Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 8 & 9)
Performances begin June 5

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks was top dog on stages around the country last season. Theaters performed her "365 Days/365 Plays" pieces from Austin to Alberta, Seattle to St. Paul, Burning Man to the Berkshires. Now she's returned with a longer play that borrows its title from one of those daily shows. Set in the Civil War era and the present, it contrasts the adventures of a slave angling for freedom and a Poet-General preparing for death. The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, publictheater.org

Summerworks
Performances begin June 7

Unfashionable hoodies
Ellie Kurtz
Unfashionable hoodies

While we're working on getting our figures bikini- and board-short-ready, Clubbed Thumb has busied itself whipping plays into shape. The 14th annual Summerworks—their warm weather celebration of new drama—features Kristin Newbom's Dunkin' Donuts–set Telethon, Madeleine George's linguistically difficult Precious Little, and Gregory Moss's Punk Play. That last concerns two boys who discover punk rock and find it "hot and fast and angry and alive"—an excellent description of Summerworks itself. Ohio Theatre, 66 Wooster Street, clubbedthumb.org

Twelfth Night
Performances begin June 10

Anne Hathaway has played a princess, a cowgirl, a belligerent bride, a dipsomaniacal sister, and Jane Austen—but she's not known for breeches parts. And, despite sharing a name with Shakespeare's wife, her résumé is bare of the bard. Hathaway will remedy both deficiencies when she stars in the Shakespeare in the Park revival of Twelfth Night. In Illyria, Hathaway will play Viola, a capable and cross-dressed young woman. Director Daniel Sullivan may command where he adores. Delacorte Theater, Central Park, publictheater.org

The Tin Pan Alley Rag
Performances begin June 12

Come on and hear, come on and hear Mark Saltzman's musical, which posits a meeting between ragtime composer Scott Joplin and popular songsmith Irving Berlin. The African-American Joplin and the Jewish Berlin, unacquainted in real life, develop a fictional friendship, enlivened by selections from their back catalog. They discuss heartbreak, art versus commerce, and the fortunes of Joplin's opera, Treemonisha. As Irving Berlin once sang, "The song is ended/But the melody lingers on." Laura Pels Theatre, 111 West 46th Street, roundabouttheatre.org

The Wiz
Performances begin June 12

In 2005, the r&b sensation Ashanti appeared in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, beating out teen queens Hilary Duff and Jessica Simpson for the role of Dorothy. If Ashanti could triumph over them—to say nothing of Miss Piggy's Wicked Witch—she seems a natural fit for the ruby slippers in the Encores! presentation of The Wiz. Thomas Kail and Andy Blankenbuehler, late of In the Heights, will direct and choreograph their way down the yellow brick road. New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street, nycitycenter.org

Ivanov
Performances begin July 7

This year, New York audiences have enjoyed notable performances of Anton Chekhov's Seagull, Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters, and Uncle Vanya. Happily, the Hungarian director Tamas Ascher arrives, courtesy of the Lincoln Center Festival, to present Chekhov's first major play, Ivanov, a tale of a superfluous man and his inconvenient wife. (Other festival highlights include Ariane Mnouchkine's Les Éphémères, Maly Drama Theatre's Life and Fate, and Declan Donnellan's Boris Godunov.) Now who'll stage The Wood Demon? Gerald W. Lynch Theater, 899 Tenth Avenue, lincolncenter.org

Trilogia della villeGgiatura
Performances begin July 22

In 1754, while returning to Venice, playwright Carlo Goldoni noted a cluster of villas "where luxury becomes truly sumptuous. . . . These villas offer gambling, open tables, dancing and entertainment," and ample opportunity for adultery. Seven years later, Goldoni relied on this locale as inspiration for this mordant, comic trilogy of country life. The extraordinary Italian actor Toni Servillo directs this satire of bourgeois holidaymakers who squander money and morals. Rose Theater, Broadway and 60th Street, fifth floor, lincolncenter.org

The Bacchae
Performances begin August 11

At the opening of Euripides' tragedy, the god Dionysus returns to Thebes to wreak havoc on the city that denied his talents and fame. You could draw some uncomfortable parallels between this and director JoAnne Akalaitis: This production marks Akalaitis's return to the Public Theater, which once ousted her from artistic directorship—but she likely has revenge on her mind only as it concerns Euripides' play. Akalaitis's former husband, the composer Philip Glass, provides a new score for this divine drama. Delacorte Theater, Central Park, publictheater.org

New York International Fringe Festival
Performances begin August 14

Every week, statisticians release another dismal number: Unemployment is up, spending is down, and home prices have yet to stabilize. But don't expect a similar downturn to afflict New York's 13th annual Fringe Festival. Thirteen may not be the luckiest integer, but our Fringe still intends to uphold its status as the largest multi-arts festival in North America. It'll do so with a multiplicity of shows—a range of low-budget plays, musicals, performance pieces, kiddie shows, and a plentitude of genre defiers. Various venues, fringenyc.org

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