A Guide to Summer Theatre in NYC
A Guide to Summer Theatre in NYC

A Guide to Summer Theater in NYC

Theater is making its triumphant return in New York City. With Broadway shows releasing reopening dates, many Off-Broadway theatres already hosting audiences, and The Public declaring the return of Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater, the live arts scene is back, and there is so much to do.

Thanks to the effective COVID-19 vaccine rollout and warmer weather, art spaces have announced a slew of shows and theatrical events happening over the summer. Here is Broadway Direct’s compiled list of what’s going on in NYC this summer.

Excited for Broadway to return? Check out all Broadway reopening dates here.

Price: $70–$110 (two ticket pod)
Location: Daryl Roth Theatre (101 East 15th Street, Manhattan)
Dates: Now through September 5

The acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of Blindness, Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago’s dystopian novel by Tony Award–winning playwright Simon Stephens, directed by Walter Meierjohann, is a socially distanced theatrical event. Through spellbinding storytelling narrated by Juliet Stevenson and state-of-the-art design, it unveils the gripping story of a world changed forever, reminding us that from the darkness we will all emerge stronger. Ticket information can be found here.

Haunt Quest
Price: $55
Location: SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, Manhattan)
Dates: Now through June 6

Todd Robbins is back at it with a new immersive theater experience, Haunt Quest. “Mr. Robbins will use arcane retro-paranormal ghost-hunting techniques to open the souls of the living in order to invite the dead to return. The 75 minutes you will spend with him up in the Loft above the SoHo Playhouse will be like no theatrical event you have ever encountered before” as stated in the description of the event on the website. Ticket information can be found here.

Exquisite Corpse Company
Price: $35–$70
Location: Zoetrope’s Performance Space (134 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn)
Dates: Now through June 20

As stated on the website, “Exquisite Corpse Company is back with an interactive, immersive living diorama of 2020. Over the course of 35 minutes, the audience experiences an interactive, COVID-19 safe, live performance, and plays a role in dictating the way the story plays out. Linking moments of connection and loneliness with a surrealist twist.” Audience members peer inside a living room that is equal parts familiar and absurd as they experience a drama unlike any they’ve seen before. The play follows the biracial relationship between Angel and Bae as they navigate quarantine, BLM, the election, families, and, of course, their own union. There are scenes ranging from figuring out the best method of disinfecting groceries to coming to terms with the ways systemic racism has infiltrated our lives as Americans. There is no intermission. Ticket information can be found here.

Cinderella the Musical
Price: $40 and up
Location: The Players Theatre (115 MacDougal Street, Manhattan)
Dates: Now through June 6

This revival of Cinderella, an original musical by Michael Sgouros and Brenda Bell, is based on the beloved classic French fairy tale. Still your favorite story without the traditional Rodgers and Hammerstein music. Ticket information can be found here.

Restart Stages at Lincoln Center
Price: Free (tickets via lottery)
Location: The Restart Stage at Damrosch Park (West 62nd Street, between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenue)
Dates: Now through June 26, with performances to be announced

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is launching Restart Stages, the outdoor performance arts center constructed on the Lincoln Center campus. To help kickstart the performing-arts sector and New York City’s revival, Restart Stages featured 10 performances over the month of May, including a concert from Tony nominee Norm Lewis, a performance from singer-songwriter Martha Redbone, and more. Safety is top priority and guests must show a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event or a full vaccination completed 14 days prior to the event. Ticket information can be found here.

The Blues Brothers
Broadway at the Drive-in
Price: $125 and up
Location: Radial Park (27-50 1st Street, Queens)
Dates: May 27 through July 26

The Blues Brothers, directed by Kristine Bendul and Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva, is the latest “Broadway at the Drive-in” cinemersive experience at Radial Park. The show will feature a live band and theatrical performances timed in sync with the movie in a one-of-a-kind hybrid mashup. Leading the company are Broadway’s Charity Angel Dawson (Mrs. Doubtfire, Waitress) as Mrs. Murphy, Nick Rashad Burroughs (Radial Park’s Purple Rain, Kinky Boots) as Reverend Cleophus James, F. Michael Haynie (Wicked, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Elwood Blues, Brian Charles Johnson (Spring Awakening, American Idiot) as “Joliet” Jake Blues, and Antoine L. Smith (Carousel, The Color Purple) as Ray. Additionally, The Blues Brothers will feature Ladonna Burns and Anne Fraser Thomas as the Blues Sistas. Ticket information can be found here.

Curtains Up: Light the Lights
Roundabout Theatre Company
Location: Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, Manhattan
Date: June 7
Price: $105 and up

Roundabout’s 2021 Gala starring Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski will take place in person at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield while also being livestreamed. Per the event’s website, “participants will enjoy a safely seated dinner, a star-studded lineup of live performances and appearances, and a spectacular salute to theater in New York. Or watch from home with private access to the performance stream and have dinner delivered right to your door. All Gala proceeds benefit Roundabout Theatre Company’s many programs happening during the shutdown, safety protocols when our doors open again, and support for hundreds of artists and technicians who are eagerly awaiting the return to our stages.” Ticket information can be found here.

Immersive Van Gogh
Location: Pier 36 (299 South Street, Manhattan)
Price: $39.99 and up
Dates: June 4 through September 6

Immersive Van Gogh invites audiences to “step inside” the iconic works of post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh, evoking his highly emotional and chaotic inner consciousness through art, light, music, movement, and imagination. The gallery space offers patrons more than 500,000 cubic feet of animated projections. David Korins, the award-winning designer of numerous Broadway hits including Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen, will sculpt the Immersive Van Gogh public spaces, both exterior and interior. Korins will create numerous New York–specific installations, viewing platforms, and high-tech, experiential and interactive elements previously unseen in any other venue. Ticket information can be found here.

Merry Wives
The Public — Shakespeare in the Park
Price: Free
Location: Delacorte Theater (81 Central Park West, Manhattan)
Dates: July 6 through August 29

The Public’s 2021 summer season of Shakespeare in the Park kicks off with playwright Jocelyn Bioh’s reimagining of Merry Wives, directed by Saheem Ali. “Set in South Harlem amidst a vibrant and eclectic community of West African immigrants, Merry Wives will be a celebration of Black joy, laughter, and vitality,” according to The Public. “A New York story about the tricks of the heart, performed in the heart of the City.” Ticket information has not been made available yet. Find out more information here.