Based on the 2005 film about a drag queen named Lola who saves a shoe factory, Harvey Fierstein’s Tony-winning musical adaptation isn’t just an excuse for sassy drag numbers — although, choreographed by out Broadway Bares creator Jerry Mitchell, they are sickening. Composer-lyricist Cyndi Lauper says “Sex Is in the Heel," but the magic of this show is in its heart; as Lola, who’s dealing with a bully and daddy issues, gay star Billy Porter is actually most affecting without makeup.
Hirschfeld Theatre, open-ended.
Based on the Roald Dahl children’s novel about a bookish young girl who overcomes an unpleasant upbringing, this British import is often frantic, incomprehensible, and too British for its own good, but it’s also a visually stunning spectacle with a positive message of self-empowerment. And as played by Bertie Carvel in drag, mannish headmistress Miss Trunchbull might be the most quietly terrifying villain since Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly.
Shubert Theatre, open-ended.
This totally charming stage adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's TV musical has a fairy godfather in gay playwright Douglas Carter Beane, who gave the classic a fresh new book and added depth to its kingdom of characters. The political, post-feminist makeover allows for a more independent Cinderella — the luminous Laura Osnes — and a wickedly complicated stepfamily. You'll have a ball, but no, you can't borrow the Tony-winning gowns by famed gay designer William Ivey Long.
Broadway Theatre, open-ended.
Stephen Schwartz’s ’70s coming-of-age musical about King Charlemagne’s son gets a high-energy revival courtesy of Hair’s Diane Paulus, who turns the show-within-a-show into a thrilling big-top circus. At one point, egged on by Patina Miller’s androgynous Leading Player, young Pippin — charismatic cutie Matthew James Thomas — finds himself at the center of a pansexual cage orgy that includes limber ensemble member Orion Griffiths, recent winner of the Broadway Beauty Pageant.
Music Box Theatre, open-ended.
Even at the expense of some pizzazz, director James Lapine wisely aims for gritty realism over cartoonish charm in his strong revival of the 1977 rags-to-riches musical. Grating Noo Yawk accent aside, Lilla Crawford is a pint-size powerhouse as optimistic orphan Annie, who kicks the Great Depression by moving into Daddy Warbucks’s sweet digs for the holidays. And no one terrorizes little girls with glee like Jane Lynch, who makes a fine Broadway debut as boozy floozy Miss Hannigan.
Palace Theatre, open-ended.