It's a tough part of my job, really, to visit New York City and check out the theater scene. If you are inclined to make the same trek to the Big Apple—which I encourage—here are a few plays not to miss during your stay.

Violet Presented by the Roundabout Theatre Company, it plays through August 10th at the American Airlines Theatre on Broadway.

Tony-winning actress Sutton Foster returns to Roundabout in the Broadway debut of a new musical, Violet . Winner of the Drama Critics’ Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical when it premiered off-Broadway, Violet features a score of anthems from American-roots to folk to gospel. Also starring Colin Donnell, Alexander Gemignani, and two-time Tony nominee Joshua Henry (The Scottsboro Boys and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess). A trip to New York just to see this show would be worthwhile. It's so beautiful and soulful, and has the power to undo you for its incredibly earnest and organic emotion.

Cabaret Presented by Roundabout Theatre Company, it plays at Studio 54 in New York City.

Welcome (back) to the infamous Kit Kat Klub, where the Emcee, Sally Bowles and a raucous ensemble take the stage each night to tantalize the crowd—and to leave their troubles outside. But as life in pre-WWII Germany grows more and more uncertain, the decadent allure of Berlin nightlife won't be enough to get them through the danger. Alan Cumming reprises his Tony-winning performance as the Emcee. Three-time Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams gives a new take to Sally in her Broadway debut. It's Cumming who owns this show through and through. He told me doing it again as he approaches 50 gives him a refreshing way to work his role, and his body.

“I actually went to the Lincoln Center Library and watch the video of the 1998 version just to get familiarized with it again," Cumming said. "Then once we started in rehearsals, it kind of came in back in my body and I felt easier with it. And then it’s been really fun just to sort of be more relaxed with it because I’m not… I wasn’t worrying, you know 'Did it work?' all that stuff. I kind of knew that it worked, the production, and so I was able to relax and to kind of take it to another level.”

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Playing at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway.

Neil Patrick Harris stars on Broadway in a revival of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's landmark American musical, directed by Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening). Heartbreaking and wickedly funny, this raucously entertaining show has inspired a generation. It's awesomely awesome, as only Harris can do. Like Alan Cumming in Cabaret, this show is deliciously carried by NPH, who apparently can do no wrong.

And newly arrived in Boston:

Phantom of the Opera Plays at the Boston Opera House through July 20th.

After a sell-out tour of the United Kingdom, Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of The Phantom of the Opera arrives in Boston to tour the U.S. While it looks beautiful, the performance is wooden. Even with an epic show such as this, actors can't rely upon Lloyd Webber’s beloved songs “Music of the Night,” or “Think of Me” to carry the show.

Friday on Open Studio: we have our own fireworks as we revisit some of our favorite interviews of the year: Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Chris Cooper & Kate Burton.

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