SmokeBreakForest artwork by director Diane Exavier

SmokeBreakForest artwork by director Diane Exavier

The shining star of downtown theater events this month is undoubtedly the Fringe Festival, but for Brooklynites and those who have panic attacks when faced with choosing from a 1,200 show set list, there’s a vibrant selection of other plays in the B+B domain this August. Read on for our picks.

THIS WEEKEND
irinaIrina’s Birthday Party
A “raucous redux” of Chekov’s Three Sisters that’s set in Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant and features a soundtrack by the Violent Femmes and Frank Sinatra and a light Russian dinner for the audience.
The Brick Theater, 579 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg; Friday August 16 & Saturday August 17, 7:30pm

The Designated Mourner
A dark and politically charged drama about three “artist-intellectuals” who try and fail to remain aloof from current events during the Bush administration.
The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St., East Village; August 16 – August 25, see schedule  

dreamupDream Up Festival Premiere
This three-week TNC festival of new works by international playwrights launches on Sunday with Flambeaux, a Caribbean carnival-like musical set in colonial Trinidad, and Peggy Pregnant Skates, about a pro-lifer who gets knocked up.
Theater for the New City, Sunday August 18, see schedule for showtimes

COMING UP
SmokeBreakForest
“A woman, a cat, and a turtle meet in the middle of a forest to set about the business of making marks” in SmokeBreakForest, one of nine installments in an ongoing performance series called Cats for Change and Other Charitable Causes. Reminds us of Class War Kitteh.
Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., Lower East Side; Friday, August 23, 7:3pm

fetch clay Fetch Clay, Make Man
The true story of Muhammad Ali’s friendship with controversial comedian Stepin Fetchit, complete with a “rhythmic script” by Will Power and direction by Des McAnuff, who won a Tony for helming Jersey Boys.
New York Theater Workshop, 79 E. 4th St., East Village; Premieres Friday August 23, 8 p.m.

The Boat in the Tiger Suit
At the funeral of the patriarch of a dysfunctional family, his adult children and their lovers and spouses contemplate “an uncertain future that may contain tigers.”
The Brick Theater, 579 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg; August 22– 31, 8 p.m.

brosBromance in Concert
A gaggle of Broadway’s studliest leading men (Adam Chanler-Berat of Next to Normal, Jason Tam of A Chorus Line, Andrew Kober of Hair, and Guy Olivieri of Rent) have gathered together to serenade you in this musical about bro stuff.
Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette St., East Village; Thursday August 22, 7pm

Night Blooming Jasmine
A revised and updated version of the play last shown in New York 13 years ago, which tells the love story of an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian woman.
UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place, East Village; premieres Thursday August 29, 8 p.m.