New York New York Festival at Labyrinth Theater

A reading by Stephen Adly Giurgis at New York, New York Festival at Labyrinth Theater
The community of ex-cons, junkies and crackheads crowding into the Bank Street Theater are surrounded by love, laughter and wild applause. They are the characters peopling  Stephen Adly Giurgis’ 1999 play, “In Arabia, We’d All Be King.” It is the second night of the week-long New York, New York Festival — the first-ever festival featuring plays about New York City — presented though March 24 for free by the Labyrinth Theater, the theater company that Giurgis joined in 1994, and that turned him from an actor into a playwright. He is now best-known for “The Motherfucker With The Hat,” which was a hit on Broadway. But you can glimpse where those characters and themes came from in this earlier play, which was given a reading, directed by Guirgis, with a cast of a dozen professional actors, including Guirgis himself (bottom left in photograph) and such familiar performers as Colman Domingo, Craig “muMs” Grant and Liza Colon-Zayas, who was in the cast of the original production.

“This was the first play I wrote where I wanted to show what was going on internally, not just get a laugh every few moments,” Giurgis said in a brief conversation after the reading. (The play, though, gets lots of laughs.) “I was struggling in life….I was spending too much time outside the theater”

Tickets are free to all readings in the New York New York Festival, but you have to enter a digital lottery the day of the performance.

To find out what will be playing at given time during the weekend marathon — 48 hours straight through of plays about New York City — text NYNY to 95997. They will send out play and casting updates all weekend prior to each reading.

Here is the daily schedule until the weekend:

WED 3/20
by John Patrick Shanley
Featuring Sam Rockwell and Elizabeth Rodriguez
 The reading will be followed by a symposium featuring John Patrick Shanley about NY Theater in the 1980s.
by Amiri Baraka
Featuring Jennifer Mudge
The reading will be followed by a symposium about NY Theater through the African American lens and will feature playwright Amiri Baraka.
Over 180 actors will participate in the marathon weekend of free play readings including: Max Casella, Sarita Chowdhury, Liza Colon-Zayas, Kieran Culkin, Tony Danza, John Doman, Tate Donovan, Halley Feiffer, Michael Kelly, Elizabeth Kemp, Josh Hamilton, Sarah Nina Hayon, Florencia Lozano, Julia Murney, Tony Plana, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Julia Stiles, Marlo Thomas, and Yul Vazquez. The marathon will feature classic works by over twenty esteemed New York playwrights, including Maria Irene Fornes, Lorraine Hansberry, David Henry Hwang, Kenneth Lonnergan, Arthur Miller, Clifford Odets, Miguel Pinero

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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