Nine Notable NYC Theater Events This Summer


Summerworks 2014

Performances begin May 30

Bold new plays need a place to chill in our warming climate, and Clubbed Thumb unfailingly provides one with its annual Summerworks series. The programmers generally prefer idiosyncratic young voices to established ones, and this season features three freshly inked scripts from adventurous dramatists: 41-DERFUL, written and directed by Jenny Schwartz, I’m Pretty Fucked Up by Ariel Stess, and 16 Words Or Less by Peggy Stafford. The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street,


Performances begin May 31

Tired of the scheming Thane of Cawdor and the endless parade of screen celebs who come to play him in New York? Well, there’s nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so: This time none other than Kenneth Branagh lionizes the title role for his New York stage debut, and co-directs with Rob Ashford. This production crosses the Atlantic from the UK’s Manchester International Festival to the Park Avenue Armory’s 55,000-square-foot Drill Hall, where big battle scenes will unfurl across a traverse stage—bloody and spooky like Shakespeare wanted it to be. Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Avenue,

Holler If Ya Hear Me

Performances begin June 2

2Pac: The Musical? Holler If Ya Hear Me isn’t a bio-drama, but a Broadway homage “inspired by” the music and lyrics of late great hip-hopper Tupac Shakur. It’s a sure bet that inner city lives, loves, and struggles will find poetic justice on the Great White Way. The producers are installing stadium-style seating in the house, and the show’s team includes director Kenny Leon (The Mountaintop) and choreographer Wayne Cilento (Wicked). Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway,

Much Ado About Nothing

Performances begin June 3

Don’t you hate when your friends trick you into falling wildly in love in the middle of summer? Sometimes it’s fun to watch it happen to other people, though, in this case Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Benedick in the middle of Sicily (okay, Central Park). Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater star in Jack O’Brien’s production for Shakespeare in the Park. Next up in the park’s free summer Bard works: Daniel Sullivan’s staging of King Lear, with John Lithgow in the title role. Delacorte Theater in Central Park,

Comic Book Theater Festival

Performances begin June 3

City-saving superheroes, ninja turtles, and a werewolf who moonlights as President of the United States—all will leap in a single bound off the color page and onto the Brooklyn stage. This is the second iteration of the Brick’s incubator festival, which presents experiments in live performance sourced in comics and graphic novels. Just as seriously fun is Game Play, the Brick’s series of innovative events exploring video gaming and theater, which starts July 11. You never know what’ll happen, so plug in your mental console and press go. The Brick, 579 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn,

The Old Woman

Performances begin June 22

Maybe you’ve heard of Mikhail Baryshnikov and Willem Dafoe, who star in this dark mindbender about a couple and their unwanted visitor. The director — Robert Wilson — might also ring a bell for lovers of exquisitely imagistic theater spectacles. But the real reason to catch this absurdity-tinged show is to encounter the least well-known name: The project is adapted from the recently rediscovered oeuvre of Danill Kharms, an avant-garde Soviet poet whose visions promise to confound and ravish. BAM Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn,

Lincoln Center Festival

Performances begin July 7

What’s new and happening in the classical world? This season’s stalwart Lincoln Center Festival has a number of unmissables, starting with Japan’s revered Heisei Nakamura-za company (founded in the 17th century), which arrives with a tale of a villainous samurai. In August, Cate Blanchett and Isabelle Huppert will add to the sidewalks’ sizzle as power-plotting siblings in Genet’s head-spinning drama The Maids. Various locations,

Mount Tremper Arts
Summer Festival 2014

Performances begin July 25

How often have we fled the concrete jungle for greenery and lakes, only to find ourselves missing the pleasures of town, such as cutting-edge theater? That problem is nicely solved at Mount Tremper Arts in the Catskills, about a two-hour drive from the city. This summer’s season offers a collaboration by playwright Lisa D’Amour (Detroit) and The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf; a world premiere by 600 Highwaymen; and Cynthia Hopkins’s A Living Documentary. 647 South Plank Road in Mount Tremper, NY,


Performances begin August 22

Robert O’Hara’s satirical play Bootycandy assembles a handful of short sketches about growing up gay and black into a fresh panorama of American life. O’Hara’s previous works—starting with Insurrection: Holding History—have proven engaging, funny, and provocative. Playwrights Horizons’ production, directed by the author, will call us back to summer school for a cultural sex-ed survey with disorientating dimensions and depths. Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd Street,