Now through May 7 at the Mezzanine Theater at A.R.T. New York Theaters, 8 pm (select times at 3 pm and 5 pm): $35+
Though this show is playing up near Hell’s Kitchen, it’s commissioned by Soho Rep, the acclaimed and boundary-pushing theater that recently left its longtime home base on Walker Street, downtown, due to conflicts regarding what the building was zoned for and what they needed to do to operate the theater. Without any sign of stopping their production output, Soho Rep and artistic director Sarah Benson have been putting up shows elsewhere in the meantime.
Samara unites two downtown theater heavy-hitters, Benson and Richard Maxwell of the New York City Players. Maxwell rarely brings outside directors on board, but has asked Benson herself to direct his latest work. They’ve assembled a cast that is diverse in gender, race, and even age, as the ensemble’s age range is 14 to 92. Notably, the cast includes singer-songwriter Steve Earle, who has a storied (and Grammy-winning) career in American roots and folk music and has penned tunes recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, and more. Earle has also composed music for the play, so whether you’re a fan of avant-garde theater or just good old-fashioned American grooves, you’ll probably find something to like about this show.
Woke AF: A Mind-Opening Variety Show
Thursday, April 6 at UCB East, 11 pm: $5
Woke is certainly a buzzword nowadays, to the point where even a certain large soda company is trying to get on board. Emphasis on trying rather than succeeding. If you’re looking to keep it lighthearted while still delving into passionate and/or serious topics, the Woke AF comedy show might be the one for you.
This recurring “all-inclusive” show hosted by Nicole Pasquale asks a roster of comedians to give a comedic presentation about issues, sociopolitical or otherwise, that they feel strongly about. This time around, you’ll hear spirited spiels from Joanna Hausmann (Univision’s Flama, Netflix’s upcoming Bill Nye Saves The World), Caroline Martin + Keisha Zollar (Comedy Central), Mehdi Barakchian (UCB), and Ingrid Osby (Reductress).
Mother May I: A Night of Songs Curated By Our Moms
Friday, April 7 at Ars Nova, 8 pm: $16
Sure, Mother’s Day isn’t until May, but some people are a little eager to get started on the celebration of all things Mom. Performance artist and Ars Nova Maker’s Lab resident Emily Oliveira is no exception, and she has put together an entire night of performance that puts the power into the hands of the matriarch. I mean this literally, as she has asked each performer to have their mother choose songs for them to perform. In addition to this evening of motherly ditties, there will be performance pieces and probably other surprises too. What kind of songs might a mother wish their offspring to sing? Will any of the moms be in attendance? Make the trip to the west side and perhaps your curiosities shall be satisfied.
Real Talk / Kip Talk
Saturday. April 8 at Abrons Arts Center, 8 pm: $15
Live talk shows are typically only found within the confines of strictly-monitored late night shows– the ones with grinning white male hosts in suits where you’re told by a stressed coordinator to really try your best to laugh at everything going on because this is going to be on camera and you might only get one shot at stardom and for some maybe that just means their laugh being heard a little louder than others in the background of a major network TV show.
Anyway, this won’t be like that. Instead, you’ll be graced with the presence of “media mogul” Kippy Winston, who will be chatting it up with a variety of creative guests about the contemporary performance landscape and more. Don’t let this description fool you into thinking this will be an incredibly highbrow and serious event. Well, it might be. Or it might not be. Drop by and see.
Tao Marayao (The Good Person)
April 6-9 at La MaMa, 7:30 pm (Saturday also at 3 pm, Sunday at 2 pm): $18, $13 students
The average person, when asked to describe traditional dance from the Philippines, would likely be unable to provide adequate information. That’s why the work of Potri Ranka Manis Queano Nur is so vital. She formed the company Kinding Sindaw, which is putting on this dance-storytelling production at La MaMa, in response to the slow disappearance of the dance and music stylings indigenous to her native Philippines.
Tao Marayao uses traditional dance and storytelling to explore the threats and displacement that indigenous land and people face, with focus on the maritime Muslim tribe Samal Balangingi and its tribal chief Panglima. It’s especially important to keep physical performance styles like dance alive in people’s bodies over time, because they’re a crucial way to keeping these cultures alive and thriving.