Lower East Side Festival of the Arts 2020

May 22 – May 24



MAY 22-24, 2020

Coronavirus will not quench the artistic output of this fabled neighborhood.

NEW YORK, May 21 — With the roster still building, Theater for the New City has currently scheduled over 150 performing arts organizations, independent artists, poets, puppeteers and film makers for its 25th annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts, which will be mounted virtually for the first time May 22 to 24, 2020.  All events and performances will be seen on the theater’s website, www.theaterforthenewcity.net.  

Events will stream from 6:00 PM Friday, May 22 to 11:59 PM Sunday, May 24. Attendees will be able to select disciplines and artists from the website’s online timetable and index.  



  • 13th Street Repertory Theatre, selection from “Handicapped God”
  • Toby Armour, “They Will Come” with Richard Quint
  • Charles Busch, TNC Play Excerpts
  • Susana Cook and Timo Hughes, “Are You There?”
  • Walter Corwin, “Curse of the Aging Fortune Teller”
  • Selection from “The White Blacks” by Melanie Maria Goodreaux
  • “The Disputation,” a play by Hyam Macoby, directed by Robert Kalfin, starring Theo Bikel
  • Barbara Kahn, ”The End of Time” performed by Jenne Vath
  • John Jiler, “His High School French Teacher”
  • La Mama, Nicky Paraiso in “Song from a Tropicland”
  • Anne Lucas, an original monologue
  • Eduardo Machado, “Another Time When the World Fell Apart” 
  • Ed Malin 
  • A selection from “Ella the Ungovernable” by David McDonald
  • “Earth’s Renaissance Circle” A Satirical Sci-Fi written by Lissa Moira, performed by Zen Mansley, Lissa Moira, Susan Mitchell, Louisa Bradshaw, and J. Alan Hanna
  • Stephan Morrow, “The Assassination of J. Kaisaar & the Rise of Augustus – The Sopranos Meet Mad Max” and “Rock Tavern – Portrait of a Young Artist as a Young Man – From Gotham”
  • Eve Packer in “Ms. Martha Says,” written and directed by William Electric Black
  • Bennet Pologe, “Shakespeare and His Editor”
  • Viktoriya Papayani, an excerpt from “Clara: Confessions”
  • Austin Pendleton and Katharine Cullison in “Playing Sinatra” by Bernard Kops
  • Elizabeth Ruf in “Room with Stars”
  • Yolanda Rodriguez, “The Prince From West 157th Street”
  • Tabula RaSa NYC Theater/Bae Kwan Gong Theater, Selection from “Good at Heart”
  • John Talerico and Susan Mitchell in “Danny and The Deep Blue Sea”, directed by Lissa Moira
  • Textile Theater Company in “The Messenger” by Claude Solnik
  • Jennifer Tuttle, “Immigration Story” (a CUNY production)
  • “House of Spirits” by David Willinger (a CUNY production)
  • “Family Business” by Tom Diriwachter, directed by Jonathan Weber, with Greg Mullavey


  • Roman Primitivo Albear, “UBU REX” and “Sandman”
  • Ana-Maria Bandean and Gemma Forbes, “Stop Kiss”
  • Walter Corwin, “Little Red/Little Pink” directed by Dan Kelley
  • DADAnewyork in “Eight Republicans” by Jason Sturm and Robert Hieger. Featuring Joanie Fritz Zosike, Lois Kagan Mingus, Be LaRoe and Robert Hieger
  • The Drilling Company, Artistic Director: Hamilton Clancy, in “A Midsummer Night’s Zoom – Shakespeare in the Zooming Lot” with Brad Frost, Kathleen Simmonds, Mary Linehan and Eddie Shields
  • Folksbiene National Yiddish Theater in “Einstein/Weinstein” by Dzigan and Schumacher
  • Metropolitan Playhouse, scene from “The Rope” by Eugene O’Neill, Artistic Director Alex Roe, featuring Talia Cuomo, Jamahl Garrison-Lowe, Marty McDonough, and David Logan Rankin 
  • Nuyorican Poets Café, Rome Neal in a scene from Ishmael Reed’s “The Preacher and the Rapper”
  • Bina Sharif, “The Award” with Sharif and Kevin Mitchell Martin
  • Chris Simmons, “Evans Dog Hospital”
  • “Kitchenette” by Ronald Tavel (Theater of the Ridiculous)
  • Teatro Theatre Group, scene from the play “Casa Mañana” performed by co-writers Jerry Soto, Zac Jaffee and Zahydé Pietri
  • Textile Theater Company, “The Birthday Present” by Claude Solnik
  • “Toshiba” by Peter Welch, with Eva Dorrepaal, Michael Gentile and Larry Fleischman. Directed by Peter Welch.
  • Xoregos Performing Company, “Passing Fancies” by Donna Spector, with Kristin Devine and Seth Leighton Hale, directed by Shela Xoregos
  • “Coming In” by Peter Zachari


Individual performances at 8:00 PM, group discussion at 9:00 PM

  • Crystal Field (intro)
  • David Amram
  • Phoebe Legere
  • Austin Pendleton
  • Penny Arcade
  • F. Murray Abraham
  • Charles Busch
  • William Electric Black 

THEATER (comedy)

  • Stan Baker
  • Izzy Church
  • Trav S.D.
  • Wise Guise, “The Zoom Meeting”
  • The Experimentals, “Double D” by C.S. Hanson, directed by George Ferencz, with John Andrew Morrison and Jenne Vath.


  • Katherine Adamenko, “Shelter in Place: Something for Your Mind”
  • Ashley Liang Dance Company, “Flowing Colors of Charming Flowers”
  • Alessandra Belloni with Danielle Hartman, Francesca Silvano, Peter de Geronimo, Fabiana Eramo, Danielle Lindsay, Juliet Gentile, and the Silver Cloud Native American Singers and Drummers honoring the memory of Kevin T. Tarrant
  • Sue Bernhard Danceworks with Courtney Lopes and Elisa Schreiber in “Perilune”
  • Constellation Moving Co., “The Journey of the Birds,” an aerial dance created and directed by Maia Ramnath, choreographed and performed by Michelle Arvin, Susana Morehouse, Susan Voyticky Zepe
  • Dixon Place, selections from “Dance Quarantine”
  • Glitter Kitty, “Desert Roses” choreography by Emily Vetsch, with Desira Barnes, Chelsea Retzloff, Emily Vetsch
  • H.T. Chen & Dancers in “South of Gold Mountain”
  • Kinding Sindaw
  • The Love Show & .357 Lover, “SEVERED: The Tragic Loves of Frankenstein’s Monster (excerpt)”
  • Wendy Osserman Dance Company, “Furious”
  • Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Choreography by Kim Grier-Martinez, Artistic Director. Rachel Lubell, General Manager
  • Sarazina Joy Stein and Emily La Rochelle, “Moon Map”
  • Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, “Returning Vets and War Trauma”
  • Zullo/RawMovement in “Our Garden/ How Exquisite Eternity/ The Piers”


  • David Amram
  • Arthur Abrams
  • Matt Angel
  • Donald Arrington
  • Alessandra Belloni
  • William Electric Black
  • Louisa Bradshaw 
  • Maude Lardner Burke
  • Cobu
  • Peter Dizozza
  • Downtown Music Productions in “La Creation Du Monde” by Darius Milhaud & Dance Cuba, composed by Isabelle Gann with soprano Darcy Dunn
  • Michael David Gordon and The Pocket Band in “Come Together”
  • Judy Gorman
  • Frances Rae Key, “Earth Cry” (great-granddaughter of Francis Scott Key, author of our national anthem)
  • Dawoud Kringle
  • Micha Lazare
  • Phoebe Legere
  • Art Lillard Jazz
  • Mark Marcante
  • Luba Mason (in performance with Al Jarreau)
  • Susan Mitchell
  • Marissa Mulder
  • Eric Nicolas
  • Mr Pablo Latin Party Band
  • Chloe Perrier 
  • Ruby Lynn Reyner 
  • Stuff We Like with Brian and Ashley Gonzales and special guest Jenay Puckett
  • Kalle Toivio, Organ Improvisations
  • Yip Harburg Rainbow Troupe
  • Robert Varkony and Star 69
  • Chris Wade
  • Wise Guise

THEATER (Musicals)

  • “American Soldier,” lyrics and music by James Rado, book by James Rado & Theodore Radomski, arrangements & music production by Marteen
  • “Cyberbabies,” book, music and lyrics by Craig Silver, directed by Lissa Moira
  • “Lady of the Castle,” a chamber opera by Mira J. Spektor, directed by Lissa Moira, arias performed by Amanda Yachechak
  • Cheryl Gadsden singing “The Death of Women,” a scene from Theater for the New City’s Street Theater: “SHAME or the Doomsday Machine,” lyrics C. Field, score Joseph Vernon Banks
  • Douglas McDonnell and Jonathan Fox Powers, selections from “Tom Jones” composed by John Taylor Thomas, lyrics by John Taylor Thomas and Lissa Moira, Directed by Lissa Moira
  • “No Brainer or The Solution to Parasites,” book & lyrics C. Field, music Joseph Vernon Banks
  • Yara Arts Group, “Winter Songs on Mars” created & directed by Virlana Tkacz


  • KT Sullivan
  • Eric Yves Garcia
  • Bobbie Horowitz
  • Evan Laurence, “Gender Screwed Ya”
  • Le Squeezebox Cabaret curated by David F. Slone, Esq.
  • Greg Dubin
  • Michael Lee
  • Aziza, “Left Out In The Rain” – Late Night – Put the kids to bed
  • Epstein and Hassan – Late Night – Put the kids to bed
  • Peter Zachari and Lori Funk, “The Confession” – Late Night – Put the kids to bed
  • William Electric Black, “Dance, Dance, Dance, In Your Underpants” – Late Night – Put the kids to bed

POETRY (curated by Lissa Moira)

  • Bob Rosenthal
  • Malik Work
  • Briana Bartenieff
  • Chocolate Waters
  • Coni Koepfinger
  • Elizabeth Ruf 
  • Bina Sharif 
  • Howard Pflanzner
  • Jim Feast
  • Vít Hořejš
  • Jonathan Fox Powers
  • Paige Cutrona
  • Lissa Moira
  • Larry Myers
  • Lois Kagen Mingus
  • Lola Rodriguez
  • Prince A. McNally
  • Richard West
  • Ron Kolm
  • Thelma Blitz
  • Michael Sanders
  • Susan Yung
  • Toni Hart
  • Tsaurah Litzky
  • Valery Oisteanu
  • W.H. Jiggers Turner
  • Joanie Fritz Zosike
  • Robert Hieger
  • Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
  • Yael Haskal, Video Poetry


  • Bread and Puppet Theater
  • Arlee Chadwick
  • Chinese Theatre Works (Kuan Yu Fang and Steve Kaplan)
  • Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre
  • Jane Catherine Shaw
  • Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, “Peter Pan”
  • Yuko Uchida


A selection of feature-length films and shorts, curated by Eva Dorrepaal

  • “Arlene’s World Famous” by Jorge Torres Torres
  • “Box of Nails” by Mark Borkowski
  • “Choke Artists,” written by T.D. White, directed by Chad Gardella
  • “Ding-a-ling-LESS” by Onur Tukel
  • “Don’t Be Like Roy” by Julianna Schley
  • “Elegy” by Chad Gardella
  • “Every End is a New Beginning” by David McDonald
  • “Final Position” by Nelson Farber
  • “Inside the Cage” by Kenichi Nakajima and Yuko Uchida
  • “Neverland” by Erik Wegner
  • “Park 51” by Christopher Capelluto
  • “Mr Hyde Transformation” Directed by David Zen Mansley
  • “Puta Libre” by Kevin Haefelin & Blaise Villars
  • “Safe Harbour Amsterdam” by Jack Luceno
  • “Scumbag” by Mars Roberge
  • “The Lessons by Alberto Ferreras”
  • “The Poet and the Professor” by Ariel Kavoussi
  • “Tru Romance” by Celine Dayan-Bonilla

CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL (curated by Donna Mejia)

  • Harlem Repertory Theatre (Keith Lee Grant, Artistic Director) and the Yip Harburg Lyrics Foundation (Deena R. Harburg, Executive & Artistic Director), Wizard of Oz: A Jazz Musical for All Ages 
  • Rod Rodgers Dance Company Youth Program, Artistic Director and Choreographer: Kim Grier-Martinez, General Manager: Rachel Lubell 
  • SFP Alvernian Drama Society, Director: Donna Mejia 
  • TADA! Youth Theater, Producing Artistic Director: Janine Nina Trevens, Associate Artistic Director/Resident Choreographer: Joanna Greer 
  • Brooklyn Irish Dance Company, Directors: Erin O’Donnell, Stacey Cox, Mallory Silliere, Alexandra Owensby 
  • Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, Director: Louis Mofsie 
  • FunikiJam Music, Director: Brian Barrentine 
  • COBU Kids, Director: Yako Miyamoto 
  • Sophie Star, Choreographers: Andye J and Ryan Heffington 
  • Theater for the New City After School Cultural Arts Program, Directors: Juan Villegas and Michael-David Gordon 
  • Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, Presents “Peter Pan” City Parks Foundation, Executive Director: Heather Lubov, Executive Artistic Director: Erika Elliott, Artistic Director: Bruce Cannon 
  • John Grimaldi, Big Apple Circus Clown Care Hospital Unit, Juggler


  • Tribal Elder Nii Gaani Aki
  • Michael Musto (columnist)
  • Brad Hoylman (NY State Senator)
  • Carlina Rivera (New York City Council Member)
  • Candice Burridge (Gardening & Composting)
  • The Hour of Lateral Thinking, a WBAI production – Janet Coleman and David Dozer, with Chris Cerf, David Finkel, Maggie Paley, and Bob Auld

VISUAL ART (curated by Carolyn Ratcliffe)

Works in various media by:

  • Anne Stanner
  • Anura Thamardt
  • Barbara Jaye Wilson
  • Carolyn Ratcliffe
  • David Barish
  • Dorine Oliver
  • Eileen Doster
  • Gilda Pervin
  • Ian Knife
  • Joan Meyer
  • Kathy Creutzburg Enos
  • Klay-James Enos
  • Kris Enos
  • Lindley Farley
  • Lorraine Forte
  • Marina Reiter
  • Mario Bustamante
  • Meg Boe Birns
  • Onno DeJong
  • Pat Arnow
  • Patricia Melvin
  • Peter Welch
  • Randy Jones
  • Ruth Oisteanu
  • Sally Young
  • Stephan Morrow
  • Surge V
  • Susan Strande
  • Susann Ferris-Jones
  • Valery Oistenau

LESPA – Mary Hurlbut, Soprano, Andrew Bolotowsky, Flute, performing “Five-Petal Proportion” from Elodie Lauten’s “The Two-Cents Opera”


On Saturday, May 23 at 8:00 PM, there will be a live concert of performances by David Amram, William Electric Black, Phoebe Legere, F. Murray Abraham, Penny Arcade, Austin Pendleton and Charles Busch. Following their performances, these major LES artists will do a virtual “sit around” and discuss Theater, Politics and “where we go from here.” 


This event started in 1996 as a three-day, indoor and outdoor multi-arts festival intended to demonstrate the creative explosion of the Lower East Side and the area’s importance to culture and tourism for New York City. It employed two theater spaces at TNC plus the block of East Tenth Street between First and Second Avenues.  For the past 24 years, it has been organized by TNC and a coalition of civic, cultural and business leaders and presented free to an average attendance of 4,000.  This year, with obligatory separation caused by Coronavirus, it is being mounted entirely on TNC’s website, with the possibility of sharing it with the world for the first time.

The 2020 festival is dedicated to essential workers: the frontline professionals who preserve our daily lives. These include professionals in the healthcare sector (doctors, nurses, EMT), government services (including fire, police, sanitation, mass transit, National Guard); public utilities, post office and other delivery services; private industries including eldercare, airports, food service workers, grocery store clerks and workers in such jobs as cashiers, stock clerks, security, airport, gas station attendants, pharmacists, funeral home workers, news providers, homeless services, food pantry workers and volunteers, janitorial staff, radio and TV engineers, communications network providers and more. 

The concept of the festival was developed by Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director of TNC and Esther Cartegena (d. 2006), President of Loisaida, Inc., to portray the Lower East Side (LES) as a haven for artists and artistic creation.  The region is a unique multi-ethnic community with an unusually high level of artistic vitality.  Large populations with differing languages and cultures coexist there successfully and a large artistic population helps glue the neighborhood together.  Its theaters are also an unprecedented source of tourism.  Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Buried Child,” was commissioned and first produced by TNC.  The committee envisioned an event that would demonstrate the region’s cultural fervor, its large artistic population and its multiplicity of ethnic influences to contradict the neighborhood’s stereotype as a dangerous refuge for drug dealers and criminal activity.

The first festival, presented June 14 to 16, 1996, featured over 100 attractions, drew favorable press and attracted crowds from all around the City.  Its success prompted TNC to continue the festival as an annual event.

Disciplines presented have always included theater, music, dance, poetry, puppetry, cabaret, visual art, film and kids’ programming.  


Festival Director Crystal Field. Assistant Director Tegan Georges. Emcees of the 2020 Festival: Crystal Field, Robert Gonzales Jr., Alberto Minero, Sabura Rashid and Susan Hemley. Curators: Crystal Field (Theater and Dance), Lissa Moira (Poetry), Carolyn Ratcliffe (Fine Arts), Donna Mejia (Kids’ Performances) and Eva Dorrepaal (Film).  Technical staff: David Aronson, John David West, Brian Park, Roy Chang, Alexander Bartenieff, and Mackenzie Surbey 

The LES Festival is created and organized by The LES Committee: David Aronson, Alex Bartenieff, Briana Bartenieff, Roy Chang, Robert Chin, Walter Corwin, Katharine Cullison, Eva Dorrepaal, Myrna Duarte, Carol Dudgeon, Crystal Field, Matthew Fitzgerald, Andrea Fulton, Tegan Georges, Robert Gonzales Jr., Melanie Maria Goodreaux, Robert Greer, J. Alan Hanna, Susan Hemley, Barbara Kahn, Dan Kelley, Anne Lucas, Ed Malin, Donna Mejia, Lissa Moira, Stephan Morrow, Brian Park, Emily Pezzella, Richard Ploetz, Carolyn Ratcliffe, Liana Rosario, Ramiro Sandoval, Ed Shea, Jonathan Slaff, David F. Slone, Esq., Claude Solnik, Mackenzie Surbey, Mary Tierney, Jenne Vath, Juan Villegas, Jimmy Walker, Jonathan Weber, Richard Weber, Peter Welch, John David West, Richard West, Suki Weston & Steve Hansen.

Press Representative: Jonathan Slaff

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PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE at https://photos.app.goo.gl/FZwNmzr82ERSUwDQA.