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


Brookfield Place

Brookfield Place

Who: Admiral Grey, Bizzy Barefoot, Brandt Adams, Irene Hsi, James (Face) Yu, Julienne Marié, Karen Grenke, Mark Lindberg, Robin Kurtz, Stacia French
What: Virtual reimagining of 2011 interactive performance at Brookfield Place
Where: Arts Brookfield website
When: Live each Wednesday in June, replayed Sundays in June, free, noon - 6:00
Why: In May 2011, the Nerve Tank presented the three-day performance installation The Attendants at the World Financial Center Winter Garden, an interactive work in which the audience could text barefoot actors in dark suits, gloves, and sunglasses moving inside and around a large transparent plexiglass cube; you can see clips from the show, in which the actors respond to the texts with only their body, here. The New York City-based Nerve Tank is teaming up again with Arts Brookfield for The Attendants 2020, which will take place in the small rectangular box of the internet instead of a large cube in a spacious, lovely atrium, a different kind of confinement. Part of the #BFPLatHome program, The Attendants 2020 will be performed live every Wednesday in June (June 3, 10, 17, 24) from noon to 6:00 and will be replayed every Sunday (June 7, 14, 21, 28) at the same time. Chance Muehleck conceived the piece and wrote the lyrics; the director and choreographer is Melanie S. Armer, while Stephan Moore composed the score and designed the sound. The prerecorded voices are Annie Dorsen and Jonathan Vandenberg; the cast features original Attendants Karen Grenke, Bizzy Barefoot, Stacia French, James (Face) Yu, Robin Kurtz, Mark Lindberg, and Irene Hsi in addition to Admiral Grey, Brandt Adams, and Julienne Marié, responding from wherever they are sheltering in place, prepared to address current issues that have the whole world on edge.


S. Epatha Merkerson, Barbara Montgomery, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson will inaugurate New Federal Theatre online initiative

S. Epatha Merkerson, Barbara Montgomery, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson will inaugurate New Federal Theatre online initiative

Who: S. Epatha Merkerson, Barbara Montgomery, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, J. Alphonse Nicholson, Howard Craft, Petronia Paley, Larry Muhammad, Tyler Fauntleroy, Kim Sullivan, André DeShields, Chuck Smith, Ron Bobb-Semple, Joyce Sylvester, Clinton Turner Davis
What: Live play readings and theater discussions
Where: New Federal Theatre Facebook page
When: Tuesdays in June, June 2-30, free with advance registration, 3:00 and/or 7:00
Why: Woodie King Jr. founded the New Federal Theatre in 1970 to highlight and focus on minority drama. Its fiftieth anniversary is being celebrated virtually, the latest initiative being “Tuesdays in June 2020: Rapping with the Artists & Play Readings.” The five-week program brings together actors, directors, and playwrights to continue NFT’s mission: “to integrate artists of color and women into the mainstream of American theatre by training artists for the profession, and by presenting plays by writers of color and women to integrated, multicultural audiences — plays which evoke the truth through beautiful and artistic re-creations of ourselves.” The schedule is below; admission is free (although donations are welcome) with advance registration here.

Tuesday, June 2
Rapping with the Artists: S. Epatha Merkerson, Barbara Montgomery, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson discuss their artistic journeys, 3:00

Tuesday, June 9
Rapping with the Artists: Actor J. Alphonse Nicholson and book writer Howard L. Craft discuss the theatrical realization of the play Freight: the Five Incarnations of Abel Green, which ran at the Castillo Theatre in fall 2017, 3:00

Tuesday, June 16
Rapping with the Artists: Director Petronia Paley and playwright Larry Muhammad on the birth of the production Looking for Leroy, which ran at the Castillo Theatre in March 2019, 3:00

Play Reading: Looking for Leroy, featuring Tyler Fauntleroy and Kim Sullivan, directed by Petronia Paley, 7:00

Tuesday, June 23
Rapping with the Artists: Playwright Bill Harris, actor Denise Burse-Fernandez, and bluesman Guy Davis discuss their collaboration on the play Trick the Devil and more, 3:00

Tuesday, June 30
Rapping with the Artists: Actor André DeShields and director Chuck Smith talk about creating theater centered around historical figures, including Knock Me a Kiss about W. E. B. Du Bois and The Gospel According to James about James Cameron and Mary Ball, 3:00

Play Reading: Trevor Rhone’s Two Can Play, which was running at the Castillo Theatre when the lockdown came, with Ron Bobb-Semple and Joyce Sylvester, directed by Clinton Turner Davis, 7:00


we are one public

Who: Todd Almond, Troy Anthony, Antonio Banderas, Laura Benanti, Kim Blanck, Ally Bonino, Danielle Brooks, Michael Cerveris, Glenn Close, Jenn Colella, Elvis Costello, Daniel Craig, Claire Danes, Danaya Esperanza, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jane Fonda, Nanya-Akuki Goodrich, Holly Gould, Danai Gurira, Anne Hathaway, Stephanie Hsu, David Henry Hwang, Oscar Isaac, Brian d’Arcy James, Nikki M. James, Alicia Keys, John Leguizamo, John Lithgow, Audra McDonald, Grace McLean, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Margaret Odette, Sandra Oh, Kelli O’Hara, Mia Pak, Suzan-Lori Parks, David Hyde Pierce, Jay O. Sanders, Liev Schreiber, Deandre Sevon, Martin Sheen, Philippa Soo, Meryl Streep, Trudie Styler, Sting, Will Swenson, Shaina Taub, Kuhoo Verma, Ada Westfall, Kate Wetherhead, more
What: Virtual gala celebrating the Public Theater and special honorees
Where: Public Theater website, Facebook, YouTube
When: Monday, June 1, free with RSVP (donations accepted), 8:00
Why: Among the cultural institutions I miss the most during the pandemic is the Public Theater. Founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 as the Shakespeare Workshop and located on Lafayette St. since 1967, the Public features six spaces for theatrical productions including Joe’s Pub, home to cabaret, comedy, and concerts as well. In addition, the Public has been offering us Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte for nearly sixty years; this summer’s scheduled shows were Richard II and As You Like It in addition to Cymbeline from the Mobile Unit.

The Public, which has been streaming previous performances from Joe’s Pub and presented the best new Zoom play about the pandemic, Richard Nelson’s What Do We Need to Talk About?, available on demand through June 28, will hold its annual fundraising gala online on June 1 at 8:00, a virtual ninety-minute, one-time-only cavalcade of stars honoring actor Sam Waterston and philanthropists Audrey Wilf and Zygi Wilf. Cochairs Kwame Anthony Appiah, Candia Fisher, Joanna Fisher, Laure Sudreau, and Lynne Wheat have amassed quite a lineup, with appearances by Glenn Close, Elvis Costello, Daniel Craig, Claire Danes, Jane Fonda, Anne Hathaway, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Keys, John Leguizamo, John Lithgow, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sandra Oh, Kelli O’Hara, David Hyde Pierce, Liev Schreiber, Martin Sheen, Meryl Streep, Sting, and many more. (The full lineup is above.) The evening will be directed by Kenny Leon and hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, with music direction by Ted Sperling; the event is free, but donations are accepted to support the Public, one of New York City’s genuine treasures.


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.


Sam Kimura (George Takei) remembers where it all went wrong with his sister (Lea Salonga) (photo by Matthew Murphy)

George Takei and others will discuss Allegiance in a virtual red carpet preceding streaming premiere (photo by Matthew Murphy)

Who: George Takei, Telly Leung, more
What: Online streaming of 2015 Broadway musical Allegiance
Where: Broadway on Demand
When: Friday, May 29, $14.99 with red carpet, $8.99 without, 7:30/8:00
Why: Beginning on May 29, Broadway on Demand will start streaming the 2015 Broadway musical Allegiance, about a Japanese American family that was forcefully removed from its homes and imprisoned in an internment camp. It was inspired by the real-life story of Star Trek veteran George Takei, who appeared in the show as the father. The presentation will stream for ten days, kicking off May 29 at 7:30 with a virtual red carpet featuring Takei, costar Telly Leung, and other members of the cast and creative team discussing the making of Allegiance. In my review, I wrote, “Takei, with his big, welcoming smile, riotous sense of humor, and fearlessness in standing up for what he believes in, is an inspiring American, and it is heartwarming watching him in such an important, if not completely successful, Broadway production, one that will very likely have you teary as you leave the theater.” Among the other events streaming at Broadway on Demand this month are Turn It Out with Tiler Peck, “The Producer’s Perspective with Lisa Kron,” “First Look: New Musicals with Jeanine Tesori, Kirsten Childs, and Ben Wexler,” Bandstand, “Bard & Brew,” and other live and prerecorded events, many of which are free with a basic subscription.


Jenn Colella (photo © Matthew Murphy)

Jenn Colella will Zoom in from home for Broadway Fantasy Camp (photo © Matthew Murphy)

Who: Laura Osnes, Telly Leung, Jenna Leigh Green, Santino Fontana, Jenn Colella, Lilli Cooper, Chilina Kennedy, Lesli Margherita, Karla Garcia, Corey Cott, more TBA
What: Broadway Fantasy Camp
Where: Broadway Fantasy Camp Zoom room
When: May 30 - July 1, $25
Why: Broadway Fantasy Camp usually takes place at Sardi’s, where fans can get up close and personal with some of their favorite stars. With the Great White Way dark because of the pandemic, one of the cornerstones of the annual event, now rechristened “Broadway Banter: Safe-at-Home,” has moved online, where you can spend an hour on Zoom with a Broadway star, joined by no more than forty-nine other guests. The performers will talk about their career, from their debut to onstage mishaps to how they are coping during the coronavirus crisis, followed by a Q&A, so have your questions ready. The sessions, which cost a mere $25 each, are scheduled for May 30 to July 1 and feature an impressive roster: Laura Osnes, Telly Leung, Jenna Leigh Green, Santino Fontana, Jenn Colella, Lilli Cooper, Chilina Kennedy, Lesli Margherita, Karla Garcia, and Corey Cott. For every twenty-five tickets sold, a free ticket will be donated to a hospital worker. “The Broadway community leads the way in being generous and sensitive to the human condition,” Broadway Fantasy Camp founder and producer Lauren Class Schneider said in a statement. “Broadway Fantasy Camp is humbled to include hospital workers in our audience as they continue to serve on the frontlines across the country and around the world.” Tony nominee Colella added, “I’m looking forward to creating a community through ‘Broadway Banter.’ It’s not just a Q&A session. . . . I want to hear my fans express in their own voices how they are feeling during this time and what they are doing to stay creative. I want us to create a dialogue together to lift one another up in this very strange time. The opportunity to ‘hang out’ with my fans and for them to get to know one another makes my heart soar.”


(photo by Monique Carboni)

The cast of The Hot Wing King will reunite for launch of latest Signature Theatre online initiative (photo by Monique Carboni)

Who: Julia Jordan, Sarah Ruhl, Melissa Crespo, Katori Hall, Steve H. Broadnax III, cast of The Hot Wing King
What: Virtual launch of artist-driven theater publication
Where: Signature Theatre Zoom and Facebook
When: Wednesday, May 27, free with advance RSVP, 6:00
Why: The Signature Theatre continues its online programs with the launch of 3Views, a publication that will focus on shows that had to be shut down, postponed, or canceled because of the pandemic. On May 27 at 6:00, 3Views will do a deep dive on The Hot Wing King, which had to close more than a week before its scheduled date in March. I called Katori Hall’s play “a tantalizingly spicy, robust and savory contemporary comedy that sticks to your ribs like only the best, well, hot wings. . . . The show is not specifically about gay men, or black men, or gay black men; it’s about four friends coming together to reach a goal, attempting to fight off various obstacles that are out of their control.” The discussion will feature 3Views founding members and playwrights Julia Jordan and Sarah Ruhl, Signature resident playwright Hall, Hot Wing King director Steve H. Broadnax III, and the cast of the show (Toussaint Jeanlouis, Korey Jackson, Sheldon Best, Nicco Annan, Eric B. Robinson Jr., and. Cecil Blutcher), moderated by 3Views editor Melissa Crespo. Also coming up at the Signature are a SigSpace Arts Lunch with Margo Seibert on May 29 at noon and a SigSpace Summit on June 3 at 5:00 with Lauren Yee and Chhaya Chhoum.