing match occurs, and it’s a hell of a fight. Otherwise, this sluggish show’s sensibility isn’t just underdog; it’s hangdog. Alex Timbers directs a cast that includes the valiant and appealing Andy Karl (2:20). Winter Garden Theater, 1634 Broadway, at 50th Street, 212-239-6200, rockybroadway.com. (Brantley)
‘The Velocity of Autumn’ The great Estelle Parsons breathes comic life into Eric Coble’s low-key but likable two-character play about an embattled 79-year-old painter who threatens to blow up her brownstone if her children insist on her leaving it. Stephen Spinella plays the son called in to calm the waters (1:30). Booth Theater, 222 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Isherwood)
★ ‘Violet’ This terrific, heart-stirring revival of Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s musical follows a young woman from the South who hopes a faith healer can cure the facial scar that has blighted her adolescence. Sutton Foster gives a moving, career-redefining performance in the title role, with nary a tap shoe in sight (1:45). American Airlines Theater, 227 West 42nd Street, 212-719-1300, roundabouttheatre.org. (Isherwood)
‘Annapurna’ In Sharr White’s two-hander, Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman portray a long-divorced couple suddenly reunited when she shows up at his trailer in the mountains of Colorado wanting to rehash their troubled marital history. Engaging performances cannot quite mask the play’s resemblance to a scruffier version of a Lifetime television movie (1:30). Acorn Theater at Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, thenewgroup.org. (Isherwood)
★ ‘Bayside! The Musical’ Attending this bawdy, ridiculous, unauthorized parody of the harebrained sitcom “Saved by the Bell” is a bit like going to a midnight screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” given the many inside jokes and synchronized audience responses. Audience members know the material so well because half the humor comes from merely reproducing every ludicrous plot twist and trope from the TV show (including Zack’s giant cellphone, Becky the Duck and other allusions that will be familiar to longtime fans). The other half of the humor is just good-old fashioned raunch, usually playing up the horrifying ways to reinterpret a squeaky-clean children’s show (2:00). Theater 80, 80 St. Marks Place, East Village, 212-388-0388, baysidethemusical.com. (Catherine Rampell)
‘Bill W. and Dr. Bob’ Making the story of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous 99 percent preachiness-free is quite an accomplishment. Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey’s purpose-driven script, which never forgets the humor of the human experience, goes a long way toward making this a satisfying revival (2:15). SoHo Playhouse, 15 Van Dam Street, South Village, 866-811-4111, sohoplayhouse.com. (Anita Gates)
★ ‘Buyer & Cellar’ Jonathan Tolins has concocted an irresistible one-man play from the most peculiar of fictitious premises — an underemployed Los Angeles actor goes to work in Barbra Streisand’s basement — allowing the playwright to ruminate with delicious wit and perspicacity on the solitude of celebrity, the love-hate attraction between gay men and divas, and the melancholy that lurks beneath narcissism. Stephen Brackett directs this seriously funny slice of absurdist whimsy (1:30). Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow Street, at Seventh Avenue South, West Village, 212-868-4444, smarttix.com. (David Rooney)
‘Cougar the Musical’ Three older women find themselves attracted to younger men, two against their better judgment. The concept seems made for bus tours, but imagination, appealing numbers with original melodies and theme-transcending jokes lift this show well above the level of “Menopause: The Musical” and its ilk (1:30). Saturdays only. St. Luke’s Theater, 308 West 46th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Gates)
‘Cuff Me: The Fifty Shades of Grey Musical Parody’ What can I possibly say that isn’t said by the title of this production? Here’s one thing: It’s not exactly great theater, but I’d still rather see “Cuff Me” than read the novel upon which it’s based (1:30). Actors Temple Theater, 339 West 47th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Claudia La Rocco)
★ ‘50 Shades! The Musical’ When it comes to potential for satire, E. L. James’s she-porn best seller “50 Shades of Grey” seems as easy a target as you could shake a sex toy at. That said, this exuberant takeoff handily delivers the goods, barreling along with a score steeped in show tunes, R&B, gospel, Gilbert and Sullivan, and lyrics packed with references to various practices and orifices. “This is real life; this isn’t a book,” says Ana, the show’s heroine, to her tycoon suitor. “If it was, it would be terrible.” It certainly would. But “50 Shades!” is a musical parody, and a very entertaining one (1:30). Elektra Theater, 300 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 212-352-3101, 50shadesthemusical.com. (Andy Webster)
‘Heathers: The Musical’ Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s rowdy guilty-pleasure musical isn’t as mordant as the 1988 cult movie that inspired it. But in scaling up the grotesqueness, this sardonically grisly high-school revenge comedy puts a genial, guilt-quelling distance between its onstage mayhem and its audience. The excellent Barrett Wilbert Weed plays the ambivalent heroine (2:10). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, heathersthemusical.com. (Brantley)
★ ‘The Heir Apparent’ David Ives’s scintillating, exuberantly bawdy adaptation of a rarely seen play by Jean-François Regnard receives a stylish, endlessly entertaining production from John Rando. Carson Elrod shines as a wily servant scrambling to secure an inheritance for his master from an ailing miser, played with exuberant repulsiveness by Paxton Whitehead. It’s a hoot from start to finish (2:15). Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street, East Village, 212-352-3101, classicstage.org. (Isherwood)
‘Holy Land’ In its opening scenes, this drama by the Algerian writer Mohamed Kacimi, set in disputed territories, suggests how ordinary people might make sense of such extraordinarily brutal circumstances. But soon incident and symbol pile on and the play’s themes grow crushingly obvious as the script subs in tawdry violence for trenchant thought (1:10). Here, 145 Avenue of the Americas, at Dominick Street, South Village, 212-352-3101, here.org. (Soloski)
‘iLuminate’ More spectacle than story, “iLuminate” offers technology as its most dazzling star. Conceived, produced and directed by Miral Kotb, a former software engineer, the show employs about a dozen talented, indefatigable young actor-dancers, encased in black suits wired with digitally controlled lights. Performing in total darkness to a score combining hip-hop, jazz and classical influences, they portray the tale of an artist whose magic paintbrush is stolen for evil ends. Much of the action is like a neon comic book, but it does have its magic moments (:55). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, iluminate.com. (Laurel Graeber)
★ ‘King Lear’ In Arin Arbus’s thoughtful and affecting production, Shakespeare’s most daunting play lowers its voice, the better to be heard more clearly. Starring Michael Pennington in a delicate portrait of the title monarch, Ms. Arbus’s “Lear” tones down the bluster, and makes it clear that this portrait of majesty undone is as much a heart-wrenching domestic drama as an epic tragedy (3:05). Polonsky Shakespeare Center, 262 Ashland Place, between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, 866-811-4111, tfana.org. (Brantley)
‘The Most Deserving’ Catherine Trieschmann’s frisky but inconsequential comedy about a kerfuffle in Kansas over an arts grant features the distinctive comic actress Veanne Cox, who leads a fine cast. But the play’s contrivances are hard to ignore (1:30). City Center, 131 West 55th Street, Manhattan, 212-581-1212, nycitycenter.org. (Isherwood)
★ ‘Murder for Two’ After a successful run at Second Stage Uptown, this show is now at another Off Broadway space, New World Stages. In this nifty mystery musical comedy by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, a virtuosic Jeff Blumenkrantz plays all the suspects, and Brett Ryback the investigating officer. The actors also provide the music, taking turns at the piano, under Scott Schwartz’s fleet direction (1:30). 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Isherwood)
‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’ In this Charles Ludlam play, revived by Red Bull Theater, two stalwart actors (Arnie Burton and Robert Sella) shift gowns, trousers, fezzes and the occasional wooden leg faster than laws of space and time would seem to permit. Though their repartee seems regulated and practiced, a scene set in an Egyptian tomb achieves divine lunacy (2:00). Lucille Lortel Theater, 121 Christopher Street, West Village, 212-352-3101, redbulltheater.com. (Soloski)
‘Our God’s Brother’ The Storm Theater and Blackfriars Repertory Theater celebrate Karol Wojtyla, later known as Pope John Paul II, with a revival of his 1949 drama concerning Adam Chmielowski (Jed Peterson), a Polish religious brother. Though the play offers a series of sensitive moral arguments, it is more adept at philosophical inquiry than theatrical force (1:30). Theater of the Church of Notre Dame, 405 West 114th Street, Morningside Heights, 212-868-4444, stormtheatre.com. (Soloski)
★ ‘Satchmo at the Waldorf’ John Douglas Thompson does a remarkable job impersonating the aging Louis Armstrong in this one-man show, written by The Wall Street Journal’s drama critic, Terry Teachout. While Armstrong’s reminiscences cover the bases of his life, the show is most interesting in its examination of the racial and generational divides this jazz giant straddled. Two other portraits, ably conveyed by Mr. Thompson, also loom large: Armstrong’s longtime manager, Joe Glaser, and the towering trumpeter Miles Davis (1:30). Westside Theater, 407 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com. (Webster)
‘Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man’ Matt Murphy’s one-act is a blend of a bachelorette party at Chippendales and the embarrassing midnight show at some tourist trap in Pigalle. It has a talented cast, but it is no “Queer Eye” (1:20). 777 Theater, 777 Eighth Avenue, at 47th Street, Manhattan, 888-841-4111, sextipsplay.com. (Gates)
‘La Soirée’ The side show meets the big top in this naughty hybrid of burlesque and circus, featuring performers like the comic chanteuse Meow Meow and a waterlogged hunk taking a very gymnastic bath (2:00). Union Square Theater, 100 East 17th Street, 800-653-8000, ticketmaster.com. (Isherwood)
‘The Threepenny Opera’ Martha Clarke’s pretty-looking but pallid production of this Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill music drama lacks bite, despite a sterling cast, including F. Murray Abraham as Mr. Peachum and Laura Osnes (who sings beautifully) as his daughter, Polly (2:05). Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street, Chelsea, 866-811-4111, atlantictheater.org. (Isherwood)
‘Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra’ An odd title for an odd play by Kirk Lynn about various forms of intimacy, sexual and otherwise. A couple (Zoë Sophia Garcia and Chris Stack) decide to re-enact each other’s sexual history before they get married (2:10). Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-279-4200, ticketcentral.com. (Isherwood)
Off Off Broadway
★ ‘The Mysteries’ Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, a savvy and ambitious young director, has commissioned more than 40 playwrights to condense the Old and New Testaments into a five-and-a-half hour event, both gratifying and grueling. An enthusiastic 53-member cast works from the first light to the Last Judgment, with a vegan meal served in between (5:30). Flea Theater, 41 White Street, TriBeCa, 866-811-4100, theflea.org. (Soloski)
‘Thank You for Being a Friend’ This shrill, frantic musical drag parody of “The Golden Girls” — one of the best-written and -acted sitcoms of the 1980s and ’90s — is so raunchy, overwrought and redolent with misogyny, it would be hard to call it affectionate (1:30). Laurie Beechman Theater, inside the West Bank Cafe, 407 West 42nd Street, Clinton, 212-352-3101, SpinCycleNYC.com. (Webster)
★ ‘Then She Fell’ Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s “Alice” books, this transporting immersive theater work occupies a dreamscape where the judgments and classifications of the waking mind are suspended. A guided tour of Wonderland, created by Third Rail Projects, leads its participants through a series of rooms and an interactive evening of dance, poetry, food and drink (2:00). The Kingsland Ward at St. John’s, 195 Maujer Street, near Humboldt Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-374-5196, thenshefell.com. (Brantley)
‘Amaluna’ Written and directed by the Tony-winning Diane Paulus (“Pippin”), this latest Cirque du Soleil extravaganza is based ever so vaguely on “The Tempest,” with a twist: the magical island is ruled by women. While the display of female strength (as in biceps and triceps and quads, oh my) is a lovely thing, the show is just another giant machine of a spectacle (2:30). Citi Field, Parking Lot C, 126th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, Queens, 800-450-1480, cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna. (La Rocco)
‘Queen of the Night’ The latest and most lavish of this city’s immersive theater experiments includes cocktails, a meal and a circus-style floor show, in addition to any number of possible intimate, eroticism-tinged (but PG-13) encounters with the comely young cast members. The show is not for the social anxiety-prone, but full of gaudy spectacle, with a fin-de-Bloomberg-era vibe (2:45). Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel, 235 West 46th Street, Manhattan, 866-811-4111, queenofthenightnyc.com. (Isherwood)
‘Avenue Q’ R-rated puppets give lively life lessons (2:15). New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘The Berenstain Bears Live! In Family Matters, the Musical’ This adaptation of three of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s children’s books is pleasant enough, but the cubs are showing their age. Saturdays and Sundays (:55). Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, 5 West 63rd Street, 866-811-4111, berenstainbearslive.com.
‘Black Angels Over Tuskegee’ The tear-jerker story of these trailblazing African-American pilots (2:30). (Saturdays only.) Actors Temple Theater, 339 West 47th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
Blue Man Group Conceptual art as entertainment (1:45). Astor Place Theater, 434 Lafayette Street, East Village, 800-258-3626, ticketmaster.com.
‘The Book of Mormon’ Singing, dancing, R-rated missionaries proselytize for the American musical (2:15). Eugene O’Neill Theater, 230 West 49th Street, 800-432-7250, telecharge.com.
‘Chicago’ Jazz Age sex, murder and razzle-dazzle (2:25). Ambassador Theater, 219 West 49th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘Doña Flor y Sus Dos Maridos’ A Spanish-language adaptation (“Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands,” in English) of Jorge Amado’s novel, a sex farce with the clarity and logic of a folk tale and the spirit of a party (1:40). Repertorio Español at Gramercy Arts Theater, 138 East 27th Street, 212-225-9920, repertorioespanol.com.
‘En el Tiempo de las Mariposas’ Caridad Svich’s Spanish-language adaptation of Julia Álvarez’s novel (“In the Time of the Butterflies”) about the Mirabal sisters, who opposed the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo and died as a result (2:00). Runs in repertory at Repertorio Español at Gramercy Arts Theater, 138 East 27th Street, 212-225-9999, repertorio.org/mariposas.
‘The Fantasticks’ Boy meets girl, forever (2:05). Snapple Theater Center, 210 West 50th Street, 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.
‘Jersey Boys’ The biomusical that walks like a man (2:30). August Wilson Theater, 245 West 52nd Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘Kinky Boots’ These boots are made for dancin’ (and stompin’ out bigotry) (2:20). Al Hirschfeld Theater, 302 West 45th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘The Lion King’ Disney’s call of the wild (2:45). Minskoff Theater, 200 West 45th Street, 800-870-2717, ticketmaster.com.
‘Mamma Mia!’ The jukebox musical set to the disco throb of Abba (2:20). Broadhurst Theater, 235 West 44th Street, 800-432-7259, telecharge.com.
‘Matilda the Musical’ The children’s revolution, per Roald Dahl (2:35). Shubert Theater, 225 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘Motown: The Musical’ A dramatically slapdash but musically vibrant joy ride through the glory days of the Detroit music label founded by Berry Gordy (2:40). Lunt-Fontanne Theater, 205 West 46th Street, 877-250-2929, ticketmaster.com.
‘Newsies’ Extra! Extra! enthusiasm (2:20). Nederlander Theater, 208 West 41st Street, 866-870-2717, newsiesthemusical.com.
‘Once’ Almost love, in a singing Dublin (2:15). Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 242 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘Perfect Crime’ The murder mystery that has been investigated since 1987 (1:30). Snapple Theater Center, 210 West 50th Street, 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.
‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Who was that masked man anyway? (2:30). Majestic Theater, 247 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘Pippin’ Making love and war, with music, under the big top (2:35). Music Box Theater, 239 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘Rock of Ages’ Big hair, thrashing guitars and inspired humor fuel this jukebox musical (2:25). Helen Hayes Theater, 240 West 44th Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ The ultimate makeover story, restyled for a red-carpet age (2:20). Broadway Theater, 1681 Broadway, at 53rd Street, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘Sistas: The Musical’ Black women reflect on their lives, with songs (1:30). (Saturdays and Sundays.) St. Luke’s Theater, 308 West 46th Street, Clinton, 212-239-6200, telecharge.com.
‘Sleep No More’ A movable, murderous feast at Hotel Macbeth (2:00). The McKittrick Hotel, 530 West 27th Street, Chelsea, 866-811-4111, sleepnomorenyc.com.
‘Stomp’ And the beat goes on (and on), with percussion unlimited (1:30). Orpheum Theater, 126 Second Avenue, at Eighth Street, East Village, 800-982-2787, ticketmaster.com.
‘Wicked’ Oz revisited (2:45). Gershwin Theater, 222 West 51st Street, 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com.
‘Adoration of the Old Woman’ (closes on Sunday) Directed by Patricia McGregor, José Rivera’s drama uses the micro (family ghosts, turbulent love triangles) to explore the macro (Puerto Rico’s future), but the layers never quite stack up to a sufficiently complex world (2:00). Intar Theater, 500 West 52nd Street, Clinton, 212-352-3101, intartheatre.org. (La Rocco)
★ ‘Isolde’ (closes on Saturday) This smashing new play about a romantic triangle, from the experimental auteur Richard Maxwell, takes place, more or less, in a drawing room. But working with a highly disciplined cast of four, Mr. Maxwell encourages us to see a hoary theatrical form with X-ray eyes — to look for the plasterboard behind the wallpaper and the skull beneath the skin (1:25). Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street, at Pitt Street, Lower East Side, 212-352-3101, abronsartscenter.org. (Brantley)
‘The Library’ (closes on Sunday) Making his debut on the New York stage, the film director Steven Soderbergh floods the opening minutes of Scott Z. Burns’s new play, about a high school massacre, with toxic dread. Unfortunately, what follows has such bluntness that the audience stays well ahead of the script. The young movie star Chloë Grace Moretz is terrific as an injured, guilt-plagued student (1:30). Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, at Astor Place, East Village, 212-967-7555, publictheater.org. (Brantley)
★ ‘London Wall’ (closes on Saturday) John van Druten’s lively 1931 office comedy is a provocative, socially conscious bit of fun that never made it to Broadway, even in an era when many of his plays did. Watching Davis McCallum’s brisk, pitch-perfect production feels like stumbling across a lost film classic by Howard Hawks: How did this fresh and fizzy thing fall into obscurity (2:30)? Mint Theater, 311 West 43rd Street, Clinton, 866-811-4111, minttheater.org. (Collins-Hughes)
‘The Norwegians’ (closes on Sunday) There is every chance that C. Denby Swanson wrote this odd, dark, profane comedy — about really sweet Scandinavian hit men in Minnesota and the young women who hire them — after falling asleep during “Fargo.” But this low-budget guilty pleasure delivers solid laughs while making fun (in mostly nice ways) of various ethnicities and American states (1:30). Drilling Company Theater, 236 West 78th Street, 212-868-4444, smarttix.com. (Gates)
‘A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity’ and ‘Clean’ (closes on Sunday) The Traverse Theater Company of Edinburgh presents this brisk double bill, directed by Orla O’Loughlin, as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival. An errant crudity is the catalyst for friendship between a coarse young working-class man and his late employer’s widow in “A Respectable Widow Takes to Vulgarity,” Douglas Maxwell’s sneakily thoughtful comedy of manners. Less successful is Sabrina Mahfouz’s “Clean,” a curiously static crime caper, in which three London women team up to steal a computer chip (1:50). 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street, 212-279-4200, 59e59.org. (Collins-Hughes)
‘Tales From Red Vienna’ (closes on Sunday) David Grimm’s play, about a gentlewoman (Nina Arianda) forced to work as a prostitute, is not only set in 1920, but it also feels like a throwback to that era, in which melodramas showed good women in hard times suffering fates worse than death. Ms. Arianda, so compelling in “Venus in Fur,” is out of her element (2:25). Manhattan Theater Club at City Center Stage I, 131 West 55th Street, Manhattan, 212-581-1212, nycitycenter.org. (Brantley)
‘Ubu Sings Ubu’ If feeling a stranger’s bare buttocks pressed into your upper back is more than you’re willing to risk for an evening of theater, think carefully before deciding to see this show, starring Tony Torn and the performance artist Julie Atlas Muz. But do consider it. Loud, inspired and more than a little deranged, it mixes Alfred Jarry’s scatological “Ubu Roi” with songs written by the experimental rock band Pere Ubu. And it works (1:30). Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street, at Pitt Street, Lower East Side, 212-352-3101, abronsartscenter.org. (Collins-Hughes)
‘The World Is Round’ (closes on Wednesday) Ripe Time offers a tender and sassy adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s opaque children’s book that centers on Rose, an assertive 9-year-old given to existential maundering. The cast is excellent, the choreography striking, the music buoyant and eclectic. So there are marvels all around, but something of a hollow in the middle. Fishman Space, Fisher Building, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 321 Ashland Place, near Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100, bam.org. (Soloski)Tags: actor, actress, concert, director, film, movie, music, singer, television, tour, tv