The Very Best of NYC Theater

The Dog and Pony Show, The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith and much more.

On the heels of her critically acclaimed performance at the 2010 HOT! Festival, Holly Hughes returns to Dixon Place on June 3 in a three-weekend run of her tribute to man’s and woman’s best friend, The Dog and Pony Show (bring your own pony). In this solo performance, Hughes’ razor-sharp humor and keen observations on the state of the LGBTQ movement merge with her lifelong experiences in raising and loving dogs. The comic philosopher meditates on the burning questions that dogs teach us, including such musings as, “What is the sound of one lesbian clapping?”

Sexy and racy, blues singer Bessie Smith was the definition of a “red hot mamma” and one of the most successful entertainers of her time. On the eve of her tragic death in 1937, Bessie takes center stage in The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith, and tells the story of her amazing life and career. Soak up the blues as Bessie Smith comes to life and sings the songs that made her so unforgettable, including “St. Louis Blues,” “Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl,” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” Groove to them all at the St. Luke’s Theater, Jun 7–22.

June 2–Jun 19, Theater for the New City will present Quartet—four gay-themed, one-act plays written by Mario Fratti. Quartet is comprised of the following plays: Actors, in which a loving father has a secret; A.I.D.S., which tells the story of a doctor who bribes a dying man’s lover; Dina and Alba, a work about about two women who love one another and an older lover who reappears; and Piggy Bank, in which a prostitute charms and dupes her clients.

Following two successful seasons at the Soho Playhouse, Naked in a Fishbowl will play for six performances this summer at The PIT on various dates through June 27. Guest appearances so far: Michelle Krusiec (What Happens in Vegas; Dirty, Sexy Money) and award-winning radio personality Valerie Smaldone (Date TBA). This outrageous improvised sitcom chronicles the hilarious and startling honesty between six friends in New York City. Fully improvised and filmed live, fans return every week to watch knockout performances. This breakthrough show is the first Web sitcom to be filmed in front of a live audience, blurring the lines between theater, TV and Webisodes.

Superheroes. Space opera. True romance. Hijinks. History. Literature. Autobiography. Lines. Dots. Shapes. Pencil. Sound. Ink. Movement. June 2–July 1, The Brick Theater, Inc. will invite one of history’s newest art forms to meet one of its oldest as part of the first-ever Comic Book Theater Festival. Through collaborations between visual and dramatic artists, this exciting new festival will feature both live stage performance and printed or online comic book components to each show, combining  the form and content of comics with that of theater to create strange new hybrids across
both mediums.

For the past three years in a tiny little black box in the East Village called Wow Café Theatre, Ashley Brockington has presented Black Girl Ugly (BGU), a performance piece that digs deep into the psyche of the “little Black Girl.” Each year, three different actresses investigate how their girlhood experiences have impacted their adult lives as black women in the United States. The result is an honest telling of the “World of Black Folk.” This year marks the fourth must-see installment of Black Girl Ugly, which runs June 9–11 and 16–18 and features Beatrice Anderson, Sokhna Heathyre Mabin and Ginger Spencer—all of whom are equal
collaborators in the creative process.