Broadway and Off Broadway productions may get most of the attention, but to get a true sense of the range and diversity of New York theater, you need to look Off-Off Broadway. Experimental work, especially, tends to thrive in smaller spaces, such as New York’s best Off-Off Broadway venues; that’s is where you’ll find many of the city’s most challenging and original pieces, and get early looks at major talents. There are approximately 200 Off-Off stages in New York, from downtown Manhattan to the far reaches of the boroughs, mostly with fewer than 99 seats. The runs there are usually short, and relatively affordable; while cheap Broadway tickets can be hard to find, most Off-Off shows are in the $15–$25 range. Here are some of the current shows that hold the most promise.
Off-Off Broadway shows in NYC
The company departs from the Strindberg oeuvre to offer two shows by two other Scandinavian writers, mounted on alternating nights: Stig Dagerman's Marty's Shadow (1948), inspired by the Nazi-era story of an Austrian Jewish refugee and her sons; and Stig Dalager's Journey in Light and Shadow (2015), a metatheatrical play in three parts.
Benjamin Viertel directs an all-female cast in a stage adaptation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's intense, vicious, campy and already deliberately stagy 1972 drama of fashion and queer power games, a classic of New German Cinema. The production appends a meta final act drawn from interviews and essays.
Chilean puppet company Silencio Blanco sidesteps any language barrier with an intimate wordless piece, in which white paper marionettes enact the story of a young miner in one of the country's most dangerous areas. The show is presented by HERE's Dream Music Puppetry Program, whose artistic director, the great Basil Twist, leads a talk after each performance.
Beloved NYC performers and writers share their favorite unrealized work in #pussygrabsback founder Amanda Duarte's monthly forum for abandoned projects, sidelined ideas or scrapped gems from writers' notebooks. The March "¡Huelga!" edition features Jeffrey Joseph, Mike Albo and Jena Friedman. (Admission is free but $10 donations are welcome.)
Dutch Kills mounts two new plays in rep, both directed by Assembly veteran Jess Chayes: Ben Beckley's Latter Days, a subterranean apocalyptic drama starring Tony Torn and Will Dagger; and Jean Ann Douglass's The Providence of Neighboring Bodies, a slice of Rhode Island weirdness starring Lori Parquet, Dinah Berkeley and Amy Staats. Read the full review.