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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APRIL 10 & 17
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"OPEN 'THO SHUT"
On Saturdays from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Theater for the New City (TNC), 155 First Ave., presents "Open 'Tho Shut," a weekly series of free, live walk-by performances in which acts will be staged live in the theater's set shop for audiences of socially distanced passers-by, who watch through an open garage door on East Tenth Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. The shop was renamed "The Chop Shop Theater" for this series. It is outfitted with an elaborate set by Mark Marcante and Litza Colon, full stage lighting by Alexander Bartenieff and a four-mic sound system.
COMPLETE INFO: www.jsnyc.com/season/chop_shop.htm
APRIL 23 & 24
LA PLAZA @ THE CLEMENTE PARKING LOT, 114 NORFOLK STREET
SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKING LOT - SHAKEAPEARE'S BIRTHDAY BASH
Will Shakespeare turns 457 on Friday, April 23 and to celebrate the Bard's birthday, members of The Drilling Company's Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Company will mount "Shakespeare's Birthday Bash." An energetic, one-hour collection of live outdoor performances will be offered, all free to the public, all live and limited to 50 people.
COMPLETE INFO: www.jsnyc.com/season/Shakes_457.htm
QUAD CINEMA, 34 WEST 13TH STREET
WORLD PREMIERE OF FILM: "USED AND BORROWED TIME" BY SOPHIA ROMMA
Critics are invited to the world premiere of "Used and Borrowed Time," written and directed by Sophia Romma. This experimental avant-garde film, a psychological drama phantasma, has won 34 festival awards. 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. Ithas been translated from its original English into Greek, Spanish and Italian and will be released imminently on Apple TV and Amazon Prime.
COMPLETE INFO: http://usedandborrowedtime.com
MAY 28, 29 & 30
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
LOWER EAST SIDE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
Over 150 performing arts organizations, independent artists, poets, puppeteers and film makers will assemble for Theater for the New City's 26th annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts. The gathering was formed in 1996 to demonstrate the creative explosion of the Lower East Side and the area’s importance to culture and tourism for New York City. The three-day, indoor and outdoor festival of theater is organized by TNC and a coalition of civic, cultural and business leaders and is free to all New Yorkers. Last year it was produced virtually. In 2019, over 4,000 people attended.
The festival will offer three days of theater and theater-related events, employing two theater spaces at TNC plus the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues. The list of attractions includes artists presently residing on the Lower East Side, arts groups performing there, prominent writers and artists whose work has dealt directly with the Lower East Side experience and plays written especially for this festival. Disciplines presented have always included theater, music, dance, poetry, puppetry, cabaret, visual art, film and kids' programming.
JUNE 3 TO 20, 2021
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY
"OCCASIONALLY NOTHING" BY NATALIE MENNA
This short two-act absurdist play takes us to a dismal time-to-come when something can become a profound, obvious nothing and life becomes the time in between the sometimes which sometimes happen. It is set in the foreseeable future, when the world is nearing its end. An older man, a young man and a woman, all British expats, are sheltering from nearby bomb blasts in a bleak room. They cope by taunting each other with warped games of verbal wordplay and by blurring each other's realities while losing touch with their own. The trio's ordeal is meant to offer a bleak glimpse at life in a dystopian future when wars will abound, words will have lost their meaning and people will have lost their way.
JUNE 8 TO 29
NEW FEDERAL THEATRE
NTOZAKE SHANGE READING SERIES OF NEW PLAYS
On Tuesdays in June, Woodie King, Jr.'s New Federal Theatre (NFT) will host its Ntozake Shange Reading Series of New Plays. As of this writing, offerings will include “A Soft Escape” by SM Shephard Massat, directed by John Scutchins; “A Small World” by Mustrapha Mutura, directed by Seret Scott; “Jimmy's Last Night at Mikell's” by Larry Muhammad, directed by TBA; and one more play TBA. These readings are free and virtual only; contributions gratefully accepted. For complete program, schedule and details go to www. 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.
THE PLAYERS, 16 GRAMERCY PARK SOUTH
SIX ONE ACTS BY HAROLD DEAN JAMES
Six diabolical short comedies 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 and Paul Albe.
THEATER 80 ST. MARKS
NEGRO ENSEMBLE COMPANY PRESENTS "GRANDMA'S QUILT"
Run resumes for a production 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 takes over all four of TNC's theater spaces, plus its lobby and the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues. Customarily 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, will start 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. There will be two continuously-running cabarets offering 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.
NOVEMBER 26 TO DECEMBER 12, 2021
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 condenses 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.
VIDEO ON DEMAND
THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY & NEW YIDDISH REP PRODUCTION OF "THE DYBBUK"
"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
VIDEO ON DEMAND
"FEATHERS OF FIRE--THE MOVIE"
CINEMA VERSION OF AWARD-WINNING ANIMATION SHADOW PLAY, "FEATHERS OF FIRE"
Fictionville Studio has completed "Feathers of Fire--The Movie," a cinema version of its live animation shadow play, "Feathers of Fire." This ingenious production of theater-on-film, conceived and directed by Hamid Rahmanian, is readying for a multi-platform release.
"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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