Monday, June 25, 2012

Theater: New Shows (June 25-July 1)

The two strongest festivals in town make their entrances this week, just what you need in the swelter of a New York summer. My picks are below. But somehow, the most “fest-like” of the summer's shows stands apart from the circuses: A Thick Description of Harry Smith (Volume I). It reworks old-timey folk songs to reveal the strange, secret face of America! 

where: Second Stage
first night: Wednesday, June 27
Portentously set on 11/21/63 (spoiler: JFK gets assassinated), it follows a sweet little romance between a Vietnam-bound Marine and a plain-looking coffeeshop waitress. Joe Mantello directs & he's usually worth your while. Alternatively, it's worth digging up the 1991 indie film that this musical is based on. 

where: The New Ohio Theater
first night: Wednesday, June 27
Hands down, Gotham's best festival―guaranteed to blow your mind. Personally, I want to see Flying Snakes in 3D, an attempt to create an experimental play out of material more suitable for a summer multiplex. But maybe an adaptation of a 1911 novel/spaghetti western is more your thing. Or a Southern Gothic by Bekah Brunstetter.

where: The Culture Project
first night: Thursday, June 28
A sort of psychedelic radio-play biodrama about Harry Smith, a mid-20th-century free thinker (a beatnik, in the period idiom). He edited the seminal Anthology of American Folk Music, which is almost a mystical portal into our musical inheritence. This a developmental workshop, so watch with an eye towards what the show might become, not what it is.

where: Lower East Side
first night: Friday, June 29
A madcap series of hit-and-run works, this midsummer festival is what the Fringe wishes it were. The Living Theater, keeping the countercultural spirit alive, makes a strong showing with work about the Weather Underground and another about the suffragette movement. But if political theater makes you squeemish, try a Gospel of St. Matthew or a folk-opera about the Titanic.

Last chance!
4000 Miles
where: Lincoln Center's Newhouse Theater

As You Like It
where: The Public's Delacorte Theater

I Am a Tree
where: Theater at St. Clement's

where: The Brick Theater

Jesus Christ Superstar
where: Neil Simon Theater

Man and Superman
where: Irish Repertory Theater

More of Our Parts
where: Theater Row

Murder in the First
where: 59E59

where: The Secret Theater

where: Collapsable Hole

Storefront Church
where: Atlantic Theater

The Hunchback Variations
where: 59E59

The Lathe of Heaven
where: 3LD Arts & Technology

The Lyons
where: Cort Theater

These Seven Sicknesses
where: The Flea Theater

This Is Fiction
where: Cherry Lane Theater

Tiny Dynamite
where: 59E59

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