'War Paint' to 'The Hairy Ape': 5 New York Plays to See Right Now

8:00 AM 4/19/2017

by David Rooney and Frank Scheck

Current musts feature stellar work from Jake Gyllenhaal, Kevin Kline, Danny DeVito and Patti LuPone.

'The Hairy Ape' (left) and 'War Paint'
'The Hairy Ape' (left) and 'War Paint'
Courtesy of Stephanie Berger Photography; Joan Marcus

  • The Hairy Ape

    Park Avenue Armory, through April 22

    Courtesy of Stephanie Berger Photography

    Environmental theater doesn't come more powerful than this off-Broadway staging of Eugene O'Neill's drama, with a superb Bobby Cannavale as a coal stoker on a transatlantic ocean liner carrying rich passengers. Director Richard Jones brings the play to thrilling life by seating the audience on risers extending into the upper rafters of the building, while the action takes place on a revolving, conveyer belt-like stage. — F.S.

  • Present Laughter

    St. James Theatre, through July 2

    Courtesy of Joan Marcus

    Kevin Kline was born to do Noel Coward, and his unimpeachably skillful turn as Garry Essendine, the 1930s stage star and aging playboy, is a total delight. Making her Broadway debut, co-star Cobie Smulders isn't in the same league, but she looks sensational and carries herself with poise. Though it starts slow, Moritz von Stuelpnagel's production gathers giddy momentum, jelling into a comedy master class. — D.R.

  • The Price

    American Airlines Theatre, through May 14

    Courtesy of Joan Marcus

    Mark Ruffalo, Tony Shalhoub, Jessica Hecht and Danny DeVito star in Terry Kinney's sensitive, compelling revival of the Arthur Miller drama about a family's festering conflicts and the cost of past decisions. Making his Broadway debut as one of Miller's rare comic creations, DeVito, especially, is marvelous, and Derek McLane's handsomely descriptive set is a standout. — D.R.

  • Sunday in the Park With George

    Hudson Theatre, through April 23

    Courtesy of Stephanie Berger Photography

    In fortifying for Broadway an already probing interpretation of this 1984 musical diptych by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, first seen in a New York City Center concert staging last fall, the production has elevated an affecting work into something rare, exquisite and exciting. Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford, bringing richer shadings and startling emotional candor to their dual roles, are superlative. — D.R.

  • War Paint

    Nederlander Theatre

    Courtesy of Joan Marcus

    Mesmerizingly matched Broadway greats Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole are glorious as rival cosmetics queens Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden in this smart, sophisticated new musical from the team behind the Tony-winning Grey Gardens. There's delicious bitchery aplenty, but the more indelible takeaway is the poignancy of all that these women had in common. Production design is suitably deluxe. — D.R.