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7 Short Shows to See This Summer

Broadway and off-Broadway have you covered if you want to go to a matinee and still have an afternoon's worth of sunshine left.

Summer's finally here, and all we want to do is spend our time outside. OK, we want to see a little theater, too, as long as we can spend our time outside afterwards. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of seven must-see shows that are shorter than two hours, so you could go to a matinee and still make rooftop happy hour.

(© Joan Marcus)

1. A Strange Loop
Michael R. Jackson's new show at Playwrights Horizons is one of the most acclaimed off-Broadway musicals in recent memory. A coming-of-age tale, the piece follows Usher, a black, queer musical-theater writer, as he writes a musical about a black, queer musical-theater writer learning to confront his demons in order to understand his place in the world. This daring piece of theater is only 100 minutes, and runs through July 28.

(© Matthew Murphy)

2. Come From Away
Irene Sankoff and David Hein's Tony-nominated musical has brought audiences at the Schoenfeld Theatre to their feet since the spring of 2017, thanks to its mix of good humor, great songs, high energy, gut-punching emotions, and old-fashioned Canadian warmth. You don't expect a musical that deals with the aftermath of 9/11 to warm your heart, but Come From Away does, and only in 100 minutes.

(© Jeremy Daniel)

3. Dog Man: The Musical
Based on the best-selling book series by Dav Pilkey, this musical for children runs weekdays at 10:30am, with multiple performances on weekends, through August 4 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Given that it's geared towards the younger set, the running time is (unsurprisingly) only 85 minutes, and the perfect intro to theater for the future generation.

(© Henry Grossman)

4. Fairview
Jackie Sibblies Drury's exciting drama premiered at Soho Rep. last summer, and after taking home this year's Pulitzer Prize for Drama, it has returned, through July 28, at Brooklyn's Polonsky Shakespeare Center. Raw and uncompromising, this 95-minute play starts off as a family dinner gone wrong, but ends up as one of the most provocative commentaries about race and identity in America ever created.

(© Joan Marcus)

5. Mojada
Playwright Luis Alfaro and director Chay Yew return to the Public Theater with a new play inspired by the ancient Greek story of Medea. In keeping with his plays Electricidad and Oedipus el Rey, Alfaro's new work resets the 2,000-year-old story in present-day America. Mojada follows a young Mexican mother willing to give up everything in order to bring her son to America — only to realize that America demands even more than everything. Its expected run time is 105 minutes.

(© Joan Marcus)

6. Sea Wall / A Life
Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge bring their award-nominated solo shows to Broadway's Hudson Theatre beginning July 26. Sturridge plays Alex, a photographer on vacation with his family. Gyllenhaal plays Abe, a music producer with a baby on the way. Their journeys will leave you breathless, as will the running time: an extremely precise one hour and 48 minutes according to our website, and that includes an intermission.

(© Joan Marcus)

7. What the Constitution Means to Me
Clocking in at 100 minutes, Heidi Schreck's examination of the place of women within the US Constitution is currently the only 2019 Tony nominee for Best Play still running on Broadway. The excellent political drama will continue at the Helen Hayes Theatre through August 24, before moving, with the original company, to the Kennedy Center, September 11-22. A national tour, featuring new actors, will kick off shortly thereafter.


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