In theater, politics was front and center the first half of the Connecticut and New York seasons. Leading the pack were Westport’s “Man of La Mancha” (Cervantes vs. the Inquisition) and “Thousand Pines” (school shootings), plus Yale’s “El Huracan,” (pre- vs. post-Castro Cuba).

In New York, we had “The Lifespan of a Fact” (fake vs. real evidence), “Network” (media manipulations) and “The True” (raw politics at its best and worst). Even seemingly innocuous Broadway offerings, like the underrated “Heads Over Heels” (gender muddles in the Middle Ages) or “Pretty Woman” (pre-#MeToo sexual exploitation), couldn’t help but stimulate thoughts about current issues.

Yet characters and stories are what last, with stars to lure customers. The first half of the New York season saw gems like “The Waverly Gallery,” “The Ferryman” and “Head Over Heels,” and the likes of Bryan Cranston, Elaine May, Lucas Hedges, Kerry Washington, Daniel Radcliffe, Glenn Close, Edie Falco and Jeff Daniels — not a slouch among them.

The second half has its own set of luminaries: Kelli O’Hara, Nathan Lane, John Lithgow, Laurie Metcalf, Ethan Hawke, Paul Dano, Adam Driver, Keri Russell, Jake Gyllenhaal, Annette Bening, Isabelle Huppert and, lest we forget, Glenda Jackson in the Everest of roles, King Lear (yes, King).

In Connecticut, stars are not the attraction. But we do have a plethora of world premieres plus issues that dig into the past to explain the present and, perhaps, foretell the future.

Herewith, a select list of promising coming attractions, theaters and first performances in both Connecticut and New York, arranged alphabetically.

Connecticut

“A Doll’s House: Part 2” — Nora’s back, a changed, independent, woman, and she’s the only one happy about it. (Theaterworks, Jan. 17 and Long Wharf, May 1)

“An Iliad” — In this contemporary interpretation of Homer’s epic about the Trojan War, ruin and rage span the centuries. (Long Wharf, March 20)

“Cadillac Crew” — Four activists working in a Virginia civil rights office wonder whether a proclamation of human equality includes women. (Yale Rep, April 26)

“Detroit ‘67” — The first part of Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit Trilogy explores the effect of race riots in that Michigan city. (Hartford Stage, Feb. 9)

“The Flamingo Kid” — A musical version of the 1984 film about a blue collar Brooklyn kid who grows up fast while working at a posh country club. (Hartford Stage, May 9)

“Good Faith” — Was New Haven’s soul revealed in the case of minorities who wanted to join the Fire Department but were rejected? (Yale Rep, Feb. 1)

“Miller, Mississippi” — Drama about how the civil rights movement affects a southern family as well as institutions. (Long Wharf, Jan. 9)

“The Music Man” — Meredith Willson’s joyous musical about a reformable con-man and the uptight librarian he woos. (Goodspeed, April 12)

New York

“Alice by Heart” - What might have happened if Alice’s Wonderland began in London during the Blitz. (MCC, Jan. 30)

“All My Sons” - Annette Bening and Tracy Letts ponder morality in Arthur Miller’s moving drama about greed and responsibility. (American Airlines, April 4)

“Beetlejuice” - The stage version of Tim Burton’s gloriously batty film. (Winter Garden, April 25)

“Burn This” - Up and coming film actor Adam Driver spars with TV’s Keri Russell in Lanford Wilson’s smoldering drama. (Hudson, March 15)

“Gary” - Two of the funniest people alive, Nathan Lane and Andrea Martin, make mincemeat of Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.” (Booth, March 5)

“Hillary and Clinton” — Laurie Metcalf and Jon Lithgow portray the title two, caught in the politics of marriage and gender. (Golden, March 16)

“King Lear” - The fabulous Glenda Jackson repeats her London triumph as Shakespeare’s tragic monarch. (Cort, Feb. 28)

“Kiss Me Kate” - Kelli O’Hara returns in Cole Porter’s musical masterpiece about “taming” women. (Studio 54, Feb. 14)

“Nantucket Sleigh Ride” - John Laroquette is a venture capitalist in John Guare’s latest play. (Newhouse, Feb. 21)

“Oklahoma” - An offbeat production of Rodgers and Hammerstein groundbreaking musical explores its dark side. (Circle in the Square, March 19)

“Blueberry Hill” - Two prisoners, linked by crime and punishment, try to work out their differences. (59E59, Jan. 8)

“Sea Wall” / “A Life” - Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal muse about life and love in this double bill. (Public, Feb. 1)

“Superhero” - Musical about a fractured family, a mysterious stranger and an unexpected hero by the authors of “Next to Normal.” (Terry Kiser, Jan. 31)

“The Mother” - French star Isabelle Huppert is a woman seeking stability after her brood has left the nest. (Atlantic, Feb. 20)

“Tootsie” — The stage adaptation of the smash movie about an actor who succeeds as an actress has an original score by David Yazbek. (Marquis, March 29)

“True West” - Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano play troubled brothers in Sam Shepard’s vivid drama. (American Airlines, now playing)

David Rosenberg’s column on the local theater scene appears monthly.