If you haven't noticed, the Summer theatre festivals are upon us. And they are not just arriving, they are arriving almost at once!
This is not to say that theatre festivals are exclusively a Summer event, but in the next few months (having started in mid June), there will be hundreds of festival productions to choose as FringeNYC, Thespis, Midtown International Theatre Festival, New York Musical Theatre Festival and quite a few others make their 2015 debut. These offerings will include everything from plays in development to finished works looking for production deals from off Broadway producers, independent theatre companies and more.
If you think making it big is a long shot, think again. Urinetown, The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told, Sistas and The Imbible are all productions that started humbly at the festival level and made the jump to the big league, some with seemingly realtive ease.
The Imbible, as an example, recently (just last Thursday, June 18th) celebrated its 100th performance since debuting at the FringeNYC Festival in 2014. For The Imbible, it began with a few festival dates, continued through Fringe Encore and quite litereally never stopped. They found a home at Soho Rep and are still going strong. For more on The Imbible or to purchase tickets, click here: http://imbible.org/.
This year, even before some of the festivals open, we are seeing and hearing about some interesting and potentially groundbreaking theatre sitting in the wings. Theatre with a cause or a social message is nothing new, but things change and so does the message. A few of these shows haven't even begun casting, but the buzz has already created the stage for some great expectations.
In less than one month, The Thespis Festival, which is fast becoming one of the fasted growing and biggest theatre festivals in the New York area, opens with over 60 productions that will run into late September at the beautiful Hudson Guild Theatre on the Westside. The festival offers both equity showcase and non-equity productions in just about every genre you can imagine, but it is aleady showing some promising works in the making.
Anthony Inneo's "You Just Don't Get it, Do You?" is a strong and powerful story about the recent "great recession" that makes a social commentary about the banking and financial industries in a sort of Quentin Tarantino manner. This is a play that appeals to a very base, anger-laden and emotional reaction that comes at the heels of losing your life's saving to corporate stupidity and greed. Yet it is written with great passion, understanding and intelligence by Mr. Inneo. Imagine your golden years destroyed financially and what you would want to do about it and you will quickly catch a glimpse of where this staged dramedy can go. The show is currently in pre-production and will open on Labor Day weekend.
Another socially themed work is Carol W Berman's "Parking Lot 63," a chilling and touching piece also opening at Thespis an dealing with abuse, sexual slavery and prosititution. Dr. Berman, who is a New York City psychiatrist, is also an accomplished playwright and artist with several works under her belt. She is looking to tell a story that hopefully will draw attention to a subject that is seldom discussed, but certainly merits our attention. Her play opens in mid-August also at the Hudson Guild.
But there is an abundance of great new works we can catch right now.
Now running through July at The Paradise Factory is The Planet Connections Festivity, "New York’s premiere socially-conscious arts festival." This Festival is designed to "invoke the power of art in motivating philanthropy, community outreach and social change" and offers quite a range of productions that are produced to directly benefit different causes.
You can find a full list of their productions BY CLICKING HERE, but we've featured a few highlighted productions below:
Buddhas Are Screaming In China - “A play about love, luck, loss, and Elephants.”
Benefiting: Big Life Foundation
Written and Directed by: Maggie Surovell | Choreographed by: Jill Echo
Buddhas are Screaming in China (written and directed by Maggie Surovell and choreographed by Jill Echo) is a play about love, luck, loss, and Elephants. Hai’ou is studying the conservation of endangered species when she is forced to confront her mother who buys ivory Buddhas for good luck. As we follow Hai’ou’s journey, we witness a family of life size elephant puppets trying to survive. Venue: Paradise Factory, Upstairs Theater, 64 East 4th Street. Run Time: 50 minutes
Tuesday, 6/23/15, 8:00pm, Saturday, 6/27/15, 12:30pm, Monday, 6/29/15, 6:00pm, Friday, 7/3/15, 8:00pm, Sunday, 7/5/15, 6:45pm, Tuesday, 7/7/15, 7:15pm
“The hardest part is coming home.”
Benefiting: Women for Women International
Written by: Beverley Coyle - Directed by: Colleen Britton
What do you do when you’re a young woman and a recent veteran – when the hell of war is being eclipsed by the hell of coming home?IN OUR OWN VOICE is a lively and funny but devastating interchange between young women who’ve just come back from Iraq and Afghanistan. They know way more about war than their families want to know they know. Venue: Paradise Factory, Downstairs Theater, 64 East 4th Street - Run Time: 60 minutes
Wednesday, 6/24/15, 4:30pm, Monday, 6/29/15, 5:00pm, Thursday, 7/2/15, 8:45pm, Friday, 7/3/15, 6:00pm, Thursday, 7/9/15, 8:00pm, Saturday, 7/11/15, 1:45pm BUY TICKETS HERE
Lost In Place - “A look back at today with the hindsight of tomorrow.”
Benefiting: Coalition for the Homeless
Written by: Secondhand Theatre Company | Directed by: Secondhand Theatre Company
Lost In Place is a collaborative exploration by the Secondhand Theatre Company, a look back at the “Now” through the neo-vaudevillian orators of a future generation. Return to the birth of storytelling with us! Dance around fires while aiming a playful, yet critical eye at our modern society. Venue: Paradise Factory, Upstairs Theater, 64 East 4th Street. Run Time: 90 minutes
Saturday, 6/20/15, 11am, Sunday, 6/21/15, 12:00pm, Monday, 6/29/15, 4:00pm, Saturday, 7/4/15, 12:00pm, Monday, 7/6/15, 9:15pm, Friday, 7/10/15, 6:30pm BUY TICKETS HERE
“Bon voyage, champagne and caviar!”
Benefiting: World Wildlife Foundation
Written by: Glory Kadigan
Directed by: Eric Mercado
Broadway actress Anna takes her mother Adriana on an Alaskan vacation in the hope of repairing their terse relationship. It’s “all aboard” as the ladies sail off, but Anna and the other passengers get more than they bargained for on their magical glacial adventure as Anna encounters ghosts from the past - Venue: Paradise Factory, Upstairs Theater, 64 East 4th Street - Run Time: 90 minutes
Schedule: Thursday, 6/18/15, 4:30pm, Monday, 6/22/15, 8:45pm, Sunday, 6/28/15, 3:45pm, Friday, 7/3/15, 6:00pm, Saturday, 7/11/15, 7:00pm, Sunday, 7/12/15, 11:00am - BUY TICKETS HERE
Women and Children - “For years these guys thought they were on a sinking ship. Turns out it was a lifeboat.”
Written & Directed by: Michael Boothroyd
After years of dodging obstacles, from prejudice, inequality, plaques, and grindr, a group of NYC gay men realize they landed on their feet. However, when a straight-man, separated from his wife and children, interrupts their dinner, they struggle to make sense of the choices they made and the paths they took.
SCHEDULE: Wednesday, 6/17/15, 7:45pm, Sunday, 6/21/15, 2:00pm, Tuesday, 6/23/15, 9:30pm, Wednesday, 6/24/15, 4:30pm, Tuesday, 7/7/15, 4:00pm, Thursday, 7/9/15, 6:00pm - BUY TICKETS HERE
For more information about other upconming festivals, please check back shortly.