Lower East Side Festival May 26-28 with ‘Art V Tyranny’ theme

Hundreds of performers converge in one of city’s biggest annual art fests

(Photo by: Peter Welch)

THEATER FOR THE NEW CITY - Theater for the New City is presenting its 22nd annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, a massive annual performance marathon in and around the theater, May 26-28.

The three-day downtown arts festival, whose theme this year is Art V Tyranny , seeks to show a lively downtown arts scene in an era when everything from funding cuts to technology puts pressure on the arts.

The festival includes hundreds of well-known and emerging artists ranging from theater to dance, music to movies, a street fair and art exhibit.

This celebration collectively provides a showcase of downtown’s artistic diversity and energy, while seeking to “take up art” against a sea of troubles.

Performance artists Phoebe Legere and Reno, cabaret singer K.T. Sullivan and playwright Mario Fratti are among those slated to present work his year.

Legislators such as New York City Council Member Rosie Mendez, New York State Assembly Members Deborah Glick and Carmina Rivera and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer or their representatives are expected to attend.

Assembly Member Glick in a citation honoring the theater for its festival in the past cited it as a “celebration of our community’s entertainers and artists” that provides “an opportunity for community members to experience and engage in arts of all kinds.”

The theme of Art V. Tyranny, with the V as a kind of victory sign, seeks to shine a spotlight on the need for the arts for a healthy life and economy.

It also refers to a wide range of forces challenging the arts, ranging from cuts to technology that leads people away from and threaten live performances and the livelihood of artists.


“We definitely face tyranny,” TNC Executive Director Crystal Field said of what she views as moves that could cut or eliminate funds to the arts. “They start with undocumented immigrants. Then it’s documented immigrants. It won’t just be the arts.”

Field believes art is being targeted for cuts among decisions that often go after society’s most vulnerable, including immigrants.

The event, whose theme seeks to attract attention to the need for a lively arts community, last year had the theme of “Art has no Walls” or artists without boundaries.

“We’re also resisting other things,” Richard West, a singer, musician and member of the festival’s advisory board, said regarding pushing back beyond funding cuts. “Ignorance and indifference.”

The festival has become a part of New York City’s cultural life, as well as a platform for artists and opportunity for audiences to view a vibrant downtown scene.

Downtown today is thriving, filled with restaurants, retailers and entertainment, but the festival started when the arts faced a very different attack.

Field and Esther Garcia Cartagena, executive director of Loisida Inc., conceived of the festival as a way to shine a positive light on downtown when the area faced big drug and crime problems.

“We wanted to tell the world that it was also a haven for art, for artists,” Field said. “It was the great birthplace of new art.”

While many things have changed in the downtown art scene, TNC remains part of it with four theaters that at any given moment present new work.

And the festival’s logo remains the same colorful mosaic that it was during the first year, a tribute to the region itself as a mosaic of culture, backgrounds and nations.

“This was originally done by a Lower East Side artist, Christopher Tanner,” Field said of the image that signifies the festival.

As part of the festival, TNC typically closes down Tenth Street between First and Second Aves. for a street festival filled with vendors.

This Years Schedule


6:00-6:30 Maquina Mono- Latin Dance Band

6:32-6:42 Yara Arts

6:44-6:54 Ben Harburg and Friends- Yip Harburg Foundation Raibow Troupe

6:56-7:06 Aditya Rawal- “The Queen”

7:08-7:18 Anne Lucas- “Accidental Death”

7:20-7:40 Rod Rodgers Dance Company

7:42-7:52 Mike Lesser

7:54-7:56 The Rogue Dancers

7:58-8:08 Xoregos Performing Group

8:10-8:20 Chinese Theatre Works

8:22-8:37 Thunderbird American Indian Dancers/Silver Cloud Drummers and Singers

8:39-8:49 “Josh, the Black Babe Ruth”

8:51-9:11 Mario Fratti’s “Brooklyn”

9:13-9:19 Tosos

9:21-9:31 George Ferencz and the Experiments “Prague 1912”

9:33-9:43 Luba Mason

9:45-9:55 Vinie Burrows

9:57-10:07 The Cell “Shoppin’ for Niggahs” by Garlia Cornelia

10:09-10:19 Jonathan Fox Powers

10:21-10:31 Tammy Faye Starlight

10:33-10:43 Zero Boy

10:45-10:55 Peter Welch’s “Sinkholes”

10:57-11:07 “Grandtheft Musical”

11:09-11:19 “Mary V”

11:21-11:31 David Vernon

11:33-11:53 Bina Sharif

11:55-12:05 Jacob Storms

12:07-12:17 Greg Dubin

12:19-12:29 Morten Millen

Friday Downstairs

6:30-7:00 Robert Varkony and his band Star 69

7:02-7:12 Sarah Lilly

7:14-7:24 Dennis Wit (If has his own accompanist)

7:26-7:36 Lei Zhou/Ron Ryan

7:38-7:48 Prism Stage Company

7:50-8:00 David Jacobsen

8:02-8:12 Loretta Auditorium

8:14-8:24 Cathie Barouch

8:26-8:36 RWM Playwrights Lab, Larry Myers (Director)

8:38-8:48 Norman Savitt

8:50-9:00 Tanya Solomon

9:02-9:12 Austin Alexis

9:14-9:24 August Strindberg Rep

9:26-9:36 Ed Malin’s “Doctor’s Life”

9:38-9:48 The Drilling Company

9:50-10:00 Kitch

10:02-10:12 Jesse Cohen

10:14-10:24 Puss & Puss

10:26-10:36 Dada, NY

10:38-10:48 Joe Bendik

10:50-11:00 Peter Dizozza

11:02-11:12 Roman Primitivo’s adaptation of “Sandman”

11:14-11:24 Fairytale Marionettes

11:26-11:36 Stan Baker

11:38-11:48 Fresh Fruit

11:50-12:00 Richard Weber


6:00-6:30 Art Lillard’s Heavenly Big Band

6:32-6:42 John Grimaldi

6:44-6:54 Tom Diriwachter’s “The Irish Goodbye” directed by Mary Tierney

6:56-7:06 Malik Work

7:08-7:18 Ego Actus

7:20-7:30 Trav S.D.

7:32-7:42 Arthur Abrams

7:44-7:54 Suzana Cook

8:56- 8:06 Frankie Amadeus accompanied by David Lewis

8:08-8:28 Judy Gorman

8:30-8:50 Ashley Liang- Ashley Dance Center

8:52-9:02 “Northbound” by Marvalee Peart

9:04-9:24 David Amram

9:26-9:36 Kinding Sindaw

9:38-9:43 Constellation Moving Company

9:45-9:55 Yangtze Repertory Theatre of America

9:57-10:07 New Yiddish Rep

10:09-10:19 Paloma Munoz- Electric Tango

10:21-10:31 Crystal Field/Eduardo Machado “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”

10:33-10:53 Phoebe Legere

10:55-11:05 Allessandra Belloni

11:07-11:17 Wiseguise

11:19-11:29 Michael Vazquez

11:31-11:51 Penny Arcade

SUNDAY UPSTAIRS (Updated 5/19)

6:00-6:30 Cobu- all girl dance and drum group

6:32-6:42 Dixon Place- Ran Xia

6:44-6:54 Richard West

6:56-7:06 The Rogue Dancers

7:08-7:18 KT Sullivan accompanied by Jon Weber

7:20-7:30 Faceboy

7:32-7:47 Andrea Fulton’s “Rooftop Joy”

7:49-7:59 Von Duvois Dance Company

8:01-8:06 Glitter Kitty

8:08-8:14 Infinity Dance Company- Kitty Lunn

8:16-8:26 Misha Shulman’ “From the Walls of your House” a Talmudic play

8:28-8:38 Kaoru Ikeda

8:40-9:00 Barbara Kahn’s “Actors on ICE”

9:02-9:12 David Lewis

9:14-9:24 National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

9:26-9:36 Gretchen Cryer accompanied by David Lewis

9:38-9:58 Epstein and Hassan

10:00-10:10 Louisa Bradshaw

10:12-10:32 Lissa Moira

10:34-10:44 Bobbie Horowitz

10:46-11:06 Reno

11:08-11:18 Inma Heredia

11:20-11:30 Melanie Gall sings Edith Piaf

11:32-11:42 Robert Gonzales sing Broadway Showstoppers

11:44-11:54 Bennett Pologe and James Parks

12:56-12:06 Charlie Romo

12:08- Le Squeezebox Cabaret- David F. Sloane Esq. and Company

Sunday Downstairs

6:30-7:00 Burning City Orchestra

7:02-7:12 13th Street Rep

7:14-7:21 Amios 

7:23-7:33 Fran McGee

7:35-7:45 Evan

7:47-7:54 Amios

7:56-8:06 Vernita N’Cognita

8:08-8:18 Lower East Side Performing Arts

8:20-8:30 Kristina Leath-Malin’s “My Final Girl”

8:32-8:42 Peter and Judy

8:44-9:01 Stephan Morrow’s “Looking Back at Bangkok and Beyone”

9:03-9:13 Textile Theater Company

9:15-9:25 Margo Lee Sherman

9:27-9:37 Greta Keating

9:39-9:49 Hallie Haas- Upright Citizen’s Brigade

9:51-10:01 Xoregos Performing Company

10:03-11:13 Kevin Xu- Folk songs from Ancient China

10:15-10:25 Elizabeth Ruf

10:27-10:37 Eva Dorrepaal

10:39-10:49 Squeaky Bicycle

10:51-11:01 Bob Homeyer’s “I was an Only Child”

11:03-11:13 Evan Lawrence

11:15-11:25 Ellen Steier

11:27-11:37 Victor Vauban

11:39-11:49 Melange- Richard West and Susan Mitchell


For an Artist Agreement form CLICK HERE

For a Vendor Agreement form CLICK HERE

May 26th, 27th and 28th

Admission is FREE!

Friday, Saturday And Sunday Evenings: 

Saturday Afternoon:

12:00 PM - 5:00PM Outdoor:

Fair, performance, and food.

2:00 PM - 5:00 PM Indoor: 

Youth Program.

Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 254-1109
Fax: (212) 979-6570

E-mail: info@theaterforthenewcity.net

Click Here for information on submitting a script!