It’s showtime! The spookiest month of the year delivers a slew of fun, immersive, and frightfully delightful performances you don’t want to miss. From an enlightening cooking class that takes place in your own kitchen to a spine-chilling walk in a cemetery, these incredible must-sees—recommended by our theater experts, David Cote and Ross Tipograph—won’t let you down.
One of the most seasoned voices in the NYC theater scene, this member of the New York Drama Critics Circle has previously appeared in the pages of The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Time Out New York.
Curiosities, through November 26
Welcome to the latest immersive theater attraction—this one set in an underground 1930s circus world of bootleggers, freaks, and big-top talents gathered under the wing of “The Professor.” The show is framed as a performance of Professor Mysterium’s Menagerie of Wonder, an illicit evening of seduction and danger. You’ll be in for a night of jazz and mysteries.
627 Fifth Avenue (between 17th and 18th Streets), Brooklyn
Strange Interlude, through November 18
In short, this project sounds insane. One man performs every role in Eugene O’Neill’s five-hour, nine-act experimental psychodrama from 1923. The play famously uses stream-of-consciousness inner monologues alternating with regular dialogue between characters. Who would be so bonkers to take this on as a solo project? The inimitable David Greenspan, who has shone in breathtaking multicharacter works before, such as The Myopia and The Patsy. This epic undertaking leaves them all in the dust. The story concerns a professor’s daughter who loses her fiancé in the Great War, a tragedy that sends her through multiple romantic failures into a loveless marriage. This Transport Group production includes two 15-minute intermissions and a 30-minute meal break. Have to keep up your energy!
Irondale Theater Center
85 South Oxford Street (between Lafayette and Greene Avenues), Brooklyn
Why Why Always, October 13–29
Co–directors Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty present a hypnotic, noirish show that deconstructs French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 sci-fi movie Alphaville. Downtown veteran Jim Fletcher is a mysterious driver, perhaps a secret agent, engaged in a stream-of-consciousness monologue. Irons and Petty describe it as a “live cine-performance” that uses complex video and sound layering.
Abrons Arts Center
466 Grand Street (between Pitt and Willett Streets), Lower East Side
Oh My Sweet Land, through October 22
And now, a new dish from the world of site-specific theater. This PlayCo performance piece takes place in actual homes. Our host (played by actress Nadine Malouf) whips up kubah in your kitchen. As she cooks, she relates how she met and fell in love with a Syrian exile, as he tried to help those he was forced to leave behind. Writer-director Amir Nizar Zuabi brings the emotional fallout of this Middle Eastern human rights crisis into your kitchen and community. By the end, we can’t guarantee you’ll be able to keep the food down.
Locations vary based on date.
Along with appearing inside the pages of The Fader and Time Out New York, this vibrant culture guru created the one-of-a-kind immersive theatrical experience 8Players.
Café Play, through November 15
Witness the secret lives of the rich, the sad, the desperate, and the concerned at this site-specific comedy based at the famed Cornelia Street Café. You’re invited to “eavesdrop” on the conversations of those who stop by while you’re seated. Breakfast performances include a coffee and pastry; lunch performances, a light salad; and you’ll enjoy a glass of signature wine when attending a late-night performance.
Cornelia Street Café
29 Cornelia Street (between Bleecker and West 4th Streets), Greenwich Village
The Toad Knew, October 12–14
The Toad Knew is a humorous and surreal production about two siblings trapped underground. Surrounded by exaggerated gothic set pieces (think: Edward Gorey or The Boxtrolls), the actors and the audience undergo an acrobatic, “physical theater” event.
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Peter Jay Sharp Building
30 Lafayette Avenue (between Ashland Place and Saint Felix Street), Brooklyn
Into the Veil, October 13 and 14
Acclaimed events team Atlas Obscura invites you into the classic Green-Wood Cemetery for an unforgettable and creepy October evening. Once the gates open, you can roam the grounds to uncover live music performances, readings, and other activities. You will enter “a portal between the land of the living and the realm of the dead.” Bring a coat—it may get chilly.
500 25th Street (at Fifth Avenue), Brooklyn
Strangest Things, October 27
Netflix’s smash-hit series Stranger Things returns this month, and with it, an original comedy event inspired by the madness. Performers take the stage to act out a heightened, parodied version of the show, giving the audience a night of “spooks, creeps, monsters, and government conspiracies.”
307 West 26th Street (between Eighth and Ninth Avenues), Chelsea