A Seasonal Press Calendar
Publicity photos for most shows are available for free download.
productions have been removed from this list.
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JUNE 8, 15 & 22
NEW FEDERAL THEATRE (VIRTUAL)
NTOZAKE SHANGE READING SERIES OF NEW PLAYS
Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre (NFT) will host a virtual version of its Ntozake Shange Reading Series of New Plays. Offerings are “A Soft Escape” by S.M. Shephard Massat, directed by John Scutchins; “A Small World” by Mustrapha Mutura, directed by Seret Scott; and “Jimmy's Last Night at Mikell's” by Larry Muhammad, directed by A. Dean Irby. These readings are free and virtual only; contributions gratefully accepted. For complete program, schedule and reservations, go to https://newfederaltheatre.com.
The series is named for the late playwright Ntozake Shange, whose relationship with Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre (NFT) goes back to the 1976-76 season, when NFT presented the first production of "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough." The series is used to develop African-American writers and to select plays that NFT may subsequently present as full productions.
COMPLETE INFO: www.jsnyc.com/season/ntozake.htm
JUNE 21 TO 25
MULTISTAGES PRESENTS "SPEAKOUT: POETRY PLAYS & MORE"
A VIRTUAL FESTIVAL OF PLAYS, POETRY AND DANCE
MultiStages will present "SPEAKOUT: Protest Plays & More," a virtual festival of multidisciplinary commissioned works, live on June 21 and recorded from June 22 to 25. Conceived and directed by Artistic Director/activist Lorca Peress, the program is a 90 minute turntable of short plays, dance works and poetry exploring the essence of protest and activism in the modern period since the killing of George Floyd. The artistic goal of the festival is to pioneer the use of streaming technology for multidisciplinary protest plays, holding a mirror up to the times we are living in and the stories we wish to tell online with a synthesis of drama, dance, poetry, music and visual/projection imagery.
COMPLETE INFO: www.jsnyc.com/season/speakout.htm
JUNE 23 & 29
BOHEMIAN NATIONAL HALL, 321 E. 73RD STREET
VACLAV HAVEL'S "AUDIENCE" WITH CZECH MARIONETTES
Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre will unveil a new marionette production of "Audience" by Vaclav Havel, translated and directed by Vit Horejs, as part of the 2021 Rehearsal for Truth Festival. The play, a dark comedy of spying in a brewery, will be staged with projected closeups of puppets from security cameras in order to suggest surveillance. In the last decade, such use of video has been employed to adapt marionette theater for large houses. The production's concept is by Vit Horejs and Theresa Linnihan, who will act the play together. The 300-seat theater in Bohemian Hall, with socially-distanced seating for this production, is a good venue for this approach of mixing live performers, marionettes and projected live video.
COMPLETE INFO: www.jsnyc.com/season/audience.htm
JULY 8 TO 30
"THE GOLDEN RECORD"
"The Golden Record," a new play by Micah Kosstrin-Greenberg, pioneers the use of virtual theater for science fiction. It brings a futuristic cosmic fantasy to life on Zoom using virtual backgrounds, digital makeup, audience participation and techniques of immersive theater. Unlike the Zoom readings and plays which have now become familiar, there is no fourth wall. The audience watches a drama of digital characters as if they are accompanying them through space. They also converse with the actors and guide the plot development interactively. The play's title is a reference to a NASA time capsule program, "The Golden Record," in which Voyagers 1 and 2--robotic interstellar probes--carry a twelve-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.
COMPLETE INFO: www.jsnyc.com/season/golden_record.htm
JULY 31 TO SEPTEMBER 12
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY STREET THEATER
"CRITICAL CARE, OR REHEARSALS FOR A NURSE"
TNC's street theater productions typically provide a bouncy joyride through the undulations of the body politic with astute commentary couched in satire, song and slapstick. Their scores are a mix of music from Bossa Nova to Hip Hop to Musical Comedy to classic Cantata. They are delightfully suited for family audiences, since complex social issues are often presented through children's allegories, with children and neighborhood people as the heroes. A brand new work has been presented annually since 1976. Book, lyrics and direction by Crystal Field; musical score composed and arranged by Joseph Vernon Banks.
SEPTEMBER 3, 4, 10 & 11
THE PLAYERS, 16 GRAMERCY PARK SOUTH
SIX ONE ACTS BY HAROLD DEAN JAMES
Six diabolical short comedies (TBA) written and directed by Harold Dean James, whose plays have mostly been presented by La MaMa since he made his New York debut there in 1993 with "X Train." These playlets deal with themes of secrecy, charity, the power of art, greed, seduction and afterlife. The performance on September 3 will be an opening night gala benefit for We Three Productions. Ensemble includes Jesse N. Holmes, Paul Albe and Maja Wampuszyc; costumes are by Ramona Ponce.
SEPTEMBER 19 TO OCTOBER 9 (POSTPONED FROM JUNE 3-20, 2021)
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"OCCASIONALLY NOTHING" BY NATALIE MENNA
The near future. The world is nearing its end. In a bizarre bomb shelter, Harry, Clay and Luella cope by taunting each other with warped games of verbal wordplay and by blurring each other's realities while losing touch with their own. It's a bleak glimpse at life in the dystopic wake of a failed revolution where war abounds, words have lost their meaning and people have lost their way. "Occasionally Nothing" premiered in Theater for the New City’s DreamUp Festival 2018.
COMPLETE INFO: www.jsnyc.com/season/Occasionally_Nothing.htm
BEGINS SEPTEMBER 24
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"HEDGING THE TORAH: THE WAYWARD DAUGHTER OF JUDAH THE PRINCE" (WORKING TITLE) BY DOUGLAS LACKEY
Philosophy professor and playwright Douglas Lacky, author of "Kaddish in East Jerusalem," "Daylight Precision," "Arendt-Heidegger: A Love Story" and "Ludwig and Bertie," dramatizes the conflicts of Judaism, Gnosticism and early Christianity with a fictional play that is partly inspired by the lives and teachings of Judah ha-Nasi (a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea and chief compiler of the Mishna) and Hypatia (the Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer and mathematician). Directed by Alexander Harrington.
THEATER 80 ST. MARKS
NEGRO ENSEMBLE COMPANY PRESENTS "GRANDMA'S QUILT"
Run resumes for the Nego Ensemble Company's production of "Grandma's Quilt" that was suspended when theaters went dark in March, 2020. In this solo play by Karen A. Brown, an elderly poor, unpretentious Black woman in rural Arkansas is sewing a quilt as the final act of her life. Each scrap of material is a prism into a chapter of her family's past. As she reflects on each period, she transforms into younger versions of herself to lead us through the history that she intends to pass on to her granddaughter. Grandma’s strength is her humanity and ability to survive; to hope, to love, and to just carry on. Her quilt is significant, her story universal and her message inspirational. One actress portrays the old woman at six points in her life as well as the granddaughter. Performed by the author, who is is Executive Artistic Director of The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. Directed by Anthony J. Hamilton.
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
VILLAGE HALLOWEEN COSTUME BALL
Nonstop theater, a costume competition and ballroom dancing will bewitch the East Village October 31 in the 45th Village Halloween Costume Ball, which is presented annually by Theater for the New City (TNC), 155 First Avenue. The one-night fiesta customarily takes over all four of TNC's theater spaces, plus its lobby and the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues. Typically, over 1,500 wildly-clad celebrants gather for big-band dancing, dining, showing off costumes and viewing acts from the cutting-edge of Cabaret and Theater. Outdoor entertainment, free to the public, starts at 4:00 PM. Once inside, everything is free except food and drink, which are graveyard dirt-cheap. Doors open at 7:30 PM and indoor entertainment begins at 8:00 PM. Two continuously-running cabarets offer theater all evening. Big Band dance orchestras begin at 9:00 PM. Costume competition with celebrity judges begins at midnight. Admission is $20; costume or formal wear is required. With Covid safeguards to observe, the event may be somewhat modified, but its magic will be preserved!
NOVEMBER 4 TO 28, 2021
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"THE DARK OUTSIDE" BY BERNARD KOPS
Austin Pendleton and Katherine Cullison head a cast of five. Playwright Bernard Kops is one of Europe's best-known and most admired playwrights. He was born in the East End of London of Dutch-Jewish working class parents in 1926. He achieved recognition with his first play, "The Hamlet of Stepney Green," which was performed all over the world. He has written more than forty plays for stage and radio, nine novels and six volumes of poetry. He lives in London. Only four of Kops' plays have been produced in America, the most recent being "Paying Sinatra" at TNC in 2013.
"The Dark Outside" is his latest play. Kops deals with the conflicts and struggles of a family trying to keep together while the world outside is ever increasingly chaotic and desperate. Although the play appears to be a domestic drama, it is set against the visual metaphor of an ancient 400-year-old mulberry tree protecting a family in their garden. The ancient tree is a symbol of longevity and hope, often known as the Tree of Life, reminding us of the mystical healing power of Mother Nature.
BEGINS DECEMBER 23, 2021
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"THE SLAVE WHO LOVED CAVIAR" BY ISHMAEL REED, DIRECTED BY ROME NEAL
Renowned playwright, poet and satirist Ishmael Reed takes aim at the New York City art world with this new play about the life and career of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Reed examines the racism directed at Basquiat and the ways that Andy Warhol, the art establishment and the fashion industry exploited and profited from Basquiat's artistry. Why was racism toward Basquiat allowed to masquerade as "art criticism"? How does this implicate the New York City art world? Directed by Rome neal, Artistic Director of Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
FEBRUARY 21 TO MARCH 13, 2022
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"DANCE OF DEATH" PARTS ONE AND TWO BY AUGUST STRINDBERG
This two-part play, written in 1900, is is being presented together for the first time in North America by August Strindberg Rep. It is labeled by some critics, not without justice, as Strindberg's greatest work. In an isolated fort Edgar, a captain of artillery, and Alice, his wife, have lived for 25 years, hating each other with a deadly venom and each wishing the other's death. Their home becomes peopled with devils. When Kurt, Edgar's friend, comes to stay in it, he is caught up in the atmosphere of evil. He falls in love with Alice and becomes her associate in a plot designed to destroy her husband. During a stroke, Edgar suddenly gains a new vision of life, realizing his own errors and pleading for reconciliation. Thus ends the first part of the drama.
The second shows the final triumph of the wife. Remorselessly, she drives Edgar to his death--although in the very process of doing so, a bitter doubt enters her mind. The play's legacy can be seen in a number of contemporary plays. In "Play Strindberg," Friedrich Dürrenmatt condensed the two parts into a terse, brutal series of boxing rounds. The claustrophobic atmosphere and treatment of marital dysunction in Strindberg's masterpiece reverberate through Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," Harry Kondoleon's "The Houseguests" and even John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves."
FEBRUARY 3 TO 20, 2022
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"WHO MURDERED LOVE?"
"Who Murdered Love" by Lissa Moira and Richard West is set in 1924 New York City and in a Paris dreamscape. The story follows WWI veteran & private eye, "Sleepy" Sam Speed, Gail Friday & Everett Greene as they attempt to unravel the disappearance and possible murder of DaDa Love, at the behest of their client, the stunning heiress Honey Potts. DaDa Love is at the center of the world of DaDa artists, at the time when the Surrealists are vying for artistic supremacy. Their quest leads the trio through a mad adventure sparked by artistic and sexual jealously as they find themselves inside an Absinthe dream, peopled by outrageous artists of every stripe – some very predatory.
THE NEGRO ENSEMBLE COMPANY, INC. (VENUE TBA)
"LAMBS TO SLAUGHTER" BY KHALIL KAIN
During the Covid-19 quarantine, The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. has been developing "Lambs to Slaughter" by Khalil Kain, a new play with poetry and music, under the direction of Reginald L. Douglas. Kalil Kain is an urban icon who is renowned for his performances in the 1992 crime thriller "Juice," the UPN/CW sitcom "Girlfriends" (2001-2008) and the title role in the film "Tiger Woods." Reginald L. Douglas is a distinguished developer of new works and advocate for new voices. Off-Broadway opening is projected for April, 2022. Venue is TBA as of this writing.
The play is a drama of a single mother who has lost her older son to gun violence and must navigate the mourning process with the help of an upstairs neighbor and an ex-lover. She fears failing her younger son, who wrestles with his own demons and guilt. The piece will be Kain's first produced play. It blends compelling realistic dialogue with verse that is crafted for call-and-response. Instrumental underscore is provided by Keith Edward Johnson. The verse, seamlessly woven into the story, provides an emotional release for the characters, exploding with heightened truth and pulsating through an incendiary look at the current state of America. Kain will portray the ex-lover, a former convict who has turned his life around and seeks to save the single mother who is the play's tragic heroine.
APRIL 25 TO MAY 15, 2022
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"COMMITTED" BY NATALIE MENNA
A work of historical fiction about the last two days of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh's life. When his highly controversial and vulgar documentary causes a tremendous uproar in Amsterdam and abroad, Theo spirals downward. The play explores the collision of an artist's radical temperament and unyielding vision with modern political realities and the inevitable tragedy when uncompromising values clash. Can friendship, family, or love save Theo from his biggest threat - himself?
THE NEGRO ENSEMBLE COMPANY, INC.
"THE ROOTWOMAN" BY MICHAEL BRADFORD
For June, 2022, The Negro Ensemble Company Inc. is preparing to mount "The Rootwoman," a contemporary play by Michael Bradford with accompanying music and vocals. In a small rural community on the outskirts of New Orleans, Cleveland Temple hasn’t been able to keep a morsel of food in his stomach for weeks. His wife, Wanda Temple, is finally pregnant. His best friend, Lucias Steady can’t seem to shake a twenty year old dream. His former mistress, Cecelia Shacklefoot, is drowning in the river flowing in her own back and Ms. Janie, the Rootwoman, has a secret for which even she cannot find the cure. At the end of the day, it is the whistle of a coming train that sounds the final blue note of this syncopation. This is a play about the seduction of love, the bitter taste of regret and the necessity of redemption.
VIDEO ON DEMAND
"USED AND BORROWED TIME" BY SOPHIA ROMMA
"Used and Borrowed Time," written and directed by Sophia Romma, is now available on Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Roku and the Vyre Network. This experimental avant-garde film, a psychological drama phantasma, has amassed over 45 festival awards and 26 festival film selections. An interracial couple's idyllic love rises above the hatred of a vengeful white supremacist family in segregationist Alabama during the 1960s. The film pays homage to the French New Wave films of Goddard, Truffaut and Agnès Varda. It has been translated from its original English into Greek, Spanish and Italian.
COMPLETE INFO: www.usedandborrowedtime.com
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY & NEW YIDDISH REP PRODUCTION OF "THE
"The Dybbuk" is arguably the most well-known play in the Yiddish theater lexicon. It was premiered on December 9, 1920 by the Vilna Troupe at the Eizeum theater in Warsaw. Its success catapulted that company onto the International stage. It has since been translated into 27 languages and performed worldwide. From December 9-13, New Yiddish Rep celebrated the play's 100th birthday with a live performance streamed from Theater For The New City. A recording of the production has now been released for the general public to view on Vimeo.
MORE INFO: www.jsnyc.com/season/Dybbuk.htm
"Feathers of Fire" is the most elaborate shadow theater experience ever created, and this recording, captured on an actual theater stage, transforms it into a video-on-demand production for all ages. The story is adapted from Shahnameh (the Persian Book of Kings) and tells the action-packed tale of two star-crossed lovers of old Persia. Zaul, an outcast albino boy, is brought up by a bird-goddess and grows up into a wise ruler. He enters into a forbidden love with Rudabeh, a princess who is the granddaughter of the dreaded Serpent King. Their young, impetuous romance survives many precarious adventures before they finally receive blessings for their union. When they ultimately have a child, it is Rostam, "the Hercules of Iran." Aspects of the story are reminiscent of "Romeo and Juliet," "Rapunzel," "The Firebird" and "Jungle Book."
The piece is created and directed by Hamid Rahmanian, a 2014 Guggenheim fellowship-winning filmmaker/visual artist living in Brooklyn. It is endorsed by Francis Ford Coppola, who called the production "Fantastic! One of the greatest epics of all time and my favorite Shahnameh brought to life in a spectacular fashion by Hamid Rahmanian with shadow puppets design and cinematic wizardry."
COMPLETE INFO: www.jsnyc.com/season/feathers.htm
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