Below are my recommendations for three plays with starry casts “opening” and available only this weekend, two documentaries about theater, and a theater festival that New Yorkers can see without traveling for the first time in its 73-year history.
Also: check out my calendar of August 2020 theater openings. with loads more offerings, including two exciting fundraisers this weekend.
Play Reading Fridays
Theresa Rebeck’s comedy focuses on Roxanne, who is charged with running the understudy rehearsal for the Broadway premiere of a heretofore undiscovered masterpiece by Franz Kafka. She is rattled when she discovers it’s her ex-fiance who is understudy for Jake, a mid-tier action star yearning for legitimacy. Starring Andrew Kober, Lesli Margherita and Jawan M. Jackson
A documentary on Howard Ashman, the lyricist for “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin” and “Beauty and the Beast,” who died of AIDS in 1991 at the age of 40.
In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams
PBS Great Performances
A documentary of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Broadway musical, as part of the program’s new “Broadway at Home” series. A cool follow-up to Hamilton on Disney+ (still available to subscribers) and the Freestyle Love Supreme documentary on Hulu (ditto.)
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Check out first batch of 30 plays on The Space UK
(For a smidgeon of guidance, check out my post, Edinburgh Fringe Festival In Your Home)
A read of Amiri Baraka’s 1964 play that’s a stark, allegorical confrontation between Lula, a white woman, and Clay, a black man, on the subway in New York, featuring the cast of the 2007 Cherry Lane production — Dulé Hill, Jennifer Mudge, and Christopher Meyer.
Antigone in Ferguson
Theater of War Productions
On the sixth anniversary of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Theater of War brings back the most-lauded of its many productions that use Greek tragedy to illuminate current issue.. This live Zoom version follows Theater of War’s usual format; the starry cast will first read Sophocles’ tragedy, four panelists will discuss it, and then the discussion will be open to the audience. The cast features Oscar Isaac, Tracie Thoms, Ato Blankson Wood, Willie Woodmore, Marjolaine Goldsmith, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, De-Rance Blaylock, Duane Martin Foster, Marcelle Davies Lashley, John Leggette, and Gheremi Clay, and the Antigone in Ferguson Choir. The community panel will include will include Gwen Carr (Eric Garner’s mother), Valerie Bell (Sean Bell’s mother), Marion Gray-Hopkins (Gary Hopkins, Jr’s mother), and Uncle Bobby X (Oscar Grant’s uncle).