'Young Frankenstein,' 11/8: Can lightning strike twice? We don't mean the lightning crackling around the mad doctor's spooky castle. We mean: can Mel Brooks have a monster hit transforming his 1974 movie comedy into a Broadway musical, just as he did with "The Producers"? And can he and his "Producers" team—including director-choreographer Susan Stroman—keep audiences laughing so hard during such classic numbers as "Puttin' On the Ritz" that they'll forget this show has pushed the top ticket price to a terrifying $450? Ritzy indeed.
'Rock 'N' Roll,' 11/4: No contemporary playwright riffs on history like Tom Stoppard—and the journey from the 19th-century Russian revolutionaries of "The Coast of Utopia" to "Rock 'n' Roll" has a certain logic. Set in Prague and Cambridge University, from 1968 to the Velvet Revolution 30 years later, the "Rock" characters—dissidents, protesters and professors—debate communism and the transformative power of music. Rufus Sewell, Sinead Cusack and Brian Cox from the original London cast will star in the Broadway premiere.
'Pygmalion,' 10/18: What would a new theater season be without movie stars on the marquees? In their Broadway debuts, Claire Danes works on Eliza Doolittle's elocution, with Jefferson Mays as Professor Higgins—while Jennifer Garner, as Roxanne, fires Kevin Kline's poetic imagination as 'Cyrano De Bergerac,' 11/1. The incomparable Ian McKellen stars in a limited run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music of 'King Lear,' 9/6. But don't bet on seeing it: securing a ticket to Gandalf's Lear is harder than sneaking into Mordor.
'The Little Mermaid,' 12/6 Another year, another Disney movie marches its way to Broadway. But this year's screen-to-stage transfer is "The Little Mermaid," the most underappreciated of the recent Disney animated musicals. This was the movie that launched the Hollywood songwriting careers of Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman ("Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin"), and it's filled with lovely songs, especially the calypso-tinged "Under the Sea" and the poignant "Part of That World." Even better: the book is by Doug Wright, who won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for "I Am My Own Wife," a play about an East German transvestite who survived both the Nazis and the Soviets. Edgy enough? It better be. Disney is still atoning for "High School Musical."
Frida Kahlo, 10/11: Still not over Frida Kahlo? To mark the 100th anniversary of the Mexican artist's birth, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is showing 50 paintings in which she depicted her world, including many of the symbol-laden, unibrowed self-portraits (above). The show travels to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Martin Puryear, 10/11: The award-winning sculptor whose work, mostly in wood, marries post-minimalist abstraction with a fascination with craft, gets the full-court treatment with a big-time Museum of Modern Art retrospective.
The New Museum Of Contemporary Art, 12/1: The museum, founded in 1977 to showcase cutting-edge art, will now have a home to match its mission. Its stunning new seven-story building on Manhattan's Lower East Side was designed by the rising architectural stars Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (of the Tokyo firm SANAA). Their quietly elegant design looks like a stack of boxes not quite aligned—which allows day-light to slip inside in surprising ways. And surprise is what the New Museum is all about.
Takashi Murakami, 10/29: As the line between art and commerce gets blurrier, welcome to Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art and its retrospective of Japan's top neo-Pop artist. The show will include a real Louis Vuitton boutique, where you can buy bags designed by Murakami, who created the candy-colored L/V logo. Hope he gets a cut.