6 Shows You Should See in November
My November calendar is packed with serious dramas, from fresh takes on old stories to explorations of lost corners of American history. With all of these thought-provoking plays, it's important to make room for at least one flashy, unapologetically fun musical — and I've got one for you this month. Take a look at the six shows I'm most excited to see in November:
1. Dr. Ride's American Beach House (running through November 23)
Ars Nova begins its fall season at Greenwich House with this world-premiere play by Liza Birkenmeier about four queer women who gather on the evening before Sally Ride rockets up with the Space Shuttle Challenger, becoming the first American woman in space (following her death, it was also revealed that Ride was lesbian, making her the first known LGBT person in space). It features an all-star cast of performers, including Susan Blommaert (The Blacklist), stand-up comedian Marga Gomez, cabaret luminary Erin Markey, and Kristen Sieh (The Band's Visit). While LGBT visibility has increased enormously since the early '80s, this is a snapshot of lesbian life before Ellen and The L Word.
2. Cyrano (running through December 22)
Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage plays the title role in this new adaptation of Edmond Rostand's tale of a silver-tongued man who, believing himself unattractive, provides the words for another man to woo the woman he loves. The adaptation is by Dinklage's wife, Erica Schmidt, who recently (and gruesomely) adapted Shakespeare to an after-school study group in Mac Beth The production features original music by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of the Grammy-winning band the National.
3. Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (currently running)
Adrienne Warren stars as Tina Turner in this new bio-musical featuring all of her greatest hits, including "Private Dancer," "The Best," and "What's Love Got to Do With It?" The book by Katori Hall (The Mountaintop) traces Turner's extraordinary life, from her humble beginnings as Anna Mae Bullock of Nutbush, Tennessee, through her tumultuous relationship with Ike Turner, to her long reign as the Queen of Rock and Roll. Like so many jukebox musicals since Mamma Mia!, this show ends with a concert, so you can expect to be on your feet and rolling down the river for the reprise of "Proud Mary".
4. The Inheritance (currently running)
You might think there is a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon between the stiff, tea-swilling Edwardians of E.M. Forster's Howard's End and the kind of gay boys you would find dancing at low tea on Fire Island, but Matthew Lopez will make you think twice. Taking Howard's End as his inspiration, Lopez has transposed this story of love, friendship, and property to a circle of gay New Yorkers in our own time. The London production won the Best New Play category at this year's Laurence Olivier Awards, and now that it has come home to Broadway, it will almost certainly be in contention for the Tony. Told over the course of six hours and two parts, it's the most significant gay epic to play Broadway since Angels in America.
5. The Crucible (November 8-December 29)
Arthur Miller's play about sex, power, fear, and group hysteria remains one of the most quintessentially American dramas ever written. Set during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the 1953 play was Miller's thinly veiled commentary on the Red Scare of his time — and the themes he explores continue to resonate in 2019. Actor-director Eric Tucker and his company, Bedlam, perform this off-Broadway revival at the historic (and undeniably spooky) Connelly Theater. Bedlam has a strong track record of inventive stagings of classic work, including last year's excellent Pygmalion. This production is sure to have you looking at a play you thought you knew with fresh eyes.
6. History of Violence (November 13 – December 1)
Director Thomas Ostermeier and Schaubühne Berlin return to St. Ann's Warehouse with this stage adaptation of Édouard Louis's acclaimed novel about his real-life encounter with sexual assault on Christmas Eve, 2012. Schaubühne Berlin was last at St. Ann's with its staging of Didier Eribon's Returning to Reims, which was far more exhilarating than I has expected after reading Eribon's occasionally didactic book. Eribon has often been associated with Louis for their stark depictions of life in France for working-class gay men. Bonus entry: BAM is hosting a stage adaptation of Louis's memoir The End of Eddy at roughly the same time (November 14-21), creating a tiny Édouard Louis festival in the heart of Brooklyn.