June 2021 Theater Openings. Meryl Streep AND The Meatpacking District, AND Every Musical on the West End (Online!)

Below is a selective list of theater that is opening in the month of June* — day-by-day for the first week then a glorious taste of what’s in store for the rest of the month…a schedule that offers as many in-person shows as online, although more outdoor than indoor: Prospect Park! Governors Island! the streets of the Meatpacking District! (that last for seven new plays about sin by cutting edge playwrights.) The digital offerings this month certainly hold their own: A new play by Caryl Churchill performed by an Asian-American cast; the revival of a play by Sarah Ruhl starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline; 18 of the biggest musicals on the West End…all in one night!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Global Forms Theater Festival
Rattlestick and New York Theatre Salon
The free nine-day festival launches with six short fully-staged plays produced outside the U.S. that will run until June 9: Pitch; Project, Hong-Do; Contract; Transpophagical manifest; These Are Days i Don’t Die; Buca

Wednesday, June 2

Ellis Island
Rattlestick
7:30 p.m.
 Doireann Mac Mahon and James Clements wrote and perform this virtual play that is part of the Global Forms Theater Festival about two immigrants, a Scottish man and an Irish woman, arriving in New York in 1921, in the aftermath of the Spanish Flu pandemic and amongst the wreckage of the First World War.

World’s Fair Inn
Axis
8 p.m. through June 19
In person: An “expedition into the subconscious” of  father of the atomic bomb J. Robert Oppenheimer, American serial killer H. H. Holmes, and fictional scientist Victor Frankenstein, written and directed by Randy Sharp

Thursday, June 3

Metamorphosis
Actors Temple Theater
7 p.m.$75
In person: Maria Caruso’s solo dance piece 

Ohio State Murders
Spotlight on Plays on Stellar
8 p.m. available through June 7
$15
In this play by Adrienne Kennedy, when Suzanne Alexander, a fictional African American writer, returns to Ohio State University to talk about the violence in her writing, a dark mystery unravels. (My review of previous production) With Audra McDonald, Warner Miller, Lizan Mitchell & Ben Rappaport

Bulrusher
Bard at the Gate
A replay of the lovely play by Eisa Davis that reads like a folktale about an outcast named Bulrusher, who was abandoned as an infant in a basket in the local river, can tell anybody’s future by reading the water they’ve touched. (my review). It will be offered for free on the YouTube channel of Bard at the Gate, which is playwright and teacher Paula Vogel’s project to revive plays that didn’t initially get the love they deserved.

Open Call
The Shed
In-person: Performances and exhibitions from 27 early career artists chosen from 1,500 applications. The performances launch today, and run Thursday to Saturday, until June 26, and the exhibition is on view Thursday to Sunday, through August 1. All tickets are free. (Warning: As you’ll see, the performances sell out quickly.)

Friday, June 4

The Kill One Race
the feath3r theory/Playwrights Horizons
7 p.m.
Inspired by the 1963 dystopian novel Kill One, this free, seven-episode online film is ” reality competition game-play….Over the course of seven days, seven contestants compete in a social and ethical obstacle course to be proven the most ethical—and earn the singular prize of death.”

Rear View Mirror
The Theater Center
9:30 p.m.
$48
In person: Six classically trained dancers are transporting audiences back to MTV era 80s with synth sounds and dance moves

Camp Morning Wood
Asylum Theater
9:30 p.m.
$65
In person: A nude musical. After a hellish 30th birthday, Randy finds himself at the front gate of a humble nudist camp. The camp itself is at a crossroads thanks to threats of closing by a tyrannical, right-wing Christian Senator.

Saturday, June 5

Gera sa Droga (War on Drugs)
Rattlestick
As part of the Global Forms Theater Festival, a docudrama focusing on the current administration of Filipino President Duterte and his response to drug use in the Philippines, created by Filipina writer and performer Dorothea Gloria.

Glimpse Festival
Rattlestick at Prospect Park
3:30 p.m.
A three hour free festival of music, dance and storytelling created and curated by Immigrant artists.

Oso Fabuloso & the Bearbacks
Intar
8:30 p.m.
$25
In person outdoors: A new rock musical

Sunday, June 6

Live at the Palace Theatre!
The Show Must Go On
2 p.m. ET
Performances from 18 of the biggest musicals on the West End including Dear Evan Hansen, SIX, MAMMA  MIA!, Back to the Future The Musical, Disney’s The Lion King, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical, The Phantom of the Opera. Free on YouTube.

Monday, June 7

What If If Only
National Asian American Theater Company
7 p.m. Available until June 12
A remote live performances of a new play by Caryl Churchill, “realized” by , “realized” by multimedia wiz Jared Mezzocchi and director Les Waters, who describes it as “a short play that contains harrowing insights, big heartbreaks, oceans of loneliness and grief, stillness and transmutation.

Learning How To Read by Moonlight
Episcopal Actors Guild
7 p.m.
Six-year-old Eddie and his Nanay (“mother”) are determined to make the United States his family’s new home after facing life-threatening danger back in the Philippines. Eddie and his imaginary friend create their own worlds in which Eddie can face the challenges of growing up in the United States as undocumented, an English language learner, and queer. The play by Gavin D. Trinidad is performed in English and Tagalog, with the preference of subtitles available in both languages. Part of the Barbour Playwrights Award Festival

Tuesday, June 8

Soshana Bean
Broadway at Tavern
8 p.m., also June 9 at 8:30 p.m.
In-person concert at Tavern on the Green

Thursday, June 9

Marys Seacole
Lincoln Center via Broadway on Demand
Through July 4
As part of Lincoln Center’s Private Reels, a live-streamed recording of the fascinating, innovative play by Jackie Sibblies Drury about the 19th century pioneering Creole nurse and caregiver, and her spiritual descendants. My review of the production.

Friday, June 10

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: The Clever Chemist Matter
Keen Company
7 pm available through June 14
$1 minimum
Santino Fontana stars as “America’s fabulous freelance insurance investigator” in this audio-only resurrection of an episode in a popular radio drama of the 1950s. Also starring George Abud, Ali Ewoldt, Santino Fontana, Ted Koch, Susan Malloy, John-Andrew Morrison, Steven Ratazzi, Jay Russell

Saturday, June 12

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Living Document
Play-PerView
7 p.m. Available through June 16
A new play by Dianne Nora starring Blair Brown

Hold These Truths
San Francisco Playhouse
through July 3
$15-$100
In-person and on-demand: n February 1942, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the relocation and incarceration of tens of thousands of innocent American citizens of Japanese ancestry. Among these citizens was Gordon Hirabayashi, whose defiance of the internment order catapulted him into a 50-year journey of conscience to protect the Constitution from a country that viewed him as the enemy. Hold These Truths was inspired by many hours of interviews conducted by playwright Jeanne Sakata with Mr. Hirabayashi as well as numerous primary sources from his life.

Sunday, June 13

Revelations
Playing on Air
This audio drama by JuCoby Johnson tells the story of Mahalia, a Black trans woman, who returns to her hometown of Minneapolis during the tumultuous summer of 2020. Starring John Douglas Thompson, Lynnette R. Freeman ( and Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi

Whore’s Eye View
Under St Marks Theater
7 p.m. Also June 20 and June 27
In person and live-streamed: A 75-minute mad dash through 10,000 years of history from a sex worker’s perspective written and performed by Kaytlin Bailey, a sex worker rights advocate and a comic.

American Theatre Wing Centennial Concert and Gala
BroadwayHD
Free concert on what would have been Tony Sunday (available through June 19)

Monday, June 14

Ant Fest
Ars Nova
13th annual festival

Panic Room: An Unkindness of Ravens
Episcopal Actors Theater
7 P.M.
Racism, and misconceptions collide among a group of people in a Grief Support group in this play by Cherry Lou Sy as part of the Barbour Playwrights Award Festival

Tuesday, June 15

It’s Only a Play
George Street Theater
Available through July 4
$33
Terrence McNally’s comedy about an opening night party on Broadway. (My review of the Broadway revival.) This production, filmed onstage at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, stars Andy Grotelueschen, Greg Cuellar, Julie Halston, Doug Harris, Christine Toy Johnson, Triney Sandovaland Zach Shaffer 

A Soft Escape
New Federal Theater
6:45 p.m.
A Zoom reading of a play by S.M. Shephard-Massat about a long-married couple who share secrets about love and loss on their last night together

Wednesday, June 16

El Condor Magico
The Civilians
7 p.m.
In this play by Noelle Viñas that is the first of six in June in the investigative theater company’s tenth anniversary of its Findings series, Nieta grieves her father by trying to get to know him after his death, unearthing details of a time during his youth that he never spoke of, Uruguay’s military dictatorship. Free but you need to RSVP here.

Thursday, June 17

Generation Rise
Ping Chong
6:30 p.m. available for one week
In the latest production of the company’s remarkable long-running real-people series Undesirable Elements,  six teenagers reflecton their early lives growing up in New York City and discuss their lives during a year of global pandemic and renewed calls for racial justice.

Awkward Teenage Years
Kraine Theater
7 p.m.
sliding scale
In person and online: True stories

MicroTEATRO
Intar
In person The theater is collaborating with local businesses in their Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood (between 9and 10 Avenues from 51 St to 53 St), whose stores will serve both as setting and inspiration for 10-minute play, by up to three actors apiece for audiences of up to four members. The six plays and locations:
#Emperorof10thAve by Carmen Rivera at Sonny’s 10th Ave Meat Market
Unfinished Stories by Mariana Carreno at 52nd Street Project Box Office
Foul Shots by Christin Eve Cato at Patrolman William J. Duncan Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) Center, 
LeNOBLE by C. Quintana on West 52nd Street
Baby Steps by Caridad Svich at Housing Conservation Coordinators
Epstein’s Paint by Julissa Contreras at Epstein’s Paint Center

 The packages will be presented tonight (and June 18, 24th and 25th at 7:30 pm, 8:15 pm, 9:00 pm and 9:45 pm each night.)

Dear Elizabeth
Broadway’s Best Shows via Stellar
8 p.m.
$15
Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline star in Sarah Ruhl’s play based on the compiled letters between poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop

Experiments 21: Lottie Platchett Took a Hatchett
LaMaMa
Justin Elizabeth Sayre’s riffs on the Lizzie Borden patricide and matricid.

Friday, June 18

June Rites
Waterwell
3 p.m. through June 27
In person: An hour of live performance on Governors Island

The Alcestiad
Magis Theater Company
through June 20
In person outdoors at Roosevelt Island’s extremely scenic Four Freedoms Park: A little-known play by Thornton Wilder inspired by  Euripides Greek tragedy Alcesti about Queen of Thessaly who gave her life for her husband Admetus and was brought back from Hell by Hercules. Free but registration required.

Saturday, June 19

Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth, 
Times Square
noon to 1:30
A free outdoor concert on Broadway between 43rd & 44th Street with cast members from “Girl from the North Country,” “The Lion King,” “Moulin Rouge,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Tina,” “Diana” and “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” as well as appearances by Lilias White and Ben Vereen 

The Marriage of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
Untitled Theater Company No. 61
7 p.m. through June 23
A Zoom reading with the original cast of this marriage farce in which four actors play over thirty characters. Identities are merged and submerged. Written in a style that echoes Stein’s work, this is a comic fantasy with serious intent. Cast: Jan Leslie Harding, Mia Katigbak, Grant Neale, and Alyssa Simon.

Broadway Our WayVE
Little Island
8 p.m. also June 20
In person: Broadway Inspirational Voices performs gospel and Broadway tunes in the outdoor theater of the new public park in the Hudson River.

Sunday, June 20

What to Send Up When It Goes Down
BAM’s Fishman Space
through July 11
Aleshea Harris’s a play bears witness to the impact of racist violence and offers a space for catharsis

Broadway Bares: Twerk from Home
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
The “free and frisky stream” for the second year replaces the in-person fundraising event

June 21

Whittier
The Civilians
7 p.m.
A contemporary docudrama that follows a diverse community of neighbors living in Whittier, Minneapolis days after the murder of George Floyd. The piece, the investigative theater company’s tenth anniversary of its Findings series, is based on interviews Tylie Shider conducted about the murals and lawn signs that emerged in protest of police brutality. Free but you need to RSVP here.

Are You There, Truman?
Episcopal Actors Theater
In Garrett David Kim’s play, which is part of the Barbour Playwrights Award festival, a man pines for a porn star who’s gone offline.

Tuesday, June 22

The Watering Hole
Signature Theater
Through July 25
In person and online: A series of installations entirely curated by creatives of color ” led by Lynn Nottage and Miranda Haymon using all of the theater’s spaces. Excerpts from the in-person experience will also be available online.

Jimmy’s Last Night at Mikell’s
New Federal Theatre
6:45 p.m.
In this Zoom reading of a play by Larry Muhammad, James Baldwin, who has been writing himself into bad health, returns to New York City for some rest and relaxation. He meets up with Maya Angelou and Miles Davis at the iconic jazz club Mikel’s, where his brother David tends bar and which is unexpectedly closing. What’s intended as a celebration turns into an Irish wake.

June 23

I’m Still Here
NYPL virtual gala via Broadway on Demand
An impressively star-studded event featuring never-before-seen archival clips of original Broadway productions from the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive; interviews with Broadway legends and emerging creatives; and reconceived performances of classic musical theatre songs, including “A Trip to the Library,” “Wheels of a Dream,” “Another Hundred People,” “Love Will Find a Way,” “I’m Still Here,” 

Black Girl in Paris
The Civilians
7 p.m.
A musical about one of the most famous and least known black women in the American history: Sally Hemmings. Music by Jacinth Greywoode, Book and Lyrics by AriDy Nox, directed by Jonathan McCrory, part of the investigative theater company’s tenth anniversary of its Findings series. Free but you need to RSVP here.

June 24

Off Broadway
via Broadstream Media
In this new play by Torrey Townsend and directed by Robert O’Hara described as a dark satire, the staff of a non-profit theater come together on Zoom and scramble to stave off extinction, during the year 2020 when the American theater is shut down… but it is not shut off.

June 25

Environmental Justice Card Game
The Civilians
7 p.m.
If your water is polluted, your air is dirty, and your family is getting sick –– what do you do?  Recruit allies and take action in this participatory theatrical piece as well as an accompanying card game, part of the investigative theater company’s tenth anniversary of its Findings series. Free but you need to RSVP here.

June 28

Desaparecidas
The Civilians
7 p.m.
Told through the lens of Mexican folklore, our story explores the psychology behind societal suppression and the strategic erasure of female voices in the fight to end gender-based violence and the killing of women and girls.part of the investigative theater company’s tenth anniversary of its Findings series. Free but you need to RSVP here.

June 29

Seven Deadly Sins
Tectonic Theater Project and Madison Wells Live.
various times June 22 (first preview) to July 18
$55 – $95
In-person: Audiences rotate through seven uniquely designed storefronts in the Meatpacking District for short works by Ngozi Anyanwu (Gluttony), Thomas Bradshaw (Sloth), MJ Kaufman (Pride), Moisés Kaufman (Greed), Jeffrey LaHoste (Envy), Ming Peiffer (Wrath), and Bess Wohl (Lust).

June 30

Sunwatcher
The Civilians
2:30 p.m.
The story of astronomer Hisako Koyama (1916-1997), who drew the sun in painstaking detail every day for 40 years – intertwined with the ancient Japanese myth of the sun goddess Amaterasu, in a retelling inspired by the structure of classical Noh theatre.part of the investigative theater company’s tenth anniversary of its Findings series. Free but you need to RSVP here.

*This calendar lists shows only on the day they “open.” (in the case of in-person theater, that means the official opening date, whether or not there is a preview period.) Some online theater is live and available only for that one performance. Some are repeated live over several dates. Other shows are available as recordings for four days, or a week, or longer.  (I’ll put down how long they’re available, if I know.)
My definition of theater for the purposes of this calendar generally does not extend to variety shows, cast reunions, concerts, galas, panel discussions, documentaries, classes, or interviews — of which there are plenty, many worth checking out. My focus here is on creative storytelling in performance. (I make an occasional exception for a high-profile Netathon,involving many theater artists, or a novel event)
Pre-pandemic, it was relatively easy to put together a monthly calendar of openings, because theaters, companies and producers worked way in advance.  Since the pandemic began, many shows are put together at the last minute, sometimes not even announced until the very day of their launch. (And there have been last-minute cancellations too.) So the listings here are just a taste of what’s to come. (But there’s a good reason to offer such a calendar, even if incomplete: The shows, especially the ones in-person, are selling out quickly.)

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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