Off-Off Broadway shows in NYC
Tom and Betsy Salamon’s unique adventure—part interactive theater, part scavenger hunt, part walking tour—draws participants into an amusing web of puzzles and intrigue. You can choose between the three-hour New York tour, which takes participants through various neighborhoods of lower Manhattan, or the two-hour Village tour, which travels through quirky Greenwich Village. Groups of as many as 11 are booked every half hour.
D.C. Fidler's drama looks at the effect of posttraumatic stress disorder on two soldiers from different generations. Sean Derry directs the New York premiere for none too fragile, a theater company based in Akron, Ohio.
After more than 15 years at the Waldorf Astoria, Steve Cohen, billed as the Millionaires’ Magician, now conjures his high-class parlor magic in the marble-columned Madison Room at the swank Lotte New York Palace. Audiences must dress to be impressed (cocktail attire is required); tickets start at $100, with an option to pay more for meet-and-greet time and extra tricks with Cohen after the show. But if you've come to see a classic-style magic act, you get what you pay for. Sporting a tuxedo and bright rust hair, the magician delivers routines that he has buffed to a patent-leather gleam: In addition to his signature act—"Think-a-Drink," involving a kettle that pours liquids by request—highlights include a lulu of levitation trick and a card-trick finale that leaves you feeling like, well, a million bucks.
A mysterious 500-million-year-old creature travels the universe on a mission of spiritual healing in an evolving performance piece written and performed by Michael Cavadias. For the May 20 edition, Claywoman returns from the Merillion Galaxy to share wisdom on love, war and East Village apartment rental with Orange is the New Black star Taylor Schilling.
Roughhousing on a playground leads to disaster for a group of nine-year-old boys in this tragicomedy by Scotland's Douglas Maxwell. First mounted in 2000, the play has been revived many times since in the U.K.; Ethan Nienaber directs its overdue U.S. premiere.
Richard Ploetz cooks up a three-course meal of one-act dark comedies about eating: Goldfish, Memory Like a Pale Green Clock and Bone Appetite. The playwright shares directorial duties with Steven Hauck.
The Night Shift hosts this inebriated monthly reading of Shakespearean monologues. Want to see if you can recite Hamlet’s soliloquy after a few brews? Step up to the mic—or just sit back and soak in the iambs. (Sign-up begins at 7:30pm for the 8pm event.)
French Institute Alliane Française's Crossing the Line festival presents the U.S. premiere of a solo work by the septuagenarian Senegalese artist Germaine Acogny, who is commonly referred to as the mother of contemporary African dance. Co-created and directed by Mikaël Serre, the piece recounts Acogny's personal history in a framework inspired by ancient Greek tragedy.
After more than a decade performing Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, an ever-changing collection of 30 two-minutes plays, the New York Neo-Futurists had to change course when piece's author pulled the rights abruptly in 2016. Now the troupe performs an entirely different ever-changing collection of two-minute plays called The Infinite Wrench. Click here for our full write-up.
The story of King Lear is filtered trough the imagination of a young girl in her grandmother's attic in this new work, directed and adapted from Shakespeare's grand tragedy by Beth Ann Hopkins for Smith Street Stage.
In last year's Arendt–Heidegger: A Love Story, Douglas Lackey looked at the unlikely romance and long-term friendship shared by philosopher and Nazi sympathizer Martin Heidegger and Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt. Now he turns his attention to the long tug-of-war between the Nobel Prize–winning philosopher and humanitarian Bertrand Russell and his rebellious erstwhile student, the postmodernist pathbreaker Ludwig Wittgenstein. Alexander Harrington directs.
The bubbly, BAFTA Breakthrough Award–winning British comedian, not seen in NYC since a brief 2014 run of her show What Would Beyoncé Do?!, returns with a set that dips into the big questions.
Thrice a week, after closing time, 20 people crowd into the city’s oldest magic shop, Tannen’s, for a cozy evening of prestidigitation by the young and engaging Noah Levine. The shelves are crammed with quirky devices; there's a file cabinet behind the counter, a mock elephant in the corner and bins of individual trick instructions in plastic covers, like comic books or sheet music. The charm of Levine's show is in how well it fits the environment of this magic-geek chamber of secrets. As he maneuvers cards, eggs, cups and balls with aplomb, he talks shop, larding his patter with tributes to routines like the Stencel Aces and the Vernon Boat Trick—heirlooms of his trade that he gently polishes and displays for our amazement.
For more than two decades, this proudly old-school series has offered a different lineup of professional magicians every week: opening acts, a headliner and a host, plus two or three close-up magicians to wow the audience at intermission. Housed since 2011 at the unprepossessing Players Theatre, it is an heir to the vaudeville tradition. Many of the acts incorporate comedic elements, and audience participation is common. (If you have children, bring them; they make especially adorable assistants.) Shows cost just $42.50 in advance and typically last well over two hours, so you get a lot of value and variety for your magic dollar. In contrast to some fancier magic shows, this one feels like comfort food: an all-you-can eat buffet to which you’re encouraged to return until you’re as stuffed as a hat full of rabbits. For a full schedule, visit the MNM website.
In this immersive, site-specific monthly show, the audience is thrust into 10 all new mini-plays unfolding all around them at an Irish bar. A new slate of mostly comic scenes is prepared for each edition.
Theater review by Helen Shaw When you walk into Say Something Bunny!, you enter another time. You might not notice that at first, because the brick office space where it takes place is so determinedly ordinary-looking. The small audience sits around a doughnut-shaped conference table, and as Alison S.M. Kobayashi begins her multimedia docuplay, some spectators are already paging through the scripts that have been placed in front of each chair. The text turns out to be the full transcript of a real, unlabeled 65-year-old recording that Kobayashi found hidden in an antique wire recorder: the audio relic of a teenage boy in Woodmere, Queens, enthusiastically taping two dozen family members and neighbors. Kobayashi has listened to the recording hundreds of times and has a seemingly boundless interest in the people whose voices it preserves, including amateur recordist David, mother Juliette and neighbor Bunny. She conducts us through a pair of after-dinner conversations, the first in 1952—she deduced the date from song lyrics mentioned on the wire—and the second in 1954. Aided by coauthor Christopher Allen, she pursues hints and half-heard jokes to determine who these people were and what befell them; she shows us the census records she used to find their old houses. The play unspools unhurriedly, leaving space for Kobayashi to make jokes, play short films and highlight points of historical interest. It takes a while for it to sink in that—of course—many of these vibrant people
Aerialists and other circus performers ply their skills in intimate quarters at this monthly event in a speakeasy-style loft, hosted by drag queen Laurel Fixation and featuring a different lineup of artists each time. Camp and burlesque ingredients add to the downtown flavor.
Four friends compete for social-media status in the U.S. premiere of a play by the much-awarded Québécois playwright Guillaume Corbeil. Max Hunter directs for the Bridge Production Group.
Chinese martial arts cinema meets ancient rabbinical disputation in this mash-up of the Talmud and kung fu, directed by Meta-Phys Ed.'s Jesse Freedman. Along with inventive visual elements and surprising juxtapositions of subject matter, expect martial artistry and "choreographed Talmudic debate."
Margot White plays a Luddite antique books dealer who finds herself hurtling through the past in this time-traveling romantic comedy, written and directed by Debra Whitfield.
The conservative British host of a New York radio show is torn between her progressive black cohost and her lecherous station manager in this debut play by Neil Graves, directed by Laurence C. Schwartz.
This Is Not a Theatre Company—which, spoiler alert, is a theater company!—presents two unconventional shows in rep: Play!, an interactive dance-theater piece performed by Jonathan Matthews and featuring text by numerous writers (including the postmodern theater maker Charles Mee); and Erin B. Mee's Theatre in the Dark, which removes visual stimuli and invites audiences to hone their other senses.
Director Coleen Shirin MacPherson and her Open Heart Surgery Theatre, a Jacques Lecoq–inspired performance troupe based in Toronto, mix physical theater, clown work and original music (by cellist Dobrochna Zubek) to convey the poetry of the late Nobel Prize–winning Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska. The text is in English, French and Polish, with English translation provided.
Truscott, whose career spans from choreography to circus acrobatics and now comedy, blows the whistle on rape culture—while naked from the waist down—in a highly provocative and risqué show that finds her joking about roofies, Bill Cosby and other touchy subjects. In this latest iteratation, directed by Ellie Heyman, she is joined onstage by Jenn Kidwell, Mari Moriarty and different special guests at each performance (including Becca Blackwell, Amanda Duarte, Bridget Everett, Martha Graham Cracker, Jenn Harris, Jeff Hiller and Dane Terry).
Prepare for the arrival of this summer's Broadway megamusical Moulin Rouge with this smaller-scale look at the decadent art scene of the Belle Époque. This immersive play, written and directed by Mara Lieberman for Bated Breath Theatre Company, focuses on Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the short-lived artist whose depictions of the Parisian demimonde have helped shape our collective vision of the period.
Brooklyn's floating Waterfront Museum is the setting for Brave New World Repertory Theatre's site-specific revival of Arthur Miller's 1955 drama, a modern-mythic tale of jealousy, lust, honor and undocumented immigrants in a community of dockworkers in Red Hook. Alex Dmitriev directs.
In this autobiographical two-man show, actor-writer Richard Roy reflects on the time he spent in prison after a lethal drunk-driving accident. Roy stars opposite Connor Chase Stewart as his younger self; Thomas G. Waites directs the show, which Roy cowrote with Eric C. Webb.
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