While Broadway shakes off its residual Tony Night stardust, I suggest adding to your wish list of Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day, and Miss Saigon some of Off-Broadway’s summer plays, musicals, and festivals—performed indoors and out. Imagine: shows poised to take on Broadway in a year or two...stars keeping it real in the classics…parodies with wild ride guarantees…thought-provoking…unorthodox…and sometimes free!
Image by Carol Rosegg
Irresistible Absurdity: The Government Inspector, a devil-may-care frolic to enjoy through 8/20 at its new home at New World Stages. Adapted from Gogol’s comedic gem of mistaken identity, the show stars a fabulously physical Michael Urie. Orbiting Urie’s ravenous slacker are sundry small-town meatheads like Michael McGrath’s rapacious mayor; Mary Testa, his rouged and ready wife; and Arnie Burton playing both postmaster and lackey. redbulltheater.com
Retro Revival: The Lucky One, an upper-crust dramady by A. A. Milne that comes wrapped in early 1920s haberdashery and centers on two brothers: Gerald, the picture of fair-haired success, and his sibling, known to all as “poor old Bob” for compound reasons. A must for Downton Abbey fans. Through 6/25. MintTheater.org
Street Wise: Avenue Q. So it’s puppet madness and not for little kids…who cares when you can get your grown-up groove on with this 2004 Tony-winning take on life in a NYC hood populated with people, puppets, and people with puppets. The humor is topical (sometimes naughty) and the characters are off-the-charts funny. Features music and lyrics that are all kinds of clever. Open run. avenueq.com
NYC THEATRE FESTS
59E59 Theaters: Two festivals/one location (59e59.org). East to Edinburgh—plays from U.S. companies prior to premiering at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (7/11-7/30); and Summer Shorts, NYC’s seminal short play fest (7/21-9/2).
Free Shakespeare in the Park: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Tony winners Annaleigh Ashford and Phylicia Rashad and Tony nominees De’Adre Aziza, Danny Burstein, and Kristine Nielsen (7/11-8/13, publictheater.org).
Lincoln Center Festival: An annual celebration of music, dance, and theatre (7/10-7/30, lincolncenter.org/lc-festival). Homing in on this year’s dramas, offerings include While I Was Waiting (7/19-7/22) and To The End of the Land (7/24-7/27).
Midtown International Theatre Festival: NYC’s biggest theatre festival offers a wide swath of shorts, full-lengths, and musicals (7/12-8/6, midtownfestival.org).
New York Music Festival: Vibrant new musicals running the gamut from Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil to The Time Machine. (7/10-8/6, nymf.org).
The Strawberry One-Act Festival: Thirty-one short plays presented in completion alongside three full-length premieres (7/13-7/30, TheRiantTheatre.com).