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13 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend

‘SOFT POWER’ at the Public Theater (in previews; opens on Oct. 15). A metatheatrical exploration of politics and culture and a riff on “The King and I” as seen through a trick mirror, David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori’s musical of a sort arrives at the Public. It conjures a world in which a Chinese businessman meets Hillary Clinton at a campaign fund-raiser, an experience that inspires a hallucinatory blockbuster show. Leigh Silverman directs.
212-967-7555, publictheater.org

‘THE SOUND INSIDE’ at Studio 54 (in previews; opens on Oct. 17). Mary-Louise Parker, an actress of audacity and surprise, makes a resonant return to Broadway. David Cromer directs Adam Rapp’s play, about a creative writing professor facing a cancer diagnosis and her relationship — complex in emotions and structure — with a first-year student. When it showed at the Williamstown Theater Festival last summer, Jesse Green called it an “astonishing new play.”
212-239-6200, lct.org

‘TINA: THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL’ at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater (previews start on Oct. 12; opens on Nov. 7). What’s Broadway got to do with it? This bio-musical traces eight decades of Tina Turner’s life, from her rural Tennessee origins to her early success and her abusive marriage to her solo triumphs. Adrienne Warren, who sings, a New York Times critic wrote, “with a feral, uncaged yearning,” reprises the role she created in London. Phyllida Lloyd (“Mamma Mia”) directs.
877-250-2929, tinaonbroadway.com

‘THE NEW ENGLANDERS’ at City Center Stage II (closes on Oct. 20). Jeff Augustin’s drama about two dads and their precocious daughter moves on. Jesse Green wrote that the play, directed by Saheem Ali, has problems of plot, genre and tone. Yet he noted, “Even as the story goes haywire, there are powerful moments and hard insights within it.”
212-581-1212, nycitycenter.org

‘NOVENAS FOR A LOST HOSPITAL’ at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (closes on Oct. 13). Rattlestick’s site-specific autopsy of St. Vincent’s Hospital, shuttered in 2010, reaches its conclusion. The show, directed by Daniella Topol and starring a luminous Kathleen Chalfant, traverses 16 decades and several locations, which is perhaps too much. According to Jesse Green, “‘Novenas’ often feels like it’s trying to find the quickest way to connect its points, instead of the richest way.”
866-811-4111, rattlestick.org

‘RUNBOYRUN’ AND ‘IN OLD AGE’ at New York Theater Workshop (closes on Oct. 13). These paired plays, chapters of Mfoniso Udofia’s nine-part epic about a Nigerian-American family, finish their Off Broadway run. Directed by Loretta Greco and Awoye Timpo, the two dramas, Jesse Green wrote, “deepen our understanding of the invisible burdens that can weigh down the lives of even the most successful immigrants.”
212-460-5475, nytw.org

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