2018 Broadway fall season preview of plays: Which will be remembered by the Tony Awards?

A new Broadway season is gearing up, and there are currently nine productions of plays (seven new, one revival, and an older work making its Broadway debut) set to open this fall. Could we be seeing any of them contend at next year’s Tony Awards? Below, we recap the plot of each play as well as the awards history of its author, cast and creative types and the opening and (where applicable) closing dates.

“Bernhardt/Hamlet” (opens September 25; closes November 18)
In this world premiere play by two-time Emmy nominee Theresa Rebeck (“NYPD Blue”, 1996-97), international stage actress, Sarah Bernhardt, sets out to tackle her most ambitious role yet: Hamlet.

The production presented by Roundabout Theatre Company stars Tony winner Janet McTeer (“A Doll’s House”, 1997), Tony nominee Dylan Baker (“La Bête”, 1991), two-time Drama Desk nominee Jason Butler Harner (“The Paris Letter”, 2006; “The Village Letter”, 2015), Ito Aghayere (“Junk”, 2017), Matthew Saldivar (“Grease”, 2007), Drama Desk nominee Nick Westrate (off-Broadway’s “The Boys in the Band”, 2010), Tony Carlin, and is directed by Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel (“Hand to God”, 2015).

“The Nap” (opens September 27; closes November 11)
In the Broadway premiere of this new play by Richard Bean (“One Man, Two Guvnors”, 2012), Dylan Spokes is a fast-rising young star who arrives for a championship tournament only to be confronted by the authorities warning him of the repercussions of match-fixing. Before he knows it, Dylan is forced into underhanded dealings with a cast of wildly colorful characters that includes his ex-convict dad, saucy mom, quick-tongued manager and a renowned gangster.

The production presented by Manhattan Theatre Club stars SAG nominee Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”, 2016), Tony nominee John Ellison Conlee (“The Full Monty”, 2001), two-time Tony nominee Johanna Day (“Proof”, 2001; “Sweat”, 2017), Ahmed Aly Elsayed, Heather Lind (“The Merchant of Venice”, 2011), Max Gordon Moore (“Indecent”, 2017), Bhavesh Patel (“Present Laughter”, 2017), Thomas Jay Ryan (“The Crucible”, 2016), Ben Schnetzer, and is directed by Tony winner Daniel Sullivan (“Proof”).

“The Lifespan of a Fact” (opens October 18; closes January 13, 2019)
In this world premiere stage adaptation of John D’Agata and Jim Fingal’s 2012 novel, Fingal has a small job to fact-check articles for one of the best magazines in the country. His boss has given him a big assignment to apply his skill to a groundbreaking piece by legendary author D’Agata. But now, Fingal has a huge problem: D’Agata made up a lot of his article. What starts professional quickly becomes profane.

Adapted for the stage by Jeremy Kareken, David Murrell, and Gordon Farrell, the production features the very first all-female design team for any Broadway show that consists of sound designer Palmer Hefferan, lighting designer Jen Schriever (“Eclipsed”, 2016), Tony-winning set designer Mimi Lien (“The Great Comet”, 2017), and Tony-winning costume designer Linda Cho (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”, 2014). The cast includes Grammy nominee Daniel Radcliffe (“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”, 2011), two-time Tony winner Cherry Jones (“The Heiress”, 1995; “Doubt”, 2005), two-time Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale (“Will & Grace”, 2005; “Boardwalk Empire”, 2013), and is directed by Tony nominee Leigh Silverman (“Violet”, 2014).

“The Ferryman” (opens October 21; closes February 17, 2019)
In this new play by Tony nominee Jez Butterworth (“Jerusalem”, 2011), the Carney farmhouse is a hive of activity with preparations for the annual harvest. A day of hard work on the land and a traditional night of feasting and celebrations lie ahead. But this year they will be interrupted by a visitor.

This production is coming in after a successful run in London’s West End, where it had won three Olivier Awards (including Best New Play). Reprising their roles from the London production are Olivier nominee Paddy Considine, Olivier winner Laura Donnelly, Genevieve O’Reilly, Tony nominee Dearbhla Molloy (“Dancing at Lughnasa”, 1992), Tom Glynn-Carney, Fra Fee, and is directed by Tony nominee (for “Cabaret”, 1998) & Oscar winner (for “American Beauty”, 1999) Sam Mendes.

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“The Waverly Gallery” (opens October 25; closes January 27, 2019)
In the Broadway premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s 2000 Pulitzer Prize nominated play, Gladys is an old-school lefty and social activist and longtime owner of a small art gallery in Greenwich Village. As she is in her final battle against Alzheimer’s disease, Gladys fights to retain her independence and the subsequent effect of her decline on her family, especially her grandson.

This production stars two-time Oscar nominated screenwriter Elaine May (“Heaven Can Wait”, 1979; “Primary Colors”, 1998), Tony nominee Michael Cera (“Lobby Hero”, 2018), Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges (“Manchester By the Sea”, 2016), Tony winner Joan Allen (“Burn This”, 1988), Tony-winning director David Cromer (“The Band’s Visit”, 2018), and is directed by Obie Award winner Lila Neugebauer (off-Broadway’s “The Wolves”, 2017).

“Torch Song” (opens November 1; closes February 24, 2019)
In the first Broadway revival of Harvey Fierstein’s 1982 Tony-winning play, Arnold Beckoff wants to find happiness in New York. All he wants is a husband, a child, and a pair of bunny slippers that fit, but a visit from his overbearing mother reminds him that he needs one thing more: respect.

The original production won two Tony Awards (including Best Play) under the title of “Torch Song Trilogy”. This production is coming in after a successful run at off-Broadway’s Second Stage Theater last season. The cast includes Drama Desk winner Michael Urie (off-Broadway’s “Buyer & Cellar”, 2013), Ward Horton, Tony & Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl (“Lost in Yonkers”, 1991; “The Fisher King”, 1991), Michael Rosen, Jack DiFalco (“Marvin’s Room”, 2017), Roxanna Hope Radja, and is directed by two-time Tony nominated director (for “I Am My Own Wife”, 2004) and playwright (“33 Variations”, 2009) Moisés Kaufman.

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“American Son” (opens November 4; closes January 27, 2019)
In the Broadway premiere of this new play by Christopher Demos-Brown, a mother is engaged in a search for her missing teenage son at a Florida police station in the middle of the night. Soon her husband appears, and the evening spirals out of control.

This production stars four-time Emmy nominee Kerry Washington, Drama Desk nominee Steven Pasquale (“The Bridges of Madison County”, 2014), Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan (“Newsies”, 2012), Eugene Lee (“Gem of the Ocean”, 2005), and is directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon (“A Raisin in the Sun”, 2014).

“Network” (opens December 6; closes March 17, 2019)
In this stage adaptation of Sidney Lumet’s 1976 Academy Award-winning film of the same name, Howard Beale is an aging TV anchorman for UBS who is fired, effective in two weeks, after his ratings have been steadily deteriorating. In what is to be his final broadcast, he unravels live on screen, and as the ratings soar, Howard becomes the biggest thing on TV.

Adapted for the stage by Tony winner Lee Hall (“Billy Elliot”, 2009), this production is coming in after a successful run at the National Theatre in London last year, where it received four Olivier Award nominations (including Best New Play). The cast includes six-time Emmy & Tony winner Bryan Cranston, Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”, 2016), and is directed by Tony winner Ivo van Hove (“A View From the Bridge”, 2016).

“To Kill a Mockingbird” (opens December 13; closes March 17, 2019)
In this world premiere stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s 1960 novel of the same name, Atticus Finch is a lawyer and a widower. He has two young children, Jem and Scout. Finch is currently defending Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. Meanwhile, Jem and Scout are intrigued by their neighbours, the Radleys, and the mysterious, seldom-seen Boo Radley in particular.

Adapted for the stage by four-time Emmy & Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin, the production stars two-time Emmy winner Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”, 2013; “Godless”, 2018), three-time Tony nominee Celia Keenan-Bolger (“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, 2005; “Peter & the Starcatcher”, 2012; “The Glass Menagerie”, 2014), two-time Tony nominee Stark Sands (“Journey’s End”, 2007; “Kinky Boots”, 2013), Tony nominee LaTanya Richardson Jackson (“A Raisin in the Sun”, 2014), Gideon Glick (“Significant Other”, 2017), Will Pullen (“Sweat”, 2017), Dakin Matthews (“The Audience”, 2015), Drama Desk nominee Frederick Weller (“Take Me Out”, 2003), Erin Wilhelmi (“The Crucible”, 2016), Tony nominee Stephen McKinley Henderson (“Fences”, 2010), and is directed by Tony winner Bartlett Sher (“South Pacific”, 2008).

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