Native American Arts and Crafts Holiday AUCTION

Just Act Normal – Art Gallery

Theater for the New City is pleased to present a multidisciplinary Arts exhibit, “DOE MAAR GEWEOON DAN DOE JE AL GEK GENOEG” (DUTCH) FOR “JUST ACT NORMAL, THEN YOU ARE CRAZY ENOUGH” curated by Carolyn Ratcliffe and juried by Art Loisaida Foundation.”, at Theater for the New City’s (TNC) Gallery from November 6, 2021 – January 3, 2022.

Because of the restrictions for COVID-19, all visitors to the TNC Art gallery must be fully vaccinated. Work will be exhibited in the gallery or you can view them here at Art Loisaida Foundation:

FALLing For Art & Poetry

Berkshire Fine Arts reviews Was It Me?!?

Does needing help imply weakness? Are we to blame for the trauma that has impacted our lives? Can we turn to spiritual and professional supports to bolster our ability to build a better future, however grim the past may be?

-Rachel de Aragon, Berkshire Fine Arts


2020 NY ACKER Awards at Theater for the New City

Thursday, June 10, at 7 pm, at the Johnson Theater. Please try to get there between 6-6:30 pm. Also, please note, The restrictions are that people must show proof of vaccination or a negative test within the last 7 days.

NY Acker Award Presentation

The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts Press Release



Is coming your way at Theater for the New City
155 1st Avenue, New York, NY
(212) 254-1109

MAY 28, 29 AND 30

LES – MAY 28, 29 and 30, 2021

DateJohnson TheaterCabaret TheaterCommunity Space TheaterOutside on East 10th Street
Fri, May 28Performances 6pm – 11pmPerformances 7pm – 11pm  
Sat, May 29Performances 6pm – 11pmFilm Program 12pm – 6pm Cultural Festival, Performances, Food, Vendors and More 1pm – 5pm
Sun, May 30Performances 6pm – 11pmPerformances 7pm – 11pmPoetry Readings 4pm – 7pm 

All vaxxed up and no place to go? We’ll tell you where to go! The 26th Annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts—L.E.S.    

L.E.S. is our annual, joyous, boisterous, thought-provoking and always exciting celebration of the Arts of the Lower East Side and East Village. From the prestigious past, the knockout now, and fabulous future.   

For 24 years, it took place at Theater for the New City at 155 First Ave, but last year, we spent our silver 25th Anniversary in the virtual world. Just like the rest of the world, we were cornered by COVID and performed on Zoom. But now for our 26th Annual L.E.S., we are back, back home on stage and ready to welcome you all to join us for our free to all festival.   

As always, we cast our eyes, minds and hearts back to the amazing artistic history of our beloved Lower East Side and East Village; which produced the genius and magic of Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin and Yip Harburg. Edgar Allan Poe spent time writing here, as did Mark Twain, Eugene O’Neill, and Garcia Lorca. Eddie Cantor, George Raft and James Cagney (whose early films featured the fluent Yiddish he picked up here) all hailed from The Lower East Side. Molly Picon started here, as did the Yiddish Theater, and the entire film industry had its Genesis on The Lower East Side. The talent goes on ad infinitum.

And then we look to the art that is happening right now, all around us. Icons and stars who either live on the Lower East Side, or work here all the time. And then of course there is the future we embrace and present. New names about to make their mark and perhaps one day destined to join the pantheon of stars who began their journey to greatness here.    

L.E.S. consists of theater, music, dance, comedy, poetry, film and fine arts. Numerous theater and dance groups and companies present excerpts of work they will be performing at their own venues in the area. Hundreds of solo performers take part as well.   

Some of the notables who have already signed on to bring the arts back alive to L.E.S. include:

David Amram: International Jazz Man, Composer, Conductor and LES fave. 

James Rado: World-famous as one of the creators of “Hair.” His warmth and spirit casts the brightest of lights wherever and whenever he performs. He is, we are happy to say, a close friend of TNC and L.E.S.

Phoebe Legere: A Wow of a woman with peerless talent as a Composer, Performer, Playwright and Teacher of the young.

Penny Arcade: A woman for whom a microphone is a lethal weapon, a Performance Artist best known for her barbed social commentary on the subject of everything…and funny as hell.   

Ashley Liang and her Dance Company: An exquisite combination of traditional Chinese dance limned with a modern sensibility and tinged with a hint of the sacred. You don’t watch Ashley dance. You experience her.

Vinie Burrows: Star of stages from Broadway to TNC, Community activist and lifelong force for good. Eric Yves Garcia: Up-coming star of cabaret and boites all over town (when the town was open). L.E.S. audiences left yelling for more…so we had to have him back.

Reno: Raucous, ribald, lesbionic, and learned legend with the wisdom of age—She can always complain and does so to hilarious effect. 

Rod Rodgers Dance Company: It wouldn’t be LES without them. They say so much with glorious movement and never fail to live up to the legacy of their founder.

Le Squeezebox Cabaret: Led by David F. Slone, Esq. Will they strip? Will they ascend  the ropes…and strip? Will they break into techno-dance? Will David belt out Le Jazz or make like a rabbi and have us practically doven with him? All to the strains of an accordion? One never knows with Le Squeeze Box cabaret.

An excerpt from acclaimed poet and memoirist Dean Kostos’s “The Boy Who Listened to Paintings:” a musical adapted from his book of the same name. Music composed by Paul Kirby and directed by Lissa Moira. Starring Moore Theobald and William Broderick.

Judy Gorman: Folk singer, a favorite of Pete Seeger‘s, a woman whose talent is only exceeded by her social conscience.

Louisa Bradshaw: An actress and chanteuse who has graced stages all over the world.

Melange: Consisting of guitarist Richard West, violinist Susan Mitchell and percussionist Jiggers Turner. Their music defies categorization, with strains of Indian ragas, flamenco, classic jazz, folk, classical and so on and on.

The Love Show, The Drilling Company, Zero Boy and so many, many more.

Some of the writers who have created new works expressly for the festival include: Tom Diriwachter, Lissa Moira, Bina Sharif, Barbara Kahn, and Peter Welch.   

For the uninitiated who have never joined us in these 26 years, here’s how our three-day festival known as L.E.S. works:   

Friday, May 28, upstairs in the Johnson Theater from 6pm to 11pm (we’ve curtailed our hours to comply with COVID regulations): A continuous cavalcade of Theater, Music, Dance, Comedy and Performance Art (This special year, we will break into the action hourly to let audience out and bring in audience members who have been waiting in our holding area, again to comply with COVID capacity regulations.).   

Friday, May 28, downstairs in our Cabaret Theater from 7pm to 11pm: We present more intimate, outré or sub-rosa acts, again Theater, Music, Dance, Comedy and Performance Art.

Saturday, May 29, outside on East 10th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, from 1pm to 5pm: We throw up a stage and curator and Host, Composer, Playwright, and Bohemian Historian, Mr. Richard West will gift the crowd with Music, Dancers, Comedians, Poets and his own wit and wisdom and guitar licks. Lining the streets will be tables full of vendors hawking their colorful goods (all within COVID regulations.).

Saturday, May 29, downstairs in the Cabaret from 12pm to 6pm, we will have the film portion of our festival (Usually it goes from noon to midnight, but again we bow to COVID curtailment): It will be curated by the talented and very knowledgeable film maven Eva Dorrepaal (she is currently sifting through the deluge of submissions). Expect shorts, animation and feature-length films by local auteurs and filmmakers who have created works pertinent to the Lower East Side and East Village. Watch this space for the list of chosen films. Sharing hosting duties will be the gifted man responsible for making TNC’s On-The-Air Series possible, John David West. Roy Chang will handle the technical elements. Again, to accommodate the COVID situation the audience will go through a good number of changeovers, so those who are waiting have a chance to partake.

Saturday, May 29, upstairs in the Johnson Theater from 6pm to 11pm: Live Theater (doesn’t that sound just marvelous)! Music, Dance, Comedy and Performance Art continues unabated, except for stoppages to allow for audience turnover because of COVID capacity rules.

Sunday, May 30, upstairs in the Community Space Theater from 4pm to 7pm, L.E.S. presents a Poetry Jam with Prose on the Side: Curated and hosted by Playwright, Director, Actor, Artist and Poet Lissa Moira. This year’s featured guest will be celebrated Poet and Memoirist Dean Kostos. Over three dozen of the East Village’s most published and prolific poets will be participating, as well as many newly-minted word warriors eager to share their work, followed by an open mic for those in the audience who wish to surprise us.

Sunday, May 30, Upstairs in the Johnson Theater 6pm to 11pm: Glorious Theater, Music, Dance, Comedy and Performance art galore goes on and on.

Sunday, May 30, 7PM to 11PM: We again give you, in our black box Cabaret, more outside-of-the-box entertainment.

Throughout the festival, in TNC’s Lobby Art Gallery: An exhibition of Fine Art. Painting, Photography and Sculptures of all description will be on display. Curated by community activist, dear friend of The Lower East Side and a Fine Artist in her own right, Carolyn Ratcliffe. The exhibition will remain on display through June and will have its own special opening reception on Wednesday, May 26 from 6pm to 8pm. Of course, open to the public to mingle, schmooze and wine with the artists. However, how many we will be able to accommodate, and what we will be able to serve as far as the lovely tidbits we usually offer, is still in flux, for again we must adhere to all the rules of COVID in order to keep everyone safe.

In 2021, there is very little not affected by the pandemic. Obviously, L.E.S. is no exception. And sadly, we cannot be as uninhibited and laissez-faire with our audience as usual. So, we must let you know that you WILL BE ASKED TO SHOW US YOUR VACCINATION CARD or a NEGATIVE COVID TEST NO MORE THAN FIVE DAYS OLD, IN ORDER TO BE ADMITTED! There will be masking and social distancing, and we will adhere to the most recent rules promulgated by the CDC, State and New York City. We feel your cooperation is a small price to pay for our otherwise FREE FESTIVAL. We want nothing more than to spread the joys of the artistic delights of The Lower East Side and the East Village to all who can attend. Crystal Field and the LES Production Committee are delighted to say ixnay on the oomzay, and welcome you all to our house, Theater For The New City for L.E.S.: HOME AGAIN!!! 

*Small Program Note: L.E.S. cannot present its usual children’s program this year, because the youngsters cannot as yet be vaccinated. 

Virtual Visuals: An Art Exhibit

Theater for the New City, Crystal Field Ex. Dir. presents

Surviving COVID


Virtual Visuals:
an Art Exhibit of works by 28 NYC Artists

Curated by Carolyn Ratcliffe
April 21 – May 22, 2021

Join Theater for The New City and Art Loisiada Foundation

Adrian DiMetriou, Andrew Hockenberry, Anna Pasztor, Anne Stanner, Antoinette Maclachlan, Bonnie Rosenstock, Carolyn Ratcliffe, Ciaran Tully, Cynthia Reynolds, Dennis Edge, Dorine Oliver, EJaySims, Eileen Doster, Esther Mizrahi, Ethan Shoshan, Francine Lange, Gilda Pervin, Glenora Blackshire, Gretchen Van Dyk, Horacio Molina, Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, Joan Meyer, Jorge Calvo, Kathryn Bloss, Kathy Creutzburg, Ken Ecker, Kristan Enos,  Ken Kobland, Leslie Lowe, Lois Carlo, Maria Marta Rosario-Dann, Meg Boe Birns, Onno De Jong, Ruth Oisteanu, Sally Young, Valery Oisteanu, Walter (Vlad) Dubowski

(Live screening of exhibit is on the Art Loisiada Foundation Facebook page under SURVIVING COVID, and on the website for a virtual online art experience. Live opening reception April 27 6-8 pm, COVID restrictions apply; Gallery open Thursday, Friday Saturday, April  29 – April 1 from 6-8pm; ZOOM OPENING 05/08 @ 7 PM EST. Updated Posted on websites & social media).

Click here to view the Art Gallery on TNCs Website.

COVID Restrictions: Limit 25 people in gallery, must sign in, present certificate of vaccination or negative COVID test within 5 days, mask and social distancing.

Open ‘Tho Shut Finale

On Saturday, April 17 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Theater for the New City (TNC), will present a mixed music and performance lineup for the twenty-third and final installment of “Open ‘Tho Shut,” its afternoon of “walk-by theater” that is staged in its set shop and visible from East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues.

The theater will resume indoor performances on April 22.  So April 17 will be the finale for the “Open ‘Tho Shut” series, which has been mounted every Saturday since November 14, 2020.

The program offers a succession of free, live performances in which acts are staged in the theater’s set shop for audiences of socially distanced passers-by, who watch through an open garage door on East Tenth Street. 

Schedule of 4.17.21 
-Mistress of Ceremonies: Crystal Field
COBU (all-female Japanese Taiko drumming and dance troupe of Yako Miyamoto, Ayaha Otsuka, Mayu Yamashita, Micro Fukuyama and Kana Matsui)
Kenya Wilson in an excerpt from a play by Alicia Foxworth
Songs by Justin Rodriguez and Natasha Velez
– Phoebe Legere and Crystal Field sing “Being Who You Are”

Streaming Host, Roy Chang
Sound and Lightning Director, Alex Bartenieff
Sound Engineer and Assistant Technical Director, Brian Park
Sound Assistant, Roy Chang
Audience and Actors Liaison, Bill Bradford and Richard Weber
Set Design, Mark Marcante
Set Painter, Lytza Colon
Press, Jonathan Slaff

Crystal Field in “Open ‘Tho Shut,” an afternoon of performances in Theater for the New City’s ChopShop Theater November 28, 2020. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.


The series was launched November 14, 2020 as part of “More Ways than Broadway’s,” a city-wide collection of safe and socially distanced pop-up performances to demonstrate small theaters’ readiness and desperate desire to physically reopen and to counteract the perception, based on formal Broadway, that legitimate theaters can’t reopen safely.  The performances were intended to demonstrate an Off-Off Broadway aesthetic that could allow smaller theaters to open safely at this time.

TNC pioneered walk-by theater in its 2020 Village Halloween Costume Ball October 31, when it reconfigured its set shop with lighting and sound to make it a venue for ten-minute plays.  The effort was named “Chopshop Theater.” Ten live performances were offered for revelers who might pass by on East Tenth Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues). They watched through an open garage door and were separated from the performers by a waist-high, see-through traffic barricade.  Standing spaces for audience members were delineated six feet apart with chalked pumpkins on the sidewalk.  Onlookers were urged to move on between performances so that the crowd would not become too large, health-wise.

The shop was renamed “The Chopshop Theater” for this series.  It is outfitted with an elaborate set by Mark Marcante and Litza Colon, full stage lighting by Alexander Bartenieff and a four-mic sound system. 

TNC requires all “Open ‘Tho Shut” performers to be tested before their appearances. Temperatures are taken as they arrive to perform.  Hand sanitizer is provided and microphones are sanitized between performances.  Masks are provided to any audience members who arrive without their own.  Emcees have a separate mic.

Previous editions of “Open ‘Tho Shut” are archived here:

TNC is Preparing to Open! Procedure and Etiquette for Attending and Producing

Procedure and Etiquette for Attending and Producing a Production
Theater for the New City 

To our beloved TNC family,

It is a known fact that the world has been a little darker since the closing of live theater, but we have tried our best to preserve and bring back some of that light. As much as we are trying our best to bring back the magical feeling of in-person theater, there will be new precautions to protect our amazing audience members.

The Theater has always been deemed a safe space, and therefore we will ensure that we will make everyone feel comfortable and secure while performing and watching our performances. Everyone who works here as our staff has been vaccinated. Both members of the production and audience members will need to show their vaccine card upon arrival. If they are not fully vaccinated then we require a negative Covid-19 test result taken within the past 3 to 5 days of arrival. The members of the audience will have to have a printed out version of the results in hand in order to expedite prompt show openings. Actors equity has ruled that equity members of any show must be fully vaccinated, and they can not come into contact with any member of the show in which they appear who has not been fully vaccinated. We understand that it may be difficult for everyone to get a vaccine in these current circumstances, but we want to make sure everyone is as safe as they can be.

We will be continuing with social distancing rules, as this has always been the CDC’s main priority in establishing safety. In our theaters we are going to have every other seat in every other row available for our lovely audience to be seated in. However, if people come in the same group of people they have been quarantining with, there will be sections made for them to sit together too.

The temperature will be taken at the door. Masks are always required from the moment you enter until you leave the building. We will also have hand sanitizer stations at the box office. We have also put in a new air filtration system in our HVAC systems so everyone can feel safe while existing in our artistic walls.

Theater for the New City has always been a home to all artists, and community members from all around the world. And home is always supposed to be the safest place. So please join us in welcoming our beloved artists and guests back home. Because although we’re sure you missed us from the past year, we can guarantee you we’ve missed you more.

See you soon,

Love N’ Courage Celebrates Spring Press Release


Event benefits theater’s emerging playwrights program.

NEW YORK, March 15, 2021 — Tim Robbins has joined the list of celebrities contributing performances for Theater or the New City’s 2021 “Love ‘N Courage” gala March 22, which benefits the theater’s emerging playwrights program.  Robbins joins Charles Busch, David Amram, F. Murray Abraham and Vinie Burrows in the roster of stars sharing prepared performances.

The program will also include performances by stars and Downtown luminaries, addresses by elected officials, a performance by students in the theater’s cultural arts program and highlights from the theater’s “Open ‘Tho Shut” weekly walk-by theater series, which will have played for 20 weeks by the date of the gala.  The event will begin streaming at 7:00 PM.  Tickets are $200 and available on the theater’s website,

Tim Robbins cut his acting teeth at Theater  for the New City, appearing in its annual Street Theater musicals when he was twelve and continuing until he was 18.  His family’s affiliation with the theater preceded him: his sisters, Adele and Gabrielle, had been regular Assistant Directors before he became active there.  Robbins also starred at TNC in the title role of “The Little Prince” (1973), a musical adaptation by Laurel Hessing and David Tice of the classic book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry that was directed by Crystal Field.

TNC stalwarts performing at the gala will also include Phoebe Legere, Cobu (all-women Japanese Taiko drumming and dance company), British Music Hall (Mark Marcante and friends, with texts of chorus provided for sing-alongs), Pablo Raul (conductor of Mr. Pablo Band), Arthur Abrams (Yiddish songs from Lower East Side Festival of the Arts), Thunderbird American Indian Dancers (Deer Dance), Yip Harburg Rainbow Troupe (songs by E.Y. “Yip” Harburg), Carol Tendava (Belly Dance), and Michael David Gordon, Justin Rodriguez and Natasha Velez (in songs from last summer’s TNC Street Theater oratorio, “Liberty or Just Us: a City Park Story”). 

Theater for the New City turns 50 this month.  The event salutes that milestone and has been scheduled for March 22, in the rebirth of early Spring, to celebrate theater’s rise from the ashes of Covid-19.  With New York arts venues now allowed to reopen April 2 (to limited audiences), funds from this benefit will enable TNC to “hit the ground running” when reopening.

Elected officials offering greetings will include Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Carlina Rivera.

The event will also feature a song written by students in TNC’s afterschool cultural arts program which was performed in its culminating event on February 21, and a montage of images from “TNC On The Air” hosted by John David West.

Theater for the New City (TNC) is a four-theater complex at 155 First Avenue.  It started out in March 1971 in the Westbeth Artists Community and moved to a new home at 133 Bank Street (later known as the Jane Street Theater) that same year. In 1977, the theater moved from the West Village to the East Village, converting the former Tabernacle Baptist church at 156 Second Ave. near East 10th Street into a cultural complex with a rehearsal room and three theaters. Its final move, to the former Second Avenue Retail Market at 155 First Ave, was completed in 1986.  Each migration was the result of gentrification that was catalyzed, at least partly, by the success of the theater.  TNC made the final payment on the mortgage for its present building in 2013.  Although the institution operates with very low budgets for its productions, its stability as an organization is a miracle in New York’s volatile and challenging theatrical landscape.

TNC’s awards include the Pulitzer Prize, 43 Village Voice OBIE Awards (including a grant and citation for “uncompromising commitment to unconventional and daring plays”), eight Audelco Awards, two Bessie Awards, five ASCAP Awards, 10 Rockefeller Playwrights Fellowships, The Mayor’s Stop the Violence Award, the Manhattan Borough President’s Award for Public Service and Artistic Excellence in Theater, and a NY City Council Proclamation that pays tribute to TNC’s contributions to improving the quality of life in the City by its “rich tradition of bringing theater to people in multi-cultural neighborhoods.”

The Emerging Playwrights program is integral to the theater’s mission, which includes being a center for new and innovative theater arts, discovering relevant new writing and nurturing new playwrights. TNC does not believe that readings are enough help for an artist to grow into the American playwriting mainstream.  So the theater gives emerging artists full productions, with a minimal run of three weeks, full lighting, sets, costumes and overall good production values.  The theater staff does marketing to make sure they have audiences, and ticket prices are kept low to ensure good attendance.

Each year there are between 20 and 30 emerging playwrights presented.  No other theater approaches the volume of work by emerging playwrights that TNC has presented in the 50 years since its founding. 

Playwrights are selected for the quality of their work and their historical and social vision.  Executive Director Crystal Field declares, “That is our ballast.  Everything else is just decoration.”  Many colleges have playwriting programs, but the process at TNC is different from what happens in university theaters because at TNC, the playwright is involved in all aspects of the production and has final say on everything including budget, casting, designers and choice of director.  The producer cannot fire the writer and there is no censorship in any way.  It’s a nurturing relationship in which the author is also invited to create a new work for the following season.  

Emerging playwright productions get to use the theater’s set and costume shops and its vast inventory of set pieces.  Each theater space is fully equipped and this year, TNC has added a projector and sound mixer.

The benefit committee includes Mary Tierney (Chairperson) F. Murray Abraham, David Amram, Tom Attea, Alexander Bartenieff, Patricia Bosworth, Jean Buchalter, Vinie Burrows, Charles Busch, Janet Cooper-Piontek, Myrna Duarte, Carol Dudgeon, Crystal Field, Matthew Fitzgerald, Andrea Fulton, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Robert Gonzales, Jr., Robert Greer, Margaret Guarino, Philip Hackett, Alan Hanna, Deena & Ernie Harburg, Celia Kornfeld, David Lewis, Anne Lucas, Eduardo Machado, Nancy Manocherian, Mark Marcante, Audrey Heffernan Meyer, Alberto Minero, Louis Mofsie, Lissa Moira, Matt Morillo, Stephan Morrow, Richard Ploetz, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Tim Robbins, Liana Rosario, Gerald E. Rupp, Esq., Michael Scott-Price, Edward Shea, David F. Slone, Jean-Claude Van Itallie, Betsy Von Furstenberg (in memoriam), Jenne Vath, Joel Vig, Jonathan Weber, Patricia & Dr. Jay Weiner and Frank Zuback.

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For photos of recent TNC Emerging Playwright productions, go to: