I don’t often think about laser tag. Maybe my life would be more interesting if I did, but it’s just not frequently on my mind. However, I was thinking of that childhood adventure game as I walked up the stairs into A.R.T. New York’s theater building in Hell’s Kitchen. There, I was handed a square of grey foam that I held to my chest like a shield as I walked into a industrial-feeling room constructed of black rubber milk cartons. Not that I was about to be faced with beams of light and fog. Not yet. I was here to see a play. Keep Reading »
Little Green Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Frogs and Lizards
Wednesday, May 10 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $5
First of all, I don’t know what I can say about this show that will make it any more appealing than the title already makes it. Little green guys! Why make jokes about people and places when you can make them about frogs and lizards. They’re small, they’re wacky, and they’re one of a kind. A grand old lineup of people will be stopping by to wax comedic about these green-hued critters, including Jo Firestone, Lorelei Ramirez, Annie Donley, Anthony Oberbeck, Carmen Christopher, The Junk Bros, and more, plus your amphibian-and-reptile-loving hosts Joe Rumrill and Andrew Tisher.
The only thing that would make this show better is if actual frogs and lizards made their way up the steps to Babycastles, clambered up the mic stands, and croaked out their own jokes and humorous musings. I guess we will just have to wait for the sequel to see that. Keep Reading »
ROFL3: The Slumber Party
Wednesday, May 3 at Our Wicked Lady, 8 pm: FREE
“Comedy shows” sounds a lot like “comedy shoes.” What are comedy shoes? Maybe they’re big ol’ clown shoes, or super squeaky slippers, but it doesn’t matter what you think they are. The dynamic duo of Edy Modica and Eliza Hurwitz have declared their comedic footwear of choice to be roller skates, proclaiming (and skating) this loud and clear in their monthly show on wheels, ROFL. Bet you never knew that age-old internet acronym was actually referring to roller skates.
This month, a fine bunch of funny folk will be rolling in to tell jokes and make merry, including Marcia Belsky, Dan Licata, Jaboukie Young-White, Charles Gould, and Aparna Nancherla. I once tried to perform as a character wearing roller skates and when I tried to stand in one place for a duration of time I slowly and endlessly rolled forward and did not know how to stop. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
Mourning Becomes Electra
April 26-May 20 at Abrons Arts Center, various times: $45-75
If short n’ sweet shows are your preferred method of entertainment, this could be quite the change of pace. The Obie-winning company Target Margin Theater will be commemorating their 25th anniversary of making work by taking on Eugene O’Neill’s 1931 work Mourning Becomes Electra, and they’re doing it in a big, big way. Or rather, a long, long way. The production runs around six hours long, but don’t expect to sit for that entire time. Mourning Becomes Electra is technically a play cycle, consisting of three plays that serve as a modern retelling of Greek tragedy The Oresteia, turned into a Freudian family melodrama set at the end of the Civil War. So, the company is dividing Abrons’s Playhouse into different sections, guiding audiences between different portions of the performance space as the play cycle progresses.
If you’re still hesitant about committing to this behemoth endeavor, know that it also includes two intermissions and “a light meal.” Everyone loves a nice meal.
Sasha Velour’s Nightgowns
Thursday, April 20 at National Sawdust, 8:30 pm doors, 10 pm show: $18 advance, $22 doors
If you live in Brooklyn and are watching this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, there’s probably a pretty good chance you’re only a degree or two of separation from some of the queens competing. One of these hometown heroes is Sasha Velour, who has continued to host the unique drag variety show Nightgowns on a regular basis. The show is typically at Bizarre Bushwick, but is making the move to dear old Williamsburg and its funky, classy music hall National Sawdust.
Given that they’re moving to a bigger, swankier space, the lineup is pretty big too. You can see shows after fabulous show from Francesca, Hystée Lauder, Kandy Muse, Olive d’Nightlife, Pearl Harbor, Severely Mame, Scarlet Envy, Untitled Queen, and Vigor Mortis. And hey, it’s 4/20, so there’ll probably be some sort of relevant performance themes going on. Keep Reading »
Lift Every Voice
Wednesday, April 12 at Joe’s Pub, 9:30 pm: $20-30
Musical Theater Factory, a production company created by Difficult People actress and multi-hyphenate Shakina Nayfack, presents this concert of songs penned by musical theater composers of color. The show is curated by members of MTF’s People of Color Roundtable, one of two regularly occurring “representation round tables” that provide a forum for people in marginalized groups to share new composition and creative work.
If you dare say musical theater is so predominantly white because there aren’t many other types of writers out there, this show will surely prove you wrong. Lift Every Voice will be showcasing over 15 composers in just one night, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg in regards to the wide array of non-white writers and composers working to breathe new life into the genre today. Keep Reading »
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. Keep Reading »
Holy Fuck Comedy Hour
Wednesday, March 29 at The Annoyance Theater, 10:30 pm: FREE
As we’ve told you previously and with heavy hearts, strange n’ mighty little basement comedy theater The Annoyance is closing at the end of the month. More specifically, it’s the theater’s last night of shows tonight. What better way to send it off than by attending one of the shows The Annoyance is most lauded for, the late-night extravaganza that is the Holy Fuck Comedy Hour. The show assembles a strong assortment of comedians from different pockets of the NYC scene and asks them to write characters, scenes, songs, and more in only one week and then perform their creations with no rehearsal. And if you’re looking for even more chuckles, there will be three different improv shows happening earlier in the evening.
Not Normal: Intersection, Corporate Doubleteam, and Orangutan
Wednesday, March 22 at Irondale Ensemble Project, 8 pm: FREE
As long as politics are a hellscape, there will be artists to create work about it. Tonight, Not Normal will present a three-part evening all about the utter nonsense that seems to grow greater every day. Even the word “greater” seems tarnished now and conjures images of red hats and the pallid, fleshy faces wearing them.
In any case, the evening’s programing begins with The Intersection, an “artistic conversation about identity” spearheaded by a group of creators but open to the public. It’s dubbed a discussion “jam session” of sorts. Next is Chris Tyler’s Corporate Doubleteam, a play about how the white boys will play when the Trump is away, and by “play” I mean do a circle jerk potentially involving an intern. Haven’t we all been there? Closing out the night is Orangutan, a one-woman show written by Troy Deutsch and performed by Kristina Mueller all about the curious character of Trump’s mother. If you’re feeling generous, the show will also be accepting donations for Planned Parenthood.
Incarnata Social Club
Thursday, March 23 at Knockdown Center, 8 pm: $10 suggested
The experimental art salon started in a basement by Kembra Pfahler and Orlando Estrada has moved on to bigger digs, taking up residency in the massive Knockdown Center this Thursday. A fittingly sizable lineup will be showing work, with a bill comprised of Social Club regulars and newcomers alike, including Nandi Loaf, Chris Cole, Whitney Vangrin, Cameron Cooper, Shawn Escarciga, and more. Anyone with a bigoted attitude will presumably be booted, as Estrada proclaims the show a “queer, femme, trans, POC, GNC safe space” and a “no shade zone.”
The Neo Show: Smash the Patriarchy
March 24-25 at The Kraine Theater, 10:30 pm: $20
The New York Neo-Futurists have recently rebranded their recurring show, formerly known as Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, but they’re still up to the same artistic madness. Which is to say, they’re definitely still trying to do 30 short and strange plays in 60 minutes. Or, at least “a barrage” of short plays in an evening. This weekend, in a reprisal of sorts of their popular Too Many Ladies show last year, an all-female cast of Neo will be taking over the Kraine Theater to strut their stuff and dismantle some oppressive systems in the form of many feminist short plays. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for this show to include a literal smashing of the patriarchy, as the Neo-Futurists pride themselves on their unique technique of creation in which everyone plays themselves and what they are doing in the moment is true. Aside from that, they’re up for anything.
The Hairy Ape
March 25-April 22 at Park Avenue Armory, various times: $30+
The glorious Park Avenue Armory will see a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s classic 1921 expressionist play The Hairy Ape, starring Tony-nominated actor Bobby Cannavale. The Armory is no stranger to elaborate theatrical productions, acting as host to such spectacles as Paul McCarthy’s grotesque and sprawling WS installation. The production, directed by Richard Jones, initially appeared at The Old Vic in London. Its subject matter is certainly relevant for American audiences, as it centers around a worker who seeks for belonging amidst a sea of the filthy rich, including those found in the money-laden areas of New York. Will capitalism ever be dismantled? Not if you spend money on this play, I guess.
In the Works
Sunday, March 26 at The Duplex, 9:30 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors plus a 2-drink minimum
Spend your Sunday taking in the musical stylings of several new composers at this edition of the In the Works series, presented by Honeck-Moss Productions. The evening will showcase a handful of composers, each presenting about 15 minutes of newer material that they are working on. This time around, you’ll hear pieces from patriotic songbird Marcus Goldhaber, edgy belter and rock opera creator Terra Warman, and “piano troubadour” Peter Trevino, who has collaborated with members of Journey and The Foo Fighters.
Maude Night #4
Wednesday, March 15 at Muchmore’s, 9 pm: $5-7 suggested donation
This is decidedly not the UCB showcase, but a queer/femme/POC space for variety performance and expression helmed by witchy, culty performance-art band Maude Gun. The lineup includes “Mountain Moving Witch of the West Coast” Carissa Matsushima, “Ritualistic Serotonin Poem Witch” Tara Jayakar, “Nose Bleeding Drama Queen Healer” Holly Simple, and a closing piece by Maude Gun themselves. Though it is the name of their band, they seem to be rather generous with the term “maude,” referring to their booked performers and potentially everyone in the room by the moniker. In the event description is a reminder: “let’s mind our pronouns! (call everyone a MAUDE if you’re lost)” Keep Reading »
Thursday, March 9 at Superchief Gallery, 8 pm: $10
Tonight, witness this fine-tuned evening of powerhouse performance, live music, and installations from an array of artists working in movement, visual, and sound mediums. Curated by multidisciplinary gal Ariele Max (who will also be performing), the evening is comprised of hyper-sexual “inverted gospel” musician/performer Cole, choreographer and installation artist steeped in dystopian imagery Kathleen Dycaico, research and ritual-based artist Autumn Ahn, and musician/choreographer/etc Richard Kennedy.
It’ll cost you $10 to get in, but the price includes a full day of exploring Superchief Gallery, plus wine and the mysterious notion of “edible art.” Why touch the art when you can eat it? Keep Reading »
March 1-April 1 at Wild Project, 7:30 pm: $35 general admission, $15 advance student tickets, $10 rush
The Wild Project will be hosting The Play Company’s English-language premiere of Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón’s play Villa. It’s a piece for three actors that places us in a room with three women, who just so happen to be charged with determining the fate of the Villa Grimaldi. The Villa Grimaldi was a significant complex that DINA (the Chilean secret police) used during the Pinochet government to torture and interrogate political prisoners, and was in operation from approximately 1974-1978. What do you do with land that has previously been used for cruelty? The play originally premiered at the actual site of the now-demolished Villa Grimaldi outside the city of Santiago, which will be an interesting thought to keep in mind when you’re sitting in a comfortable East Village theater watching it now. Keep Reading »