What’s New in NYC Theater

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From left, Daniel J. Watts, Roslyn Ruff and Reynaldo Piniella in “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World a.k.a. the Negro Book of the Dead,” playing at Pershing Square Signature Center through Dec. 18. See listing below.

Credit
Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Our guide to plays and musicals coming to New York stages — and a few last-chance picks of shows that are about to close. Our reviews of open shows are at nytimes.com/reviews/theater.

Previews and Openings

‘BRIGHT COLORS AND BOLD PATTERNS’ at Barrow Street Theater (in previews; opens on Dec. 19). Something old, something new, something borrowed, but nothing fuchsia. When Gerry (the YouTube star and playwright Drew Droege) receives a wedding invitation banning flashy clothes, he embarks on an epic rant about identity, self-determination and gay marriage. Michael Urie directs.
866-811-4111, barrowstreettheatre.com

‘GOD OF VENGEANCE’ at La MaMa (previews start on Dec. 22; opens on Dec. 25). The New Yiddish Rep revives Sholem Asch’s play, a provocative work that attracted an obscenity charge and inspired Paula Vogel’s Broadway-bound “Indecent.” An indictment of religious hypocrisy and failed work-life balance, it centers on a domineering brothel owner and the rebellious daughter who falls for an employee.
800-838-3006, newyiddishrep.org

‘LIFE IS FOR LIVING: CONVERSATIONS WITH COWARD’ at 59E59 Theaters (in previews; opens on Dec. 18). Noël Coward had some advice for actors: “Just say the lines, and don’t trip over the furniture.” Simon Green, a longtime Coward interpreter, is likely to heed it when he brings this new show, featuring Ivor Novello songs and Coward stories, to 59E59.
212-279-4200, 59e59.org

‘THE PRESENT’ at the Barrymore Theater (previews start on Dec. 17; opens on Jan. 8). Awash in vodka, a new version of Anton Chekhov’s first full-length play splashes onto Broadway. A comic and tragic meditation on life’s disappointments and consolations, it has been modernized and adapted by the playwright Andrew Upton. Under John Crowley’s direction, this Sydney Theater Company production stars Cate Blanchett stars as an unmoored widow, with Richard Roxburgh as a dissolute comrade.
212-239-6200, thepresentbroadway.com

ALEXIS SOLOSKI

Last Chance

‘THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD A.K.A. THE NEGRO BOOK OF THE DEAD’ at Pershing Square Signature Center (closes on Dec. 18). Suzan-Lori Parks’s jazz fugue of a play presents a haunting, sepulchral parade of images that have distorted and swallowed up the history of African-Americans. Lileana Blain-Cruz’s hypnotic staging, featuring a large and accomplished cast, is as vivid and compelling as a fever dream. (Ben Brantley)
212-244-7529, signaturetheatre.org

‘ELEMENTS OF OZ’ at 3LD Art & Technology Center (closes on Dec. 18). A loose, loopy and enjoyable seminar on the making of “The Wizard of Oz” and its influence on pop culture, this Builders Association production combines live video and performance. Several famous scenes from the movie are more or less filmed anew before us; the digital video is dazzlingly pristine, and it’s fun to watch the wry comic impersonations of the original performances. (Charles Isherwood)
800-838-3006, 3ldnyc.org

‘LOVE, LOVE, LOVE’ at the Laura Pels Theater (closes on Dec. 18). Playing a pair of soul mates in selfishness in Mike Bartlett’s scathing portrait of the baby boomer generation, Amy Ryan and Richard Armitage advance from the ages of 19 to 64 with a galloping satirical wit that pulls you along, happy and appalled, through the decades. Impeccably directed by Michael Mayer, and featuring a nigh-perfect ensemble of five. (Brantley)
212-719-1300, roundabouttheatre.org

‘SWEAT’ at the Public Theater (closes on Dec. 18). Lynn Nottage’s all-too-timely play, mostly set in a bar in a declining Rust Belt town, explores with great compassion, and some humor, too, the impact that the collapse of manufacturing in America has had on the people who have relied on such work for generations. Kate Whoriskey’s production is superbly acted and supremely, if sadly, moving. (Isherwood)
212-967-7555, publictheater.org

‘WHITE RABBIT, RED RABBIT’ at Westside Theater (closes on Dec. 19). In each Monday performance of “White Rabbit, Red Rabbit,” a new actor would confront the challenge of this engaging, enigmatic solo play (with the audience in a supporting role) by the Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour. The performer — on Monday, it will be the actor Richard Thomas — sees the script only when he or she steps onstage. (Isherwood)
212-239-6200, whiterabbitredrabbit.com

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