The lively theater scene, drastically downplayed or virtually nonexistent in every other part of the country, is one of the indisputable benefits of living in this city. But, too often, the stage does not accurately reflect New York’s incredibly diverse population — this city’s other indisputable benefit. Enter the Downtown Urban Theater Festival. Its mission: to foster social change through the arts by staging works by, for, about, and featuring people of diverse backgrounds. For nearly fifteen years the month-long festival has showcased a wide range of talent, and 2015 is no different. Catch Shonali Bhowmik’s Bed Bugs and Hot Pockets, about the relationship between a drugstore worker and customer, or Kate Bell’s Blackout03, about racial and class issues that boil to the surface on a Brooklyn rooftop during the 2003 blackout. We kind of suspect Daphny Maman and Sujin Kim’s Good Morning for Coffee, about a barista confronted with a strange request, is inspired by Starbucks’ disastrous “Race Together” campaign, but you’ll just have to go and find out.
May 13-30, 8:30 p.m., 2015