6 Shows You Should See in April
April is the month for new shows on Broadway, but there's some great stuff off-Broadway too.
April 25 is the Tony Awards cutoff, which means that Broadway producers are scrambling to open their shows before that date so they will be eligible to win in June. While this month's highlights are mostly on Broadway, there are a couple of potentially uproarious comedies off-Broadway you really shouldn't miss. If you're in the mood to laugh, April is going to be your month.
1. Do You Feel Anger? (opened April 2)
This new comedy by Mara Nelson-Greenberg is about an empathy coach hired to pad the sharp elbows of a debt collection agency. The premise alone is funny, but the cast list all but ensures that you'll be rolling in the aisles: The show features Greg Keller (The Thanksgiving Play), Ugo Chukwu ([PORTO]), and Megan Hill, whose recent portrayal of rocker David Lee Roth in Eddie and Dave was one of the highlights of the season. If you've ever had an unpleasant encounter with a debt collector, this play will get you thinking about the person at the other end of the line.
2. Oklahoma! (currently in previews)
Set amid the tension between farmers and cowboys in the Oklahoma territory just before statehood, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! is the musical that changed everything. This dark and sexy revival from director Daniel Fish is poised do it again by stripping away the Oklahoma! we think we know and going back to the text. This was the must-have ticket when it played St. Ann's Warehouse last year, so you'll want to catch it now that it's found a new home on Broadway. Set designer Laura Jellinek has transformed Circle in the Square Theatre into a barn for this exciting immersive staging.
3. Mrs. Murray's Menagerie (currently in previews)
It's the 1970s, and the creators of a children's television show are holding a focus group for parents. This new collectively written comedy comes from the Mad Ones, who had us in hysterics with last season's Miles for Mary (about a group of Ohio schoolteachers organizing a charity event in the 1980s). Fans of Christopher Guest will particularly delight in the Mad Ones' unique brand of insanity, which blends authentic retro design with a timeless sense of passive-aggression. Expect mustaches and tears.
4. Hillary and Clinton (currently in previews)
She can't walk into a Broadway theater without receiving a standing ovation, but will the fictional Hillary Clinton receive as much acclaim? Lucas Hnath's play takes place in an alternate universe just before the 2008 New Hampshire primary, when a distraught Hillary (Laurie Metcalf) sees her dreams of the presidency slipping away…for the first time. Her chief strategist has some ideas about what she needs to do, but her husband (John Lithgow), who has actually been president, has another perspective. Metcalf won her first of two Tony Awards for Hnath's 2017 play, A Doll's House, Part 2. This year she reunites with the playwright for what could be three in a row.
5. Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus (currently in previews)
Titus Andronicus is Shakespeare's earliest, bloodiest, and most ridiculous tragedy — a tough act to top. But if anyone can do it, it's Taylor Mac. One of the most creative minds in the theater, Mac is known for audacious cabaret performances like A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, as well as probing dramas like Hir. A brand-new Broadway comedy, Gary is set during the fall of the Roman Empire, when two lowly servants (played by Nathan Lane and Kristine Nielsen) are charged with cleaning up the bodies. Early word-of-mouth is, the play's a hoot.
6. Tootsie (currently in previews)
Based on the 1982 movie featuring Dustin Hoffman in drag, this new musical comedy stars Santino Fontana as an out-of-work actor who poses as a woman to get a job. The score is by David Yazbek, who won big at the Tonys last year with The Band's Visit; but Broadway fans might also remember his delightful musical adaptations of The Full Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Scott Ellis (Kiss Me, Kate) directs and Denis Jones (Holiday Inn) choreographs. If you're a fan of splashy production numbers, this is your ticket.