While Broadway enjoys its post-Tonys cooldown, the off-Broadway scene is heating up with bold and buzzworthy new works.
Get the scoop on five queer shows that recently opened for limited runs.
S. Asher Gelman probes gay polyamory in his stimulating play about a married couple who start sleeping with a massage therapist. Things get messy when one father-to-be falls for their sidepiece, so it’s a good thing there’s a working shower on stage for ballsy stars Brandon Haagenson, Patrick Reilly, and Robbie Simpson. “We’re young, we’re hot,” says the hornier hubby. “We should be fucking all of the time!” No arguments here.
Loft at the Davenport Theatre through August 19.
The Crusade of Connor Stephens
Dewey Moss’s earnest melodrama stars Alec Shaw and former “Dell Dude” Ben Curtis as a small-town Texas couple mourning the death of their adopted daughter, who was gunned down at school. With All My Children’s James Kiberd as the girl’s grandfather, a Baptist pastor whose anti-gay sermons may have inspired the young shooter, this tearjerking morality play gives audiences the catharsis of detesting a demonstrable villain.
Jerry Orbach Theatre through August 6.
The Government Inspector
Red Bull Theater presents Jeffrey Hatcher’s gut-busting adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s timely 1836 satire of political corruption in backwoods Russia. Out actor Michael Urie proves himself a peerless physical comedian as Ivan, a suicidal fop mistaken for an eminent official sent by the Tsar. A breakout among the comically crooked rubes, Arnie Burton also gnaws scenery as Ivan’s snarky valet and a queeny letter-reading postman.
New World Stages through August 20.
An explosive plot twist propels Meghan Kennedy’s solid and stirring coming-of-age drama about a working-class Italian family in 1960 Brooklyn. Jordyn DiNatale dazzles as the youngest daughter, who, after enraging her brutish Catholic father by chopping off her hair, plans to stow away on a ship to France with her mousy girlfriend. In one particularly indelible scene, the teens chastely pantomime the act of undressing.
Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre through August 27.
When drafted into Randy Weiner and Ryan Heffington’s immersive experience, all’s fair in love, war, and audience participation. Staged in a former meat market, this stylized fever dream intimately explores WWII horrors with sexy nurses and hunky recruits stripped to their briefs. A woman whispered in my ear as I observed a passionate pas de deux between gay soldiers, one of whom later stuck it to Uncle Sam in a USO drag number.
High Line Building through July 30.