Below is an alphabetical list of ten shows you can catch up on over the July 4th weekend, about half of them live in person.* I’ve put a √ next to those I’ve seen and especially recommend.
√All The Devils Are Here
Shakespeare Theatre Company
Online: Over the course of some 80 minutes, the terrific Broadway actor Patrick Page guides us through what he calls the Bard’s “two decade exploration of evil,” going more or less chronologically through the villains, commenting on and performing scenes with passion and precision: Richard III, Aaron the Moor, Shylock with Antonio, Sir John Falstaff with Hal, Malvolio, Claudius, Iago with Othello, Macbeth (and separately Lady Macbeth), Prospero with Ariel. (My review.)
1. Broadway Our Way Live: On an Island in the River
Online for free: Gospel versions of Broadway showtunes abound in this concert by Broadway Inspirational Voices, which was the inaugural ticketed performance on Little Island. It was taped and is now available on YouTube
2. In person for free: There are also a half dozen live in person events on Little Island (some of them sold out: Check the park’s calendar) including Works in progress by BIPOC artists curated by New Victory Theater on 3 p.m. Sunday July 4th.
√Enemy of the People
Park Avenue Armory
In person: Ann Dowd portrays all the characters in an adaptation of Ibsen’s play that seems beyond timely. (My review) They are now offering $28 rush tickets.
Fruma Sarah (Waiting in the Wings)
In person: Jackie Hoffman stars as an aging community theater star waiting in the wings to make her entrance as the character Frumah Sarah in “Fiddler on the Roof.” In previews.
Ice Factory Festival
New Ohio Theater
In person: The annual six-week summer festival launches with “The Extremely Gray Line” and “Endless Loop of Gratitude” (described as a solo interactive installation)
Online: Anne O’Riordan stars in this play she co-wrote about a young Irish woman living in anonymity and shame in London who wakes up to discover the boyfriend who disappeared from her life six years earlier (ghosted her) standing by her bed, smiling. Two days later she finds out he died. She travels back to her hometown for his funeral in this ghost story, and a mystery and a melodrama, but also an astute look at modern Irish life. (My review)
It’s Only a Play
George Street Playhouse
Online: Julie Halston is a stand-out in this slightly updated production (filmed onstage at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center) of Terrence McNally’s 35-year-old bitchy, witty backstage comedy about the opening night party of a Broadway flop. (My review.)
Online for free. A recording of the powerful, disorienting 2019 stage play by Jackie Sibblies Drury(Pulitzer winner for “Fairview”) about the pioneering 19th century Creole nurse and the modern-day caregivers who follow in her footsteps. (My review of the play)
Off Broadway the play
Online for free: A two hour pile-up of racism, sexism, cluelessness, stupidity and outright criminal behavior by the leadership of the American National Theatre, aka ANT, a fictitious non-profit theater company that bears some unavoidable if superficial resemblance to such non-profit institutional theaters as the Roundabout.
But “Off Broadway” is billed not just as a “scathing critique” but as a “dark comic satire.” And if this play “presented” by Jeremy O. Harris and directed by Robert O’Hara is a blunt-force indictment, it still manages to entertain, thanks largely to a terrific cast, including Dylan Baker, Becky Ann Baker, and Richard Kind. (My review.)
The Watering Hole
In person: An art installation created by a large group of theater artists led by playwright Lynn Nottage that takes over nearly every nook and cranny of The Pershing Square Signature Center, with a guide taking a small contingent of (masked) theatergoers on a tour through the ten installations that riff on the theme of water and/or theater as healing. (My review.)
*Getting tickets for this holiday weekend for the in person shows I listed may be a challenge, but worth trying. It would be impossible for other shows, which are sold out or require purchase way in advance (which is why I didn’t list them.)