The Tony Awards take place mid-June, with many new shows rushed to stages during spring to make the eligibility deadline. But summer’s not exactly a lull on the theater calendar, with plenty of exciting shows taking place both on Broadway and off — which is great when the weather makes it impossible to be anywhere else than at an air-conditioned matinee. We’ve got your top options opening this season.
Shakespeare in the Park
Summer’s best-known free outdoor theater series is in full swing at the Delacorte in Central Park. Phyllida Lloyd’s “The Taming of the Shrew” is running through June 24 and features an all-female cast, with Cush Jumbo (“The Good Wife”) as Katherina and Janet McTeer (“A Doll’s House”) as Petruchio. Later this season, Tony Award-winning director and Shakespeare in the Park stalwart Daniel Sullivan returns with “Troilus and Cressida,” a Trojan War play that’s among the most rarely staged plays by the Bard.“Shrew” through June 26, “Trolius” runs July 19-Aug. 14,publictheater.org
This new play is for history buffs, conspiracy theorists and anyone who’s eager to be reminded that the world is weirder than we often realize. In 1993, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands on the South Lawn of the White House. Leading up to that moment were a series of secret meetings held in a castle in the woods in Norway through a confluence of events that wasn’t revealed until 2011, when the diplomats told the story to playwright J.T. Rogers, who teamed up with Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher to bring it to life.Opens July 11,lct.org
Daniel Radcliffe has taken on a wide variety of complicated roles, whether in big-budget movies, indie films or onstage. After three previous Broadway stints — “Equus,” “How to Succeed in Business” and “The Cripple of Inishmaan” — this summer he’s back with a quiet off-Broadway show at the Public Theater, which has been attracting bigger and bigger names ever since kicking off a little show called “Hamilton.” “Privacy” is a new play by James Graham (“Finding Neverland”) that follows a shy young man who tries to get his bearings in the big city through social media. But making yourself available to the world isn’t always good, as he quickly learns, and the audience is invited to question the choices they make when they transform their lives into digital data.Opens July 18,publictheater.org
A cherished art form unto itself in Japan, Takarazuka famously reenacts works ranging from books to film to manga — and no matter what the show is about, it finishes in an over-the-top spectacle of glitter, feathers and kick lines reminiscent of Vegas showgirls or the Ziegfeld Follies. This July, it comes to the U.S. for the first time with a rendition of Kander & Ebb’s “Chicago,” with an all-female cast, and completely in Japanese. Sure to be a spectacle, it will be a special opportunity for the culturally curious and spans just five nights.July 20-24;lincolncenterfestival.org
Yes, they’re finally bringing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s trippy show about singing felines back to Broadway. Despite the fact that this mystifying masterpiece is often referenced as a punchline, it does hold a significant place in the annals of Broadway. Its return has not been without its share of drama, either. Rumors swirled about which leading lady would land the coveted role of Grizabella, and the part ultimately went to pop artist Leona Lewis (Season 4 winner of the U.K.’s “X Factor”). It will be helmed by its original 1982 director Trevor Nunn, with choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (“Hamilton”).Opens Aug. 2,catsthemusical.com