theater

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Kevin Bacon Worship, Comedy While Jogging, and More Performance Picks

(image via Fresh Ground Pepper / Facebook)

Fresh Ground Pepper Festival
Now through April 21 at New Ohio Theater, various times, various prices.

If you thought theater festivals just happen during January and in the summer for Fringe, think again, my friend. There is a theater festival happening right now, and I don’t mean that in the theoretical sense. I mean that performance incubator Fresh Ground Pepper’s first-ever festival is actually happening, right now, until April 21. Unlike some theater festivals which just have some plays and some musicals maybe, there’s quite the dose of variety with this one. In addition to new play readings and devised theater showings, here are two late-night comedy evenings curated by everyone’s fave deranged comedian Lorelei Ramirez, a politically-themed “experimental art party,” a day of activities for actual children, and more.

If you’re around tonight, there’ll be readings of Krista Knight’s High Blonde, a play about city planning and accessibility, and Nate Weida and Ben Holbrook’s musical The Church of the 1st Order of Cloud City’s Inaugural Unity Jamboree, which is not about the art space in Williamsburg. Keep Reading »

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Drag Improv, Kathy Acker Marathon, and More Performances To See

THURSDAY

(flyer via Brooklyn Comedy Collective)

DragProv
Thursday, April 5 at The Brick, 9:30 pm: $10

Drag queens and improv comedy don’t always go hand-in-hand, which sometimes seems for the best, but come Thursday they will. Presented as part of the new Brooklyn Comedy Collective, currently in residence at Williamsburg’s The Brick, DragProv is pretty much exactly how it sounds. Indeed, you will be able to experience awe-inspiring lip-sync, laugh-inspiring improv, and probably some funny lip-syncs that have some component of improv to them, who knows. I don’t make the rules. Hosts Queef Latifa and Annie AssQueef (are they related? I don’t know) will welcome performers Golden Delicious, Devine Madness, Kiko Soiree, Miranda Samantha, and Gosford Park to do their thing, whatever it may be. Keep Reading »

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UFO Cults, Modern Vaudeville, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Wondershow / Eventbrite)

Wondershow
Wednesday, March 28 at Lot 45, 7 pm: $25

When you think of vaudeville, you may imagine charismatic and fast-talking magicians, jokesters, and other memorable figures circa hundreds of years ago. Though it had its heyday in the past, this type of vaudevillian evening is far from extinct, and you can find it tonight in the form of Wondershow, a night helmed by mentalist Eric Walton. In addition to mind-melting tricks from Walton himself, you can also see “elegant sleight of hand” from Alex Boyce, dancing from Jenny Rocha and Her Painted Ladies, and comedic experiences from Jonathan Burns and Harrison Greenbaum. Time Out called this show “professional mindfuckery,” so provided that’s what you’re into and consent is obtained, I assume you shall be in for a treat. Keep Reading »

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Boxing, Competitive Comedy, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Uncharted)

Polly Mope
Thursday, March 22 at Greenwich House Music School, 8 pm: $15

I have to be totally honest, I have not yet managed to see one of performer Molly Pope’s cabaret shows, but based on what I know of her and who she has collaborated with, I feel like I can still say with confidence that you’ll be in for a treat when you do. Thursday is a particularly good time to do so, as Pope will be premiering her first ever “completely original solo piece,” Polly Mope, as part of Uncharted, a concert series focused on new work and first-time experiments. By “completely original” she means the music is her own instead of the familiar cabaret protocol of covers n’ banter, but you can trust that the originality will not stop there. Keep Reading »

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A Tribute To Brooklyn, Queer Storytelling, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(photo: Aaron “RadioSilence” Jaker)

¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn
March 15-31 at Abrons Arts Center, various times: $20

It’s far too common to see comedians, storytellers, and other performance-based creative types make quips about living in Brooklyn, but usually these are predominantly white transplants talking about how quirky it is to live there, with all the cute cafes and niche boutiques and all that. I typically find this very grating, because living in a place is not a personality trait, particularly when you are a white person being all “Haha, how funny is Brooklyn” about what is almost always a gentrifying neighborhood. But if you’re looking for a different kind of love letter to the borough, look no further than Modesto Flako Jimenez and the Oye Group’s latest multimedia production, ¡Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn. Using projections, bilingual storytelling, poetry, music, and more, Jimenez waxes quite literally poetic about his unique life, the multifaceted place he calls home, and all the complicated forces currently at work within it. Keep Reading »

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Sesame Street Drag, Disabled Comedians, and More Performance Picks

Asia Gagnon’s ‘The Kind of Thing You Don’t Talk About’ at SipFest

SipFest
Now through March 14 at Wild Project, various times, various prices

The nature of live theater is that anything can happen at any time. Sometimes this is good, but not always. Spaceman, a high-tech play from Loading Dock Theater about a woman astronaut’s journey to Mars, was supposed to have a run at Wild Project currently, but had to be canceled due to an injury sustained by the lead performer. However, the venue will not be empty. A last-minute festival of original performance works by women and queer artists called Sipfest will run at the Lower East Side venue in its stead. There, you’ll find a solo show digging into how we discuss sexual assault, drag performances, femme ballads, a play inspired by the fanfiction epic My Immortal, and more. Keep Reading »

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Choreographed Memes, Afropunk Spaghetti Westerns, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(flyer via Magical Girl Burlesque / Facebook)

Magical Girl Burlesque Presents: The New Review
Thursday, February 22 at Mayday Space, 8 pm: $5

Out with the old, in with the new, that’s what they say. Or at least, that’s what someone said, sometime, somewhere. Regardless of your opinion on the old, you can see the new coming out in full force at the inclusive troupe Magical Girl Burlesque’s recurring show, The New Review. True to its name, it centers around showcasing both emerging and experienced burlesque performers who have new acts they’d like to workshop for an audience. Think of it as a kind of open mic for burlesque, except the lineup is technically pre-curated and there probably won’t be any white men telling jokes that they (and no one else) think are funny. Keep Reading »

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Placing A Florida Sex Offender Community On the New York Stage

The Cast of Life Jacket Theatre Company’s production of AMERICA IS HARD TO SEE (photo: T. Charles Erickson)

You may be familiar with the fact that registered sex offenders have to appear on an online registry or disclose their criminal status to neighbors or employers. But in Florida, a state deemed “the harshest state for sex offenders,” that’s just a sampling of the restrictions these people deemed the lowest of the low are saddled with post-conviction. When you can’t live within 1,000 feet of places like schools and parks and the world has cast eternal aspersions on you, where can you go? For those in or near the tiny city of Pahokee, Florida, there’s Miracle Village, an isolated community in the midst of the sugarcane, waiting with open arms.

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Neutral Milk Cabaret, Butts, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Salty Brine’s Living Record Collection / Facebook)

How Strange It Is
Wednesday, February 7 at Pangea, 7:30 pm: $20 advance, $25 doors

You may have first caught wind of this show back in 2016, when it happened at small East Village venue the Red Room. Whether you did or not, Salty Brine’s cabaret that uniquely puts Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea in a WWII setting has been enjoying an encore run at nearby spot Pangea for the past few weeks. The show is part of his longtime “Living Record Collection” project, in which he performs notable albums in their entirety with a conceptual twist. Past endeavors have included a German cabaret Abbey Road, a Prohibition-era She’s So Unusual, and a sentimental, seafaring rendition of Joni Mitchell’s Blue. Tonight will be the last night of this particular creation, so don’t be a “fool” (ha ha, get it, because that is one of the song titles) and get over there. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Clickbait, Cults, and… Miss Frizzle

(image via HERE Arts Center)

America Is Hard To See
Now through February 24 at HERE Arts Center, 8:30 pm: $35-45

Do you ever have an idea and sort of less-than-halfway execute that idea, and then spend a really long time procrastinating doing any more work on it and then find out that someone has beat you to the punch but in a way that seems really interesting and cool so you can’t help but appreciate it? Whether you have or you haven’t, that very thing happened to me with this new play. In college, I started writing a play about a trailer park community of sex offenders with nowhere else to live, based on the real manifestations of this phenomenon. I never finished it, or even came close, because writing plot is hard. Life Jacket Theater Company did, and they even traveled to Florida’s Miracle Village and interviewed its residents to create their show. Add in a helping of methodist hymns and theatricality, and you’ve got the recipe for a play that seems truly nuanced and exciting, particularly in today’s tumultuous time of #metoo reckonings. Keep Reading »

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More Theater Festivals, Clowns, And Performative Activism

(photo: Ian Douglas, courtesy of American Realness)

American Realness
Now through January 16 at Abrons Arts Center and other venues, various times and prices.

If you thought last week’s Performance Picks covered all the winter theater festival shows to see, you would be incorrect. There are actually more, believe it or not. Abrons Arts Center and Gibney Dance’s American Realness festival began yesterday, bringing with it a slew of dance and movement-based works, including several world premieres. Whether you’re interested in profound performance art, classic dance, or pop cultural tribute, American Realness likely has you covered.

Some intriguing titles include nora chipaumire’s punk salute to Patti Smith and Zimbabwe, Neal Medlyn’s investigation into Pina Bausch and his years as an “untrained dancer in New York contemporary dance,” NIC Kay’s solo performance inspired by queer ballroom and Butoh, Adrienne Truscott’s “dance about dance without any dance,” Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis’s physical delve into the seeing and perceiving of bodies both disabled and not, and of course, more. Keep Reading »

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Under the Radar Festival and More Must-See Performance

A scene from Antigonón, un Contigente Épico, running January 10-14 at The Public Theater as part of The Public’s 14th Annual Under the Radar Festival. (Photo: Lessy Montes)

The Public’s Under The Radar Festival
January 4-15 at The Public Theater and other venues, various times and prices.

It is time once again for the slew of winter theater festivals that usually fill the month of January to its very brim, and cause many an artist to triple-check their schedule and/or wallets to see how they can make it all work. Beginning on Thursday is one of the most notable fests, Under The Radar, presented by The Public Theater. Though it’s only 12 days, there are more than 155 performances across five venues. Even slightly pondering that gives me scheduling-related anxiety.

A brief sampling of highlights: Roger Guenveur Smith and CalArts’s piece exploring the New Year’s Eve concert Jimi Hendrix played in 1969 in NYC, queer ensemble Split Britches’s meditation on anxiety and doomsday created in collaboration with local artists and elders, a concert of work by Erin Markey and Emily Bate, harunalee’s exploration of how memory can be gendered and racialized, Cuban company Teatro El Público’s underground drag-cabaret version of Antigone, and more. There is truly so much more. Keep Reading »