I would say that most of us agree that war is bad. I would also say that most of us are able to state that opinion without having directly experienced the horrors of war ourselves. Guggenheim Fellow Christina Masciotti’s new play, currently running at Lower East Side’s Abrons Arts Center, revolves around a veteran who has been forever altered by a tour in Iraq. Through attempts to sedate his PTSD with pills, he finds himself sentenced to Brooklyn Treatment Court due to a domestic violence incident.
Theater is rarely free to attend, and often costs a pretty penny. So when the genre tells the stories of people typically cast aside by society, it can be difficult for these very people being portrayed to actually witness the work being staged. In an effort to make this play more accessible, the theater has set aside two free tickets per night specifically for veterans. More →
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.
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. More →
This Is How You Talk To People Wednesday, February 22 at The Silent Barn, 7 pm: $5
Tonight, Bushwick mainstay The Silent Barn will welcome a “communal reading” of a play by Rachel Davies, who has written for outlets such as Rookie, Complex, Nylon, and The Le Sigh. This Is How You Talk To People is Davies’s first play, and chronicles a variety of women from a talk show hostto a student who are collectively trying to navigate shifting friendships and relationships. The reading will be done communally in “an attempt to make the performance more accessible,” and profits from the evening will be donated to the ACLU.
Nightcap By Ike Thursday, October 27 at Joe’s Pub, 9 pm: $12.
Comedian, solo performer, and all-around entertainer Ikechukwu Ufomadu, oft-described as the theoretical offspring of Woody Allen and Frank Sinatra if such a thing was logically feasible, once again takes to the stage to bring you a “singular mélange” of jokes, special guests, and music. His performances are frequently in the style of a live talk show, infusing an oddly deadpan and NPR-esque affect at times to the typically over-the-top enthusiasm of talk show hosts. Ufomadu also uniquely lives in many aspects of the performance world, with one foot in the comedy world, another in the experimental theater scene, perhaps a hand in performance art and cabaret. Come Thursday, you’ll see it all. But in a digestible, nightcap form.
Singer, cabaret artist, and comedian Bridget Everett has had quite a couple of years. The powerhouse performer is certainly memorable: her Chardonnay-soaked live act includes joyous, belted requests to raise one’s “titties” in the air and a catchy, matter-of-fact song that asks the universal inquiry: “What I gotta do to get that dick in my mouth?” There’s also plenty of audience engagement. Typical stuff, like sitting on crowd member’s faces. Brash though she may be, Everett has captivated America and become fast friends with comedian Amy Schumer, which has led to spots on Schumer’s television show, her film Trainwreck, and other screen appearances like a recurring role in Maria Bamford’s Netflix show Lady Dynamite, with more projects in the works for the future.
Though she’s appearing on bigger and bigger screens lately, she made a name for herself through shows at downtown staple Joe’s Pub on Lafayette Street. For the recurring “alt-cabaret” fixture Our Hit Parade, she put unique spins on pop songs alongside fellow out-there performers like Neal Medlyn, Erin Markey, Kenny Mellman, and even Billy Eichner. There were also solo nights with her band The Tender Moments. We sat down with Everett at Caroline’s On Broadway ahead of her show at New York Comedy Festival to talk touring, creating, and of course, fanny packs. More →
Pop Roulette Presents: Amazing Earth Wednesday, October 5 at UCB Chelsea, 8 pm: $5.
Musical comedy group Pop Roulette is out of this world. Literally. They’ve been sent to the planet Keplar in an attempt to educate its citizens about what makes America, well, America. More than that, they’re going to try and do so through the mediums of comedy and music, which might not be as easy as it looks in a world that seems to get slightly more depressing every day. I feel that they’ll do an okay job, considering I heard one of their songs several months ago and it still floats into my head sometimes. Granted, the only lyric I can recall is “I came on everything,” but I think that’s worth something. Also, the music video for their totally catchy song “Sex With My Teacher” recently premiered through Comedy Central, so at least they’ve got fans here on Earth.
Okay, so you’re probably too cool, these days, to admit you were ever into Jack Kerouac (now you know him mostly as the grumpy old guy who slurred to William F. Buckley that he always voted Republican), but remember for a moment the first time you cracked On the Road and spent the next weeks telling all your peeps that the only ones for you are the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.
If you’re not the type to sit around watching short-form video clips all day, this is the show for you. Impressively funny ladies Jo Firestone and Aparna Nancherla are bringing their Refinery29 web series, “Womanhood,” to a real, live venue. No more straining your eyes staring at bright screens to get your laugh on– these are 100% in-person joke-tellers, which is probably a lot more fun than 100% in-person bank tellers. Firestone and Nancherla have graciously assembled a group of nice folk to help them teach you all about the complex terrain of women’s bodies and lives, including Dylan Marron, Naomi Ekperegin, Marlena Rodriguez, and Diana Kolsky (who will truly contain multitudes as “The Haters.”) You might wanna take your headphones off for this one.
At The Annoyance, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 9:30pm. $5. More info here.
You’ve seen him in serial “gay teen drama” Lake Homo High, as the co-host of Live On Broadgay, and maybe even being named one of Brooklyn Mag’s 50 Funniest People, but this time Sam Taggart is all on his own. Yes, it’s a show just for him, packed full and big with sketches, characters, videos, standup, and some surprises, too. However, no solo show is complete without special guests, and you better believe he’s got those too, in the form of Mary Houlihan, Sisters Weekend, and maybe even more. It’s a big day, after all. I can only hope they’re able to fit such a big day in one theater!
(image via GG Nix / Facebook)
Lost Abjects: Theory of Garbage
At G.G. NiX, 1339 Dekalb Ave, Bushwick. 7pm. More info here.
Kalan Sherrard, the mind behind “Beat Up Trump” among other creations who we spoke with a few months ago, will be presenting this evening at vintage shop G.G. NiX. It’s part multimedia installation, part performance, part lecture, part workshop. Billed as “An Installation and Physical Manifesto Against Recycling,” it’ll feature a spread of works created by Sherrard, including his miniature art galleries (so small you have to look through a magnifying glass to view them), a “post-structural striptease,” and sculptures crafted from gum and fingernails. There will also be a game of Giant Nihilist Tetris, but don’t worry, it is optional.
(image via Facebook)
Brett Davis and Nick Naney’s Disney’s Aladdin
At Over the Eight, 594 Union Ave, Williamsburg. 8pm. More info here.
Everyone loves Aladdin. But what about a live version of Aladdin adapted by two comedians? If that piques your interest, Brett Davis (of The Special Without Brett Davis) and Nick Naney (who has also appeared on that show) have got just the thing for you. The cast features Bardia Salimi as the titular hero, Mitra Jouhari of Three Busy Debras as Jasmine, Brett Davis as Jafar, Nick Naney as the Genie, and even Steph Cook as the rug. This may be the only time you’ll see a human carpet outside of a fetish party, folks, so get to it.
(image via La MaMa)
Baby Fat Act 1: A Screeching Weasel Rock Opera
At La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theater, 66 E 4th Street, East Village. 7pm and 10pm. Tickets are $15. Also on July 21 and 22 and 8pm. More info here.
Some people like opera, but it’s safe to say it isn’t for everyone. For those who aren’t particularly drawn to long dresses and vibrato, this might do the trick. La MaMa has partnered with Columbia Stages to bring you this world premiere that’s based on Verdi’s opera Rigoletto but written by Ben Weasel, the frontman of punk band Screeching Weasel. The original opera centers around a hunchbacked court jester who’s daughter falls in love with the very Duke he mercilessly mocks, but in this show there is a rock club called The Reptile House with their house band named Serpentello and the dubious and nefarious presence of what may be an inescapable vortex. So like, basically the same thing.
(photo via tdf)
The Trump Card
At Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, East Village. 6:30pm. Tickets are $35. Also on August 28. More info here.
Solo performer and monologist Mike Daisey (also behind popular and controversial work The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs) presents this new solo work about the one and only D. J. T., breaking down the inner workings of this bizarre and rich man while also weaving a tale of oligarchy’s rise in America along the way. The result is sure to be intriguing, compelling, and ultimately will, I’m assuming, leave you depressed about the state of the world and its possible future. The show’s currently sold out, but a waitlist will be available when the box office opens.