2019 Broadway spring season preview of plays: Which will be remembered by the Tony Awards?

As we’re now about halfway through the Broadway season, there are currently eight productions of plays (four new, four revivals) set to open this spring. Could we be seeing any of them contend at this year’s Tony Awards? Below, we recap the plot of each play as well as the awards history of its author, cast, creative types, the opening, and (where applicable) closing dates.

“Choir Boy” (opens January 8; closes March 10)
In this new play by Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (“Moonlight,” 2016), the story centers on the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys, which for a half a century has been dedicated to the education of strong, ethical black men. One talented student has been waiting for years to take his rightful place as the leader of the school’s legendary gospel choir. But can he make his way through the hallowed halls of this institution if he sings in his own key?

The production presented by Manhattan Theatre Club stars newcomer Jeremy Pope, Tony winner Chuck Cooper (“The Life,” 1997), Tony nominated director Austin Pendleton (“The Little Foxes,” 1981), Nicholas L. Ashe, John Clay III, Caleb Eberhardt, J. Quinton Johnson, and is directed by Drama Desk nominee Trip Cullman (off-Broadway’s “A Small Fire,” 2011).

“True West” (opens January 24; closes March 17)
In the first Broadway revival of Sam Shepherd’s 1980 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, the story follows two brothers who have more in common than they think. Holed up in their mother’s California house, screenwriter Austin and lowlife Lee wrestle with big issues—and each other.

The play first made its Broadway debut in 2000 with Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C. Reilly alternating between the two starring roles. That production received four Tony Award nominations (including Best Play). This production presented by Roundabout Theatre Company stars Golden Globe nominee Paul Dano (“Love & Mercy,” 2015), four-time Oscar & Tony nominee Ethan Hawke, Drama Desk winner Marylouise Burke (Off-Broadway’s “Fuddy Meers,” 2000), Gary Wilmes (“Chinglish,” 2011), and is directed by James Macdonald (“The Children,” 2017).

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“King Lear” (opens April 4; closes July 7)
In the 19th Broadway revival of William Shakespeare’s 1606 tragedy, the story depicts the gradual descent into madness of the title character, after he disposes of his kingdom by giving bequests to two of his three daughters egged on by their continual flattery, bringing tragic consequences for all.

This production stars Tony winner Glenda Jackson (“Three Tall Women,” 2018), SAG nominee Elizabeth Marvel (“House of Cards,” 2016), Aisling O’Sullivan, Tony nominee Ruth Wilson (“Constellations,” 2015), Dion Johnstone, Russell Harvard, Tony winner Jayne Houdyshell (“The Humans,” 2016), Tony nominee John Douglas Thompson (“Jitney,” 2017), Sean Carvajal, SAG nominee Pedro Pascal (“Game of Thrones,” 2015), Matthew Maher, and is directed by Tony winner Sam Gold (“Fun Home,” 2015).

“Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus” (opens April 11; closes August 4)
In this new play by Taylor Mac, the story is set during the fall of the Roman Empire when the years of bloody battles are over. The civil war has ended. The country has been stolen by madmen, and there are casualties everywhere. And two very lowly servants are charged with cleaning up the bodies.

The production stars three-time Tony winner Nathan Lane (“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” 1996; “The Producers,” 2001; “Angels in America,” 2018), two-time Tony winner Andrea Martin (“My Favorite Year,” 1993; “Pippin,” 2013), Tony nominee Kristine Nielsen (“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” 2013), and is directed by five-time Tony winner George C. Wolfe.

“Burn This” (opens April 16; closes July 7)
In the first Broadway revival of Lanford Wilson’s 1987 play, the story follows four New Yorkers whose lives are uprooted by a young dancer’s mysterious death. Set in downtown New York in the 1980s, the drama explores the spiritual and emotional isolation of Pale and the modern dancer Anna, and their tempestuous relationship after they are brought together in the wake of a life-changing personal tragedy.

While the original production failed to make the cut for Best Play, it still managed to pick up a Best Actress prize for Joan Allen. This production stars three-time Emmy & Oscar nominee Adam Driver, three-time Emmy nominee Keri Russell (“The Americans,” 2016-18), Tony nominee David Furr (“Noises Off,” 2016), two-time Tony nominee Brandon Uranowitz (“An American in Paris,” 2015; “Falsettos,” 2017), and is directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening,” 2007).

“Hillary and Clinton” (opens April 18; closes July 21)
In this new play by Tony nominee Lucas Hnath (“A Doll’s House, Part 2,” 2017), behind closed doors in the state of New Hampshire during the early days of 2008, a former First Lady named Hillary is in a desperate bid to save her troubled campaign for President of the United States. Her husband, Bill, sees things one way; her campaign manager, Mark, sees things another.

The production stars two-time Tony winner Laurie Metcalf (“A Doll’s House, Part 2”; “Three Tall Women”), two-time Tony winner John Lithgow (“The Changing Room,” 1973; “Sweet Smell of Success,” 2002), Zak Orth (“Major Barbara,” 2001), Peter Francis James (“Present Laughter,” 2017), and is directed by two-time Tony winner Joe Mantello (“Take Me Out,” 2003; “Assassins,” 2004).

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“All My Sons” (opens April 22; closes June 23)
In the third Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s 1947 play, the story follows the Keller family, who in the aftermath of World War II struggle to stay intact and fight for their future when a long-hidden secret threatens to emerge. Which forces them to reckon with greed, denial, repentance and post-war disenchantment across generations.

The original production competed at the very first Tony Awards, where it won two prizes for Best Direction (Elia Kazan) and Best Author (Arthur Miller). This production presented by Roundabout Theatre Company stars two-time Tony-winning playwright (for “August: Osage County,” 2008) and actor (for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” 2013) Tracy Letts, four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening, and is directed by three-time Tony winner Jack O’Brien (“Hairspray,” 2003; “Henry IV,” 2004; “The Coast of Utopia,” 2007).

“Ink” (opens April 24; closes June 9)
In this new play by James Graham, a brash young Rupert Murdoch purchases a struggling paper, The Sun, and sets out to make it a must-read smash which will destroy—and ultimately horrify—the competition. He brings on rogue editor Larry Lamb who in turn recruits an unlikely team of underdog reporters. Together, they will go to any lengths for success and the race for the most ink is on!

This production presented by Manhattan Theatre Club is coming in after a successful run in London’s West End where it earned four Olivier Award nominations (including Best New Play). It stars Tony nominee Bertie Carvel (“Matilda,” 2013), Olivier winner Jonny Lee Miller (“Frankenstein,” 2012), and is directed by Tony nominee Rupert Goold (“King Charles III,” 2016).

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