Off-Broadway Theater News

C’mon, See a Show

In the 1950s and 1960s, an advertising campaign aimed at locals and visitors alike proclaimed, “New York Is a Summer Festival.” Decades later, the slogan still rings true, especially for theater buffs. Check out five of this month’s off-the-beaten-path theater fests, and see if you don’t agree that, when it comes to live theater, no place on Earth outdoes NYC.

• Of course, devotees of the Edinburgh Festival and its Fringe may disagree. That annual orgy of international entertainment is indeed a don’t-miss. But if you’re not winging your way to Scotland this August, you can get a taste of the 18 U.S. productions that are at the East to Edinburgh festival (July 11-30, Chris Davis’ “One-Man Apocalypse Now” has got us curious.

• During the dog days of summer, what’s not to like about Frigid New York (July 2-29, Chill to sketch comedy, burlesque, game shows and improv troupes like Thank You, Robot.

• With 20 full productions, plus concerts and readings, the New York Musical Festival (July 10–Aug. 6, is the incubator for the next generation of Broadway composers, lyricists and book writers. How good is the work? Past festival shows have won three Tonys and a Pulitzer Prize, that’s how good.

• Canada is our neighbor to the north, but how familiar are we with that nation’s theater? Soulpepper Theatre Company crosses the border from Toronto to set things right. Soulpepper on 42nd Street (July 1–29, is a month’s worth of 11 productions, including the play “Kim’s Convenience,” written by Ins Choi, and the musical “Alligator Pie,” which Choi co-created and acts in. 

• Since 1992, the Hot! Festival (July 5–Aug. 3, has raised the temperature on LGBTQ issues. Trans artist D’Lo’s “To T, or Not to T” (left) may just explode the thermometer.