Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

There's 'Plenty' to 'Love' off Broadway

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

There's 'Plenty' to 'Love' off Broadway

Article excerpt

If there were no off-Broadway, Broadway would have a very different look.

In recent years, an increasing number of Broadway's hit shows have been transfers of productions that originated in off-Broadway theaters.

Last season's Tony winners for best new musical, "Hamilton," and best new play, "The Humans," both started out off-Broadway, as did the previous year's best musical, "Fun Home."

Looking at the shows coming to Broadway this fall, three of them, the play "Heisenberg" and the musicals "Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812" and "Dear Evan Hansen" all come from off-Broadway.

All this is a way of saying off-Broadway shouldn't be seen as Broadway's little sister or brother. It consistently produces major theater events -- whether or not they eventually land on Broadway.

There happens to be a particularly noteworthy crop of shows arriving in the next few months. Here, in no particular order, are some of them:

* "Sweat" - In addition to being a really good playwright, Lynn Nottage is one of the most unpredictable authors around, having done memorable plays on civil war in Africa ("Ruined"), black actors in 1930s Hollywood ("By the Way, Meet Vera Stark") and an early-20th- century African-American seamstress ("Intimate Apparel").

Her new play is very contemporary, about our uncertain economy's dire impact on the lives and friendships of a group of workers in a manufacturing plant. Previews begin Oct. 18; opens Nov. 3. Public Theater.

* "Love, Love, Love" - Another playwright who can't be pigeonholed is Mike Bartlett, the young British author whose 'Charles III," about the royal family, was on Broadway last season. "Love," written earlier but making its New York debut, follows the lives of an English baby-boomer couple over the course of 40 years, from their meeting during the exuberant Beatles years through the less-joyous decades that followed. …

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