This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

THE [title of show] SHOW VINEYARD THEATRE VIRTUAL VARIETY SHOW SHOW

title of show

Who: Bill Irwin, Judy Kuhn, Cheyenne Jackson, Linda Lavin, Leslie Odom Jr., Nicolette Robinson, Steven Pasquale, Kelli O’Hara, Phillipa Soo, Zachary Quinto, Brooke Shields, John Kander, Courtney Balan, Laura Benanti, Jeff Blumenkrantz, the Lopez Family Singers (Lindsay Anderson, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Annie Lopez, Bobby Lopez, Katie Lopez), Rick Lyon, Bob Mackie, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joe Morton, David Cale, Victoria Clark, Billy Crudup, Micaela Diamond, Rachel Dratch, Barrett Foa, Ryan J. Haddad, Christopher J. Hanke, Benjamin Howes, Julia Murney, Alex Newell, Nathan Salstone, Douglas Sills, Ryan Spahn, Michael Urie, more
What: Virtual gala variety show
Where: Vineyard Theatre Zoom
When: Saturday, May 30, minimum $25 donation in advance, 8:00
Why: The centerpiece of the Vineyard Theatre’s Campaign for Right Now fundraising initiative is “the [title of show] show Vineyard Theatre Virtual Variety Show show,” the online replacement for the canceled April 20 gala. The party, taking place May 30 at 8:00, features a reunion of the cast and creators of Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell’s Obie-winning musical [title of show], which opened at the Vineyard in February 2006, along with special guests. The online concert and variety show will be hosted by the original cast — Bell, Bowen, Susan Blackwell, and Heidi Blickenstaff — and will include appearances by Bob Mackie, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joe Morton, Bill Irwin, Judy Kuhn, Cheyenne Jackson, Linda Lavin, Leslie Odom Jr., Laura Benanti, Steven Pasquale, Kelli O’Hara, Billy Crudup, Phillipa Soo, Zachary Quinto, Brooke Shields, Douglas Sills, Rachel Dratch, Michael Urie, and more. In order to receive a link to the benefit, you must donate at least twenty-five dollars by May 30 at noon here. The proceeds go to the nonprofit Vineyard, helping to pay staff and artists during the lockdown.

THE PAUL FEIG Z”L TIKKUN LEIL SHAVUOT: A CONVERSATION WITH UNORTHODOX CREATOR ANNA WINGER

Unorthodox

Unorthodox cocreator and writer Anna Winger will discuss the show during JCC overnight Shavuot celebration

Who: Anna Winger, many more
What: Live Q&A with series creator of Unorthodox
Where: Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
When: Thursday, May 28, free (donations accepted) with advance RSVP, midnight (Shavuot celebration runs May 28 at 9:00 pm to May 29 at 5:00 am)
Why: One of the runaway television hits of the pandemic has been Netflix’s Unorthodox, about a young married Orthodox woman in Brooklyn who runs away to Berlin to escape the suffocating life she is trapped in. The four-part series has led to the breakout success of Israeli actress Shira Haas, who has a smaller but critically significant role in the earlier Israeli series Shtisel, which also involves Orthodox marriage. Unorthodox was inspired by Deborah Feldman’s memoir Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots; while the Brooklyn segments of the show are based on the book, the Berlin sections are fictional. On May 28 at midnight, one of the writers and creators of the show, Anna Winger, who also wrote and created Deutschland 83 and Deutschland 86, will participate in a live Q&A during the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s Paul Feig z”l Tikkun Leil Shavuot.

The celebration usually occurs overnight at the JCC on Amsterdam and Seventy-Sixth St. but has gone virtual in 2020. Among the dozens of other events, all free, are “Koolulam in Conversation” with Rabbi Joy Levitt at 9:00 pm, “Studying Harry Potter as a Sacred Text” with Casper ter Kuile at 10:00, “Reimaging Life, Loss, and Love during Covid-19: Text, Ritual, and Story to Lift Our Spirit” with Jeannie Blaustein, Rabbi Dr. Jenny Solomon, and Rabbi Sydney Mintz at 11:00, “Idan Raichel: Stories and Songs” at 1:00 am, “Franz Rosenzweig on the Notion of Revelation” with Rabbi Michael Paley at 2:00, “The History of Israeli Fashion: From the Kibbutz to Tel Aviv” with Liraz Cohen Mordechai at 3:00, and “Noa: A Closing Concert for Shavuot” at 4:00.

DANCEAFRICA 2020

danceafrica

Who: Mikki Shepard, DJ YB, Mamma Normadien, Baba N’goma Woolbright, Charmaine Warren, Abdel R. Salaam, Karen Thornton Daniels, Sabine LaFortune, Coco Killingsworth, Farai Malianga, more
What: BAM’s DanceAfrica
Where: BAM online
When: Through May 29 (and beyond), free (some film screenings require small payment)
Why: One of our favorite ways of ushering in the summer season is by going to BAM’s annual DanceAfrica festival, a weekend of dance, films, a street bazaar, and more celebrating African culture. The forty-second annual event is taking place online, with livestreamed performances, film screenings, archival videos, interviews, classes, and a virtual bazaar. “The spirit of DanceAfrica has no boundaries, and will always find its way to the people,” Baba Abdel R. Salaam said in a statement. Below is the full schedule. And be prepared to shout “Ago!” “Amée!!” from the comfort of wherever you are sheltering in place.

Through May 27
FilmAfrica: Aya of Yop City (Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie, 2012), Mother of George (Andrew Dosunmu, 2012), Rafiki (Wanuri Kahiu, 2018), Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love (Chai Vasarhelyi, 2008), pay-what-you-wish to $4.99

Through May 29
“DanceAfrica Visual Art: Omar Victor Diop”

Through June 14
DanceAfrica Virtual Bazaar, with clothing, jewelry, home goods, food, and accessories

Monday, May 25
“DanceAfrica: The Early Years,” with Mikki Shepard, 11:00 am

DanceAfrica Dance Party, with DJ YB, 7:00

Tuesday, May 26
“DanceAfrica: Behind the Scenes,” with Abdel R. Salaam, Charmaine Warren, and Council of Elder members Mamma Normadien and Baba N’goma Woolbright, 6:00

Wednesday, May 27
“DanceAfrica: The Council of Elders,” with Stefanie Hughley and Council of Elder leaders Mamma Lynette White-Mathews and Baba Bill (William) Mathews, 6:00

Thursday, May 28
“Education and DanceAfrica,” with Karen Thornton Daniels, Sabine LaFortune, Coco Killingsworth, and Abdel R. Salaam, 6:00

Opens Thursday, May 28
FilmAfrica: A Screaming Man (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, 2010), Chez Jolie Coiffure (Rosine Mbakam, 2018), I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni, 2017), National Diploma (Dieudo Hamadi, 2014), prices TBD

Friday, May 29
“Bantaba West African Dance Class,” with Karen Thornton Daniels and Farai Malianga, RSVP required, 2:00

“DanceAfrica: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,” with Coco Killingsworth, Charmaine Warren, and Abdel R. Salaam, 6:00

LOWER EAST SIDE FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS: THE MT. OLYMPUS OF LES LOVE! and more

festival of the arts

Who: Charles Busch, Phoebe Legere, Penny Arcade, Austin Pendleton, David Amram, F. Murray Abraham, William Electric Black, more
What: Live concert and summit (and many other events)
Where: Theater for the New City
When: Saturday, May 23, free, 8:00 (festival runs May 22-24)
Why: Since 1996, Theater for the New City’s annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts has been a harbinger of summer, three days of multidisciplinary performances taking place in and around the organization’s East First St. home. But the twenty-fifth anniversary of the popular weekend event goes virtual because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it’s slowed down in the least. From May 22 to 24, the festival, whose theme is “Renaissance: Arts Alive 25,” will feature 250 participants providing music, dance, theater, discussion, and more, all for free. The centerpiece occurs on May 23 at 8:00 with “The Mt. Olympus of LES Love!,” a concert with an amazing lineup consisting of Charles Busch, Phoebe Legere, Penny Arcade, Austin Pendleton, David Amram, F. Murray Abraham, and William Electric Black, followed by a summit that attempts to answer the question “Where do we go from here?”

The three-day celebration will feature such speakers as Nii Gaani Aki, Michael Musto, Brad Hoylman, Carlina Rivera, and Candice Burridge; theater excerpts with Barbara Kahn, Anne Lucas, Eve Packer, Greg Mullavey, the Drilling Company, Folksbiene National Yiddish Theater, Nuyorican Poets Café, and others; comedy from Reno, Stan Baker, Trav S.D., Wise Guise, Izzy Church, Epstein and Hassan, and Ana-Maria Bandean with Gemma Forbes; dance with Ashley Liang Dance Company, Constellation Moving Co., Dixon Place, H.T. Chen & Dancers, Wendy Osserman Dance Company, Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, and Zullo/RawMovement; music by Donald Arrington, Allesandra Belloni, Michael David Gordon and the Pocket Band, Art Lillard, and Yip Harburg Rainbow Troupe; cabaret with KT Sullivan, Marissa Mulder, Eric Yves Garcia, Aziza, and Peter Zachari; and poetry readings by Coni Koepfinger, Tsaurah Litzky, Lola Rodriguez, Bob Rosenthal, Lissa Moira, and Brianna Bartenieff; along with puppetry, film screenings, children’s events, and visual art, all for free, although donations are gladly accepted.

SAFE AND SOUND VIRTUAL BENEFIT CONCERT

safe and sound

Who: Aloe Blacc, Matt Berninger, Young the Giant, Grouplove, Nathan Willet, David Sabastian, Phantom Planet, Milk Carton Kids, NoMBe, Beach Bunny, Bryan Greenberg, Leif Vollebekk, David Ryan Harris, Frank Turner, Jae-Mi, Bill Waves, Sierra Sellers, Giada De Laurentiis, Dave Burd aka Lil Dicky, S.P.Y. youth musicians Lena Adams, Yeya, Metamorphosis, Relly D, Kaliheir, Gabriel
What: Virtual benefit concert for Safe Place for Youth (S.P.Y.)
Where: Safe and Sound YouTube
When: Tuesday, May 19, free with advance RSVP (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: The mission of LA-based nonprofit organization Safe Place for Youth (S.P.Y.) “is to inspire, nurture, and empower the resilient human spirit of homeless youth by providing immediate and lasting solutions, one young person at a time.” It becomes even more critical in this time of coronavirus, so on May 19, an eclectic group of musicians will participate in Safe and Sound, a virtual benefit concert in which artists such as Matt Berninger, Young the Giant, Phantom Planet, Milk Carton Kids, and Frank Turner will perform from their homes. The event will be hosted by Dave Burd aka Lil Dicky, with Giada De Laurentiis taking over during intermission with a quarantine cooking demonstration. “We are excited about the Safe and Sound concert and all of the support we have received from the community and this amazing lineup of artists,” S.P.Y. founder and executive director Alison Hurst said in a statement. “Our team of dedicated professionals are on the frontline every day, working hard to provide safety to our young people. The funds and awareness raised during this concert will help us to carry out our commitment to our mission of ending youth homelessness, in our community and beyond.” The event is free with advance RSVP, but donations are encouraged.

A NIGHT OF COVENANT HOUSE STARS

covenant house

Who: Jon Bon Jovi, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Rachel Brosnahan, Stephen Colbert, Martin Short, Dolly Parton, Dionne Warwick, Stephanie J. Block, Tony Shalhoub, Charlie Day, Chris O’Dowd, Zachary Levi, Zachary Quinto, Robin Thicke, Deborah Cox, Quentin Earl Darrington, Ariana DeBose, Darius de Haas, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Eden Espinosa, Jordan Fisher, Stephanie Hsu, Randy Jackson, Capathia Jenkins, Jeremy Jordan, Ramona Keller, Alex Newell, Karen Olivo, Dawn O’Porter, Laura Osnes, Benj Pasek, Jodi Picoult, Shereen Pimentel, Andrew Rannells, Keala Settle, Jake David Smith, Will Swenson, Bobby Conte Thornton, Ana Villafane, Frank Wildhorn, Broadway Inspirational Voices, Covenant House Youth, more
What: Virtual benefit for Covenant House
Where: Amazon Prime Video, Broadway on Demand, Facebook, iHeartRadio Broadway, Stars in the House, Twitch, YouTube
When: Monday, May 18, free with advance registration (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: Covenant House’s annual gala goes virtual this year with A Night of Covenant House Stars on May 18 at 8:00. It’s free to watch, although you can donate to help homeless youth specifically during Covid-19. The mission of Covenant House, which was founded in 1972 and now has locations in thirty-one cities in six countries, is that “through a combination of support strategies, including educational programs, job training and placement, medical services, mental health and substance abuse counseling, legal aid and beyond, we help young people embrace the great promise of their lives, overcome steep barriers to independence, and strive to achieve their aspirations.” The ninety-minute concert will feature performances by such stars as Stephanie J. Block, Jon Bon Jovi, Dolly Parton, Jeremy Jordan, and Laura Osnes with appearances by Rachel Brosnahan, Stephen Colbert, Meryl Streep, Zachary Quinto, Diane Keaton, Tony Shalhoub, and more, cohosted by Audra McDonald and John Dickerson. While we’re all stuck at home, there are too many young people who don’t have anywhere to go, before, during, and after the pandemic. Covenant House seeks to change that.

LOVE FROM BAM: BAM Virtual Gala 2020

bam virtual gala

Who: Cate Blanchett, Jeanne Donovan Fisher, Zadie Smith, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Julie Anne Stanzak, Hope Boykin, St. Vincent, DJ Eli Escobar
What: BAM Virtual Gala
Where: BAM website
When: Wednesday, May 13, free (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: BAM’s annual gala cannot be held in person this year in Brooklyn, so it will instead take place virtually, and everyone is invited; it’s free to watch live, although donations are accepted, with 10% of the proceeds going to the Brooklyn Hospital Center. The 2020 honorees are two-time Oscar winner and Tony nominee Cate Blanchett, producer, investor, and philanthropist Jeanne Donovan Fisher, and award-winning novelist Zadie Smith. Paying tribute to the trio are Grammy winners Brooklyn Youth Chorus (who will sing a Philip Glass composition dedicated to Fisher), Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch’s Julie Anne Stanzak (who will dance a solo that will be filmed by Nathalie Larquet in tribute to Blanchett), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Hope Boykin (who will present a short film for Smith), St. Vincent (whose appearance can only be seen live; it will not be rebroadcast), and DJ Eli Escobar (who will host a living room dance party), all of whom have previously performed at BAM. “Moving to an online, virtual format gives BAM an exciting opportunity to open its gala experience to a wider audience, pay tribute to our amazing honorees in new ways, and gather the arts community in a challenging time. We are excited to share this unique experience as part of our current digital Love from BAM programming,” BAM president Katy Clark said in a statement. The gala also marks the beginning of BAM’s annual online art auction.