Over 150 Performances Set For TNC's 25th Lower East Side Festival Of The Arts

By: May. 15, 2020

Over 150 Performances Set For TNC's 25th Lower East Side Festival Of The Arts

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, www.theaterforthenewcity.net.

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.


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.

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

David Amram

F. Murray Abraham

Penny Arcade

Charles Busch

William Electric Black

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

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.


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" with Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director of Theater for the New City, to 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.