years, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s One-Act Play Festival is still going
strong, with options ranging from the economy to a showdown between a
nun and her most rebellious student. If unproven talent gets you down,
the E.S.T. Festival is for you during the summer months.
May 22 through
June 27, E.S.T., 549 W. 52nd St. (at 10th Ave.), 212-247-4982, www.ensemblestudiotheatre.org
Central and Tompkins Square parks aren’t the only public spaces offering
summertime culture to the masses: City Parks Foundation will be
celebrating the 25th anniversary of its SummerStage series this year,
offering up over 100 free concerts, dance pieces and plays to anyone who
wants to brave the fresh air. Spread out over 16 parks in every
borough, let SummerStage lure you out of icy movie theaters and into a
communal experience. Mosquito bites included.
June 1 through Aug. 29, www.summerstage.org.
Planet Connections Theatre
Summer is the season for festivals, and The Planet Connections
Theatre Festivity hails itself as “New York’s premiere ecofriendly
theater festival.” Boasting 37 full productions (including a rock opera
and an adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray) and several staged
readings throughout June, this festival lacks the brand recognition of
the increasingly bloated Fringe Fest, which makes it all the more
deserving of your time.
June 3 through 27, various locations, www.planetconnectionsfestivity.com.
The Too Soon Festival
Without Brooklyn’s The Brick
hosting the Antidepressant Festival this year, give its Too Soon
Festival a shot. With 10 mainstage offerings—including RIP JD,
celebrating the death of Salinger, and Jeanine’s Abortion: A Play in One
Trimester—this fest looks like the perfect blend of ambition and
June 4 through 27, The Brick, 575 Metropolitan Ave. (betw.
Union Ave. & Lorimer St.), Brooklyn, 718-907-6189; $18.
After the ignominy
of Looking for Billy Haines, which used the real-life story of gay
silent film star for its own navel-gazing, poorly plotted purposes,
Modotti looks like a breath of fresh air. The story of photographer and
silent film actress Tina Modotti, Wendy Beckett’s play follows Modotti’s
fascinating life as it leads her to Mexico, where she falls in with
photographer Edward Weston, Diego Rivera and Julio Mella. Think of it as
a chance to learn about the Mexican art scene at the time without
having to see Frida Kahlo’s unibrow.
June 8 through July 3, Acorn
Theater, 410 W. 42nd St. (betw. 9th & 10th Aves.), 212- 279-4200.
Shakespeare in the
The Public Theatre returns to two Shakespeare plays (The Winter’s
Tale and Merchant of Venice) after last year’s foray into Greek tragedy
with The Bacchae. Al Pacino as Shylock is already rumored to be moving
to Broadway next season, months before the first performance. Use your
summer as a chance to gloat to your friends about having seen it long
before anyone else.
June 9 through Aug. 1, The Delacorte Theater,
Central Park, enter park at W. 81st St. & Central Park West,
Thank You for Being a
If you’re still riding the Betty White wave of love, join the
other Whiteheads at this musical parody about roommates Blanchette,
Dorthea, Roz and Sophie, and their feud with next-door-neighbor Lance
Bass over his loud, outdoor gay sex parties. A hit last summer, the show
is back and gayer than ever. No word yet on whether last minute
revisions will replace Lance with Ricky Martin.
June 13 through Aug. 1,
The Kraine Theater, 85 E. 4th St. (betw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.), 212-
Broadway hasn’t been too kind to vampires in the past (Dance
of the Vampires, Lestat), but pop culture’s fascination with them is too
strong for Off-Off-Broadway to deny. Besides, James Comtois’ play,
about a fledging vampire learning the ins and outs of fangy immortality,
has fight choreography from downtown darling Qui Nguyen, of Vampire
Cowboys. Let’s hope The Little One is more True Blood and less Twilight.
June 17 through July 10, The Kraine Theater, 85 E. 4th St. (betw. 2nd
& 3rd Aves.), 212-352-3101.
Critics are a horrible people, cruel and
arrogant; most actors would be thrilled to drive a stake through their
hearts. That possibility becomes more likely in this play about a jaded
theater critic who becomes entangled in a world of vampires (yes, more
of them) after becoming obsessed with a young actress. It’s like the
theater version of cougars obsessed with Robert Pattinson, except
classy: The play was written by Broadway vet Conor McPherson.
through July 4, WorkShop Theater, 312 W. 36th St. (betw. 8th & 9th
Aves.), 212- 351-3101.
I’ll Be Damned
Musical theater newbies Rob Broadhurst and Brent
Black (who created this show at NYU) got lucky with their first
professional effort: Mary Testa has been announced to star in the
production at The Vineyard. A musical about a friendless homeschooler
who gets an offer he can’t refuse from Satan, I’ll Be Damned asks the
question “Is there a way to make people like you without having to sell
your soul to the devil?” The usual answer to this question when
homeschoolers ask is “No.” But that may not be the case here.
through 18, The Vineyard, 108 E. 15th St. (betw. Irving Pl. and Union
Sq. E.), 212- 868-4444.
Ice Factory 2010
The critics’ darling comes to an unceremonious
end this year as the Ohio Theatre falls prey to bad economics. But that
doesn’t give you an excuse to miss out on the final six shows in the
soon-to-be-missed festival, none of which seem tainted with the spoofy
touch that mars so many other festival offerings.
July 7 through Aug.
14, Ohio Theatre, 66 Wooster St. (betw. Broome & Spring Sts.),
in the Parking Lot
The Drilling Company’s annual Shakespeare in the
Parking Lot is back again this year for its 16th season, offering up
Love’s Labours Lost and Julius Caesar in the municipal parking lot on
the LES. For anyone who likes the smell of exhaust (and the absence of
raccoons) with free Shakespeare, this is the place.
July 9 through Aug.
15, The Municipal Parking Lot (at Ludlow and Broome Sts.), 212-877-0099;
In God’s Hat
This play, about two brothers who haven’t seen one another since one of
them was sent to prison, involves pedophilia, family feuds and Aryan
skinheads. Whether or not the play successfully juggles its
wild-sounding plot remains to be seen, but odds are the proceedings
won’t be boring.
July 14 through Aug. 7, Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 W.
42nd St., (betw. 9th & 10th Aves.), 212-279-4200.
Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay
Yet another Fringe Fest show transferring for a commercial
run, this “politically-charged mashup comedy” allows the audience to
choose the order of its three acts at every performance, as a
fourth-grade Illinois Christmas pageant makes everyone wonder about old
Abe’s sexuality. If it turns out that the 16th president was really gay,
does that mean we’ve been living in a post-gay society all along?
Aug. 12, Acorn Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St. (betw. 9th & 10th
2010 FringeNYC Festival
What would the dog days of summer be like
without the Fringe Fest? Never mind that at this point, the fest is 95
percent vanity projects that somehow get produced, and only 5 percent
worthwhile shows from new writers, directors and unknown actors. It’s a
New York institution now, so get ready for the 14th year of theater
taking over Downtown.
Aug. 13 through 29, various locations, www.fringenyc.org.