Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
Catch a new play by a Pulitzer Prize winner, a new comedy starring Marcia Cross, Musicals in Mufti and more
August is the calm before the stormy fall season. But even though it's a quiet time for theatre in NYC, there are still worthy shows to catch, including a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker, a comedy starring Marcia Cross from Desperate Housewives, a puppet fringe festival and the return of The York Theatre Company's beloved Musicals in Mufti series. These are just some of the promising new Off- and Off-Off-Broadway productions beginning in August. We couldn't include everything, so be sure to browse the listings in TDF's Show Finder to see what else is playing. Remember, many of our picks for July are still running.
In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, masks are optional and proof of vaccination is not required unless otherwise noted. While we are trying to keep this article up to date, be sure to double-check the protocols before purchasing tickets so you arrive prepared.
If you're a TDF member, log in to your account daily to see what we're selling as ticket inventory changes frequently.
Under St. Marks Theater, 94 St. Marks Place between First Avenue and Avenue A in the East Village
Begins August 3. Closes August 19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account and search for Little Shakespeare Festival to purchase discount tickets to select performances.
Zhuzh up your Shakespeare at FRIGID's third annual fest featuring gender-expansive takes on the Bard's canon. The lineup includes Shrew You!, a no-men reimagining of The Taming of the Shrew; the Romeo and Juliet prequel Lady Capulet and the improv Shakespeare show As You Will.
Jalopy Theatre, 315 Columbia Street between Hamilton Avenue and Woodhull Street in the Columbia Street Waterfront District, Brooklyn
Previews begin August 3. Opens August 4. Closes August 20. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Considering the American theatre is in crisis and industry leaders are begging for government support, it's the perfect moment for Theater in Asylum's new play The Nobodies Who Were Everybody, a meticulously researched devised theatre piece exploring the rise and fall of the Federal Theatre Project. Part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal to help the US recover from the Great Depression, the program employed more than 10,000 artists from 1935 to 1939. This celebration of theatre history also offers many lessons for the future.
The Tank, 312 West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Begins August 4. Closes August 27. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account and search for LimeFest to purchase discount tickets to select performances.
Proof of vaccination and masks are required.
The Tank's annual fest showcases new works by marginalized gender artists, i.e. non-cis-dudes. There are two core productions—The Sitayana, a solo stage adaptation of the Hindu epic The Ramayana told from the wife's perspective, and Tia Talk, an exploration of Latina identity—alongside briefer runs of eclectic fare, including a comedy about suicide, a citizenship rom-com and a romp about Emily Dickinson working at a Build-A-Bear Workshop.
59E959 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street between Madison and Park Avenues in Midtown East
Previews begin August 8. Opens August 12. Closes August 27.
Brendan George wrote and stars in this interactive solo show about Milo, a young man trying to pay tribute to his late BFF, but the words don't come easily. That's where the audience comes in. A hit at last year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, this is a moving meditation on growing up, grappling with grief and letting go.
Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk Street between Rivington and Delancey Streets
Begins August 9. Closes August 13. Mostly FREE
The third edition of this biennial puppet fest features a range of events, mostly free though some require registration. Catch performances by Great Small Works, WonderSpark Puppets, CityParks PuppetMobile and Teatro SEA; short films presented by Jim Henson's daughter Heather and roundtable discussions. There will also be an exhibition celebrating the late, great Ralph Lee from the Mettawee River Theatre Company, who founded the Village Halloween Parade and crafted its incredible, larger-than-life puppets.
Theaterlab, 357 West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin August 10. Opens August 11. Closes August 20. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
Peter-William Jamieson wrote and stars in this solo tour de force about a pair of stepbrothers, Aussie-born Blake and Afghan refugee Hussan, as they travel from their idyllic small town to the horrors of war in Afghanistan as soldiers in the Australian Army. Street Kid Collective is giving this award-winning one-man play its US premiere.
Harlem School of the Arts, 645 St. Nicholas Avenue between 141st and 144th Streets in Harlem
Begins August 10. Closes August 20.
The legendary Negro Ensemble Company, where Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson and many other Black stars got their start, presents a devised theatre piece about four Black families living in a Harlem brownstone and dealing with the fallout from today's polarized politics. Inspired by Ntozake Shange's uncategorizable work, Mecca Is Burning fuses music, dance, poetry and prose to explore the challenges facing African Americans, including gentrification, racism and violence.
Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues in Midtown West
Begins August 11. Closes August 20.
Inspired by a true story that took social media by storm, Straight Forward is a new musical about the unexpected romance between two best friends, who fell for each other when one fell desperately ill. Mike Iamele had always identified as heterosexual but as his roommate Garrett nursed him, they realized they were more than pals. This show explores their bond beyond the LGBTQ identity.
59E959 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street between Madison and Park Avenues in Midtown East
Previews begin August 12. Opens August 14. Closes September 2.
Long before Robert Montano made it to Broadway as a dancer, he dreamed of becoming a jockey at Belmont. In his no-holds-barred solo show (coproduced by his Kiss of the Spider Woman costar Chita Rivera), Montano recounts his unlikely journey, from diminutive Puerto Rican/Italian kid on Long Island to the punishing world of professional horse racing to the stages of Times Square. Jessi D. Hill directs.
The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street between Dyer and Tenth Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin August 13. Opens August 21. Closes September 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
As a New York Times best-selling author and Oprah Winfrey Book Club alum, Tawni O'Dell knows a lot about the publishing industry. So it's fitting that she has set her new comedy Pay the Writer in that milieu. For four decades, lauded Black novelist Cyrus Holt (Ron Canada) and his gay literary agent Bruston Fischer (Bryan Batt) have been friends, colleagues and confidants. But as they near their final chapter, their interconnected personal and professional lives start to implode. Marcia Cross (of Desperate Housewives fame) costars in this entertaining exposé of the quest for literary greatness.
A.R.T./New York Theatres, 502 West 53rd Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Midtown West
Previews begin August 15. Opens August 18. Closes August 26. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase discount tickets.
The intensity and transience of college friendships is the focus of David Rosenberg's bittersweet new comedy, being given its world premiere by Egg & Spoon Theatre Collective. At a big NYC uni, a half dozen improv-loving outcasts find each other and spend their days and nights belting out parodies, sharing goofy jokes and planning group costumes. But growing up often means growing apart.
E & S Wholesome Foods, 98 Montgomery Street at Washington Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Begins August 17. Closes September 2.
Proof of vaccination is required. Masks are optional.
The Tank presents this site-specific production in an actual Brooklyn grocery store, as a lost soul searches for the West Coast supermarket where she once received a life-changing prophecy. Chloe Xtina's late-night fantasia explores intuition, paranoia and possession. All tickets come with a $5 voucher to E & S Wholesome Foods of Brooklyn.
Atlantic Theater Company's Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Chelsea
Previews August 18. Opening date September 12. Closes October 14.
Some of our greatest stage actresses—including two-time Tony nominee Kristine Nielsen, the inimitable Marylouise Burke and Off-Broadway MVP Mia Katigbak—star in Infinite Life, a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker (The Flick, Body Awareness) about five women talking amusingly and honestly about what it's like to grow old. Obie-winning director James Macdonald helms this intriguing world premiere, which costars Brenda Pressley and Christina Kirk. Expect to laugh-cringe!
The York Theatre Company at Theatre at St. Jean's, 150 East 76th Street near Lexington Avenue in Midtown East
Begins August 26. Closes September 3.
The York's beloved Musicals in Mufti staged concert series of undersung tuners returns for the first time in four years. It kicks off with an impeccably timed presentation of How to Steal an Election: A Dirty Politics Musical, a 1968 show by William F. Brown and Oscar Brand about President Calvin Coolidge (Broadway vet Jason Graae) magically materializing in the '60s and encountering a few young protesters.
Top image: The cast of What Else Is True?, which runs at A.R.T./New York Theatres this month. Photo by Danté Crichlow.