Among the selections for this year’s Halloween season, in addition to such fabulously creepy hits as Dracula, playing Off-Broadway at New World Stages, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, are a new book on terrifying moments in the theater, two days of festivities at a specialized museum, a themed night of short plays by five queer playwrights, and a star-studded concert inspired by the cult classic Hocus Pocus.
Horror on the Stage – Writer, historian, educator, and director Amnon Kabatchnik examines the history, behind-the-scenes tales, and most terrifying moments in the theater, from classical plays like Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound and Euripides’ Medea, to the violence of the Grand Guignol productions in 18th century France, to present-day shows like Sweeney Todd, The Rocky Horror Show, Little Shop of Horrors, and stage adaptations of the legendary writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells, Henry James, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others. More than 500 plays about real and imagined monsters, hauntings, and horrors, including such characters as Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man, the Phantom of the Opera, the Woman in Black, werewolves, zombies, and mummies, are illustrated in dozens of photographs, with entries that include plot synopses, existing production data, and evaluations by critics and scholars. The extensively researched, informative, and engaging volume, published by McFarland & Company, Inc. in June 2023, is available in print (ISBN 978-1-4766-7555-8; paperback; $75) and ebook (ISBN 978-1-4766-4623-7; $33.99) formats from Amazon and other popular booksellers.
I Put a Spell on You: The Witches ERA – In their search to find beauty, youth, and immortality, the Sanderson Sisters return from the dead for Jay Armstrong Johnson’s annual Halloween concert-meets-party at Sony Hall on Monday, October 23, at 8 pm (doors open at 7). Sanders, Allison Godleski, and Amanda Williams Ware as the sibling witches are joined by a cast of luminaries that includes Justin Cooley (Kimberly Akimbo), Robyn Hurder (A Beautiful Noise), recording artist Mila Jam, Taylor Iman Jones (SIX), Marcia Marcia Marcia (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Tomás Matos (Diana The Musical), Talia Suskauer (Wicked), and many more. The show will be recorded live for streaming on Broadway On Demand for four days, beginning on Saturday, October 28; both the live event and on-demand stream will benefit the Ali Forney Center, a full-service organization protecting LGBTQ+ youth from the harms of homelessness. So grab your costume and reserve your spot now to secure your place on the dance floor while supporting a worthy cause! To purchase tickets to the in-person show (starting at $60) or to make a donation, go online. Streaming tickets (priced at $35), are available on the Broadway On Demand website.
Halloween Festivities – Celebrate the season at The Museum of Broadway for two Sundays (October 22 and 29) of trick-or-treating, Broadway karaoke, games, a costume contest, Hershey’s chocolates, and more! Admission includes access to both the special events and the entire museum, where you can also visit exhibits from the history of Broadway, including such iconic shows about strange and bewitching characters as The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and Beetlejuice. For tickets, (priced at $39 for adults and $29 for kids, including fees), click here.
Queer Spooky Shorts – On Wednesday, October 25, beginning at 7:30 pm, TOSOS, NYC’s oldest and longest-producing LGBTQIA+ theater company, presents its annual evening of short plays with spooky Halloween themes at its home at The Flea Theater. The free event is part of The Robert Chesley/Jane Chambers Playwrights Project, an ongoing intermittent forum for playwrights to have their work presented to an audience and an opportunity for LGBTQIA+ playwrights to have their voices heard. Directed by Ellie Frances and Marcus Gualberto, this year’s selection features You’ve Reached Justin by Christian St. Croix, (Woman) Women Scorned by Teresa Lotz, Rage Gap by Joe Moe, and Johnny & Clyde: A Seance Machine Story by EllaRose Chary and Brandon James Gwinn. To register for your complimentary tickets, go online.