Summertime theater festivals are cool, fresh and HOT!

From Midtown to Downtown, volume and variety



With its temporary home at 3LD Art & Technology Center, the Ohio Theater (which lost its Wooster Street space last year) hasn’t exactly been wandering in the wilderness. Nevertheless, it’s good to know that come September, they’ll open their new space in the West Village (called “Ohio West”). In the meantime, under the banner “Ohio [email protected],” they’re currently producing “Ice Factory 2011” at 3LD through July.

The Ice Factory festival’s been going on since June — and although two of its six New York premieres have come and gone, there’re still four good reasons to attend (five if you count the frosty air conditioning).

July 6-9: “Pontiac Firebird Variations.” Aztec Economy’s fractured (and quite possibly warped) tale involves a fractious New York crime family’s enlistment of six (potential) killers charged with conducting their deadly profession — as the narrative splinters from nagging dreams to car shoptalk to 80s pop culture riffs (all of which are meant to reinvent Act I, Scene IV of Shakespeare’s “Richard III”).

July 13-1: “An Impending Sense of Doom.” Subjective Theatre Company presents this mash-up of pre/post apocalyptic genres taking place in a storm-ravaged wasteland reeling from economic collapse and populated by militias.

July 20-23: “Three Graces.” Café Antarsia Ensemble & Immigrants’ Theatre Project’s “Iliad for modern Greece” inspired by Greek blues and Cretan rebel songs — told in the lyric voice of a woman named Three Graces.

July 27–30: “Sometimes in Prague.” This Magic Futurebox and Rusty Ring Thelin production, involving a chance encounter between three Americans in a Czech pub, fuses video, rock music and audience participation (plus copious amounts of cake and champagne).

Performances take place Wednesdays through Saturdays, 7pm, at the 3LD Art & Technology Center (80 Greenwich St., just south of Rector). For tickets ($18, $12 for students/seniors), call 212-352-3101 or visit


Like guests at a party who just won’t leave, queer theater artists just aren’t satisfied with the mere month of June as an appropriate period in which to express themselves. But if the recent passage of marriage equality left your Pride experience seeming a little bit more vanilla than rainbow-flavored, the ninth annual edition of this sassy, sexual festival just might put a good taste back in your mouth.

The Fresh Fruit Festival boasts an array of theater, visual arts, dance, poetry and musical events playing at five venues throughout the city — as performed by lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender multi-disciplinary artists. Tons of flavorful fruity stuff is happening, so consult the website at the tail end of this listing for a full schedule. Here, though, are a few likely highlights. Having said that, do note, however, that every event in the fest has a very good chance of being completely, totally fabulous.

“The Austerity of Hope.” Dan Fingerman’s full-length drama takes place in Astoria, circa 2008. A gangly presidential hopeful named Obama captures the imaginations of three gay men in their 20s who are launching campaigns of their own — for love, careers and the pursuit of happiness. Performances on July 18 at 5pm; July 19 at 8:45pm; July 21 at 9pm; and July 23 at 3:30pm.

“The Kevin Yee Show.” If you see just one gay, Chinese, Canadian solo performer who used to be a member of the failed Quincy Jones-backed boy band Youth Asylum….then it’ll probably be this one. Who else has the life experience to work that description? That’s right, honey…nobody! Sunday, July 17 at 1pm.

On July 13, at the Leslie Lohman Art Gallery, it’s the opening of an exhibit curated by drag personality and entertainment news correspondent Lady Clover Honey and recording artist/dance club performer Lovari (through July 23; free).

July 17 at 7pm, at The Nuyorican Poets Café: Fresh Fruit’s annual Poetry Slam, hosted by Cookie Pemberton, offers its winner so much more (glory, admiration, jealous peers) than the $50 cash prize.

The Fresh Fruit Festival happens through July 24, throughout NYC. Admission price ranges from free to $25. For tickets, call 212-868-4444 or visit For info on all festival events, visit


The 2011 installment of this well-curated annual festival (dedicated to “theatre, dance, music, burlesque, performance art and homoeroticism for the whole family”) marks its second decade. Brimming with intriguing offerings too numerous to mention, we’re only going to mention a few right here and now. In the coming weeks, you’ll see some stand-alone listings (the fest runs through August 6).

“Volcano’s Birthright(s)” is writer/performer Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene’s multimedia fusion of poetry, choreography, film and music. As the Nigerian dyke poet (and daughter of immigrants), Fly’s racked up plenty of heartache, art and activism — all informed by her culture and roots. Friday, July 8 at 7:30pm.

“Tickets to Manhood” is James Scruggs’ exploration of how the rites of passage torch has been passed from quaint tropes like religion, military service and marriage to gang violence, drug addiction and imprisonment. Thursday through Saturday, July 14-16, 21-23 and 28-30. All at 7:30pm.

“MaDHaTters CabArEt’s: Give ‘em Fiya!” guarantees a splendid time for all comers — as queers of color deliver a night of drag, dance, song, poetry and burlesque. Friday, July 15, 9:30pm.

 “Girl Adventure Parts 2 & 3,” created by Nina Morrison in collaboration with the performers, concerns a woman who goes on an innocent quest for a book and ends up having her quiet library experience thoroughly interrupted by a gang of angry sea goddesses. Tuesday, July 19, 7:30pm.

“The Shanghailander” is writer/performer Peter Neofotis’ debut tale concerning an affair between a young man searching for artistic mentorship and one of the greatest classical Chinese artists to survive the Cultural Revolution. Wednesday, July 20, 9:30pm.

All HOT! Festival shows take place at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St., btw. Rivington & Delancey). For info, call 212-219-0736 or visit


Now in its twelfth year, this festival emphasizes productions that expand the limits (and mine the fullest potential) of theatrical storytelling — with an eye on guiding its productions toward future success and longevity.

“Sarke” is Dancing Crane Inc.’s presentation of the Georgian Drama by Lia Bakhturidze Sirelson (performed in Georgian, with an English translation). This tale of generational differences concerns a mother’s determination to provide for her child — and a daughter who wants to follow her heart. Translation: mom wants daughter to marry for money and security; daughter wants to marry for love. July 19th, 6:30pm; 22nd, 8pm; and 24th, 2pm; at the Main Stage Theater. Visit

“Mad Mel and the Marradians” — The SyFy channel’s PR Director Gary Morgenstein is the man behind previous stage efforts Ponzi Man” and “A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx.” This one’s a sci-fi political comedy in which the fate of the human race depends upon an egotistical author whose phony scholarship actually manages to reveal a deadly plot by aliens. The very funny Carlo Fiorletta directs. At the Main Stage Theater (312 W. 36th St., 4th Fl., btw. 8th & 9th Aves.). Mon., July 11, 6pm; Sat., July 16, 2:30pm; Tues., July 19, 8:30pm; Sun., July 24, 6pm; Thurs., July 28, 8pm.

The “Short Subjects” series features plays that run under 60 minutes (16 plays were selected; all take place at the Jewel Box Theater). Peter Turo’s “Always Be Ready” concerns Anthony — “host” of a disease long believed to be eradicated. That comes as quite a surprise when he learns he’s got it, and he doesn’t have much time left to live (July 13, 6:30pm; July 16, 5:30pm; July 24, 8:30pm and July 27, 5:30pm). Natalie Menna’s “I-Pod” has an artist going incognito as an environmentalist whose two-month stint on an eco-barge just might snag her a Guggenheim grant (July 19, 7:15pm; July 30, 1:30pm; July 31, 6pm). Meri Wallace’s “Windmills” features five short plays about diva actors, maddening sisters and monster cats (July 15 at 8:30pm; July 28 and 30, 8:45pm).

The Midtown International Theatre Festival takes place from July 11–31, at the June Havoc Theatre (312 W. 36th St., 1st fl.); the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre (312 W. 36th St., 1st fl.); the Main Stage Theater (312 W. 36th St., 4th fl.); and the Jewel Box Theater (312 W. 36th St., 4th fl.). For tickets ($18-15), call 866-811-4111 or visit

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