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Theater for the New City's Village Hallowen Costume Ball Goes Virtual

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The evening will feature new works by over 100 playwrights and performers, contests, music and a visual art show.

Theater for the New City's Village Hallowen Costume Ball Goes Virtual

Theater for the New City's Village Halloween Costume Ball, a revered Village tradition that frequently welcomes over 1,200 revelers, will be presented virtually this year with most of its key traditions preserved. Notable artists including Everett Quinton, F. Murray Abraham, Austin Pendleton, Phoebe Legere and Penny Arcade will appear along with over 100 other performers. A wide variety of multi-arts events is promised, including cabaret shows, music for dancing, radio plays, kids' attractions, an art exhibit, I Ching readings, a scream contest, a costume judging and a vicious and sexy late night cabaret.

celebration starts at 2:00 PM October 31 and everything will be streamed on the theater's website (www.theaterforthenewcity.net) and its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/theaterforthenewcity). Only new works will be presented. All events will remain posted about a week, until they are archived. Attendance will be free but donations will be gratefully accepted.

This is the 44th year for the colossal event. It began in 1976, launched many prominent downtown performance acts and styles through the years, and even spun off the Village Halloween Parade.

While Covid-19 makes remote participation necessary this year, the festival has managed to retain one effort at in-person entertainment: "Chop Shop Theater" in TNC's Set Shop. In that non-traditional space, a series of ten-minute plays will be mounted that will be visible from East Tenth Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues) through a light metal fence. The shop will be lit with stage lighting and equipped with a backdrop, piano and sound system. Passers-by will be able to peer in though an accordion gate. Standing spaces for audience members will be delineated six feet apart and no chairs will be provided. The audience will be expected to move on between performances, which will be spaced ten minutes apart. The barrier between the onlookers and the actors is meant to represent the complex feelings of separation and hope that are experienced by the theater community at this time.

Following is an itemization of artists, attractions and acts in the festival.

CABARET

Everett Quinton, F. Murray Abraham, Austin Pendleton, Eduardo Machado, Phoebe Legere, Penny Arcade, Rome Neal, The Wycherly Sisters, Wise Guise in "Haunted or Hoaxed," William Electric Black in "Once a Piper," Bread and Puppet Theater, Cobu, Mark Marcante, Gary Morgenstein, Ben Harburg and friends, Alessandra Belloni, Camilo Sanchez Lobo, Carol Tandava Belly Dance, The Experimentals directed by George Ferencz, Bina Sharif, Zero Boy, John Grimaldi file juggling, Michael Sanders - black light piece, new play by Toby Armour, The Cell in a new play by Brian Reager, Constellation Moving Company, new play by Melanie Goodreaux, "Gloomy Zoomy Halloweeny Roast," a new play by Lissa Moira; Gregory Nissen, Wendy Osserman Dance Company, Xoregos Theater Company, Jane Catherine Shaw, Arlee Chadwick. Emcee is Robert Gonzales.

BALLROOM

Music for dancing by Star 69, Apple Bonkers Band featuring Michael David Gordon, Art Lillard's Heavenly Big Band, Mr. Pablo Band, Fiddler and the Crossroads, Citizens United Protest Band. Emcee is Jenne Vath.

COSTUME CONTEST

Open to everyone. Send a TikTok-type video with your costume. The theater will display all entries on Halloween Day and three winners will be chosen. They will be featured on the TNC website for two weeks and they will also receive a surprise prize. Submit your video to info@theaterforthenewcity.net (with subject line Costume Contest) and include your contact information. Emcee is Dan Kelly.

SCREAM CONTEST

Created and directed by Lissa Moira. Scary excerpts from Mary Shelley, Coleridge, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll and Lissa Moira are punctuated by screams which contestants supply on video. All contestants will get credit and screen scream time. Three winners will get a big announcement and a bottle of wine. Send your screams to info@theaterforthenewcity.net (subject line: Scream Contest) and include your contact information.

I CHING SOLUTIONS BY PHYLLIS YAMPOLSKY

Phyllis Yampolski has offered this favorite attraction for many years. If you have a question for the I Ching reader, email it with your name and any other biographical info to info@theaterforthenewcity.net (subject line: I Ching). On Halloween you will get the answer to your query on the TNC website, Facebook and Instagram under "I CHING SOLUTIONS."

CHOP SHOP THEATER

Watch live performances in our set shop from the outdoor area of East Tenth Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues from 7:30-9:30 PM. Standing room will be indicated with social distancing for a limited audience on the sidewalk outside. A tent will be provided if it rains. Performers will include Jenne Vath, Cobu, Rome Neal, Carol Tandava Belly Dance, Zero Boy, John Grimaldi, Dawood Kringle, Ellen Steier, Peter Dizozza and Bina Sharif. Live Emcee is Robert Gonzales.

WOMB ROOM

The Womb Room offers a collection of musical and novelty acts emceed by Dr. Sue Witch. Attractions will include Lorcan Otway, Amazing Amy (contortionist), Matt Angel, Lei Zhou, Ian Gordon, Loretta Auditorium, Fairy Tale Marionettes, Stan Baker, Jennifer Blowdrier, Ellen Steier, Sarah and Scott Lilly, George Bellici, Richard West and Susan Mitchell, Rocco Nicholas, Elizabeth Ruf-Maldonado, Peter Dizozza, Evan Laurence, Roman Primativo, Kitsch, Ian Gordon, Stan Baker, The Amazing Amy, Jiggers Is King, Cancion Franklin and Jon D'Angelo, Jimmy Corcoran, Norman Savitt. Laraine Goodman and her Mad Tappers, Rocco Nicholas, Middy Streeter, Gary Morganstein, Aaron Da Villa, Savage Hi Def Band, Rhonda Hansome and new plays by Walter Corwin and Claude Solnick.

KIDS' CORNER

Acts for young audiences beginning at 2:00 PM featuring Swedish Cottage Marionettes, John Grimaldi, Vit Horejs (Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre), Yip Harburg Rainbow Troupe, Brian Barrentine, Cherry Pitz (of Hotsy Totsy Burlesque), Fairy Tale Marionettes, Manhatitlan Mexican Folkloric Dance, Funiki Jam Music, Commedia Del Arte featuring Roberto Andrioli, and Vivarta Arts.

LATE NIGHT NAUGHTY HALLOWEEN

Vicious and sexy acts beginning at 8:00 PM, emceed by Zen Mansley, featuring Danielle Hauser, Vilna Hodo, Dan Kelly (The Smoking Clown), "Really American" by David Arthur Aronson directed by Mark Marcante, Tym Moss as Quasimodo in "Trick Like Me," New Yiddish Rep, Katherine Adamenko and a poem by Zen Mansley named "The Sphinx."

THE RADIO HOUR (audio only)

New to TNC festivals: a collection of original radio plays including: "The Hair-Raising Adventures of Will Beatem" by Crystal Field with music by Arthur Abrams, the first in a new detective series named "The Covid-19 Caper: In The Beginning." Also: "The Hour of Lateral Thinking: The Graveyard Edition," a production of Catradio Cafe featuring Janet and David Dozier of WBAI. Art Lillard's Heavenly Big Band will perform a selection of songs you can dance to. Eric Alexie Cruz performs "Rainbow Crow." Finslly, Andrew Coletti will perform "The Highwayman." Emcee is Elizabeth Ruf-Maldonado.

ART EXHIBIT

Marcus Glitteris curates an exhibition of 15 Halloween-inspired paintings by local artists.

ABOUT THE VILLAGE HALLOWEEN COSTUME BALL

TNC's Village Halloween Ball, an explosive fall tradition, is always held on the actual night of Halloween and celebrates the creative fertility of the season. Since its beginning in 1976, it has been a point of origin for many of the City's most original entertainers. Six full-length plays have grown out of playlets written for the fest and it is probable that the theatrical movement in Performance Art began there. It has been a launching pad for such formative artists as Paul Zaloom, Alice Farley, Bloolips, The Red Mole, Penny Arcade, Basil Twist and Alien Comic Tom Murrin. Each year, many acts, skits, sketches, and skadoodles go on to become the basis of larger theater works. It is also interesting to note that TNC originated the Village Halloween Parade as part of its annual Halloween Ball. The procession wound its way through the Village from TNC's second home at the corner of Jane and West Streets to Washington Square Park. Ordinarily the observance takes up every available inch (both floors) of TNC's multi-theater complex at 155 First Avenue (the former First Avenue Retail Market building) and adjoining outdoor spaces.

TNC has adapted all its major events to live streaming since the pandemic forced New York's legitimate theaters to close to audiences. TNC live streamed its Lower East Side Festival of the Arts on Memorial Day weekend and more recently live streamed its 2020 Street Theater musical, "Liberty or Just Us: a City Park Story," from August 1 to September 13. Live readings of new plays are live streamed every Thursday at 7:00 PM.


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