Thursday, May 14, 2020

Over 150 performances set for TNC's virtual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts May 22-24


Coronavirus will not quench the artistic output of this fabled neighborhood.

NEW YORK -- With the roster still building, Theater for the New City has currently scheduled over 150 performing arts organizations, independent artists, poets, puppeteers and film makers for its 25th annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, which will be mounted virtually for the first time May 22 to 24, 2020. All events and performances will be seen on the theater's website,

Events will stream from 6:00 PM Friday, May 22 to 11:59 PM Sunday, May 24. Attendees will be able to select disciplines and artists from the website's online timetable and index. The hour-by-hour schedule will be posted on and after May 18.



Barbara Kahn, "The End of Time" performed by Jenne Vath

13th Street Repertory Theatre, selection from "Handicapped God"

Toby Armour, "They Will Come" with Richard Quint

Charles Busch

Susana Cook and Timo Hughes, "Are You There?"

Walter Corwin, "Curse of the Aging Fortune Teller"

Selection from "The White Blacks" by Melanie Goodreaux

"The Disputation," a play by Hyam Macoby, directed by Robert Kalfin, starring Theo Bikel

Anne Lucas, an original monologue

Ed Malin

David McDonald in a selection from "Ella the Ungovernable"

Stephan Morrow in excerpt from "The Assassination of J. Kaisaar and the Rise of Augustus"

Eve Packer in "Ms. Martha Says," written and directed by William Electric Black

Viktoriya Papayani, an excerpt from "Clara: Confessions"

Austin Pendleton and Katharine Cullison in "Playing Sinatra" by Bernard Kops

Elizabeth Ruf in "Room with Stars"

Tabula Rasa, "Good at Heart"

Textile Theater Company in "The Messenger" by Claude Solnik

David Willinger, "House of Spirits" (a CUNY production)

Bennet Pologe

"Family Meeting" by Tom Diriwachter, directed by Jonathan Weber, with Greg Mullavey.

THEATER (Other Plays)

Walter Corwin, "Little Red/Little Pink" directed by Dan Kelley.

DADAnewyork in "Eight Republicans" by Jason Sturm and Robert Hieger. Featuring Jonie Fritz Zosike, Lois Kagan Mingus, Be LaRoe and Robert Hieger.

The Drilling Company, Artistic Director: Hamilton Clancy, in "A Midsummer Night's Zoom - Shakespeare in the Zooming Lot" with Brad Frost, Kathleen Simmonds, Mary Linehan and Eddie Shieds.

The Experimentals, "Double D" by C.S. Hanson, directed by George Ferencz, with John Andrew Morrison and Jenne Vath.

Folksbiene National Yiddish Theater in "Einstein/Weinstein" by Dzigan and Schumacher.

Nuyorican Poets Café’s Rome Neal in a scene from Ishmael Reed’s "The Preacher and the Rapper"

Bina Sharif, "The Award" with Sharif and Kevin Mitchell Martin

Textile Theater Company, "The Birthday Present" by Claude Solnik

Peter Welch, "Toshiba"

Xoregos Performing Company, "Passing Fancies" by Donna Spector, with Kristin Devine and Seth Leighton Hale, directed by Shela Xoregos

Peter Zachari, "Coming In"

"Kitchenette" by Ronald Tavel (Theater of the Ridiculous)


Individual performances at 8:00 PM, group discussion at 9:00 PM

F. Murray Abraham

David Amram

Penny Arcade

William Electric Black

Charles Busch

Phoebe Legere

Austin Pendleton

THEATER (comedy)


Stan Baker

Epstein and Hassan

Ana-Maria Bandean with Gemma Forbes

Trav S.D.

Wise Guise, "The Zoom Meeting"

Izzy Church


Ashley Liang Dance Company, "Flowing Colors of Charming Flowers."

Alessandra Belloni with Danielle Hartman, Francesca Silvano, Peter de Geronimo, Fabiana Eramo, Danielle Lindsay, Juliet Gentile, and the Silver Cloud Singers & Dancers, honoring the memory of Kevin T. Tarrant.

Sue Bernhard with Courtney Lopes and Elisa Schreiber.

Constellation Moving Co., "The Journey of the Birds," created and directed by Maia Ramnath, choreographed and performed by Michelle Arvin, Susana Morehouse, Susan Voyticky Zepe.

Dixon Place: selections from "Dance Quarantine"

Glitter Kitty, "Desert Roses" choreography by Emily Vetsch, with Desira Barnes, Chelsea Retzloff, Emily Vetsch.

H.T. Chen & Dancers in "South of Gold Mountain"

Kinding Sindaw

Wendy Osserman Dance Company, "Furious"

Rod Rodgers Dance Company

Sarazina Joy Stein and Emily La Rochelle, "Moon Map"

Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, "Returning Vets and War Trauma"

Zullo/RawMovement in "Our Garden/ How Exquisite Eternity/ The Piers"


David Amram

Donald Arrington

Mr Pablo

Allesandra Belloni

William Electric Black

Louisa Bradshaw

Maude Lardner Burke

Peter Dizozza

Downtown Music Productions in "La Creation Du Monde" by Darius Milhaud & Dance Cuba, composed by Isabelle Gann with soprano Darcy Dunn.

Michael David Gordon and The Pocket Band in "Come Together"

Judy Gorman

Toni Hart

Bobbie Horowitz

Frances Key

Dawoud Kringle

Phoebe Legere

Art Lillard Jazz

Luba Mason (in performance with Al Jarreau)

Susan Mitchell

Eric Nicolas

Chloe Perrier

Ruby Lynn Reyner

Stuff We Like with Brian and Ashley Gonzales and special guest Jenay Puckett

Kalle Toivio

Yip Harburg Rainbow Troupe

Mark Marcante

Matt Angel

Rob Varcony

Micha Lazare

THEATER (Musicals)

"American Soldier," lyrics and music by James Rado, book by James Rado & Theodore Radomski, arrangements & music production by Marteen.

"Cyberbabies," book, music and lyrics by Craig Silver, directed by Lissa Moira.

"Lady of the Castle," a chamber opera by Mira J. Spektor, directed by Lissa Moira, arias performed by Amanda Yachechak.

Cheryl Gadsden singing "The Death of Women," a scene from Theater for the New City's Street Theater: "SHAME or the Doomsday Machine," lyrics C. Field, score Joseph Vernon Banks.

Douglas McDonnell, selection from "Tom Jones"

Jonathan Fox Powers, selection from "Tom Jones"

"No Brainer or The Solution to Parasites," book & lyrics C, Field, music Joseph Vernon Banks.

CABARET (not for children-put the kids to bed)

KT Sullivan

Marissa Mulder

Eric Yves Garcia

Aziza, "Left Out In The Rain"

William Electric Black, "Dance, Dance, Dance, In Your Underpants"

Peter Zachari, "The Confession"

POETRY & READINGS (curated by Lissa Moira)

Jim Feast

Coni Koepfinger

Ron Kolm

Tsaurah Litzky

Prince A. McNally

Valery Oisteanu

Howard Pflanzner

Jonathan Fox Powers

Lola Rodriguez

Bob Rosenthal

Elizabeth Ruf

W.H. Jiggers Turner

Chocolate Waters

Susan Yung

Lissa Moira

Richard West

Selma Blitz

Brianna Bartenieff


Bread and Puppet Theater

Vit Horejš and Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre

Arlee Chadwick

Chinese Theatre Works (Kuan Yu Fang and Steve Kaplan)

Jane Catherine Shaw

Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre

Yuko Uchida

A selection of feature-length films and shorts, curated by Eva Dorrepaal

"Don't Be Like Roy" by Julianna Schley

"Scumbag" by Mars Roberge

"Puta Libre" by Kevin Haeflin & Blaise Villars

"Ding-A-Ling-Less" by Onur Tekel

"Box of Nails" by Mark Borkowski

"Safe Harbour Amsterdam" by Jack Luceno

"Park 51" by Christopher Capelluto

"Neverland" by Erik Wegner

"Arlene's World Famous" by Jorge Torres-Torres

"Elegy" by Chad Gardella

"Final Position" by Nelson Farber

"Choke Artists," written by T.D. White, directed by Chad Gardella

"Tru Romance" by Celine Dayan-bonilla

"The Poet and the Professor" by Ariel Kavoussi

"The Lessons" by Alberto Ferreras

"Inside the Cage" by Kenichi Nakajima and Yuko Uchida

"Every End is a Beginning" by David McDonald

CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL (curated by Donna Mejia)

John Grimaldi, Juggler.

Michael Lee, Magic.

Harlem Repertory Theatre (Keith Lee Grant, Aryistic Director) and the Yip Harburg Lyrics Foundation (Deena R. Harburg, Executive & Artistic Director), "The Wizard of Oz"

Rod Rogers Dance Company Youth Program, Artistic Director: Kim Grier-Martinez

SFP Alvernian Drama Society, Director: Donna Mejia

TADA! Youth Theater, Producing Artistic Director: Janine Nina Trevens, Associate Artistic Director/Resident Choreographer: Joanna Greer.

Brooklyn Irish Dance Company, Directors: Erin O’Donnell, Stacey Cox, Mallory Silliere, Alexandra Owensby.

Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, Director: Louis Mofsie.

FunikiJam Music, Director: Brian Barrentine

COBU Kids, Director: Yako Miyamoto

Sophie Star, Choreographer: Andye J

Theater for the New City After School Cultural Arts Program, Directors: Juan Villegas and Michael-David Gordon.

Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, City Parks Foundation, Executive Director: Heather Lubov, Executive Artistic Director: Erika Elliott.


Frances Key (great-granddaughter of Francis Scott Key, author of our national anthem)

Michael Musto (columnist)

Brad Hoylman (NY State Senator)

Carlina Rivera (NYC City Council Member)

John Miller

Candice Burridge

VISUAL ART (curated by Carolyn Ratcliffe)

Works in various media by:

Anne Stanner

Anura Thamardt

Barbara Jaye Wilson

Carolyn Ratcliffe

David Barish

Dorine Oliver

Eileen Doster

Ian Knife

Joan Meyer

Klay-James Enos

Kris Enos

Lindley Farley

Lorraine Forte

Marina Reiter

Mario Bustmante

Meg Boe Birns

Onno DeJong

Pat Arnow

Patricia Melvin

Peter Welch

Randy Jones

Sally Young

Stephan Morrow

Surge V

Susan Strande

Gilda Pervin

Susann Ferris-Jones

Kathy Creutzburg Enos

Valery Oistenau

Ruth Oisteanu


On Saturday, May 23 at 8:00 PM, there will be a live concert of performances by David Amram, Charles Busch, F. Murray Abraham, Penny Arcade, Phoebe Legere, Austin Pendleton and William Electric Black. Following their performances, these major LES artists will do a virtual "sit around" and discuss Theater, Politics and the Human Condition.


This event started in 1996 as a three-day, indoor and outdoor multi-arts festival intended to demonstrate the creative explosion of the Lower East Side and the area’s importance to culture and tourism for New York City. It employed two theater spaces at TNC plus the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues. For the past 24 years, it has been organized by TNC and a coalition of civic, cultural and business leaders and presented free to an average attendance of 4,000. This year, with obligatory separation caused by Coronavirus, it is being mounted entirely on TNC's website, with the possibility of sharing it with the world for the first time.

The 2020 festival is dedicated to essential workers: the frontline professionals who preserve our daily lives. These include professionals in the healthcare sector (doctors, nurses, EMT), government services (including fire, police, sanitation, mass transit, National Guard); public utilities, post office and other delivery services; private industries including eldercare, airports, food service workers, grocery store clerks and workers in such jobs as cashiers, stock clerks, security, airport, gas station attendants, pharmacists, funeral home workers, news providers, homeless services, food pantry workers and volunteers, janitorial staff, radio and TV engineers, communications network providers and more.

The concept of the festival was developed by Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director of TNC and Esther Cartegena (d. 2006), President of Loisaida, Inc., to portray the Lower East Side (LES) as a haven for artists and artistic creation. The region is a unique multi-ethnic community with an unusually high level of artistic vitality. Large populations with differing languages and cultures coexist there successfully and a large artistic population helps glue the neighborhood together. Its theaters are also an unprecedented source of tourism. Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Buried Child," was commissioned and first produced by TNC. The committee envisioned an event that would demonstrate the region’s cultural fervor, its large artistic population and its multiplicity of ethnic influences to contradict the neighborhood's stereotype as a dangerous refuge for drug dealers and criminal activity.

The first festival, presented June 14 to 16, 1996, featured over 100 attractions, drew favorable press and attracted crowds from all around the City. Its success prompted TNC to continue the festival as an annual event.

Disciplines presented have always included theater, music, dance, poetry, puppetry, cabaret, visual art, film and kids' programming.


Festival Director Crystal Field. Assistant Director Tegan Georges. Emcees of the 2020 Festival: Crystal Field, Robert Gonzales, Alberto Minero, Sabura Rashid and Susan Hemley. Curators: Crystal Field (Theater and Dance), Lissa Moira (Poetry), Carolyn Ratcliff (Fine Arts), Donna Mejia (Kids' Performances) and Eva Dorrepaal (Film). Technical staff: David Aronson, John David West, Brian Park, Roy Chang and Alexander Bartenieff.

The LES Festival is created and organized by The LES Committee: David Aronson, Alex Bartenieff, Briana Bartenieff, Roy Chang, Robert Chin, Walter Corwin, Katherine Cullinson, Eva Dorrepaal, Myrna Duarte, Carol Dudjen, Crystal Field, Matthew Fitzgerald, Andrea Fulton, Tegan Georges, Robert Gonzales Jr., Melanie Goodreaux, Robert Greer, Alan Hanna, Susan Hemley, Barbara Kahn, Dan Kelley, Anne Lucas, Ed Malin, Donna Mejia, Lissa Moira, Stephan Morrow, Brian Park, Emily Pezzella, Richard Ploetz, Carolyn Ratcliffe, Liana Rosario, Ramiro Sandoval, Ed Shea, Jonathan Slaff, David Slone, Claude Solnik, Mackenzie Surbey, Mary Tierney, Jenne Vath, Juan Villegas, Jimmy Walker, Richard Weber, Jonathan Weber, Peter Welch, John David West, Richard West, Suki Weston & Steve Hansen.

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