Shame or the Doomsday Machine. TNC’s Free Street Theater

For the 42nd summer in a row, the Theater for the New City’s touring Street Theater Company is presenting an original show for free in the streets and parks throughout New York City. (see schedule below.)

This year’s hour-long musical, “Shame! or The Doomsday Machine,” presents a tuneful and anarchic mix of rock, rap, physics, politics, satire and vaudeville, featuring scenes as varied as a classroom in New York City, a Black Hole in the Universe, and Club Mad, 2000 feet below Mar-a-Lago (Trump’s Florida estate,) each presented in hand-painted scenes on a hand-cranked scrolling backdrop.

Click on any photograph by Jonathan Mandell or Jonathan Slaff to see it enlarged

Twenty-eight performers portray a dizzying array of characters, from a group of protesting students carrying picket signs to Melania in her “I Don’t Care Do U?” jacket. Trump makes multiple appearances, first in a bright orange wig, then transformed into a black man, a woman, and a Mexican.

Ok, so the show is not subtle. But it is fun, and entertaining, and there is even something of an arc, and a loud, clear and hopeful message.

The musical begins with a high school science teacher (Michael David Gordon) trying to teach Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, but his students, unnerved by a recent school shooting, are interested in politics, not physics – about the “trajectory of a bullet” and about “a parallel universe that exists when the president makes love to a madman dictator….” The teacher is sucked through a Black Hole into a parallel universe, full of spoofing. But “Shame, or the Doomsday Machine,” ends with Albert Einstein himself giving a lecture. And,while most of the script and lyrics is written by TNC artistic director Crystal Field, Einstein’s speech is based on a letter written by Einstein himself to his daughter:

“There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.”
In the last song (as with all of them, composed by Joseph Vernon Banks) everybody sings “Your Vote Counts.”



Shame, or the Doomsday Machine will be presented for free at the following times and places through September 15, 2018:

Sat, August 11 – 2PM – Staten Island – Corporal Thompson Park at Broadway & Wayne St.
Sun, August 12 – 2PM – Manhattan – Central Park Bandshell, 72nd Street Crosswalk
Fri, August 17 – 6:30PM – Brooklyn – Coney Island Boardwalk at W. 10th St.
Sat, August 18 – 2PM – Brooklyn – Herbert Von King Park at Marcy & Tompkins
Sun, August 19 – 2PM – Harlem – Jackie Robinson Park, W. 147th Street & Bradhurst Avenue
Sat, August 25 – 2PM – Brooklyn – Sunset Park, 6th Avenue & 44th Street
Sun, August 26 – 2PM – Queens – Travers Park, 34th Ave between 77th & 78th Streets
Sat, September 8 – 2PM – Manhattan – Washington Square Park
Sun, September 9 – 2PM – Manhattan – Sol Bloom Park, 92nd Street between Columbus and CPW
Sat, September 15 – 2PM – Manhattan – Tompkins Square Park, E. 7th St and Ave.
Sun, September 16 – 2PM – Manhattan – St. Marks Church, E. 10th St at 2nd Ave

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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