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6 Shows You Should See in July

Here are our chief critic's must-see shows for July.

Summer in the city isn't just for free outdoor Shakespeare (although there's a lot of that going on). Here are six shows happening in air-conditioned venues that you can check out in July. Ranging from spectacular musicals to hard-hitting dramas to laugh-out-loud comedies, there's something for everyone this month.

Rock of Ages will return to New York for a 10th-anniversary revival.
(© Paul Kolnik)

1. Rock of Ages (currently performing)
Broadway's favorite guilty pleasure is back — this time off-Broadway in celebration of the 10th anniversary of its Broadway debut. This musical about hair bands and Hollywood features a score cobbled together from karaoke-ready '80s rock songs like "We Built This City," "We're Not Gonna Take It," and (of course) "Don't Stop Believin'." Rock of Ages was always good for a fun, boozy night on Broadway, and I know it will rock again this summer. This limited engagement runs until October 6.

The set for the Boston run of Moulin Rouge! The Musical was designed by Derek McLane, who will transform the interior of Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre.
(© Matthew Murphy)

2. Moulin Rouge! The Musical (currently performing)
Based on the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film about tragic bohemians in love, this is the first big Broadway musical of the 2019-20 season. Its out-of-town run in Boston was praised by critics for its lavish design and joyous incorporation of pop songs by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, in addition to several of the songs famously reimaged for the movie. Fans of that film will want to mark their calendars for this magical journey to Montmartre.

Tavi Gevinson starred as Irina in the Williamstown production of Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow. She reprises that role off-Broadway this month.
(© Daniel Rader)

3. Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow (currently performing)
Halley Feiffer has established herself as one of the most provocative playwrights working today with plays like I'm Gonna Pray for You So Hard and The Pain of My Belligerence. This new play is a riff on Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters that keeps the story in turn-of-the-century rural Russia (they still really want to go to Moscow), but updates the language so that Olga, Masha, and Irina sound a lot like people you might actually know. Of the 2017 world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival, TheaterMania's Hayley Levitt enthused, "Depressive Russians have never been as hilarious."

Sabina Zúñiga Varela and Alex Hernandez rehearse for Luis Alfaro's Mojada, directed by Chay Yew, at the Public Theater.
(© Joan Marcus)

4. Mojada (performances begin July 2)
In Greek legend, Medea was a foreign princess taken to Greece by Jason, only for him to abandon her for the Princess of Corinth. Playwright Luis Alfaro reimagines Medea as a Mexican mother living in Queens. Alfaro reunites with director Chay Yew, who helmed Alfaro's thrilling adaptation of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus El Rey. If Mojada is anything like that gut-punch of a play, it is likely to convince you that the outlandish tragedy of ancient Greek drama isn't actually so removed from our society as we would like to think.

Kristin Paradero, Joe Saunders, Cesar de la Rosa, Danielle Irigoyen, and Esmeralda Nazario appeared in a previous production of Flying Lessons, one of the shows selected for full production in the 2019 New York Musical Festival.
(© JD Casto)

5. The New York Musical Festival (performances begin July 8)
This isn't just one show: New York's annual festival of musical theater will showcase productions of 10 new musicals and over 20 accompanying readings, concerts, and educational events. Highlights of this year's festival include a musical about serial killers (Buried), and one about an 18th-century female prisoner transport (LadyShip). In addition, Tony-nominated composer Joe Iconis (Be More Chill) will participate in a songwriting masterclass. The New York Musical Festival is the event that truly separates musical theater fanatics from the casual observers.

Matthew Goodrich and Darren Ritchie starred in Shake & Bake: Love's Labour's Lost, the last production by Food of Love.
(© Chad Batka)

6. Midsummer: A Banquet (performances begin July 15)
Experience Shakespeare's beloved comedy about fairy hijinks in the Athenian wood — this time paired with a multicourse tasting menu. This is a joint production of Third Rail Projects (creators of Then She Fell, Brooklyn's most exclusive immersive show) and Food of Love, the team behind last year's Shake & Bake: Love's Labour's Lost, which unveiled the story alongside an eight-course meal (which was mostly booze). The hilarious Charles Osborne, who stole that show as Don Armado, returns for a role he was born to play: Bottom.