and my more general 2014 entry, 15 Summer Theater Festivals in New York City
Even New Yorkers who get out of town every summer know at least three of the most celebrated summer theater festivals in New York City (and the three do not include the New York Musical Theatre Festival):
Shakespeare in the Park, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary at the Delacorte Theater this summer, with Sondheim’s Into the Woods
Lincoln Center Festival, which this year includes Cate Blanchett in Uncle Vanya and Alan Cumming in a one-man Macbeth.
The New York International Fringe Festival, with some 200 plays, musicals and experimental works, half of which seem to be trying to repeat the success of Urinetown, which premiered at the fringe festival and became a hit on Broadway
But they are many other theater festivals in New York during the summer – so many that there is arguably more theater to see during July and August than during the regular theater season, and it is often cheaper (even free). Not all of it is worth seeing, of course, but that is true of the regular season’s offerings as well. Finding the right show takes time — but that’s what the summer is for, no, spending time on idle pursuits?
Below are some of the best-known and most obscure of the summer theater festivals in New York City, with links to their websites to figure out what to see. The list is alphabetical. (Not listed here are some excellent theater festivals that took place in June, including Summerworks from Clubbed Thumb at Here Arts Center) Also include are the festivals’ or sponsoring theaters’ Twitter feeds.
Delacorte Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, celebrating its 50th anniversary, with an all-star cast for Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine fairy tale “Into the Woods” (July 23-Aug. 25), directed by Timothy Sheader; (212) 967-7555, Twitter: @PublicTheaterNY
Fresh Fruit Festival, July 14 to July 29, celebrates LGBT culture.
Hot Festival, July 6 to 28, NYC celebration of queer culture
Lincoln Center Festival features Alan Cumming in a one-man “Macbeth” (July 5-14) directed by John Tiffany (“Once”). Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” (July 19-28), with Cate Blanchett as Yelena. These are just two of a raft of offerings. Twitter: @LincolnCenter
New York International Fringe Festival Aug. 10-26. About 200 shows in theaters all over downtown – and all mercifully air conditioned. The Fringe Festival’s website is the best for figuring out what to see. Twitter: @FringeNYC
New York Musical Theatre Festival, July 9 to 29, 21 full productions in this festival which has premiered some 300 works since 2004, including “Next to Normal,” “Altar Boyz” and “title of show” Twitter: @nymf
River to River Festival through July 15, includes theater among its many offerings. There is also music, dance, film, and visual art, in various locations from the Hudson River to the East River in the downtown financial district. Twitter: @RtoRFestival
Uptown Series, Second Stage Theater’s annual new works initiative features “Warrior Class” by Kenneth Lin, July 12-Aug. 12. It is also presenting the new musical “Dogfight” (June 27-Aug. 12), based on the 1991 movie. Twitter: @2STNYC