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Downtown Urban Arts Festival 2023

Opening Date: May 05, 2023

Closing Date: Jun 24, 2023

Downtown Urban Arts Festival 2023 Show Site Icon

Playing @

Various Theatres

Various addresses in New Jersey, NJ 00000

View theatre details
Downtown Urban Arts Festival (DUAF) is an annual multi-disciplinary arts event held during the spring at renowned venues in New York City. DUAF presents the best of new groundbreaking performance and visual art from storytellers from America’s burgeoning multicultural landscape and from around the world who share their stories that interpret our history and our times.

Creative. Vibrant. Passionate. These words aptly describe the past performances, as well as the future direction, of DUAF. Its founding program is its Theater series, formerly know as Downtown Urban Theater Festival/DUTF, which was created in 2001 with the purpose to build a repertoire of new American theatre that echoes the true spirit of urban life and speaks to a whole new generation whose lives defy categorizing along conventional lines. That purpose has been realized many times over, as 200 writers have created and refined their work for the stage and thousands of inspired audience members have applauded their performances. Theater was inaugurated in 2002 at the HERE Arts Center in SoHo to help revitalize the NYC downtown arts scene, which was experiencing a severe downturn due to the WTC disaster. Theater has been recognized as “one of the world’s best festivals for new works” and described as “not only prestigious, but a slice of heaven for playwrights who want the chance to freely express themselves.” (Lisa Mulcahy, Theater Festivals, Allworth Press, 2005)

The festival kicks off on May 5 and May 6 when Savion Glover and reg e gaines (Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk) make a much-anticipated return to Joe's Pub at The Public Theater with the centerpiece production If Trane Wuz Here. Celebrating John Coltrane’s genius, Glover and gaines, along with a special guest saxophonist, use his magical melodies as suggestions for improvisation. Both an homage to Coltrane and celebration of his music, If Trane Wuz Here is an inspirational and educational evening of music, dance and text.

Following Mr. Glover and Mr. gaines’ performances in May, the DUAF at large will continue June 7-June 24 at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The 2023 Downtown Urban Arts Festival features new works by playwrights from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, North Carolina and California – all presenting issues that have either woven (or in some cases insidiously penetrated) their way into the daily lives of Americans and our collective American experience:

June 7
​A Conversation with Savion Glover and reg e gaines
A look back and conversation about theatre and their Tony-winning Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk.

Ellsworth by Taj Rauch
Ellsworth follows two housemates bonding over their urban trials and tribulations. What starts as a conversation on a rooftop morphs into a modern retelling of the story of the Buddha and his connection to their struggles.

June 8
Silver Menace by Lucy Wang
Be Like Water, but don't make a big splash. Be like Smart Water. Don't Be Like John Waters. To be a Model Minority. Sit, smile, study. Practice piano. Stir-fry. Bake cookies. Whatever you do, don't make trouble. But with Anti-Asian Hate crimes spiking, it's time to make some waves. It's time to be the Silver Menace.

Caged by Mel Nieves
An illegal immigrant finds herself in a detention center holding cell, separated from her young son when a guard approaches her and tries to assure her that she and her son will be safe even though they both know this is far from being true.

June 9
Remembering Morgan by Annie Brown
A play about grief, remembrance and encountering death too young. After the unexpected death of a high school student, a journal is discovered full of letters she has written to every person she may have wanted to say goodbye to. It explores the undefinability of grief through heartbreak, masked emotions and unanswered questions.

Chiquita by James Bosley
One afternoon in a hotel room in Hollywood, the movie star Steve McQueen met with Jim Morrison. All we know about the meeting is that it was not a success.

June 10
The Bad in Each Other by Alexander Perez
What begins as a hot fling evolves into a years-long passionate tug-of-war that consumes both parties as they struggle to reconcile their ideologies, lust, and exhaustion. What is creative success but a means to betray your ideals? What is activism if not a means to apologize for privilege? Can’t we just stay home and watch tv?

June 14
The Dandiest Duo by Marcus Harmon
Set in an alternative reality where Donald Trump is King and racism is the norm, two brothers come face to face with their morals and dignity while on the Broadway Stage.

By the Light of the Ghetto Moon by Susan Justiniano
An exploration of self as Jane comes to terms with her past traumas growing up in a patriarchal strict Puerto Rican household. Her perspectives are shared with the most consistent presence through her childhood, the Moon.

June 15
Otis and Anna by Emma Denson
When a NYC scenic designer is diagnosed with dementia and dumped by his partner, his world implodes. His former student moves in with him to help him cope. They develop their own language through a shared love of art.

Good Day, Arizona by Julian Sky
A community divided. A public education system in tatters. When a collection of parents orchestrate a neo-fascist takeover of a public school board, books are banned, fires are set and only one teacher stands in the way.

June 16
Overdose by Sarah Congress
Ted and Laila are having the BEST third date ever...until they walk into Ted's apartment to find his roommate, Mike, overdosing on Oxy. What is our role in another person's mental health?

Our Little Secret by Rollin Jewett
Darlene is surprised late one night by an armed intruder kicking in the door of her apartment. She soon discovers that the intruder is not what he seems and she must decide whether to help him or turn him in.

June 17
Strapped by Bryan-Keyth Wilson and Arelia Johnson
Seven strangers come to the theatre expecting to see an award-winning playwright's new play but they are told by the stage manager the performance is canceled. Tempers flare, and a mysterious omnipresent voice begins to calm the audience down and interrogate the seven strangers who are upset.

June 22
Collide by Marita A. McKee
The city of Ascension is in turmoil after the killing of a Black teenager. A journalist, community activist and policeman sit down for dinner. Will they find common ground? Or will their personal traumas force them to collide? Collide explores what it truly means to have a seat at the table on issues of racism, social justice, and police brutality.

June 23
Willie Gets Naked by Willie the Genius
Willie, a world-class entertainer, must unpack years of generational trauma to overcome a drug addiction after a series of unfortunate life-altering events forces them to question aspects of their very own existence. They must rely on the guidance of their ancestors, spiritual guides and people they meet along their way to find their way back to their light.

June 24
The Former Kings of Clutch City by Cris Eli Blak
The week after the funeral of their friend who took his own life, a group of high school students are forced to open their eyes to the hard realities of life, realizing their worths, their truth, their regrets, their dreams and the secrets that they can’t keep inside of them much longer.
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COVID-19 Safety Information

Masks are optional but encouraged.

Performance Schedule:

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Listed atTKTS


Full-price tickets

$23.18 - $60

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