The great work has begun again on Broadway with a heavenly new revival of Angels in America, but don’t overlook the queer characters brightening smaller stages across New York.
Here’s the scoop on 10 LGBT-inclusive plays and musicals that recently opened off-Broadway for limited runs.
A 14th-century troupe of pageant players is haunted by the bubonic plague in this black comedy from gay OITNB writer Jordan Harrison, who pops up as a character to illuminate his medieval metaphor for AIDS.
Vineyard Theatre through March 29.
At Home at the Zoo
Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story is paired here with prequel Homelife. Provoking square Peter (Robert Sean Leonard) in Central Park, Paul Sparks is electric as Jerry, an unhinged stranger with a “h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l” past.
Pershing Square Signature Center through March 25.
Good for Otto
Set in a struggling rural clinic, David Rabe’s drama explores mental illness with Ed Harris headlining as a troubled therapist. 30 Rock’s Maulik Pancholy is a standout as a repressed gay patient with romantic delusions.
The New Group at Pershing Square Signature Center through April 15.
Hello, From the Children of Planet Earth
A lesbian couple (Kaaron Briscoe and Dana Berger) requests a sperm donation from a NASA engineer in Don Nguyen’s quirky comedy, analogizing mysteries of human conception and interstellar space travel.
The Playwrights Realm at Duke on 42nd Street through March 24.
Is God Is
Twin sisters from the Dirty South go west in Aleshea Harris’ Tarantino-esque tragedy. Seeking revenge on the father who left them badly burned, they encounter a nerdy gay half-brother played by Anthony Cason.
Soho Rep through March 31.
Jerry Springer the Opera
Bad taste and great voices go to hell in this Olivier Award-winning musical inspired by Springer’s trashy talk show. Nothing’s sacred, so one guest is a cross-dresser (Sean Patrick Doyle) who sings “Chick With a Dick.”
The New Group at Pershing Square Signature Center through April 1.
Sarah Burgess’ percipient political parable, directed by Hamilton’s Thomas Kail, stars Aya Cash (You’re the Worst) and Gillian Jacobs (Love) as ambitious D.C. lobbyists who just happen to be ex-girlfriends.
Public Theater through April 1.
A Letter to Harvey Milk
In this endearing musical, set in 1986 San Francisco, a young lesbian writing teacher (Julia Knitel) and a retired butcher bond over Harvey Milk at a senior center. The late gay politician appears briefly in flashbacks.
Acorn Theatre through May 13.
Martyna Majok’s drama about dreamers unfolds in an outer-borough basement apartment that’s a melting pot for post-9/11 immigrant women, including a tough lesbian (Nadine Malouf) forced to flee Afghanistan.
Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3 through March 25.
In Deborah Stein’s multimedia solo thriller, Suli Holum goes for the gut as a female boxing champ eager to reconnect with an ex-girlfriend—right after she gets back in the ring with the husband who almost killed her.
Abrons Arts Center through April 1.