Below is a selection of theater opening in New York in July, featuring two Broadway shows, a revival of Sondheim and Lapine’s “Into the Woods” and a stage adaptation of “The Kite Runner,” as well as several annual summer theater festivals.
This day-by-day calendar is organized chronologically by opening date*, but we must consider the dates tentative, because the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and unpredictable.
Twelfth Night (Classical Theater of Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park)
Free, 90-minute, Afrofuturistic take on Shakespeare’s magical romantic comedy featuring Kara Young. Seating is first come, first served for the benches of the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater. I’ve had some terrific experiences in this theater, even – especially? – when it’s rained!
29th annual Ice Factory Festival (New Ohio)
Seven new plays, debuting sequentially through August 20. All Thursday night performances are available to live-stream and are then available on-demand throughout the rest of the festival. It starts with Trash Body Monkey House, a devised word riffing on Moliere that Incorporates clown work and dance theater and performed by women,
Saving Britney (Soho Playhouse)
An hour-long solo show starring Shereen Roushbaiani as both a narrator of Britney Spears’ life, and as a Spears superfan named Jean, who feels uniquely connected to the pop star. The show originated last year in the UK, where it’s toured since.
The 13th annual The Fire This Time Festival
Ten-minute plays by Black playwrights through July 10
Hot Festival (Dixon Place)
The month-long LGBTQIA+ celebration began in 1992.
Into the Woods (St. James Theater).
This starry revival of Sondheim and Lapine’s clever and tuneful adult take on classic fairy tales is a transfer from the New York City Center Encores! concert series. Sara Bareilles as the Baker’s Wife, and Gavin Creel as the Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince from the Encores production, with new cast members Brian D’Arcy James as the Baker, Patina Miller as the Witch, Phillipa Soo as Cinderella and Joshua Henry as Rapunzel’s Prince
Richard III (Shakespeare in the Park)
The 60th season of Free Shakespeare in the Park begins with this production by Robert O’Hara (Slave Play, Barbecue) Danai Gurira starring as one of Shakespeare’s most indelible villains.
Reverse Transcription (Potomac Theatre Project at Atlantic Stage 2)
A pairing of plays about gay men in two different epidemics: “Dog Plays” a trilogy of interconnected one-act plays about AIDS written in the 1980s by Robert Chesley, and “A Variant Strain,” a new play about COVID by Jim Petosa and Jonathan Adler. This evening plays in repertory with “Sex, Grift and Death” (see July 13)
Between the Lines (Second Stage Theater)
A musical based on the novel by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha Van Leer about a loner who spends her time in the school library reading her favorite book, until the character in it, Prince Oliver, starts speaking to her. The show was moved from June due to positive tests for COVID-19,
Mister Miss America (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)
Neil D’Astolfo’s solo show about a glamazon vying for the title of Miss Southwestern Virginia.
Seagull (Elevator Repair Service at NYU Skirball Center)
The experimental theater company (which last month took on James Joyce’s Ulysses) reimagines Chekhov’s classic drama by blurring the line between a play and a frank chat with the audience.
Sex, Grift and Death (Potomac Theatre Project at Atlantic Stage 2
An evening of three plays: “Lunch” by Steven Berkoff, and “Hot Fudge” and “Here We Go,” both by Caryl Churchill. Plays in repertory with Reverse Transcription. (See July 10)
The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare in the Parking Lot)
The Drilling Company’s 27th year of free Shakespeare on the Lower East Side
Notre Dame de Paris (David H Koch Theater)
An adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel about the Hunchback of Notre Dame, features “elements of musical theatre, dance, and acrobatics.” The show has been around since 1998, but this is its first time on a New York stage. It will be performed in French with English supertitles.
The Imaginary Cuckold (Moliere in the Park)
A free staged reading of Moliere’s comedy at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, for the Consulate General of France in New York’s Celebration of Bastille Day
A Black and White Cookie (The Tank)
In this play by Gary Morgenstein, a friendship develops between a gruff, conservative African American newsstand owner and an eccentric Jewish Communist who urges him to fight the landlord trying to price him out of business.
The Suppliants Project: Ukraine (Theater of War Productions)
A one-time event on Zoom, from 1 to 3 p.m. Eastern Time, in which a starry cast offers a live, dramatic readings of Aeschylus’ play The Suppliants, featuring a chorus of Ukrainian citizens, to help frame global discussions about the War in Ukraine and the unique challenges now faced by the people of Ukraine and those who support them. The event is free, but requires registration.
Heart (Audible at Minetta Lane Theater)
Written and performed by London-based actor and poet Jade Anouka, who tells the story of her younger self, shaken by a divorce at age 28, who to her surprise falls in love with a woman.
The Kite Runner (The Hayes)
A stage adaptation by Matthew Spangler of Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling 2003 novel about two kite-flying friends from Afghanistan, and how Amir betrays Hassan, and then is called to make amends two decades later.
Oresteia (Park Avenue Armory)
Robert Icke adapts and condenses Aeschylus’ trilogy of Greek tragedies starring Anastasia Hille as Klytemnestra. a “familial saga that examines the sins of a family over several decades and explores whether justice can ever really be done.” The four-hour drama plays in repertory with “Hamlet.”
Pericles and Much Ado About Nothing (Hip Hop Theater Company)
Performing in various outdoor locations in Queens
*Opening night is usually not the same as the first performance on Broadway and frequently Off-Broadway. There is usually a preview period, where the creative team tries out the show before an audience, and opening night is when 1. the show is “frozen” (no more changes), and 2. the reviews are published/posted/broadcast. (Off-Off Broadway shows often have no preview period or official opening night; they just start.) I organize this calendar by opening night (when such exists), rather than first preview, as a statement in support of the continuing relevance of theater reviewing. Check out my essay: Broadway Opening Night. What It Means. How It’s Changed. 7 Facts to Clear Up The Confusion and Crystallize the Outrage.