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Exciting & Inexpensive Theatre: 15 Shows to See Off-Off Broadway This June

By: Andrew Block
Date: Jun 13, 2024

See a Micki Grant revue, a new play by an Oscar nominee, a rare Sam Shepard revival and more

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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.

If you're a TDF member, log in to your account daily to see what we're selling as ticket inventory changes frequently.

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New Federal Theatre: The World According to Micki Grant - begins June 1

McGinn/Cazale Theatre, 2162 Broadway at 76th Street on the Upper West Side

Previews begin May 31. Opens June 6. Closes June 29. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $18 tickets.

New Federal Theatre presents a tribute to the late, great groundbreaker Micki Grant. She was the first woman to write and star in her own musical on Broadway, 1972's Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, a fusion of R&B, gospel, jazz and show tunes that examines the racist underpinnings of American culture. The show ran for more than two years and earned four Tony nominations, including nods for Grant's score and book. In The World According to Micki Grant, director-adapter Nora Cole weaves together songs and scenes from the multitalented artist's best known works, which also include Your Arms Too Short to Box With God and Working, with her unpublished poems, lyrics and musings on politics, history and the people she loved. It's a moving portrait of a musical theatre pioneer.

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Project Y's Women in Theatre Festival - begins June 6

154, 154 Christopher Street between Greenwich and Washington Streets in the West Village

Begins June 6. Closes June 24. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $12 tickets to The Pied Piper of Hamelin or Bygone Fruit.

Admittedly, two shows doesn't quite equal a festival, but these world premieres from a pair of up-and-coming playwrights are exciting nonetheless. Amina Henry's family-friendly adaptation of the old tale The Pied Piper of Hamelin brings up timely issues, including the lessons grown-ups unwittingly teach their kids through their ill-advised actions. Banna Desta's comedy Bygone Fruit explores a culturally mixed couple's challenges as their families meet for the first time.

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The Chain Theatre: Simpatico - begins June 6

Chain Theatre, 312 West 36th between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin June 6. Opens June 8. Closes June 29. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

David Zayas Jr., son of Tony nominee David Zayas, makes his NYC directorial debut with a rare revival of Simpatico, Sam Shepard's thriller about a trio of con artists mixed up in the seedy world of horse racing. There are no winners in this delicious black comedy about blackmail, betrayal and broncos.

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The Hearth: Push Party - begins June 7

Theaterlab, 357 West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin June 7. Opens June 10. Closes June 23. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $13 tickets.

The Hearth, one of NYC's premiere theatre companies dedicated to telling stories by and about women, presents Nia Akilah Robinson's Push Party, about six longtime Black female friends whose bonds are tested when a homeless person interrupts a post-birth gathering in Harlem. How can these BFFs move forward if they no longer see eye to eye? Theaterlab coproduces this world premiere.

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The Bushwick Starr: Presencia - begins June 11

The Connelly Theater, 220 East Fourth Street between Avenues A and B in the East Village

Begins June 11. Opens June 15. Closes June 29.

A group of innovative indie theatre companies—The Bushwick Starr, ¡Oye! Group and The Sol Project—are behind Presencia, a musical comedy reimagining of the biblical story of Moses that centers women of color. When a burning plant commands fitness instructor Presencia to free her people, she sets out on an unexpected journey of local liberation. Michelle J. "Micha" Rodriguez wrote and stars in this exuberant, jazz-filled show.

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The Mill: The Employees - begins June 13

Theaterlab, 357 West 36th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Midtown West

Previews begin June 13. Closes June 30.

An immersive stage adaptation of the acclaimed novel of the same name by Olga Ravn, The Employees is a sci-fi drama set in the 22nd century about a crew on a research mission to find a new home. But when they harvest sensory-stimulating objects from the planet New Discovery, they start to question their quest and their lives, with mutinous results. Theaterlab coproduces.

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Magdalene: I am the utterance of my name - June 13

HERE, 145 Sixth Avenue at Dominick Street in Soho

Previews begin June 13. Opens June 16. Closes June 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $25 tickets.

Sylvia Milo cowrote, directs and stars in this solo musical about Mary Magdalene. Was she an apostle, a whore or both? Drawing from ancient texts, artworks and modern-day scholarship, this 100-minute show delves into her life and how we're still debating her legacy 2,000 years on.

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La MaMa: The Edge of Nature - begins June 14

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

Previews begin June 14. Opens June 17. Closes June 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

Oscar-nominated artist and activist Josh Fox (Gasland) reimagines his latest documentary for the stage. The Edge of Nature chronicles his experiences with long COVID during the pandemic as he retreats to a cabin in the woods hoping nature will help him heal. Fox narrates and croons classic American folk songs with a music ensemble as the film plays in the background. Bonus: There are talkbacks after every performance featuring environmentalists and politically minded celebrities.

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NAATCO: Isabel - begins June 14

Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street near Pitt Street on the Lower East Side

Begins June 14. Closes July 6. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $21 tickets.

Although the description of this world premiere by reid tang is intentionally oblique—something to do with an abandoned staircase in the woods leading to who knows where—we are always intrigued by National Asian American Theatre Company productions. Starring a trio of actors including the spectacular Haruna Lee (Suicide Forest), it seems to be about the challenges of transformation. Kedian Keohan directs.

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The Firebird Project: Nurse! - begins June 15

Various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Previews begin June 15. Closes June 23.

Indie theatre vet and The East Village Inky creator Ayun Halliday wrote and stars in Nurse!, a humorous exposé about what really went down between Romeo and Juliet as told by the much-maligned Nurse. Two-time Tony nominee Spencer Kayden (Urinetown) directs this solo comedy about Shakespeare's romantic tragedy, an exploration of aging, adolescence, love and death.

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Curiosity Cabinet: In the Throes of Death - begins June 19

the cell, 38 West 23rd Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues in Chelsea

Begins June 19. Closes June 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

Curiosity Cabinet presents a sextet of live radio plays about mortality, complete with foley sounds, music and a narrator sharing each tale. There's a new double feature each week: June 19 to 21 is Home, about the tuberculosis crisis, and Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair at Styles. June 24 to 25 is Axeman, about a murder spree during the Spanish Flu pandemic, and the supernatural thriller The Dead West. June 28 to 30 is Paper Daughter, about a historic bubonic plague outbreak in San Francisco's Chinatown, and an adaptation of Haruki Murakami's novel The Strange Library.

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Theater For the New City: Ella the Ungovernable - begins June 20

Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets in the East Village

Previews begin June 20. Opens June 22. Closes July 7. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $11 tickets.

David McDonald wrote and co-directs this new play about the challenging teenage years of the legendary jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, a period she never talked about publicly. Shortly after arriving in NYC, Fitzgerald's mother was killed in a car accident. The aspiring singer spent the next few years navigating abuse, criminal activities and incarceration at the New York Training School for Girls, a reformatory institution. How she survived and ultimately thrived is the focus of this history-based show.

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La MaMa: Relics and Their Humans - begins June 21

La MaMa's The Downstairs, 66 East 4th Street between the Bowery and Second Avenue in the East Village

Begins June 21. Closes June 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

A collaboration between Obie-winning writer, director and performer Ain Gordon and composer, writer and performer Josh Quillen, Relics and Their Humans traces the three-year journey of Quillen's family following his father's 2006 ALS diagnosis. A trio of artifacts inform the piece: a recorded interview with Quillen's mother, his father's journal and an unexpected playlist. A profoundly moving meditation on what we leave behind.

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National Black Theatre: Blood Work - begins June 26

Chelsea Factory, 547 West 26th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Chelsea

Begins June 26. Closes June 30. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $12 tickets.

National Black Theatre continues its residency at Chelsea Factory with a developmental workshop of Blood Work, Kristin Adele Calhoun's time-hopping exploration of Back sisterhood as a pregnant women seeks help at a hospital and is magically connected with 10 generations of ancestors. Tiffany Nichole Greene directs a cast that includes the invaluable Lizan Mitchell.

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Good Apples Collective: cunnicularii - begins June 28

Alchemical Studios, 50 West 17th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in the Flatiron District

Previews begin June 28. Opens June 29. Closes July 13.

The surreal cunnicularii centers on a pregnant woman who gives birth to a rabbit, much to her shock. Can she adjust her expectations? Written by Sophie McIntosh, best known for the critically acclaimed macbitches, this new play explores the pleasures, surprises and pressures of motherhood.

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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.