The Very Best of NYC Theater

Macbeth, Frankenstein Upstairs, Sontag: Reborn, Annie, Trip to Bountiful, Lesbian Love Octagon, Murder Ballad

Alan Cumming stars as the only patient in a psychiatric hospital—where he is watched via closed-circuit TV—in a bold, modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Macbeth. This multimedia show, directed by John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg, explores ideas of desire and the supernatural. Its premiere on Broadway comes after a highly successful run at the Lincoln Center Festival and the National Theater of Scotland. It will be at the Barrymore Theater through June 30.

Mac Rogers puts a queer twist on the old Frankenstein story with Frankenstein Upstairs at Long Island City’s The Secret Theater. The show’s protagonists, Sophie and Marisol, are a lesbian couple who run their own business in DUMBO, Brooklyn. They’re living the dream until they make the acquaintance of their very odd, shut-in upstairs neighbor, Victoria Frankenstein, who threatens to drive them apart. Will she succeed? Directed by Jordana Williams, Frankenstein Upstairs runs until June 30th and stars Autumn Dornfeld of “The Beebo Brinker Chronicles.”

The late Susan Sontag was an influential bisexual writer perhaps best remembered for her 1964 essay “Notes on Camp.” She also was an activist passionate about Vietnam and the AIDS crisis. In her later years she entered into a quiet (and some might say closeted) relationship with photographer Annie Leibovitz. All in all, she led a pretty fascinating life and now theatergoers will have the chance to learn more about it in Sontag: Reborn. Using her diaries, the show focuses on her first successes as a writer and her struggle to come to terms with her sexuality. Sontag: Reborn stars, and was created by, performer Moe Angelos, who previously worked with the Five Lesbian Brothers. It runs at the New York Theater Workshop through June 30.

The “hard-knock life” just got a lot harder for the girls of Annie. That’s because Jane Lynch—so hilarious as cruel Sue Sylvester on Glee—has just joined the cast for the summer. She will star—but of course—as mean, drunk Miss Hannigan. The revival—which once propelled Andrea McCardle and Sarah Jessica Parker to stardom—features a dynamic soundtrack by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, including the famous tunes “Tomorrow,” “Easy Street,” “Maybe,” and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.” Annie is now at the Palace Theater and Lynch will be in the role through July 14.

It’s summer—a time to travel to new and wondrous places. May we suggest a Trip to Bountiful? The highly regarded play by master writer Horton Foote chronicles the journey elderly widow Carrie Watts takes when she leaves the watchful eyes of relatives to travel to her hometown. What she learns on the memorable trip will change the rest of her life. The show stars Vanessa Williams, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and in the role of Watts, Tony winner Cicely Tyson (returning to Broadway after a 30-year absence!). Like summer, though, this trip won’t last forever, so book your stay by September 1 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

Oh, the 1990s. It was the era of grunge music and flannel shirts, the beginning of the Internet, and Ellen had just come out of the closet. If you fondly recall those days, then you’ll get a hearty chuckle out of Lesbian Love Octagon, a new off-Broadway musical about ‘90s dyke life. The show focuses on Sue, who has just had her heart broken. How will she get over the pain? Find out now through June 29 at the Kraine Theater.

A young woman living a comfortable lifestyle can’t forget the sexy man she left behind in Murder Ballad, a new rock musical that’s part Rent/part campy thriller. But Murder Ballad is more than just a musical—it’s an event: Audience members feel like they’re in the middle of the action, as dramatic, and almost unbelievable, events occur. It’s at the Union Square Theatre through September 29.

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