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Lower East Side Festival of the Arts 2023

May 26 Through May 28 | Fri | Free, donations welcome
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Lower East Side Festival of the Arts 2023 at Theatre for the New City


Artists participating in the 2023 Lower East Side Festival of the Arts. L-R: Stephan Morrow, David F. Slone, Esq.; Toni Renee Taylor, Danielle Aziza, Lissa Moira, Richard West, Dani. Photo by Joe Bly.

With the roster still building, Theater for the New City has currently scheduled over 200 performing arts organizations, independent artists, poets, puppeteers and film makers for its 28th annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, which will be mounted May 26 to 28 in and around Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th Street). Admission is free but donations will be gratefully accepted.

This year, the festival is mounted with a theme addressing climate change: “The Heat Is On” followed by an exhortation taken from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Act Now in the Living Present.” The subject will be addressed in some of the playlets and acts written for the festival.

As of this writing, the performers’ roster includes such luminaries as David Amram, KT Sullivan, Austin Pendleton, Penny Arcade and Vinie Burrows.  City council member Carlina Rivera will speak Friday.

Performing ensembles participating will include Chinese Theatre Works, Cobu (All-female Japanese Taiko drumming company), Constellation Moving Company (aerial dance), Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater, DADA New York, The Drilling Company, La Mama, Le Squeezebox Cabaret, Mary Tierney’s TNC Theater Workshop, New Yiddish Rep, Rev. Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, Textile Theater Company and Wise Guise.

There will be excerpts of plays and original works (many written exclusively for the festival) by Toby Armour, JC Augustin, Briana Barteneiff, William Electric Black, Richard Courage, Josh Darpan, Steve Epstein, Alberto Ferreras, Alicia Foxworth, Willianne Gissendanner, Melanie Goodreaux, Steven Harris, Barbara Kahn, Anne Lucas, Ed Malin, Lissa Moira, Matt Morillo, Stephan Morrow, Sabura Rashid, James Stanton and Victor Vauban Júnior.

Individual performers appearing will include Matt Angel, Penny Arcade, Stan Baker, Joe Bendik, Elisa Blynn, Vinie Burrows, David Elyha, Face Boy, Zoe Gray, John Grimaldi, Sophia Gutchinov, Hollie Harper, Eric Kuzmik, Evan Lawrence, T. Scott Lilly, Tommie J Moore, Tym Moss, Bryce Payne, Austin Pendleton, Smokey Stevens, Christine Stoddard, The Legendary Amaz’n Grace, Aaron Dalla Villa, Richard Weber and Lei Zhou.

Dance performances will be by Ashley Liang Dance Company, Alessandra Belloni, Glitter Kitty, Angela Harriell (The Love Show), Kaoru Ikeda, Infinity Dance Theater, Kinding Sindaw, Rasvan Stoian Dance, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Laura Shapiro, Carol Tandava, Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, Akiko Tokuoka and Charly Wenzel.

Musical performers appearing will include David Amram, Art Lillard Qurtet, Mimi Block, Maude Lardner Burke, Burning City Orchestra, Charlie Sub and Sound Dogs, Domingo, Jr Dias, Peter Dizozza, Alisa Ermolaev, Fiddler and the Crossroads, Robert Gonzales Jr., Judy Gorman, Ironic Hipsters, Michael Laderman, Lex and The Cult of Spirits, Janice Lowe, Lower East Side Performing Arts, Liz Magnes, Melange, mister pablo, Oyu-Oro, Bennet Pologe, Ellen Steier, Wendy Stewart, KT Sullivan, Michael Vazquez, Yip Harburg Rainbow Troupe, Bei-Bei Yubo Zhong, Jonathan Fox Powers and Velvette.

Emcees will be Crystal Field, Robert Gonzales Jr., Danielle Aziza and Sabura Rashid (in the Johnson Theater) and David F. Slone Esq., Joe John Battista and Claude Solnick (in the Cabaret Theater). The film program will be emceed by Eva Dorrepaal.

Specialty curators of the festival include Lissa Moira (poetry), Eva Dorrepal (film), Danielle Hauser (kids’ performances), Carolyn Ratcliffe (visual art) and Richard West (outdoor theater-dance-music) The whole festival is run by committee and chaired by Crystal Field.

Indoor performances will take stage from 6:00 PM to midnight each day, utilizing two of TNC’s four theaters. From 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Saturday, vendors and food sellers, including booths from nearby restaurants, will set up in the closed-off block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues. On Saturday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, an outdoor stage adjoining the theater will offer music and multi-discipline performances curated by Richard West. On Saturday afternoon inside in the Johnson Theater, there will be performances by and for children, curated by Danielle Hauser. On Saturday from 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM in the Cabaret Theater, over 15 films curated by Eva Dorrepaal will be screened, accompanied by talkbacks with a number of the film makers. On Sunday from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM in TNC’s Community Theater, there will be a “poetry jam with prose on the side” curated by Lissa Moira. Throughout the festival, an art show curated by Carolyn Ratcliffe will grace the TNC lobby spaces. This art show will have its own free, special opening Monday, May 22 from 5:30 to 8:00 PM.

Venue: Theatre for the New City

155 First Ave. Map