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6 Shows You Should See in September

Start the fall off right with some theater.

September means back to school, but it also means back to Broadway. This month features several unusual new Broadway shows, as well as a couple of hidden gems off-Broadway. From the biggest Broadway houses to the streets of the West Village, there is some seriously exciting new theater happening in New York this September.

Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton, and Charlie Cox starred in Betrayal at London's Harold Pinter Theatre. It now transfers to Broadway.
(© Marc Brenner)

1. Betrayal (currently running)
Straight from London's West End, this Broadway revival of one of the most important plays by Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter stars Tom Hiddleston, who is best known for playing Loki in the Avengers movies. In Betrayal, he plays Robert, a man whose wife has been cheating on him with his best friend for seven years. Pinter presents the story backward, peeling back the layers of betrayal that constitute a long-held secret. Bring your spouse!

Kathleen Chalfant stars in Novenas for a Lost Hospital, in and around Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
(© Seth Walters)

2. Novenas for a Lost Hospital (September 5-October 13)
A novena is a Catholic devotional prayer, and the lost hospital in question is St. Vincent's, the Catholic facility that was at the epicenter of the AIDS crisis in New York City, and was replaced by a luxury condominium in 2010. This unique play by Cusi Cram takes a small audience on a tour of the neighborhood that was home to both St. Vincent's and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, which is producing this world premiere. Legendary actor Kathleen Chalfant plays our guide, Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Expect a potent remembrance of a hospital that saw New York through some of its darkest days.

Derren Brown: Secret made its American debut at Atlantic Theater Company. Brown now brings the show to Broadway.
(© Ahron R. Foster)

3. Derren Brown: Secret (performances begin September 6)
Derren Brown is a mentalist and expert showman who, through a warm embrace of your natural skepticism, slowly turns you into a true believer. His secret is the power of suggestion and just how susceptible we are to it — even when we are fully aware that is what is happening. It makes for a fascinating, slightly unsettling night at the theater as Brown ascertains things that you thought were totally private. One wonders what would happen if the characters from Betrayal attended this unique Broadway show, which was a hit when it played at the Atlantic Theater Company two years back.

Bryan Cranston last played LBJ on Broadway in Robert Schenkkan's All the Way. Brian Cox assumes the role in the follow-up, The Great Society, at Lincoln Center Theater.
(© Evgenia Eliseeva)

4. The Great Society (performances begin September 6)
Hard as it is to believe in 2019, there was a time when American presidents passed major pieces of legislation — and few accomplished more than Lyndon B. Johnson: Medicare, immigration reform, and the Voting Rights Act were all signed by his pen. The Johnson administration also coincided with a major escalation in the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. Robert Schenkkan chronicles it all in this sequel to his acclaimed play All the Way. Political junkies will want to mark their calendars for this one.

Rebecca Jimenez, Malika Samuel, Alyssa May Gold, and Carmen Berkeley star in the New York debut of Alexis Scheer's Our Dear Dead Drug Lord.
(© WP Theater)

5. Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (September 11-October 20)
To many in Colombia, cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar was a folk hero. To others, he was a terrorist. For the four young women in Alexis Scheer's unconventional new play, he is the subject of an unlikely séance. Geopolitics and a teenage propensity for the occult collide in this world premiere from WP Theater and Second Stage Theater. In his review of the workshop production in Boston last year, WBUR's Christopher Ehlers described it as "Mean Girls sprinkled with Manson dust."

Chris Sullivan, Christopher Jackson, Anthony Veneziale, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Arthur Lewis starred in the off-Broadway run of Freestyle Love Supreme, directed by Thomas Kail, at Greenwich House Theater.
(© Matthew Murphy)

6. Freestyle Love Supreme (performances begin September 13)
This improvisational hip-hop show was one of the hardest-to-get tickets in New York when it played a limited run at Greenwich House Theater this past winter. And it's no wonder when you consider its roster of special guest stars, including Christopher Jackson, James Monroe Iglehart, Daveed Diggs, and Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda. Any of them could have shown up for a performance, adding an extra layer of surprise to a show that is already different each night. Now FLS is back on Broadway, where audiences will be asked to confine their smartphones to Yondr pouches and bask in the glow of spontaneous, hilarious creativity.