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.
The Faculty Room
April 13-30 at Theater for the New City, 8 pm (Sundays at 3 pm): $15
While any play about anything remotely bad can be called “timely” nowadays, I don’t think the people behind this new one expected a school shooting to happen mere days before their opening. Then again, given the sad frequency of these kinds of tragedies, maybe they did.
The Faculty Room is part of William Electric Black’s GUNPLAYS series, a series of five plays centering on inner-city violence and guns. The series began in 2014, and has covered the dwindling population of black ministers, the impact of unemployment on black males, and now he’s turning to what happens in schools. The Faculty Room takes place at James Baldwin High School, during a lockdown spurred by an armed argument between two black girls on the basketball team. Certainly there is no clear-cut way to resolve such a fraught situation, but perhaps it could be wise to see how one playwright envisions these events unfolding.
The Little Rock Project
April 14-15 and 21-22 at Downtown Art, 7:30 pm: $10
As a full disclosure, I know the people at Downtown Art. I was in a show they put on several years ago. It was a musical performed by a cast of only young women about the workers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, their efforts to rally against poor working conditions, and the tragic fire that claimed many of them. Since my time with them, Downtown Art has moved to a bigger, grander new space on East 4th Street. But they’re still doing the same work, engaging young people in historically-grounded performances.
Their latest, The Little Rock Project, tells the story of how young African-American people played a crucial role in standing up for their right to an education. It was made using oral histories and interviews from people on the scene during the Little Rock Nine’s milestone fight to attend a segregated school, and notably also performed by a cast of young people. Rest assured, there will be no adults putting on childlike clothes and playing pretend here.
The Sinner’s Kit Kat Cabaret
Saturday, April 15 at Bizarre Bushwick, 7:30 pm: $10 donation
“Prodigal boylesque star” Vic Sin is at it again. And by “it,” we mean raising money for an overseas tour by way of taking it all off. This time, he’ll be stripping all the way to local haunt Bizarre Bushwick to fundraise for his second European tour. Though on this last money-seeking jaunt, he offered up his body for “one night only” in exchange for a cool $3,000, he won’t be going at this alone. This cabaret features a whole roster of additional performers, who will be readying their bodies to bring you a packed night of dance, drag, burlesque, music, and more.
The Macaulay Culkin Show
Sunday, April 16 at Shea Stadium, 8pm: $5
We at B+B know this comedy show quite well. This may be the last iteration of The Macaulay Culkin Show in its current form. Has the show’s namesake finally agreed to take it over, altering the very fabric of its identity? No, it’s nothing like that. As you may have heard, Shea Stadium will be closing for an undetermined amount of time in order to undergo a series of changes that will get the space up to code, and launched maybe the fastest-growing crowdfunding campaign I’ve ever seen with my own eyes.
In the midst of all this, your hosts Brett Davis and Sally Burtnick will be taking the stage at Shea, which has opened for one night only just for this show. This was accomplished either through the courtesy of the venue or some magic spell they cast– it’s anyone’s guess, really. However they made it happen, they’ll be bringing along comics Jena Friedman (The Daily Show), Murf Meyer and Diana Kolsky (Menage a Trois podcast), Claire O’Kane (Viceland), Giulia Rozzi (This Is Not Happening), Tessa Skara (Ars Nova, Pop Roulette), Tim Barnes (NPR), and Kelsey Caine, who applied for the Miss New York 2017 pageant for the sake of the lulz.