2022–23 Season Preview: 13 Shows We Can’t Wait to See

August 29, 2022

A bevy of intriguing premieres, international companies debuting or returning stateside, Broadway-bound musicals that turn what’s expected on the Great White Way on its head—the 2022–23 performance season promises to be full of surprises. Here’s what’s at the top of our contributors’ must-see lists.

Where Prayer and Play Meet

Bijayini Satpathy stands with her feet together, arching back so her head is parallel to the ground as she raises her arms overhead, bent at the elbows and wrists as though in offering to the sky. She stands on a brick floor, pillars of worn grey stone surrounding a courtyard beyond her. Her grey and white hair is pulled into a bun; she is barefoot and wears black practice clothes.
Bijayini Satpathy at The Met Cloisters. Photo by Stephanie Berger, courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

What can be made in a particular museum that can’t be made anywhere else? It’s a question Bijayini Satpathy has considered during her tenure as 2021–22 MetLiveArts artist in residence. Widely lauded as an international treasure, she creates what she calls “futuristic choreographies of traditional dance,” accompanied by nontraditional soundscapes by composer Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy.­ In the spring, she performed abstractions of ancient­ Odissi dance forms in interventions responding to the art, architecture, artistry and aesthetics of four galleries at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum­ of Art. On Sept. 13 at the Grace Rainey Rogers Audi­torium, in the fifth and final performance of her residency, Satpathy­ will synthesize 18 months of on-site research­ to explore the inter­section of praying and playing. “I’ve fed my body enough for it to speak,” the veteran artist says. We’re all ears. metmuseum.­org—Meredith Fages

Ukraine Artists Debut Stateside

The artists of Kyiv City Ballet do pliés at barres set up on a stage.
Kyiv City Ballet. Photo courtesy Kyiv City Ballet.

When the Kyiv City Ballet flew to Paris on Feb. 23 to embark on a long-planned tour, little did they know that their home country would be under siege the following day. The artists have since been sheltering in France, raising funds and forging ahead with performances—which will soon include the company’s first-ever appearances in the U.S. The 15-city tour, showcasing a full-length Swan Lake and a mixed-rep bill of contemporary choreography and Ukrainian folk dance, kicks off in Wilmington, NC, and includes stops in Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit and Oklahoma City, as well as at New York City Center’s Fall for Dance. Sept. 16–Oct. 24. kcbtheater.com. —Claudia Bauer

Bringing Jamaica to South Florida

A dozen dancers in colorful tank tops and loose trousers stand in a clump, feet hip-width apart as they each reach a single splayed hand overhead, heads dropping back. The stage is awash in red light.
National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica in Chris Walker’s Rough Drafts. Photo by Stuart Reeves Photography, courtesy National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica.

Rousing live music, vivid design and vigorous performances will bring the spirit of the Caribbean to our shores when National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica visits South Florida. Whether soulful or light­hearted, the troupe’s repertory, curated by artistic director Marlon D. Simms, draws as aptly from the tra­ditions of the African diaspora as from modern dance to project a cultural rainbow. Signature pieces such as company co-founder Rex Nettleford’s Kumina, which reveals Congolese roots, and Drumscore, depicting the grace of everyday life in a Creole society, follow the beat of Jamaican sounds and movement toward an all-embracing humanity. The double 60th-anniversary celebration of both the island’s independence and the company’s founding hits South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center on Oct. 1, followed by Miramar Cultural Center Oct. 2–3. smdcac.org and miramarculturalcenter.org—Guillermo Perez

An Iconic Ballerina Gets Her Flowers

Lauren Anderson balances in an open arabesque en pointe, back arm raised on a diagonal. Her pointe shoes and tights are dyed brown to match her skin tone. She wears a pink and white tutu and a tiara.
Lauren Anderson as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker, 2005. Photo by Jim Caldwell, courtesy Houston Ballet.

Lauren Anderson’s pointe shoes are in the Smithsonian, so it’s only fitting that there be a dance-theater piece based on the living legend’s storied life. Plumshuga: The Rise of Lauren Anderson tells the unfiltered story of the ballerina’s historic journey to become Houston Ballet’s first Black principal, as well as her battle with addiction and her courageous road to recovery. Produced by Houston’s Stages, the production features writing by acclaimed former Houston Poet Laureate Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton (who led an exhaustive research and interview process), choreography by Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch and local modern dance legend Harrison Guy, music by Jasmine Barnes and dancers from Houston Ballet. Previews Oct. 7–12, ahead of an Oct. 13–Nov. 13 run. stageshouston.com. —Nancy Wozny

An Extended Flight

Upstage, a black scrim opens partway to reveal dancers in deep fourth position pliés, arms stretched wide and chests uplifted to what looks like falling snow. A line of dancers downstage faces them, as though waiting in line to join them.
Crystal Pite’s Flight Pattern. Photo by Tristram Kenton, courtesy ROH.

In 2017, Crystal Pite created Flight Pattern, her first work for The Royal Ballet. Set to the opening movement of Górecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, the short ballet responded to the ongoing refugee crisis, shifting between presenting its 36-strong cast as a community moving together as one body and as individuals with their own unique stories, emotions and relationships. This year, Pite will develop the Olivier Award–winning work into a new, full-length ballet set to premiere at London’s Royal Opera House on Oct. 18. As so many tragic events have unfolded since Flight Pattern’s first iteration—from the devastating effects of the U.S. and U.K.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan to the displacement of millions of Ukrainians—it feels timely to revisit the work, and to consider how dance can be used to speak to one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. Oct. 18–Nov. 3. roh.org.uk—Emily May

Brazil’s Messy Humanity

Grinning performers hold and whirl masses of colorful fabric as big as they are, more than one of them lost beneath the piles of fabric.
Lia Rodrigues’ Encantado. Photo by Sammi Landweer, courtesy BAM.

The pulsating human mass in Lia Rodrigues’ choreography can slip from feeling like a neighborhood party to a frightening mob. This fall, the Brazilian Rodrigues, whose work is celebrated in Europe but rarely seen in the U.S., brings the darkly outrageous Fúria, flesh grappling with flesh, to the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH, Oct. 21–22; Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Oct. 28–29; and Peak Performances in Montclair, NJ, Nov. 3–6. Then, switching moods but not modes, she offers her raucously joyful Encantado to Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Nov. 8–9. wexarts.org, walkerart.org, peakperfs.org and bam.org. —Wendy Perron

New Director, New Works

A group of five dancers in simple, dark costumes pose in an interconnected cluster, all gazing towards phones held in their hands. Behind them, letters and symbols scroll incomprehensibly over the grey backdrop.
Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To debuted at SFB’s last new-choreography festival. Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy SFB.

America’s oldest ballet company has big new things in store for 2023: San Francisco Ballet’s 90th repertory season will be its first under Tamara Rojo’s artistic direction, and it opens with [email protected] Planned by outgoing artistic director Helgi Tomasson, the new-works festival will bring world premieres from a tantalizing roster of dancemakers creating their first SFB commissions—Nicolas Blanc, Bridget Breiner, Robert Garland, Yuka Oishi, Jamar Roberts and Claudia Schreier—as well as resident choreographer Yuri Possokhov and frequent contributors Val Caniparoli and Danielle Rowe. Tomasson’s taste for innovation made SFB’s last new-works festival, 2018’s mammoth Unbound, a treasure trove of choreographic surprises and star-making roles for the company’s young dancers. With any luck, [email protected] will be just as rewarding. Jan. 20–Feb. 11. sfballet.org

—Claudia Bauer

A Surprise at City Ballet

Keerati Jinakunwiphat holds one hand to her temple, the other loosely at the center of her chest, as she directs the two dancers in front of her in the studio. The dancer in pointe shoes hunches forward in B-plus, hands clutching at the dancer facing upstage, who imitates Jinakunwiphat's pose.
Keerati Jinakunwiphat (right) rehearsing during the fall 2021 New York Choreographic Institute. Photo by Erin Baiano, courtesy NYCB.

Among the crowd of mainstays whose work is appearing during New York City Ballet’s winter season, Keerati Jinakunwiphat is a welcome surprise. A dancer for A.I.M by Kyle Abraham and a freelance choreographer, she’s premiering her first dance for NYCB this February on a program alongside Alexei Ratmansky’s Voices and Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go. The ballet’s debut will make Jinakunwiphat, who is Thai American, the second Asian American choreographer to set work on NYCB and the first Asian American woman to do so.

Jinakunwiphat received her first professional commission in 2019—a piece for A.I.M—and has since choreographed mostly for contemporary dance companies, including PARA.MAR Dance Theatre, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and Houston Contemporary Dance Company. But she’s no stranger to the NYCB ecosystem: She assisted Abraham during the creation of The Runaway and premiered a ballet for the New York Choreographic Institute last fall. Titled Impeccable Quake, it showcased both Jinakunwiphat’s characteristic attention to the individuality of each of her dancers and the sweeping motions and curving shapes that are emerging as central elements of her style. We can’t wait to see how these qualities unfold on the NYCB mainstage. Feb. 1, 8, 9, 11. nycballet.com. —Caroline Shadle

Part of That World

Tara Nicole Hughes stands wearing layered street clothes, eyes on performers with a notebook in hand. In the foreground, performers in period wear rush about with ladders, lit by street lanterns. A mass of crew members are in the background, carefully off-camera.
Tara Nicole Hughes on the set of Mary Poppy Returns. Photo courtesy Hughes.

The live-action remake of the Disney animated classic The Little Mermaid is slated to hit cinemas in May. The literal fish-out-of-water story, directed by Rob Marshall, features choreography by Tara Nicole Hughes—best known for her dancing in Mary Poppins Returns and La La Land—and Joey Pizzi—co-choreographer of Mary Poppins Returns and associate choreographer for movie musicals like Hairspray and Dreamgirls. Airborne choreography combined with special effects will create the underwater illusion on screen, but audiences can also anticipate beautiful dancing on land as the romance between Prince Eric and Ariel unfolds. It’s going to be a—what’s that word again?—treat. disney.com—Ruthie Fierberg

Changing Tides in Musical Theater

Several new musicals feature styles, source material and casting choices not commonly seen on the Great White Way.

DDLJ to Broadway

The longest-running film in Indian cinema arrives on the theatrical stage with Come Fall in Love—The DDLJ Musical, an adaptation of beloved Bollywood film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Simran, an Indian American woman, is set for an arranged marriage to a family friend. But when she meets the American Rog on a European adventure, will she be able to marry her heritage with her heart? Tony Award–winning choreographer Rob Ashford teams up with associate Shruti Merchant to create a collision of cultures in this new musical rom-com, which features book and lyrics by Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde: The Musical) and music by Broadway newcomers Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani. Merchant says the choreography integrates Indian folk styles, like the jhumar, luddi and giddha, while blending traditional and contemporary movement “served with a dash of robustness and energy galore.” Performances begin Sept. 1 at San Diego’s Old Globe ahead of an anticipated Broadway transfer. Sept. 1–Oct. 16. theoldglobe.org. —Ruthie Fierberg

Performers in contemporary iterations of late 18th century gentleman's clothing pose around a raised seat. The seated performer points down at where their shoes are being shined. The others seem in the midst of debate. A projection of a golden frame with a sketchy outline of a man is visible in the background.
The American Repertory Theater production of 1776. Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade, courtesy Polk & Co.

Recasting the Founding Fathers

One look at the cast photo, and you know these Founding Fathers are different: not a cisgender white man in the bunch. Instead, Roundabout Theatre Company uses female-identifying, nonbinary and transgender actors to play John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and the other (white, male) delegates to the Continental Congress in its revival of Peter Stone’s and Sherman Edwards’ 1969 Tony-winning hit, 1776. This production, directed last summer at American Repertory Theater by Diane Paulus and Fela! alum Jeffrey L. Page, is different in another way, too: It pays attention to dance, replacing the original’s lone minuet with extensive choreography by Page. Sept. 16–Jan. 8 at American Airlines Theatre. roundabouttheatre.org. —Sylviane Gold

A group of five performers poses together as they sing and dance, the lighting and staging evoking a boy band in performance. Audience members are visible, standing close to the stage.
The 2017 Ars Nova production of KPOP. Photo by Ben Arons, courtesy Everyman Agency.

KPOP Don’t Stop

Hair brought rock to Broadway, Big River brought country, and In the Heights brought hip hop. Now it’s K-pop’s turn, with a splashy tale set in a music factory that trains and styles young hopefuls to climb the charts in South Korea and beyond. A 2017 hit off-Broadway, KPOP stars genuine K-pop diva Luna and features choreography by Hip Hop Nutcracker co-creator Jennifer Weber. Director Teddy Bergman leads the immersive theater group Woodshed Collective, which conceived the show with its author, playwright Jason Kim. Songs, in English and Korean, are by Helen Park and Max Vernon, and the bulk of the cast and creatives are making their Broadway debuts—along with the title genre. Previews Oct. 13, opens Nov. 20 at Circle in the Square. kpopbroadway.com. —Sylviane Gold

Spotlit in the foreground, Mr. Miyagi shows Daniel LaRusso how to block a strike, their arms connecting at the forearm. Circling around them are shadowy figures individually imitating their gestures.
The Karate Kid—The Musical at Stages St. Louis. Photo by Phillip Hamer Photography, courtesy DKC/O&M.

Wax On, Wax Off

Fresh off its out-of-town tryout at Stages St. Louis in Missouri, this season the musical adaptation of The Karate Kid will mark choreographic powerhouse duo Keone and Mari Madrid’s Broadway debut. With a book by the famed film’s original screenwriter, Robert Mark Kamen, The Karate Kid—The Musical follows Daniel LaRusso as he trains with solitary handyman and martial arts expert Mr. Miyagi to fight back against school bullies. The Madrids’ choreography is, they say, 80 percent their signature hard-hitting hip-hop with jazz and contemporary lyricism and 20 percent martial arts. While Keone studied karate briefly as a kid and has been training in muay thai the past few years, associate choreographer Vinh Nguyen (experienced in tae kwon do and muay thai) and karate consultant Sakura Kokumai (Olympic kata competitor) bring authenticity to the onstage martial arts. “Miyagi-do is all about defense first while also finding inspiration from his Okinawan roots to find balance in nature,” the Madrids say, while rival teacher John Kreese, “à la Cobra Kai, is straight lines, fists, eruption, offense first.” thekaratekidthemusical.com. —Ruthie Fierberg