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Exciting & Inexpensive Theatre: 13 Shows to See Off-Off Broadway in February

By: Andrew Block
Date: Feb 09, 2023

See a new Eric Bogosian play, a puppet show about Václav Havel, FRIGID's annual Fringe and more


Adventurous audiences know that some of the biggest theatrical thrills are found on NYC's smallest stages. These shows are also great for theatregoers on a budget. In fact, TDF members can see dozens of Off-Off Broadway productions for as little as $11! Not a TDF member? Consider joining our Go Off-Off and Beyond program, which gives you access to discount tickets to indie theatre, music and dance performances for a one-time fee of five bucks.

In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, rules vary by venue. 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.


The Varsity Theatre Company: Shedding Load - begins February 2

59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street between Madison and Park Avenues in Midtown East

Begins February 2. Closes February 18.

Masks are optional.

Jessica Owens' new time-hopping play explores how the 1977 blackout forever altered the lives of one Bushwick, Brooklyn family. Ambitious in scope with a cast of 10, the drama bounces around between 1938 to 2014 as ancestors and descendants share the stage. An exploration of how crises shape communities.


La MaMa: Audience - begins February 2

La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 East 4th Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue in the East Village

Begins February 2. Closes February 19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

Masks are required.

A political puppet show for grown-ups! The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre presents Václav Havel's autobiographical dark comedy about a celebrated playwright forced to work in a brewery because his writings have been banned by the Communist regime. Puppeteers Vit Horejs and Theresa Linnihan act alongside their eye-popping marionettes in this tale of censorship and surveillance. Want more adult puppet fun? La MaMa's Puppet Slam 2023 runs February 16 to 19 in the basement theatre.


Rattlestick Theater: Amani - begins February 8

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place between Perry and West 11th Streets in the West Village

Begins February 8. Closes March 12. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

Proof of vaccination including booster shot and masks are required.

National Black Theatre partners with Rattlestick Theater for a.k. payne's world premiere, a coming-of-age tale about a joyful Black girl and her protective father who dreams of building a rocket ship so they can escape to the safety of the moon, where there're no violence, no racism, no limits. But as Amani grows, she realizes she must chart her own course. Josiah Davis directs this music-and-poetry-filled fable.


Rising Sun Performance Company: UNTITLED CALAMITY JANE PLAY - begins February 10

14Y Theater, 344 East 14th Street between First and Second Avenues in the East Village

Begins February 10. Closes February 26. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

Masks are optional.

Who was Calamity Jane? A tough cowgirl? A hooker with heart of gold? A champion sharpshooter? A friend of Wild Bill Hickok? This unconventional bio play delves into the extraordinary and contradictory stories about the legend's life, and takes a shot at separating truth from fiction.


FRIGID Fringe Festival - begins February 15

The Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street between Bowery and Second Avenue in the East Village
Under St. Marks Theater, 94 St. Marks Place between First Avenue and Avenue A in the East Village

Begins February 15. Closes March 15. At press time, several FRIGID Fringe shows were available. If you're a TDF member, log in and search for FRIGID.

Masks are required at some performances.

The future of FringeNYC is unclear but FRIGID's Fringe is alive and kicking with 25 offbeat offerings at two theatres over three weeks. The 17th annual edition features cracked cabaret (A Scar Is BornSwinging on the Seine), solo stories (SyncopeEmil Amok: Lost NPR Host Found Under St. Marks), fresh and funny takes on old drama (I Am My Own MILFDeath of a Salesman: A New Play) and titles that sell themselves (How to be an Ethical Slut). It's worth browsing the eclectic lineup to see what piques your interest. Can't make it to the theatre in person? Most of the offerings are also streaming.


Metropolitan Playhouse: She's Got Harlem on Her Mind - begins February 16

Metropolitan Playhouse, 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A and B

Begins February 16. Closes March 12. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

Masks are required.

Decades before Lorraine Hansberry, there was Eulalie Spence, a Black woman playwright and luminary of the Harlem Renaissance who served as a mentor to Joseph Papp, founder of The Public Theater. Rediscover this theatre pioneer with Metropolitan Playhouse's She's Got Harlem on Her Mind, an evening of three one-acts that share a peek at everyday life in the neighborhood back in the 1920s.


Bedlam: Fall River Fishing - begins February 18

Connelly Theatre, 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A and B

Previews begin February 18. Opens February 26. Closes March 9. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $21 tickets.

Masks are optional.

Bedlam is known for its stripped-down reinventions of classics. But the lauded troupe is kicking off 2023 with a brand-new play cowritten by Deborah Knox and longtime Bedlam acting VIP Zuzanna Szadkowski. A history-hopping fantasia centering on the murderous Lizzie Borden, Fall River Fishing is an absurd dark comedy about Hollywood aspirations, unrequited love, self-loathing and evil stepmoms. The playwrights also costar, and Eric Tucker directs.


JACK: BAS: The Harmony Between Me and You - begins February 19

JACK, 20 Putnam Avenue between Grand and Downing Streets in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

Begins February 19. Closes February 25.

Masks are optional.

Brooklyn's JACK is known for its genre-defying offerings. Its latest uncategorizable event is BAS: The Harmony Between Me and You, an interactive performance exploring the long-standing racial strife between Black Americans and Asian Americans. Audiences of all backgrounds are invited to reflect on their own intercultural connections through facilitated moments of music, dance and storytelling as creators and hosts Janelle Lawrence and Sugar Vendiland conjure a space of tolerance, understanding and unity.


Irish Arts Center: Conversations After Sex - begins February 22

Irish Arts Center, 726 Eleventh Avenue between 51st and 52nd Streets in Midtown West

Begins February 22. Closes March 11.

Masks are required.

Irish Arts Center presents the US premiere of Conversations After Sex, Mark O'Halloran's award-winning solo tour de force starring Kate Stanley Brennan as a woman who strikes up intense postcoital discussions with her anonymous partners. Named Best New Play at last year's Irish Theatre Awards, it's an examination of the burning desire to connect.


La MaMa: La Machine de Turing - begins February 23

La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 East 4th Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue in the East Village

Begins February 23. Closes March 5. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

Masks are required.

Alan Turing's complex and compelling life has been explored in books, movies and now on stage in La Machine de Turing. Professionally, he was a wonder, an English mathematician, computer scientist, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist who's often called the father of artificial intelligence. But personally, he was a victim of institutionalized homophobia and ended up being prosecuted for sexual acts and undergoing chemical castration. Benoit Solès' new multimedia play is an evocative, NC-17 rated exploration of the man and his machine, aka his singular brain.


Kissing the Floor - begins February 23

Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street between Ninth and Dyer Avenues in Midtown West

Begins February 23. Closes March 12. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $20.50 tickets.

Masks are optional.

Performer (she was in the original cast of Angels in America) turned playwright Ellen McLaughlin has a knack for radical reinventions of ancient texts, including adaptations of Aeschylus' The Persians, and Euripides' Helen and The Trojan Women. Her world premiere Kissing the Floor is a reimagining of the Antigone myth set in Depression-era America as four siblings try to shake their family's infamous legacy and their intertwined dysfunction. Grammy and Obie Award winner Rinde Eckert leads the cast.


Soho Playhouse: Eric Bogosian's 1+1 - begins February 23

Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street between Sixth Avenue and Varick Street in Soho

Begins February 23. Closes March 19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $21 tickets.

Masks are optional.

After recent mountings in New Jersey and Off-Off Broadway, Eric Bogosian's 1+1 settles in for a four-week run at Soho Playhouse. The one-act centers on a Hollywood starlet who gets seduced by the lucrative world of Internet porn and ends up a pawn between two men. A slippery examination of debauchery and blame.


Target Margin Theater: Pericles - begins February 25

Target Margin Theater, 232 52nd Street between the Belt Parkway and Second Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Begins February 25. Closes March 26.

Proof of vaccination and masks are required.

The always innovative Target Margin Theater presents a rare revival of Pericles, a rollicking adventure by Shakespeare and company—the authorship continues to be in dispute. But there are definitely marks of the Bard in the poetry and this production leans into the fantastical elements of the epic.


TDF MEMBERS: Go here to browse our latest discounts for dance, theatre and concerts.

Top image: Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre presents Audience through February 19 at La MaMa. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Andrew Block is an Ovation Award-winning director who hails from New Orleans and now works primarily with the vibrant NYC independent theatre community. He also serves as TDF's Manager of Off & Off-Off Broadway Services.