The Mayor’s office partnered with local theatre groups to host a series of pop-up performances last weekend.
From Oct. 23-26 the groups put on “Off Broadway in the Boros: Pop-ups,” a series of free outdoor performances that builds off of the city’s “Broadway in the Boros” program. The series was a way to call attention to the important contribution small theatres make to New York City’s cultural fabric, while also providing support for artists and organizations struggling during the pandemic.
The performances were not announced ahead of time in an effort to avoid crowding. Videos of each performance will be available on each participating theatre’s website.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate New York City theatre in a safe and accessible way at a time when New Yorkers need it most and when our small theatres and artists need financial and promotional support,” said the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo. “Theatre is at the heart of what makes this the creative capital of the world and this series allowed us to bring back a bit of that magic to communities across the city.”
The weekend kicked off with a performance from Pregones-Puerto Rican Traveling Theater on Oct. 23 with theater artists and musicians combined Nuyorican pieces with a Dominican fusion of folk and contemporary music and the Roberto Clemente Plaza in the Bronx. That same day, the East Village’s La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club held a performance by storyteller, composer, pianist, artist and singer Dane Terry at Astor Place South and 4th Avenue in Manhattan.
On Oct. 25, the day started off with a dance and musical performance from Yackez, the married musical duo of Larissa and Jon Velez-Jackson, hosted by Queens’ The Chocolate Factory Theatre, at Lowery Plaza in Sunnyside. The second performance took place at the Myrtle/Wyckoff Plaza at the border of Brooklyn and Queens with Bushwick Starr hosting a performance by Whitney White and Dan Rosato of White’s musical and theatrical experience piece, “Definition,” which takes a surrealist look at an African American woman’s inner awakenings.
Finally, on Oct. 26 Kaleidoscope Entertainment and Staten Island Illuminart Productions paired up to bring a special program of song and dance featuring artists who perform under the name of the Hell’s Kitchen Happiness Krewe at St. George Ferry Terminal Plaza.
“In this time when NYC theatres must discover new ways to connect and engage with our artists and audiences, Off Broadway in the Boros are restorative events for local theatres and communities to come together in person to celebrate the necessity of arts in this city. It was moving to see and feel a performer in a public space share their humanity through their art,” said Mia Yoo, Artistic Director, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club.