With the city reopening, one of New York’s cultural staples – street theatre – is revving back up.
Starting July 31, Theatre for the New City will open its summer 2021 tour with performances of an original musical, Critical Care, or: Rehearsal for a Nurse, in playgrounds, parks, and closed-off streets across the City.
Written and directed by Crystal Field, and composed and arranged by Joseph Vernon Banks, Critical Care is about a student who takes a job in a nursing home, only to be thrust into the double crises of Coronavirus and the Trump Presidency.
“Theatre, music and dance join hands to tell us how to find each other so that the terror of the Trump years will not happen again,” said the Theatre for the New City.
Field first began writing street theatre in 1968 Philadelphia, and there found an enormous appetite for “both modern and classical poetry when presented in a context of relevancy to social issues.” She went on write plays with the TNC, and has written and directed “a completely new opera for the TNC Street Theatre company each successive year.” Many of these plays combine political philosophy with humor in a genre she has called, “that brainy slapstick.”
Critical Care, which touches on issues from COVID to health insurance, from immigration to the Trump administration, is par for the course, as Field attempts to confront social and political issues in ways that can touch, transcend, and be accessible for the whole family.
A “rip-roaring musical,” Critical Care was composed and arranged by Joseph Vernon Banks, a composer who has written music for a number of TNC productions, including Liberty or Just Us: A City Park Story and No Brainer, or the Solution to Parasites.
With last year’s TNC Street Theatre production Liberty or Just Us livestreamed due to COVID, the company is excited to bring live, in-person performances back to New York City’s parks and streets. Free performances, which will touch all five boroughs, began July 31 and go every Saturday and Sunday, into September.