Ivo van Hove is a rarity: a stage director who has bridged the divide between experimental European theatermaking and the story-driven demands of the commercial American stage.
Who might follow in his arresting footsteps? Here, courtesy of critics and writers for The New York Times, are names to watch — and where to watch some of their coming productions.
This German director’s high-octane “Richard III” (incorporating a rap by Tyler, the Creator) left me breathless at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Ostermeier, who heads the Schaubühne theater in Berlin, excels at updating classics to a modern setting — his violent “Miss Julie” took place in Putin’s amoral new Russia — but he also champions fascinating, intellectually inquisitive new works like “Returning to Reims.” An announced Broadway debut with “An Enemy of the People” seems to have been indefinitely postponed. Perhaps it’s time to give it another chance? ELISABETH VINCENTELLI
One of the most imaginative — and divisive — pacesetters of the theater of anachronism, this British-born auteur rose to fame with visually startling productions that recontextualized classics, from Euripides’ “Iphigenia at Aulis” (reimagined within a stoical, World War II home front) to a ravishing multimedia interpretation of Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves.” Having focused largely on opera in recent years, Mitchell returns to London this month to direct Cate Blanchett in Martin Crimp’s “When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other: Twelve Variations on Samuel Richardson’s Pamela.” BEN BRANTLEY
The South African Farber finds new primal energy in theatrical war horses. Her version of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible,” at the Old Vic in London, was steeped in the sweat, dirt and darkness of colonists finding their way in a harsh new world, while her reimagining of Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” as the post-apartheid-era “Mies Julie” conjured a lethally mixed cocktail of sex and politics. This season, she’ll be staging her compatriot Athol Fugard’s “Boesman and Lena” for the Signature Theater. BEN BRANTLEY×
This Australian maverick loves to steer celebrated stars out of their comfort zones in implosive, bare-knuckled productions that strip the poetry from lyrical plays. He has worked his rowdy magic on Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert (in an antic take on Genet’s “The Maids”); Gillian Anderson (playing a tigerish Blanche DuBois in a Darwinian jungle in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”); and Sienna Miller (red in tooth and claw as the title character of Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”). BEN BRANTLEY
Castellucci’s cryptic shows exalt rather than frustrate audiences. This Italian director creates masterful living tableaux that often draw from classical and religious themes and summon tectonic, elemental forces — the striking visuals are sometimes accompanied by deafening soundscapes and sometimes unfurl in a quasi-mystical quiet. Castellucci has become an in-demand opera director in Europe, but he shines most with his own company, Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio. Their “Democracy in America” will be part of Montclair State University’s Peak Performances series from May 9-12. ELISABETH VINCENTELLI
Last year, this Australian director made a blistering New York debut with “Yerma,” a tale of obsession descending into madness. The trademark of Stone’s emerging career seems to be high-concept sets: an enclosed transparent box in “Yerma,” a three-story grid of rooms in “Hotel Strindberg,” a revolving abode in “Ibsen House.” Just as the characters have nowhere to hide, Stone’s productions turn classics inside out — he usually rewrites them — the better to reveal their guts. ELISABETH VINCENTELLI
The Swiss-born director’s taboo-testing productions led one publication to call him “the world’s most controversial director.” He broke out in 2009 with “The Last Days of the Ceausescus,” about the trial and execution of Romania’s Communist leader and his wife, while “La Reprise” — in which he re-enacts the murder of a gay man in Belgium — was the talk of this year’s Avignon Festival. His New York debut, in March at NYU Skirball, will be “Five Easy Pieces,” about Marc Dutroux, a notorious pedophile and murderer. Almost all the actors are children. ALEX MARSHALL
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.