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5 Shows You Should See in May

Recommendations from our chief critic plus one from our sponsor.

As the Great White Way obsesses over the Tonys horserace, new shows continue to open both on and off Broadway. Here are five shows in May you'll want to discover while everyone else is distracted by awards:

Linda Powell and K.K. Moggie appear in the Soho Rep. production of Christopher Chen's Passage.
(© Julieta Cervantes)

1. Passage (currently running)
The always adventurous Soho Rep. produces this New York debut from Christopher Chen, author of the delightfully mind-bending Caught. Described as a "fantasia on colonialism past and present," Passage takes place in Country X, a land occupied by Country Y. These algebraic nations are used to explore the relationship between colonizers and the colonized. Can they ever have a relationship that is not defined by power dynamics? This is a must-see for lovers of provocative experimental theater.

Raquel Nobile, Rosie Jo Neddy, Rachel Zatcoff, Stephanie Lynne Mason, and Samantha Hahn in a scene from Fiddler on the Roof.
(© Matthew Murphy)

Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish (currently running) - Sponsored Content
It's very rare to find anything that New Yorkers can agree on — much less something they all actually love. However, Joel Grey's Fiddler on the Roof has won the hearts of New Yorkers — and has taken the theater scene by storm. As Yente might say, it's a perfect match.

Nico Santos, Marin Ireland, Tedra Millan, Daniel Oreskes, and Susan Sarandon appear in Jesse Eisenberg's Happy Talk.
(© Janie Willison)

2. Happy Talk (currently running)
"Happy Talk" is a song from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, sung by the character Bloody Mary. That's the role Lorraine (Susan Sarandon) is set to play in the amateur production at her local Jewish Community Center. On top of acting, Lorraine is caring for an elderly parent, contending with a miserable husband, trying to reconnect with an estranged daughter. But when her mother's home aide, Ljuba (Marin Ireland), asks for her help in finding a husband, will this insanely busy woman refuse a chance to save the day? Some of the best actors in New York star in this new comedy from Jesse Eisenberg (The Spoils).

Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon star in the Broadway revival of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.
(© David Gordon)

3. Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (performances begin May 4)
The first Broadway show of the 2019-20 season, this revival of Terrence McNally's romantic 1987 two-hander stars Tony nominee Michael Shannon and six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald. He's a short-order cook. She's an actress-turned-waitress. Both are middle-aged and about to embark on a one-night stand — but could this encounter lead to more nights in the future? This is an opportunity to see two of Broadway's greatest actors perform the delicate tango that is dating over 40.

Erica Schmidt (seen here with husband Peter Dinklage) is the adapter and director of Mac Beth.
(© David Gordon)

4. Mac Beth (performances begin May 7)
This contemporary take on Shakespeare's Scottish play features seven schoolgirls clad in tartan uniforms re-creating the Bard's tale of ambition and destruction. Featuring performances by Isabelle Fuhrman, Ismenia Mendes, AnnaSophia Robb, Mac Beth is the brainchild of Erica Schmidt, writer and director of the darkly entertaining All the Fine Boys.

Mary Wilson appears at the Café Carlyle this May.
(© David Gordon)

5. Mary Wilson (performs May 28 to June 8)
This is your chance to see one of the original members of the Supremes in the intimate dining room of the Café Carlyle. Wilson made her Café Carlyle debut this past Thanksgiving, singing standards like "Stormy Weather" and "Both Sides Now" along with Supremes megahits like "Baby Love" and "Stop! In the Name of Love." While Wilson sang backup for Diana Ross back in the '60s, she sings lead at the Café Carlyle.