January 5, 2019

Winter Theater Festival Fever-Redux

The weather has been unseasonably warm here in the city but the winter theater festivals, including a few new ones, are plowing ahead as usual and so I thought I’d do a redux of the guide to them I did a couple of years ago. These theatrical expositions tend to showcase experimental works, under-represented performers and other kinds of productions that don't get as much attention during the rest of the year. And their ticket prices are cheaper too.

But I'm going to start this off with  BroadwayCon. This three-day fandom extravaganza of panels, workshops and sing-alongs is returning to its original home at the New York Hilton Midtown next weekend, Jan. 11 to 13. My BroadwayRadio pals and I are joining in the festivities on Saturday, Jan.13, with a live version of the “This Week on Broadway” show and we’d love to have you join us. You can find more about how to do that by clicking here.

Below are a few of the other events that you might want to catch while waiting for the big spring shows to open. I’ve listed them in order of how much time you still have left to see them; click on their titles for more info:

Under the Radar: This 15th edition of the  Public Theater’s venerable winter series began Jan. 3, runs through Jan. 13, and features more acts homegrown in the U.S. than usual but it still boasts artists from nine countries.

American Realness: Dance is the connective thread that ties together the 17 performers scheduled to explore themes ranging from ancient rites to sci-fi fantasies in spaces spread across four of New York’s five boroughs from Jan. 4 to 13.

Prototype: Performing in venues from La MaMa in the East Village to Harlem Stage uptown, this festival, which runs from Jan. 5 to 13, is devoted to chamber operas and other musical theater works and is offering 12 productions this year, including a bilingual opera performed in Spanish and English.

First Nations Dialogues: This first-time series of performances, workshops, discussions and ceremonies led by indigenous artists representing tribal peoples from Australia, Canada and the U.S. will be held in a variety of downtown venues from Jan. 5 to 12.

Act One; One Act Festival: Lots of up-and-coming theater makers now live in Long Island City and once again its Secret Theatre is hosting three different programs of short comedies, dramas and dramadies from Jan. 2-10, and inviting audience members to vote on their favorites, which will get encore performances on Jan. 13.

DirectorFest: The Drama League is marking its 35th celebration of young directors with a racially diverse slate of newbies showing off their stagings of both classic plays and original works in various theatrical spaces from Jan 11 to 28.

Exponential Festival: Based in Brooklyn and supported in part by a Kickstarter campaign, this festival is back for the fourth time, running from Jan. 4 thru Feb. 13 with works from an eclectic mix of performance artists.

The Fire This Time Festival: Taking its name from the seminal James Baldwin book, this festival spotlights black playwrights from all parts of the African diaspora. Past participants have included Jocelyn Bioh, Marcus Gardley and Dominique Morisseau. Eight newcomers will present their works from Jan. 21 thru Feb. 2

Winterfest: The New York Theater Festival's annual showcase for still unknown-writers will feature some 50 Fringe-style productions that started Dec. 30 and will run thru March 10 at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Chelsea.

Frigid New York Festival: Now celebrating its 10th year, this theatrical grab bag will offer works by 30 different companies from Feb. 20 thru March 10

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