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Catch the season’s most anticipated theatrical premieres and long-running favorites at banner prices right here in Hell’s Kitchen during NYC Off-Broadway Week, running February 14 through 27. In collaboration with the Off-Broadway League, city marketing and tourism firm NYC & Company is offering 2-for-1 tickets to 17 shows, including 7 in Hell’s Kitchen and Midtown West.
Now in its 13th year, NYC Off-Broadway Week encourages visitors and locals alike to check out productions that may otherwise fly under the radar — inspiring audiences “to experience the world of theater in an intimate setting with beloved stories and often groundbreaking work,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company in a statement.
If you’re looking to stay hyper-local, there are an excellent variety of shows available through NYC Off-Broadway Week in Hell’s Kitchen.
Stroll down W42nd Street to Playwrights Horizons (416 W42nd St — west of 9th Ave) to check out their world premiere co-production with Center Theatre Group of Dave Harris’s Tambo & Bones — “A rags-to-riches hip-hop odyssey, Tambo & Bones roasts American capitalism’s desire for certain Black narratives, highlighting the narrow confines within which Black characters are placed. As Tambo and Bones test the limits of the frameworks they’re given, Harris’ play wrestles with the country’s racist past and present, and explodes its post-racial future — such that the stakes, for characters deemed less-than-human, becomes the fate of humanity itself.”
Tambo & Bones was conceived out of playwright Harris’s experiences “thinking through minstrelsy as the beginning of Black fictive imaginations and Black performative capitalism,” as he was expected to perform trauma for largely white audiences in his early days of poetry slams. Shifting his focus to theater, Harris began playing with the idea and perspective of what constitutes authentic identity in performance — writes Harris in his Playwrights Perspective, “Spoken word capitalizes on an idea of the authentic identity. The real person. Look at that poet performing their raw truth. But here, in this theater, all of us know that every second of this experience is fake. And there is infinite possibility in that reality. And the pleasure is in the possibility.”
Helmed by veteran New York director Taylor Reynolds, Tambo & Bones is heralded by Playwrights Horizons artistic director Adam Greenfield as a unique theatrical experience: “With Tambo & Bones, Dave Harris crafts a wildly funny story, whisking us through genres and worlds, into the past and through to the future. But it also manages to interrogate the event of theater itself. As Tambo and Bones fight the grotesque tropes of their world, their attention turns to who put them there in the first place: the playwright, the producer, the audience. This play is unlike any other play I know.”
Over at MCC Theater (511 W52nd) be sure to catch another world premiere at SPACE DOGS, “an epic new musical that tells the mind-blowing true story of Laika and the Chief Designer — a stray dog and the top-secret Russian scientist who sent her to space during the Cold War. Written and performed by Van Hughes and Nick Blaemire, it is a sweeping, kaleidoscopic tale of invention, betrayal, international political intrigue, and the immortal friendship that exists between man and dog, as they journey together to the stars.”
SPACE DOGS was developed as a part of MCC’s SongLabs initiative, providing up-and-coming artists with dramaturgical and production support in order to engage audiences in the development of new works. SongLabs is produced with support from private donors as well as the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Perhaps in an effort to fully encompass the enormity of, well, space, be advised that SPACE DOGS is a highly sensory production that includes strobe light, laser, and haze effects. Lift off!
If you’re looking to revisit a few old friends, make your way over to New World Stages (340 W50th St — corner of 8th Ave) where you can say hi to the Jersey Boys and live out every actor’s nightmare in The Play That Goes Wrong.
Transferred from the long-running Broadway production, Jersey Boys chronicles the rise of Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi, four “blue-collar boys from New Jersey who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks but eventually made the journey to pop superstardom” to become 60s superstar-act, The Four Seasons. Full of catchy, familiar hits, try to leave the falsetto to Frankie and hold your temptation to sing along until the curtain call!
The Play that Goes Wrong is a rollicking, farcical Olivier Award-winning comedy hybrid “of Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes,” where the opening performance of the fictional Murder at Haversham Manor is riddled with mishaps, mayhem, and more than a few pratfalls. Buy a ticket to see if the fictional cast and crew will make it to their next performance!
We know, this winter has been filled with endless reruns of The Office and Law and Order — why not take a break from your couch and catch some live shows that will satisfy the same craving at The Theater Center (210 W50th St bw 7/8th Ave)?
From the minds behind musical parodies of Friends, Saved By the Bell, and Full House comes The Office! A Musical Parody, a (completely unauthorized) spoof of the hit NBC sitcom following the lives, loves, and meetings of the employees at Dunder Mifflin. A playful homage to the show’s finer moments, The Office! A Musical Parody turns the show’s famed punchlines into hummable hits like “Welcome to Scranton (The Electric City)” and “That’s What She Said.” Catching a matinee when you should be at the office? As Michael Scott would say, “I am running away from my responsibilities. And it feels good.”
And if you’re always trying to guess who did it on Law and Order, take a stab at solving the Perfect Crime, a sultry, comedic thriller telling the tale of “a beautiful and brilliant psychiatrist who is accused of killing her wealthy British husband”. Perfecting the art of a taut mystery since 1987, Perfect Crime boasts a record of over 10,000 performances and is the longest-running non-musical play in New York history. And in an even stranger turn of events, Perfect Crime was recently the site of its own crime, closing for several performances after thieves broke into the theater and stole all of its copper pipes.
Also included in Off-Broadway Week’s lineup is one of its largest venues, the New York City Center (W55th — east of 6th Ave), now showing Manhattan Theatre Club’s world-premiere of Joshua Harmon’s new play, Prayer for The French Republic.
Harmon, a Drama Desk Award winner for his play Admissions, teams up with Tony Award-winning director David Cromer in this unsettlingly timely and timeless drama set in 1944, where “a Jewish couple in Paris desperately awaits news of their missing family. More than 70 years later, the couple’s great-grandchildren find themselves facing the same question as their ancestors: ‘Are we safe?’ Following five generations of a French Jewish family, Prayer for the French Republic is a sweeping look at history, home, and the effects of an ancient hatred.”
Inspired by all of the exciting new works and familiar favorites you’ve seen? 2-for-1 tickets at NYC Broadway Week have also been extended through February 27! And if you’re interested in branching out beyond the neighborhood, check out all of the NYC Off-Broadway Week offerings at NYCGO — there’s never been a better time to support Off-Broadway’s (and Hell’s Kitchen’s) theatrical reopening while discovering some of the industry’s most innovative and compelling productions.