‘FARINELLI AND THE KING’ at the Belasco Theater (previews start on Dec. 5; opens on Dec. 17). A show for music lovers and fire marshal enthusiasts, Claire van Kampen’s candlelit play, directed by John Dove, centers on the relationship between an addled Spanish monarch (Mark Rylance) and a famed castrato (Sam Crane, with singing by Iestyn Davies). Musicians in a gallery above play Baroque instruments to accompany this tale of a baroque king.
‘HUNDRED DAYS’ at New York Theater Workshop (in previews; opens on Dec. 4). Does the couple that makes a play together stay together? This folk-rock musical, composed by and starring the married songwriters Abigail and Shaun Bengson, both celebrates their love and meditates on mortality. Reviewing an earlier production, Ben Brantley wrote that it finds “the unexpected harmony in angst and indecision.”
‘JACK & THE BEANSTALK’ at Abrons Arts Center (previews start on Dec. 6; opens on Dec. 10). A familiar fairy tale receives a playful rewrite when the husband-and-wife theatermakers Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser fight giants in the sky and the censorious down below. Drawing on pantomime tradition, they have reformatted the story to feature a little more glitter and social justice.
‘ONCE ON THIS ISLAND’ at Circle in the Square (in previews; opens on Dec. 3). It’s back to the archipelago with this 1990 musical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty in which a peasant girl and a wealthy swain are tangled in a divine bet between love and death. The director Michael Arden populates his atoll with a cast including Philip Boykin and Lea Salonga.
‘A ROOM IN INDIA’ at the Park Avenue Armory (performances start on Dec. 5). Ariane Mnouchkine’s Le Théâtre du Soleil settles into the Park Avenue Armory with a new piece about a French theater company stranded in India. When a terror attack leaves the troupe unable to return home, they struggle to prepare a new work, intermingling Western performance with traditional South Indian forms.
‘SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS’ at the Palace Theater (in previews; opens on Dec. 4). A cartoon hero has moved out of his pineapple under the sea and onto Broadway. Will our absorbent protagonist be able to save Bikini Bottom from an erupting volcano? Only the director Tina Landau and the book writer Kyle Jarrow (and probably the rest of the cast and creative team) know for sure. Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, They Might Be Giants and others supply the songs.
‘TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY’ at the New Ohio Theater (in previews; opens on Dec. 7). Fans of Page 73, a developmental program for early-career playwrights, can turn the dial to their latest play. Written by Susan Soon He Stanton and directed by Kip Fagan, it stars Jennifer Ikeda as a burned-out New Yorker who comes home to Hawaii and finds work on a shock jock radio show.
‘OEDIPUS EL REY’ at the Public Theater (closes on Dec. 3). As the South Central sun beats down in Los Angeles, an abandoned princeling will murder his father and bed his mother for the last time. Luis Alfaro’s “vigorous and pointed” adaptation, in Ben Brantley’s words, of Sophocles’ tragedy explores themes of fate and free will while also addressing the epidemic incarceration of Latinos in the California prison system.
‘PEOPLE, PLACES & THINGS’ at St. Ann’s Warehouse (closes on Dec. 3). Duncan MacMillan’s portrait of an actress and her addictions, vivified by a searing turn from Denise Gough, sobers up for the end of its run. Jesse Green described it as a “thrilling, devastating and, yes, deeply unreliable look at recovery from the muddled inside.”
‘TORCH SONG’ at Second Stage at the Tony Kiser Theater (closes on Dec. 9). A slimmed-down version of Harvey Fierstein’s career-making trilogy about a gay man’s search for love hangs up its drag heels. Ben Brantley wrote that Moisés Kaufman‘s production, starring Michael Urie, “finds an irresistibly compelling gravity beneath the glibness.”
‘WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST’ at the WP Theater (closes on Dec. 3). Theresa Rebeck’s 1992 comedy about systemic sexism at an architecture firm, revived by WP, finishes the end of its timely run. Laura Collins-Hughes wrote that the director Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s production “feels both cathartic and clarifying, a map of a minefield drawn in bold cartoon colors.”
An earlier version of the listing for “‘Farinelli and the King” at the Belasco Theater misspelled the name of the show’s playwright. She is Claire van Kampen, not van Kempen.