Look for the weird, the classic, the new and the musical at the Midtown International Theatre Festival (MITF), which will run in New York City from Aug. 9 - Sept. 3. All told, some 19 companies will present nine full length performances as part of the three-week event.
Rooted in the Off-Off-Broadway scene and produced by John Chatterton, the publisher of oobr ("the off-off-broadway review") in association with New Perspectives Theatre, the MITF will run at four midtown venues chosen for their convenience (all within four blocks of Eighth Avenue and W. 42 St.), their safety and their up-to date amenities including air conditioning. At the festival's end, three MITF venues will host a “Best of the Fest” week, featuring the most popular shows of the series. "Best of the Fest" will run Aug. 27 - Sept. 3. Exact play information and show times will be released when available.
Tickets for each individual show are $12, students and seniors with ID pay $10. A festival pass for all 19 shows runs $99. MITF tickets are available on-line at CultureFinder.com, or via Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200. For information visit www.oobr.com. The following partial list of MITF productions was provided directly from the MITF and is organized by venue.
The Pantheon Theatre, 303 W. 42 St.
• American Story by Laurel Vartabedian and Bill Evans. A musical about the conflict between coal miners and the Rockefellers that came to a head in the Ludlow, Colorado strike and subsequent massacre of 1914. The MITF performance will mark the show’s East Coast premiere. • Durang by the Dozen: No Guns, No Sofas. Twelve short plays by Christopher Durang presented by the two-time OOBR Award-winning Lightning Strikes Theatre Co., a mainstay of Off-Off-Broadway.
• Java Jive by Hank Meyerson. An evening of six comic one-act plays that meditate on life, love, and the role of coffee in our lives.
• Top-Less Go-Go Girls at the Troll Hole by Charles Battersby. This late-nite show offers a glimpse of the everyday goings-on among the denizens at a New York City leather bar.
The Common Basis Theatre, 750 Eighth Avenue, #500
• Barstool Words by Josh Ben Friedman, is a dark play about youthful relationships, alcohol, and violence. The show had a sold-out run in Canada under director Jeff Glickman.
• Little Delusions comprises three one-act plays by the venue’s host, The Common Basis Theatre Company in a search for the "truth in relationships that aren’t working."
• The Lover by Harold Pinter. One of Pinter’s shorter works, The Lover is a comic look at modern marriage and how couples choose to continue their lives together after comfort and familiarity set in.
• A Memory Play by Bob Stewart. A comedy about what happens when a playwright tries to rewrite his parent’s wedding day...so they don’t get married.
• The Women in My Soul by Owen Robertson and Michael David Brown. This one-person show features Brown in an acting tour-de force; not a drag act, just one man exploring what it means to be a woman.
Raw Space, 529 W. 42 Street, Studio “L”
• Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss. Presented by the Castillo Theatre Company, the full title is actually The Persecution and Assassination of Jean Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis De Sade.
• Cognomen by Peter Galman. Galman, an accomplished Broadway and Off-Broadway actor, reflects on growing up Catholic and “the immortal part of sex.”
• A Selection of Plays by G.B. Shaw:How He Lied to Her Husband and The Music Cure. These one-acts presented by the Deptford Players, represent comic jewels that dot the flood of Shaw’s prose.
• Three Plays by Beckett presented by Tim O’Leary: The one-acts by Samuel Beckett include A Piece of Monologue, Act Without Words II, and Not I.
New Perspectives Theatre, 750 Eighth Avenue, #601
• Cultural Refugee by Wednesday Kennedy. The Australian writer/performer’s edgy and darkly witty observations create a unique perspective on American culture. A one-woman tour-de-force combining music, slide projection, and powerful characterizations. • I Took Your Name written and performed by Michael Howard Nathanson, centers on a man who may or may not be rock star Michael Stipe of R.E.M. fame. This provocatively funny show won a Best of Fringe Festival Pick in Montreal and was named one of the Top Ten Plays of the Year in Vancouver.
• Pericles by William Shakespeare. Presented by What We Will Productions.
• Splash! 2000. New short plays written by resident playwrights of the Waterfront Ensemble: Taste of Yes by Luigi Jannuzzi,What Kind of Person Is Tarzan? by Suzanne Marshall, Shaft’s Illegitimate Half Brother by Stephen D. Coleman, Enormous by Kerri Kochanski, Park Bench Bingo by Kathryn Milea, Snacks and Meals by Jeff Baskin, Monkey’s Paw 2000 by N.G. McClernan, The Pussy In Question by Robin Rothstein.
-- By Murdoch McBride