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2014 New York Fall Theater Preview

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While some may lament the closing days of summer, there's also reason to celebrate the opening days of fall. Colorful foliage, cool breezes and a slew of new musicals and plays are entering the Broadway scene. Below are five stage productions going into previews this fall. Some feature big stars and laughs while others contain compelling plots or thought-provoking political commentaries. Sound off in the comments section with any insight, thoughts or other new plays and musicals that should be on our radar!

"The River"
Circle in the Square Theatre
235 W. 50th St.
New York, NY 10019
Dates: Oct. 31, 2014 (opening performances); Nov. 16, 2014 (opening night); Jan. 25, 2014 (final performance)

"The River," penned by Tony-nominated playwright Jez Butterworth, has amassed great buzz since it harkens the return of one of Broadway's favorite leading men, Hugh Jackman, the Australian-born thespian made famous for his now iconic portrayal of the savage Wolverine in the popular "X-Men" film series. His upcoming play tells the story of a man and a woman who meet on a moonless night in a desolate fishing cabin. Already described by The Telegraph's Charles Spencer as "haunting and hushed," many are intrigued to see what Jackman and Butterworth have come up with.

"It's Only A Play"
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
236 W. 45th St.
New York, NY 10036
Dates: Aug. 28, 2014 (first preview); Oct. 9, 2014 (opening night); Jan. 4, 2015 (final performance)

Any production featuring the winning combination of Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane doesn't require much marketing outside of posting the names of its leading duo on the marquee. Billed as a celebration of Broadway culture, "It's Only a Play" tells the comedic story of the opening night of Peter Austin's (Broderick) new play and the interactions he has with friends, producers and others off-stage during the performance.

Related: 5 NYC Activities To Get Your Aggression Out

Lyceum Theatre
149 W. 45th St.
New York, NY 10036
(212) 239-6200
Date: Sept. 27, 2014 (first preview); Oct. 23, 2014 (opening night); Jan. 18, 2015 (final performance)

"Disgraced," a play by novelist Ayad Akhtar, took home the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2013 after debuting in the Midwest and making an Off-Broadway run. Often described as an intense political piece, the play examines the struggles successful Muslim Americans must face in a post-9/11 world.

"The Last Ship" 
Neil Simon Theatre
250 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019
(800) 745-3000
Dates: Sept. 29, 2014 (first preview); Oct. 26, 2014 (opening night)

Over the last few months, "The Last Ship" has garnered praise and hype from various media outlets. Charged by a catchy title track and the fact that the music was written by Police frontman Sting, the musical is already booked for dates into the spring of 2015. The piece is based on Sting's somewhat surreal childhood memories of growing up next to a large shipyard in England.

"By The Water" 
Manhattan Theatre Club
131 W. 55th St.
New York, NY 10019
Date: Nov. 4, 2014 (first preview); Nov. 18, 2014 (opening night)

Being timely and featuring what sounds to be an engaging plot, "By the Water" is the one Off-Broadway play to make this list. The production focuses on Staten Island couple Marty and Mary Murphy, whose beloved home and community have been washed away by Hurricane Sandy. In the aftermath, the beleaguered husband and wife try to rally neighbors to rebuild, but issues from the past begin to swell up amidst the chaos.

Related: 6 Great NYC Activities That Are Fun For Groups

Matt Thomas has covered Manhattan's music and arts beat since 2005. His stories and articles have appeared in The Village Voice, The Journal of American Culture, Word Riot, and many others. Read some of his other work on his blog ( and

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