Summer Theater Preview: 11 Must-See Broadway and Off-Broadway Shows

Summer Preview
Images by Maarten de Boer / Getty / Warner Bros / Art Design by Erik Shute

While the 2017-18 Broadway season has just drawn to a close, there are still plenty of new productions and A-list stars to see on stage this summer.

Among ET’s 90 top picks for summer are our 11 most-see theatrical productions of the season.

While the 2017-18 Broadway season has just drawn to a close, there are still plenty of new productions and A-list stars to see on stage this summer. Among the Hollywood stars taking over the New York theater scene are Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto leading a star-studded ensemble cast in Ryan Murphy’s revival of The Boys in the Band; Jesse Tyler Ferguson filling his Modern Family hiatus with Log Cabin; Carey Mulligan in the Off-Broadway Audible production of Girls and Boys; and Armie Hammer making his Broadway debut alongside Josh Charles in Straight White Men.

Meanwhile, Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany will bring Tracy LettsMary Page Marlowe to Off-Broadway; Jurassic World actor B.D. Wong stars in The Great Leap; and Supergirl’s Melissa Benoist will step into the role of Carole King in Beautiful.

However, no star is more anticipated than Bette Midler in her return to Hello, Dolly! She’ll reprise her Tony-winning performance alongside David Hyde Pierce for the show’s final weeks, taking over for their replacements, Bernadette Peters and Victor Garber.

The Boys in the Band

Booth Theatre

Ryan Murphy presents the revival of Mart Crowley’s 1968 groundbreaking play about a group of gay men gathering together at a New York apartment for a friend’s birthday when faults in relationships are exposed. Presented on Broadway for the first time in 50 years, the ensemble features a cast of openly gay actors led by Andrew Rannells, Charlie Carver, Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto.

Opens: May 31, Booth Theatre

Log Cabin

Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images

Jesse Tyler Ferguson returns to New York for the world premiere of a new play written by Jordan Harrison (Marjorie Prime). The Off-Broadway production tells the story of a tight-knit group of married gays and lesbians in 2015 whose conservative feelings are revealed when they’re seen through the eyes of their transgender friend.

Opens: June 1, Playwrights Horizons

The Great Leap

Mr. Robot Emmy nominee and longtime theater actor B.D. Wong is joined by Ali Ahn (The Path), Ned Eisenberg (Six Degrees of Separation) and Tony Aidan Vo (Pan Asian Rep’s NoNo Boy) in Lauren Yee’s play about a basketball prodigy from San Francisco’s Chinatown who talks his way onto a college team just as they’re about to travel to China for an exhibition game.

Opens: June 4, Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2

Melissa Benoist in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Melissa Benoist, star of The CW’s Supergirl, trades in her cape for Carole King, when she takes over the lead role in the successful biomusical about the singer-songwriter. While Benoist is making her Broadway debut, fans of the actress may have seen her demonstrate her vocal chops as Marley on Glee or the Supergirl crossover musical episode with The Flash.

Performances start: June 7, Stephen Sondheim Theatre

Girls and Boys

Marc Brenner

Academy Award and Tony nominee Carey Mulligan takes to the stage in a one-woman show from Dennis Kelly (Matilda the Musical) about a meet-cute at the airport that quickly falls apart. After debuting to rave reviews in London, the show by Audible -- the Amazon company’s second Off-Broadway production -- will run for five weeks in New York City.

Opens: June 21, Minetta Lane Theatre


Roundabout Theatre Company

Written by Joshua Harmon (the playwright behind Bad Jews and Significant Other), the new plays offers a scorching examination of beauty, youth and sex. Broadway legend Idina Menzel plays Jodi Isaac, who turns to her famous father for support after learning her ex-husband is engaged to a much younger woman. It turns out her father is wrapped up with 20-year-old Trey, who may or may not be gay but is likely an adult film star, at least according to Jodi’s 20-year-old gay son.

Opens: June 21, Laura Pels Theatre

Mary Page Marlowe

Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Grace Gummer (Mr. Robot) and Blair Brown (Orange Is the New Black) are among the six women set to portray the same seemingly ordinary Ohio accountant at various stages in her life in a play written by Tracy Letts (August: Osage County).

Opens: July 12, Tony Kiser Theater

Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly!

Julieta Cervantes

The Tony Award winner will return to the title role she originated in the current revival of Hello, Dolly! Her former co-star David Hyde Pierce, who played Horace Vandergelder, will join her in the limited six-week engagement from July 17 to Aug. 25, when the show will close.

Performances start: July 17, Shubert Theatre

Straight White Men

Polk & Co.

A father and his three adult sons are forced to confront their own identities on Christmas Eve in a hilarious and ruthless take on the father-son drama by Obie Award winner Young Jean Lee. Following rave reviews in Call Me by Your Name, Armie Hammer makes his Broadway debut alongside Josh Charles (The Good Wife) and performance artist Kate Bornstein.

Opens: July 23, Hayes Theater

Head Over Heels

Joan Marcus

The Go-Go’s get the jukebox treatment in a new musical about a royal family that must prevent an oracle's prophecy of doom. With an ensemble cast including RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Peppermint, the show will feature the band’s hit songs “We Got the Beat,” “Get Up and Go,” “Cool Jerk,” “Vacation,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Lust to Love,” “Head Over Heels” and Belinda Carlisle’s solo hits “Mad About You” and “Heaven Is a Place on Earth.”

Opens: July 26, Hudson Theatre

Pretty Woman: The Musical

Originally conceived by the film’s creator, the late Garry Marshall, and producer Paula Wagner, the musical adaption from Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell will feature original music by singer Bryan Adams. The production stars Samantha Barks (Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables) as Vivian and Steve Kazee (Shameless) as Edward.

Opens: August 16, Nederlander Theatre