If you’ve seen Peppermint make herstory in Head Over Heels as the first openly trans woman to originate a principal role on Broadway, you’re probably ready to go-go to another musical. But which shows have got the beat?
Our lips are unsealed on these five must-see musicals that recently opened off-Broadway.
Be More Chill
What if Dear Evan Hansen sat with Mean Girls at the sci-fi table? Will Roland charms as a bullied teen made popular by a pill in the mind-blowing NYC debut of Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz’s cult hit based on a YA novel.
Pershing Square Signature Center through September 30.
John Doyle’s minimalist vision suits Oscar Hammerstein II’s 1943 adaptation of Bizet’s opera Carmen, set during WWII with a black cast. Anika Noni Rose sizzles as the titular man-eater in a dangerous love triangle.
Classic Stage Company through August 19.
Smokey Joe’s Cafe
Director-choreographer Joshua Bergasse lovingly revives this totally rockin’ revue of Leiber and Stoller tunes—“I’m a Woman,” “Stand by Me,” “Love Potion No. 9”—with super-bass Dwayne Cooper, aka Drag Race’s Milan.
Stage 42, open-ended.
This Ain’t No Disco
It’s your last weekend to witness this glitzy misfire, co-written by Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s Stephen Trask, a sanitized 54 spinning around ’79 club denizens like a gay hustler, a trans coat-checker, and a Warholian artist.
Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater though August 12.
Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub’s joyous, gay-inclusive musical retelling of Shakespeare’s mistaken-identity comedy explores gender inequality with Nikki M. James as Viola, our cross-dressed heroine. Play on!
Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater through August 19.