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.
Two couples reunite four years after a tragic event in this 2012 drama by German's Dea Loher. Ashley Tata directs the play's U.S. premiere, in a translation by Daniel Brunet.
New York City's oldest gay theater company, TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), presents a one-act, 11-character play by Merril Mushroom, set at a Texas lesbian bar in 1958. Virginia Baeta and Mark Finley direct the local premiere of this recent rediscovery, which was written in the 1980s but went unublished until 2016.
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.
Offerings at the third edition of this expanding festival include four premieres by early-career artists, presented in rep: Elyse Pitock's Preexisting Conditions, Sam Silbiger's Six Years Old, Johnny G. Lloyd's Patience and Haleh Roshan's A Play Titled After the Collective Noun for Female-Identifying Twentysomethings Living in New York City in the 2010s. Also on the roster are four one-night readings and four workshop productions of pieces that riff on existing materials (A Doll’s House, Twelfth Night, Stone Butch Blues and the self-help articles of Walt Whitman).
In this metatheatrical sci-fi two-hander, written and performed by Tana Sirois and Maria Swisher, two would-be artists in Queens go through hell while trying to create a physical-theater adaptation of Dante's Inferno. The show is presented in tandem with a visual-art exhibition called "Welcome to the Multiverse" at the Plaxall Gallery.
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.)
This annual festival celebrates those vigorous American salmon preparing to swim into the shoals of the Edinburgh Fringe this year. Among the selections are Michelle Kholos Brooks's historical drama Hitler's Tasters, Dianne Nora's postscandal portrait Monica: This Play Is Not About Monica Lewinsky and multiple solo shows, including Prudence Wright Holmes's Agatha Is Missing!, Sam Morrison's Hello, Daddy!, Molly Brenner's I'm Coming and Chris Davis's The Presented.
Escape your humdrum black-and-white life for the many shades of gay at Dixon Place's estimable annual festival of all things same-sex. Offerings in the 2019 edition—many of them free—include Marga Gomez's solo show Spanking Machine (July 11–13), the campy musical comedy Those Musclebound Cowboys from Snake Pit Gulch (July 18) and performances by John Kelly, Venus Platt, David Dean Bottrell, Yoni Weiss, Tom Cole, Johnnie Cruise Mercer and many more.
In the helter-skelter of summer theater festivals, the cool curatorial heads of Ice Factory always provide a welcome breeze. All seven shows in the fest's 26th edition, curated by New Ohio artistic director Robert Lyons, are directed by women, and each production runs for a single week. The first two offerings are Byzantine Choral Project's Outside of Eden (June 26–29) and Limited Liability Theater Company's The Drinking Bird (July 3–6). Future scheduled shows are Radical Evolution's Songs About Trains (July 10–13), Charly Evon Simpson's Sex Play (July 17–20), Rat Queen Theatre Co.'s Judy Doomed Us All (July 24–27), Gethsemane Herron-Coward's Lordes (July 31–Aug 3) and Maya Macdonald's Raw Pasta (Aug 7–10).
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.
Twice 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.
Hudson Warehouse presents Alexandre Dumas's tale of a French prisoner whose identity was concealed for decades. Adapted by Susane Lee and directed by Nicholas Martin-Smith, the play is the third installment of the D'Artagnan Romances, a four-year project that has already presented two pieces about the Three Musketeers and is slated to include a future production of The Count of Monte Cristo.
Torn Out Theater, colloquially known as Naked Shakespeare in the Park, specializes in nude productions of the classics, presented in the open air and free of charge. This summer it returns to Prospect Park with a collection of scenes from its previous three shows—Hamlet, The Tempest and The Rover—as well as selections from other works including The Taming of the Shew and Richard III.
Hudson Warehouse wraps up its 2019 season with an outdoor production of Shakespeare's minor farce, which plucks Falstaff from the Henry IV plays and plunks him down in a ribald comedy. Director Nicholas Martin-Smith updates the setting to a Borscht Belt resort hotel in the 1960s.
Hip to Hip Theatre Company moves from park to park with this staging of Shakespeare's perennially popular farce about ass heads and fairy tail, directed by S.C. Lucier and presented in rep with the company's take on Richard III. The production roams through multiple boroughs but never plays the same spot twice in a row, so consult Hip to Hip's website for details.
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.
Theater for the New City takes its 43rd annual Street Theater Company show on the road, bringing agitprop to outdoor locations throughout the five boroughs. Crystal Field and Joseph Vernon Banks's family-friendly (but corporation-hostile!) musical allegory pits a social worker and Pluto, lord of the Underworld, against a vile and dangerous real-estate huckster turned politician.
The Drilling Company wraps up its 2019 Bryant Park season with an account of the Bard's fast-paced tragedy of jealousy and misplaced trust, in which a villain preys on the insecurities of a Moorish war hero married to a white woman.
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.
Amina Henry's play transports audiences to a party in Harlem in the 1920s in a production that mixes live actors and toy theater. Dream of Works leader Gretchen Van Lente directs and designs the sets and puppets.
Jason Marr plays the title character in Shakespeare’s Tudor-friendly history play, which imagines the final Plantagenet king as a malicious hunchback who clambers to power on the corpses of his family and friends. Directed by David Frederick Mold for the peripatetic Hip to Hip Theatre Company, the show is presented in rep with the company's take on A Midsummer Night's Dream in parks in all five boroughs and beyond; visit Hip to Hip's website for details.
The Drilling Company's Shakespeare in the Parking Lot returns for a 25th season of classical theater on the Lower East Side. Lukas Raphael directs the Bard's cautionary tale of ardent young lovers ground up in the gears of a family feud.
The omnipresent publishers throw their 43nd annual one-act competition, putting a little French bread behind new talent by including the six winning plays in an anthology. Some 30 plays are participating; the finalists compete on August 25.
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
You may know David Carl from his portrayal of Gary Busey in his standout one-man comedy show, David Carl’s Celebrity One-Man Hamlet. Now Carl plays an actor named Carl David (try to keep up), who evokes the wrath of Donald Trump by portraying the President in a solo version of King Lear, Shakespeare's portrait of a senescent ruler whose vanity tears his country apart. He's taken the show on a world tour and brought it back to NYC, all while the president continues to feed him material. Count on new levels of thrilling madness from this virtuoso.
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.
Roger Q. Mason's autobiograohically inspired drama is the coming-out story of a quenderqueer child in a driven multiracial family. Adin Walker directs and choreographs the premiere.
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