Political Theater

In honor of the upcoming presidential election, we've rounded up shows that celebrate—or skewer—American politics. 


No matter where you go these days—the family dinner table, the office water cooler, Twitter—you'll inevitably find people talking (or, perhaps, ranting) about Hillary versus The Donald. This heated presidential election has gotten everyone riled up, so it's no wonder that it's inspiring theater artists, too. From a revival of a rarely done Shakespeare tragedy, to politically minded revues, to brand-new plays addressing our country's polarized state, there are many more theater choices than candidates. There's even a show written by a first-time playwright who happens to be a former State Senator! So there's no need to wait until Election Day; cast your vote for one of these political productions pronto.

Open run

Hamilton

Members say: Clever, Entertaining, Absorbing, Must see, Ambitious
97
Critics
95
64 reviews
Members
97
8431 reviews

Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop infused tuner about Alexander Hamilton began at The Public Theater to rave reviews, then transferred to Broadway where it won eleven 2016 Tony Awards including Best Musical.

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A musical about the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America: Alexander Hamilton. From bastard orphan to Washington's right-hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country's first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, 'Hamilton' is an exploration of a political mastermind. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton, and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all attend this revolutionary tale of America’s fiery past told through the sounds of the ever-changing nation we’ve become. Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

 

Already closed

Women of a Certain Age: Election Year in the Life of One Family, Play Three

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Great writing, Relevant, Intelligent
86
Critics
83
23 reviews
Members
87
70 reviews

Tony Award-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson returns to the Public Theater with the final chapter his new three-play cycle about the Gabriels of Rhinebeck, New York.

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Once again, we're back in the kitchen of the Gabriel family as they await the results of the presidential election on November 8, 2016. 'Women of a Certain Age' takes place in the course of a single night, eight months after we first met the clan. Patricia, the family matriarch, joins her children and daughters-in-law as they prepare a meal from the past and consider the future of their country, town, and home. Paying tribute to the difficult year behind them, the Gabriels compare notes on the search for empathy and authenticity at a time when the game seems rigged and the rules are forever changing.

 

Already closed

Coriolanus

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant, Ambitious, Intense
84
Critics
84
21 reviews
Members
84
131 reviews

Red Bull Theater's visceral mounting of Shakespeare's political tragedy features Broadway star Patrick Page ('Cymbeline,' 'Casa Valentina'), RSC veteran Lisa Harrow, and two-time Tony winner Stephen Spinella.

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The streets are full of protest. Economic inequality strains the social fabric. Debates rage throughout a nation riddled with dissension and distrust. It’s election year in Rome, 493 B.C.E., and as unscrupulous politicians manipulate public opinion, the hypocrisy and humiliation of campaigns drive away the country’s finest. But beneath this political drama looms the personal tragedy of one principled man’s emotional blindness.

 

Open run

NEWSical: The Musical

Members say: Entertaining, Funny, Clever, Delightful, Quirky
77
Critics
81
7 reviews
Members
76
265 reviews

This long-running musical revue/sketch comedy show lampoons current events, newsmakers, celebrities, and politicians. Think 'The Daily Show' set to music.

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'Newsical's' songs and sketches parody all of today's biggest headlines, from politics to pop culture, celebrities to social trends. It's 'Saturday Night Live' meets 'Laugh-In' meets 'The Nightly News' meets Broadway. Songs and material are updated on a regular basis.

 

Already closed

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Phoenix Theatre Ensemble)

Members say: Slow, Confusing, Ambitious, Great staging, Disappointing
70
Critics
69
10 reviews
Members
67
2 reviews

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble presents Bertolt Brecht’s savage satire about the rise of a fascist dictator. This version marks the U.S. premiere of Stephen Sharkey's recent translation.

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It's '30s Chicago, where a crazy but charismatic gangster named Arturo Ui is hellbent on gaining power at all costs. Brecht's farce ultimately turns frighteningly relevant as the playwright uses a wide range of parody and pastiche, from Capone to Shakespeare’s 'Richard III' to Goethe’s 'Faust.' Directed by Obie winner Kevin Confoy.

 

Already closed

Conversations with an Average Joe

Members say: Confusing, Slow, Banal, Ambitious, Disappointing
43
Critics
-
0 reviews
Members
43
10 reviews

The Theater Center presents an examination of our current presidential election, mounted as a town-hall type gathering in a local bar. Written by former New Mexico State Senator Joe Carraro.

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Based on the real-life stories of average Joes and Janes, Carraro's new play features many musings, monologues, and situations that bring the injustices we face as a society at the hands of big corporations and big government to light. The show is more a "movement" than a play. It examines the disenchantment of this unique presidential election, and aims to provide a forum for political change through audience engagement.

 

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