The Garden State is well known for professional theatres that present new plays, musicals, dramas, and more. We have rounded up a listing of shows now on stage or coming up soon for people who want to enjoy top entertainment in New Jersey. Make a day of it. Many of these entertainment venues are on major train lines with great local dining opportunities.
Esspy at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch from 2/22 to 3/17. ESSPY is a comic-drama about a young medical student embarking on a journey he never expected. Although William is intellectually at the top of his class, he soon discovers that knowledge of science is only one ingredient in caring for a patient.
Website: New Jersey Repertory Company
Ibsen’s Ghost at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick through 2/4. Billed as an “Irresponsible Biographical Fantasy,” the show tells a tall and hilarious tale of the legendary Norwegian playwright’s wife Suzannah the week after the great man’s state funeral.
Website: George Street Playhouse
The Cher Show: The Musical at The State Theater of New Jersey in New Brunswick from 2/9 to 2/11. The Cher Show is the Tony Award-winning musical of her story and it’s packed with so much Cher that it takes three women to portray her.
Website: The State Theater of New Jersey
The Scarlet Letter at Two River Theater in Red Bank from 2/3 to 2/25. Hester Prynne dares to strive for a better life for herself and her daughter. Kate Hamill, one of American theater’s most celebrated contemporary playwrights, reimagines Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic tale of courage. This world premiere showcases the strength of a woman who will not let the rules of an unjust society define her.
Website: Two River Theater
After Midnight at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn from 1/31 to 2/25. This Jazz Age rhythm and dance extravaganza is an electrifying musical revue that transports you to the Cotton Club of the Harlem Renaissance, an unparalleled time in New York City when jazz and swing were king.
Website: Paper Mill Playhouse
Dreamgirls at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton from 3/6 to 3/24. A 1960s Motown girl group catches their big break in an amateur competition and rises from obscurity to superstardom. But will their friendship and their music survive the rapid rise from obscurity to pop super stardom?
Website: McCarter Theatre Center
Carmela Full of Wishes at The Growing Stage, The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey in Netcong from 2/2 to 2/18. It’s Carmela’s birthday, and she’s finally old enough to accompany her big brother on his errands. On their way to the laundromat, past fields of what her Mamí calls “flores de cempazuchitl,” Carmela finds a puffy white dandelion to blow, but her brother asks “Did you even make a wish?”
Website: The Growing Stage
Rabbit Summer at Mile Square Theater in Hoboken from 3/6 to 3/30. A black married couple takes in a friend whose husband has just been shot by police… but the patriarch of the sanctuary home is a police officer himself. This quickfire two act tragicomedy examines the fracture points of a marriage and a friendship, pitting being Black against being blue, gun violence against police brutality, manhood against fatherhood, and love against need when a Black Supercouple exhausts their powers.
Website: Mile Square Theater
Rift, or White Lies at Luna Stage in West Orange from 2/8 to 3/3. Two brothers–one a progressive novelist, the other a convicted murderer and high-ranking member of a white supremacist prison gang–are united through their traumatic childhood. Now adults, these men navigate the edges of their brotherly bond. Are they truly so different? Is it possible to love someone whose beliefs you hate? RIFT is a story of estrangement, ideological divide, and the fight to change our world.
Website: Luna Stage
Top photo: The company in the 2024 production of IBSEN’S GHOST at George Street Playhouse – Photo by T. Charles Erickson