mostly plays, mostly new york city & only $50 (or under)
LAST UPDATED: 8/9/2022
PLEASE CHECK BACK REGULARLY!
Friends always ask me how I see so many plays that they’ve never even heard of. The long answer is, “I get recommendations, pay attention to playwrights whose work I’ve liked in the past and most crucially, I also subscribe to (and skim) many, many individual theater’s newsletters.” The short answer is, “It’s weirdly hard and annoying!” And EXPENSIVE.1
This is a free newsletter, but it’s also an ever-updating landing page and a list of what I’m seeing, as well as what I’d like to see in-theater. But I am not a theater critic! Just a fan. And I’ll annotate when it feels right: a star* means I have tickets and a double star** means I saw something and really enjoyed it. If something disappears from this list, wellllllll, it wasn’t that good. This letter will appear in your inbox when there’s enough worthy of an update. Otherwise, please check back! Now get out there and buy some theater tickets.
currently running (and about to run)
Hamlet by Shakespeare (adapted by Robert Icke) (June 10 - Aug 13, Park Avenue Armory)
Hamlet is often… well, HAMLET, but “Icke's highly charged staging transforms the traditional family drama into a psychological thriller, transporting the action to our current surveillance society in which rolling media news feeds provide juicy updates of a life lived on screen while blurring the lines between public and private life.”
Shut UP, Emily Dickinson by Tanya O’Debra (July 28 - Aug 13, Abrons Art Center)
Oresteia by Aeschylus (also adapted by Robert Icke) (July 8 - Aug 13, Park Avenue Armory)
…And performed by the same cast as Icke’s Hamlet. (See above)
The Nosebleed by Aya Ogawa (July 16 - Aug 28, LCT @ Claire Tow Theater)*
Patience by Johnny G. Lloyd (Aug 2 - Aug 26, Second Stage)
On That Day in Amsterdam by Clarence Coo (July 23 - Sept 4, 59E59)
The Memory Exam by Oberon Theatre Ensemble (Sept 3 - 25, 59E59)
It’s true, there are TWO off-off-Broadway Titanic parodies? (tributes?) coming to the stage in the coming months. They are very different — and yet — you may enjoy both. (Although only one is a Critic’s Pick.) (The other got a pretty good review, too.)
AMERICAN (TELE)VISIONS by Victor I. Cazares (Sept 9 — Oct 16, NYTW)
ICE Factory 2022 (July 6 - Aug 20, New Ohio Theater)
New York Stage and Film Summer Season (July 15 - Aug 7, New York Stage and Film)
The Little Shakespeare Festival (Aug 9 - 14, FRIGID New York)
First Gen MixFest (A Free Reading Series Play Festival) (Aug 8 – 17, Atlantic Theater Company)
Philadelphia Fringe Festival (Sept 2 - Oct 8, Various Locations)*
Yes, this is in Philadelphia! But this is a line-up that is getting me to considering a day trip to go see something from this super promising line-up, including (but not limited to): Geoffrey Sobelle’s FOOD*, Annie Dorsen’s Spokaoke, Wolfsmouth Players Company’s Effigy & Josephine Decker + Pig Iron Theatre Company’s The Path of Pins or the Path of Needles.
Ensemble Studio Theater’s 38th Annual One-Act Plays (Oct 16 - Nov 13, EST)
“worth it” (over $50 & quite possibly worth it)
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn (July 17 - Sept 17, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival)*
This is an amazing show, perhaps even worth schlepping up to Garrison, NY to see? (For me, it is.)
Bottom Of The Ocean by Houseworld Immersive (Ongoing, “Somewhere in Bushwick”)
From a review in the Times: “I can’t really tell you what “Bottom of the Ocean” — which you can experience singly, doubly or in a group of five — is about. Probably I shouldn’t. Immersion depends on surprise, on not knowing what you will encounter around the next corner. More abstract than immersive hits like “Sleep No More” or “Then She Fell,” “Bottom of the Ocean” dilates, broadly, on themes of change, death and rebirth. There is often an undersea motif, though that evaporates in certain rooms.”
Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare (July 15 - Sept 18, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival)
“With HVSF’s favorite longtime couple, Kurt Rhoads and Nance Williamson cast in the title roles, this revelatory age-blind production reminds us that, while youth may be only skin-deep, true beauty is a quality of the soul, and – in the end – love conquers all.” (…This is also a bit upstate!)
on the horizon
peerless by Jiehae Park (Sept 24 - Nov 6, 59e59)
BAM’s Next Wave Festival (Starting in October, BAM)**
Some of the best shows I’ve ever seen have been courtesy of the BAM Next Wave Festival. But they often don’t run very long, so you gotta just go for it.
Sandra by David Cale (‘Fall’, Vineyard Theater)*
Open Mic Night by Peter Mills and Julia Mounsey (Oct 13 - 30, JACK)*
I! Love! These! Two! Crazy! Playwrights!
Downstate by Bruce Norris (Oct 28, Playwrights Horizons)
Montag by Kate Tarker (Oct 12 - Nov 13, Soho Rep)
Quite a few theater companies have “Under 35” OR student discounts. I won’t be noting them here, but you should check for them when you’re buying tickets and you happen to be blessed with the gift of youth. (Or you have an active student ID.) Other ways to get cheaper tickets: sign up for the theater’s newsletter (they’ll often send out codes for discounts) or check TodayTix. (And for $10 off your first TodayTix — yes, I’m really doing this — you can use the code: http://www.todaytix.com/who.)