Our guide to plays and musicals coming to New York stages and a few last-chance picks of shows that are about to close. Our reviews of open shows are at nytimes.com/reviews/theater.
Previews and Openings
THE CHILDREN at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater (in previews; opens on Dec. 12). A nuclear apocalypse comes to New York in this three-character drama from Lucy Kirkwood. Deborah Findlay and Ron Cook star as former scientists turned survivalists, who receive a visit from Francesca Annis s ex-colleague. James Macdonald directs this contained dystopia for Manhattan Theater Club.212-239-6200; ManhattanTheatreClub.com
CRUEL INTENTIONS: THE MUSICAL at (Le) Poisson Rouge (in previews; opens on Dec. 11). The 1990s teen flick, which reset Dangerous Liaisons in an elite Manhattan prep school, has transformed its bittersweet symphony of lust and betrayal into a jukebox musical, created by Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross. The students Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil conspire to complicate the lives of their classmates. cruelmusical.com
ELF: THE MUSICAL at the Theater at Madison Square Garden (performances start on Dec. 13). Theatergoers who have been naughty and nice can take a sleigh ride to this revival of this holiday musical, based on the Will Ferrell comedy about a foundling adopted by Santa. Here, George Wendt will play Santa. A Times critic described the original Broadway production as tinseled in synthetic sentiment, performed with a cheer that borders on mania, and instantly forgettable. 866-858-0008, theateratmsg.com
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK at Abrons Arts Center (in previews; 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.212-352-3101, abronsartscenter.org
TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL (in previews; opens on Dec. 14) at Classic Stage Company. Twins! Cross-dressing! Shipwreck! Pranks! Cakes! Ale! Can one stage hold it? Of course. Fiasco Theater comes to Classic Stage with its low-budget, high-innovation approach to Shakespeare s comedy. Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld direct a cast including the Fiasco regulars Emily Young and Andy Grotelueschen.212-352-3101, classicstage.org
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 MoisÃ©s Kaufman s production, starring Michael Urie, finds an irresistibly compelling gravity beneath the glibness. 212-246-4422, 2st.com