Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

World Premiere of AMPHITHEATER to be Presented by Jody Oberfelder Projects at East River Park Amphitheater


A live site-specific performance paying tribute to history, community, and exploring human connections.

World Premiere of AMPHITHEATER to be Presented by Jody Oberfelder Projects at East River Park Amphitheater

Jody Oberfelder Projects, known for their immersive dance experiences of inventive athleticism, wit, and whimsy, will present Amphitheater at East River Park Amphitheater, June 21st, 2021, at 6:30pm. A joyous world premiere to challenge the pending demolition of the 50-acre park that transformed Lower Manhattan more than 80-years ago, the in-person, outdoor dance performance will feature live music composed by trumpeter and founder of The Klezmatics, Frank London, accompanied with his unique brass and percussion ensemble and a cast of 4 dancers. Performed on the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the premiere is also one of the many events around the world for Fête de la Musique and MAKE MUSIC NY, a global festival to encourage free live music and art to fill public spaces. Additionally, the program will open with a poem by Eileen Myles.

Built in the summer of 1941, the amphitheater was erected in the park as part of an urban renewal project for the Lower East Side. During the 1950's, the amphitheater was the site of frequent free Evening-in-the-Park concerts and graduations held by local schools. In 1973, however, the amphitheater closed due to budget cuts and by the 1980's the neglected space was severely vandalized and unusable. The amphitheater was restored by the city after September 11, 2001, as part of the efforts to revitalize Lower Manhattan and has withstood the brunt of hurricane Sandy. Now, a controversial $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project that involves a complete demolition of East River Park and subsequent renovation is impending. The plan calls for the bulldozing of almost 1,000 trees and burying the coast underneath eight feet of landfill, closing the park entirely through 2023. Amphitheater is inspired by the amphitheater space itself, and the movements are choreographed with intent to inscribe the iconic space with dynamic, engaging, and mesmerizing movement influenced by relatable human connections that the space has fostered over its history.

"I have lived on the Lower East Side since the 80's," explains Oberfelder, and seeing my view change from a ruin to a beautiful park accompanied my transitions in most of my adult life," she recalls. "Amphitheater was choreographed with an intent on preserving the park in mind and to challenge the plan to destroy it. We want to honor this space, our neighbors, and this iconic structure in a way that transcends words."

This collaboration between Oberfelder and London marks the first time they have created a live piece together in their 20-year history, and is made possible in part by New Music USA, The Harkness Foundation, and the Department of Cultural Affairs.


Amphitheater will take place outdoors on June 21 at 6:30pm. The rain date is June 22nd.

The performance is FREE to the public. All ages are welcome.

The suggested donation to attend is $15. All donations can be made at this link:

Directions: B/D to Grand F/M to Essex/Delancey M14 to Grand and FDR. Cross Cherry Street and take the footbridge over FDR Drive from Corlears Park.

Related Articles

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

More Hot Stories For You