Summer Theatre in NYC: Fests and More

While Broadway shakes off its residual Tony Night stardust, I suggest adding to your wish list of Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day, and Miss Saigon some of Off-Broadway’s summer plays, musicals, and festivals—performed indoors and out. Imagine: shows poised to take on Broadway in a year or two...stars keeping it real in the classics…parodies with wild ride guarantees…thought-provoking…unorthodox…and sometimes free!

government inspector

Image by Carol Rosegg

Irresistible Absurdity: The Government Inspector, a devil-may-care frolic to enjoy through 8/20 at its new home at New World Stages. Adapted from Gogol’s comedic gem of mistaken identity, the show stars a fabulously physical Michael Urie. Orbiting Urie’s ravenous slacker are sundry small-town meatheads like Michael McGrath’s rapacious mayor; Mary Testa, his rouged and ready wife; and Arnie Burton playing both postmaster and lackey.

Retro Revival
: The Lucky One, an upper-crust dramady by A. A. Milne that comes wrapped in early 1920s haberdashery and centers on two brothers: Gerald, the picture of fair-haired success, and his sibling, known to all as “poor old Bob” for compound reasons. A must for Downton Abbey fans. Through 6/25.

Street Wise: Avenue Q. So it’s puppet madness and not for little kids…who cares when you can get your grown-up groove on with this 2004 Tony-winning take on life in a NYC hood populated with people, puppets, and people with puppets. The humor is topical (sometimes naughty) and the characters are off-the-charts funny. Features music and lyrics that are all kinds of clever. Open run.


59E59 Theaters: Two festivals/one location ( East to Edinburgh—plays from U.S. companies prior to premiering at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (7/11-7/30); and Summer Shorts, NYC’s seminal short play fest (7/21-9/2).

Free Shakespeare in the Park: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring Tony winners Annaleigh Ashford and Phylicia Rashad and Tony nominees De’Adre Aziza, Danny Burstein, and Kristine Nielsen (7/11-8/13,

Lincoln Center Festival: An annual celebration of music, dance, and theatre (7/10-7/30, Homing in on this year’s dramas, offerings include While I Was Waiting (7/19-7/22) and To The End of the Land (7/24-7/27).

Midtown International Theatre Festival: NYC’s biggest theatre festival offers a wide swath of shorts, full-lengths, and musicals (7/12-8/6,

New York Music Festival: Vibrant new musicals running the gamut from Matthew McConaughey vs. The Devil to The Time Machine. (7/10-8/6,

The Strawberry One-Act Festival:
Thirty-one short plays presented in completion alongside three full-length premieres (7/13-7/30,

About the Author

City Guide Theatre Editor Griffin Miller moved to New York to pursue an acting/writing career in the 1980s after graduating magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, she has written for The New York Times, For the Bride, Hotels, and a number of other publications, mostly in the areas of travel and performance arts. An active member of The New York Travel Writers Association, she is also a playwright and award-winning collage artist. In addition, she sits on the board of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Griffin is married to Richard Sandomir, a reporter for The New York Times.

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