Exciting & Inexpensive Theatre: 12 Shows to See Off-Off Broadway in June
By ANDREW BLOCK
Friday, June 10, 2022  •  
Fri Jun 10, 2022  •  
Off-Off Broadway  •   0 comments Share This

Catch a new Martha Clarke dance-theatre piece, an interactive murder mystery, a puppet comedy about Jean-Claude Van Damme 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.

In terms of COVID-19 safety protocols, all of these productions require audiences to provide proof of full vaccination and wear masks unless otherwise indicated. Note that health and safety rules vary by venue, so double-check the protocols before purchasing tickets so you arrive prepared.

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Astoria Performing Arts Center: Buggy Baby - June 2

Astoria Performing Arts Center, 44-02 23rd Street between 44th Road and 44th Avenue in Long Island City, Queens

Begins June 2. Closes June 26. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

Josh Azouz's surreal horror comedy about the plight of refugees centers on a makeshift family holed up in a low-rent London room: widower Jaden, single mom Nur and her disturbing baby Aya, who's played by an adult and may not be what she seems. As these displaced people from an unnamed country try to build a new life, they encounter obstacles at every turn—including giant rabbits with burning red eyes. A cult hit in London, Rory McGregor's mounting at the Astoria Performing Arts Center marks the play's US premiere.

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Urban Stages: Gratitude - June 5

Urban Stages, 259 West 30th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in Midtown West

Begins June 5. Closes June 30.

Ah, young love, so innocent and sweet. But the sexual desires of inexperienced adolescents can boil over into conflict and manipulation. Inspired by playwright Oren Safdie's own experiences, Gratitude centers on a 15-year-old girl whose intense crush on the high-school hunk leads her down a dark path. Urban Stages presents MainLine Theatre's production of this coming-of-rage play.

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Clubbed Thumb SummerWorks: Spindle Shuttle Needle - June 7

The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B in the East Village

Begins June 7. Closes June 16.

After a two-year hiatus, one of the hottest theatre festivals in town, Clubbed Thumb SummerWorks, resumes this season. Like its 24 previous editions (which incubated hits such as What the Constitution Means to Me and Men on Boats), this year's lineup features three exciting new works by emerging playwrights. The second offering is Gab Reisman's Spindle Shuttle Needle about a disparate group of women sharing stories, picking nits and trying not to starve to death as a war wages around them. Tamilla Woodard directs a cast that includes Broadway vet Tina Benko and Off Broadway MVP Mia Katigbak.

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Dixon Place: [sunflower] - June 10

Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street between Rivington and Delancey Streets on the Lower East Side

Begins June 10. Closes June 18. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $11 tickets.

A very personal piece from multidisciplinary theatre-maker Sifiso Mabena, [sunflower] explores a Zimbabwean woman's quest to make herself at home in her new country, even though she's lived there for decades. Born in Zimbabwe but now based in New York City, Mabena knows all about the immigrant journey, and she peppers this Afro-surrealistic tale with puppetry, history and movement. Devised in collaboration with her costar, Julliette Holliday, and her director, Marcella Murray, [sunflower] is about finding your roots and being uprooted.

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Randomly Specific: Fistful of Cake, Pocket Full of Miracles - June 10

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

Begins June 10. Closes June 19. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $11 tickets.

When Nathan goes MIA at work, his colleague Evan checks in and discovers he's been wallowing in self-pity and swallowing fistfuls of cake due to a recent breakup. Can Evan entice Nathan back to the gay dating scene? Larry Phillips wrote and costars in this tasty rom-com, just in time for Pride Month.

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NAATCO: Queen - June 10

A.R.T./New York Theatres, 502 West 53rd Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues in Midtown West

Begins June 10. Closes July 1. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $15 tickets.

One of NYC's most celebrated Asian-American theatres, the National Asian American Theatre Company, has launched the National Partnership Project to help develop new works by playwrights of AAPI descent. The initiative's inaugural production is Madhuri Shekar's Queen, about three researchers on the cusp of proving the root cause of bee extinction until a fatal flaw undermines their work. What will win out: careers, colleagues or calculations? Directed by Aneesha Kudtarkar, this production debuted earlier this spring at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre and arrives in NYC with great buzz.

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La MaMa: God's Fool - June 12

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

Begins June 12. Closes July 2. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $12 tickets.

Legendary dance-theatre-maker Martha Clarke (The Garden of Earthly Delights, Vienna: Lusthausis) is behind God's Fool, a new take on the ancient tale of St. Francis of Assisi, a playboy soldier who became a peace activist and the patron saint of animals. With an a cappella score featuring music from across eight centuries and text by Fanny Howe, this impressionistic performance traces his evolution from hedonism to selflessness to sainthood.

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The Negro Ensemble Company: Lambs to Slaughter - June 16

Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street between Bedford and Hudson Streets in the West Village

Begins June 16. Closes July 3.

NYC's venerable Negro Ensemble Company presents Lambs to Slaughter, a new drama centering on a single Black mother named Joan, who lost her older son to gun violence and has a younger child grappling with his own struggles. Written by Khalil Kain, who's best known as a busy film and TV actor, Lambs to Slaughter is his first play, a labor of love many years in the making that also spawned an album of the same name. Kain costars as Joan's ex in this poetry and percussion-infused production, directed by Reginald L. Douglas.

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La MaMa: Look Out Sh!^head Episode 3 - June 17

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

Begins June 17. Closes June 26. If you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase $12 tickets.

It's hard to describe this cheekily titled show by the experimental, Brooklyn-based ensemble Object Collection... but we're going to try. Inspired by French film director Éric Rohmer's 1980s film cycle Comédies et Proverbes about love and desire, this performance features a cast of live actors moving among hallucinatory projected bodies. The dizzying text derives from applying music composition techniques to the original film scripts, creating haunting repetitions and non sequiturs. Still don't get it? Maybe watching the trailer will help.

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The Art of Killin' It - June 17

Future Proof, 32 Meadow Street between Waterbury and Bogart Streets in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Begins June 17. Closes October 31.

Created by a majority BIPOC creative team, this new interactive murder mystery comedy is a way for these artists to share fun and joy instead of the ubiquitous trauma narratives. When an album release party turns deadly, the audience must help the guests unmask the killer. But will more bodies drop before the album does? Come ready to participate in this immersive experience.

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Clubbed Thumb SummerWorks: Bodies They Ritual - June 22

The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street between Avenues A and B in the East Village

Begins June 22. Closes July 2.

After a two-year hiatus, one of the hottest theatre festivals in town, Clubbed Thumb SummerWorks, resumes this season! Like its 24 previous editions (which incubated hits such as What the Constitution Means to Me and Men on Boats), this year's lineup features three exciting new works by emerging playwrights. The final offering is Angela Hanks' Bodies They Ritual about a group of Texan ladies who let loose in a Santa Fe sweat lodge during a birthday celebration. Knud Adams directs an ensemble cast headlined by Denise Burse-Fernandez (House of Payne, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey), Ebony Marshall-Oliver (Chicken & Biscuits) and the incomparable Lizan Mitchell.

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The Pit: The Rise and Fall of Jean-Claude Van Damme - June 24

The PIT Loft, 154 West 29th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Chelsea

Begins June 24. Closes July 17.

Master pop-culture remixer Timothy Haskell (Road House, Nightmare Haunted House) and his theatre company Psycho Clan present a rollicking comedy about late-20th-century action star Jean-Claude Van Damme... as told by puppets. The full title is The Rise And Fall, Then Brief and Modest Rise Followed By a Relative Fall Of... Jean-Claude Van Damme As Gleaned by a Single Reading of His Wikipedia Page Months Earlier, and it's an absurdist romp in the style of Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions... except for the puppets.

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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.

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

Top image: A scene from NAATCO/Long Wharf Theatre's production of Queen, which is running Off-Off Broadway at A.R.T./New York Theatres. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.




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