Trisha Brown Dance Company
In 1971, Trisha Brown premiered Roof Piece atop artists’ lofts in Soho, with ten dancers spread over the neighborhood mimicking each other’s movements. Fitting that this fortieth anniversary re-performance of the famous choreographer’s seminal work should be staged above the hood that replaced Soho as the center of New York’s art world—and in the shadow of a twenty-story boutique hotel.
(June 9-11, High Line, between West 13th Street and Gansevoort Street, FREE, thehighline.org)
The Comic Book Theater Festival
The Brick’s thematic summer festivals are gold mines of inventive and unconventional theatrical whimsy, like here we have a stage adaptation of indie comic favorite Action Philosophers!, bat-costumed Gatz parody Batz, and a bioplay about the first syndicated female cartoonist in America, Dale Messick, who created Brenda Starr, Reporter in 1940. There will also be a nerd burlesque called, what else, “Nerdlesque.”
(June 2-July 1, Brick Theater, 575 Metropolitan Avenue, Bklyn, $10/$15, bricktheater.com)
Ice Factory 2011
With the Ohio’s Wooster Street space being turned into a fancy restaurant or something, this excellent summer performance festival shacks up way downtown with its usual slate of six new works including plays, musicals and an opera. Especially promising is Untitled Theater Company #61’s U.S. premiere of former Czech president Vaclav Havel’s The Pig, or Vaclav Havel’s Hunt for a Pig, with its menu of beer and pulled pork.
(June 22-July 30, 3LD, 80 Greenwich Street, sohothinktank.org)
This festival of experimental puppet theater, now in its thirteenth year, covers just about every genre from the slapstick shadow puppet adventure Voyage to the Sky, the sci-fi fable Planet Egg, and the noir radio play Senseless! about murders at the Helen Keller School of Music.
(June 2-5, St. Ann’s Warehouse, 38 Water Street, Bklyn, $20/$30, stannswarehouse.org)
Shakespeare in the Park
The Public Theater’s annual Bard-off at the Delacorte has been worth the crazy-long waits and ticket lotteries lately, and this summer they’re dispensing with the star power and doubling down on problem plays with sexual partner-swapping tricksters: political corruption probe Measure for Measure and Helena’s aggressive social climbing in All’s Well That Ends Well.
(June 6-July 30, Delacorte Theater, Central Park, FREE, shakespeareinthepark.org)
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot
The edgier alternative to the Central Park Bard, the Drilling Company parks its summer Shakespeare double-bill in a Chinatown lot with a tragedy and a comedy each enjoying a month-long run. There are relatively few chairs provided, so bring your own seating, or grab some dollar dumplings and get there early.
(July-August, Municipal Parking Lot, Ludlow Street at Broome Street, FREE, shakespeareintheparkinglot.com)
Another member of the Ohio Theater diaspora, Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks has consistently been the best warm-month theater festival in New York. This time around they’ve recruited a couple of our “Young Artists You Need to Know”: May Adrales, who’ll direct the haunted family drama Our Lot; and Reyna de Courcy, who’ll co-star in Jason Grote’s fractious satire about over-consumption, Civilization (All You Can Eat).
(June 5-11, HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Avenue, $18/$15, clubbedthumb.org)
La MaMa Moves
For the first time, the East Village experimental performance institution will go through its summer dance festival sans founder and figurehead Ellen Stewart, who passed away in January. An impressive set of dancers, choreographers and companies will carry on her legacy, though, including Brooklyn’s Rocha Dance Theater and Company XIV, and Trisha Brown Dance Company alum Lance Gries doing a stellar approximation of an astronaut dance.
(May 24-June 21, La MaMa E.T.C., 74A East 4th Street, $10/$15, lamama.org)