THE WEEK AHEAD July 5-11: NYMF Hits New York and the Philharmonic Takes to the Parks

By Blake Ross
05 Jul 2014

Nick Cearley in Pageant
Nick Cearley in Pageant
Photo by Jenny Anderson

Playbill.com's weekly planner reminds you that free summer music and theatre offerings take over Manhattan… No more keeping up with the Joneses… Shakespeare in the Park says adieu to Ado… Broadway returns to Bryant Park… and Audra McDonald and Sherie Rene Scott take on "The First Wives Club."

School's out for summer this WEEK AHEAD!

Saturday, July 5
PREVIEWS→ The '90s campy musical comedy Pageant returns to its Off-Broadway roots. The Bill Russell and Frank Kelly musical follows six male drag performers competing for the Miss Glamouresse crown, with members of the audience picked as judges. Officially opens July 14. (Davenport Theatre, 354 W. 45th St., btwn. 8th & 9th Aves. Click here for Playbill Club discount tickets. 

Sunday, July 6
LAST CHANCE→ An all-star foursome — Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, Tony winner Tracy Letts, Michael C. Hall and Toni Collette — star in downtown darling Will Eno's first Main Stem production, The Realistic Joneses. The quirky comedy, helmed by Sam Gold, follows two couples that migrate to a quiet town in the search of simpler lives and the cure for a debilitating disease. (Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th St., btwn. 6th & 7th Aves. Info.) 



LAST CHANCE (FREE)→ Shakespeare in the Park pros Hamish Linklater and Lily Rabe take center stage in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing. Tony winner Jack O'Brien directs the classic comedy about tempestuous would-be lovers, Beatrice and Benedick, which also stars Tony winners Brian Stokes Mitchell and John Glover. (Delacorte Theater, Central Park, enter at 81st St. & Central Park West or 79th St. & 5th Ave. Info/tickets.) 

Monday, July 7
GO→ The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) returns to the Big Apple chock-a-block with dozens of new musical works from emerging artists. Known as one of the top incubators for new talent in Manhattan, this year's NYMF offerings run the gamut from satire (read: musicals about everything from Oprah Winfrey to Wikipedia to the Clintons), to family-friendly fare modified for kids with autism (Rescue Rue and The Snow Queen), to rock musicals with heart (Coming of Age and the war-themed Deployed the Musical), to historical fiction (Mr. Confidential) and jukebox musicals (the country music tuner Somewhere With You). (Through July 27, various locations. Click here for a full schedule of events/tickets.) 

GO→ Audra McDonald, Sherie Rene Scott, Lili Taylor, Will Swenson, Jeremy Shamos, Rebecca Naomi Jones and more star in a one-night-only reading of the screenplay of "The First Wives Club," the 1996 comedy that starred Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton. The property is getting a lot of buzz as of late with a tuner based on the popular flick bound for Broadway in 2015. Proceeds from the reading benefit the Actors Fund's Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative. (8 PM, Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St., btwn. 9th & 10th Aves., tickets start at $100. Info/tickets.) 

Chris Colfer
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Tuesday, July 8
GO (FREE)→ "Glee" star turned YA author Chris Colfer makes an appearance at Barnes & Noble for the premiere of the latest in his The Land of Stories series, "A Grimm Warning." (7 PM, Barnes & Noble, 33 E. 17th St., btwn. Broadway & Park Aves. Info.) 

Wednesday, July 9
GO (FREE)→ The New York Philharmonic kicks off another season of their beloved free concerts in parks around the five boroughs. This premiere event finds the Phil, under the baton of Alan Gilbert, at Brooklyn's Prospect Park. (8 PM, Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza, at 9th St. or Bartel-Pritchard Circle at the intersection of Prospect Park West, Prospect Park Southwest & 15th St. Info.) 

Thursday, July 10
GO (FREE)→ Broadway in Bryant Park, the annual free summertime concert series, returns to the main lawn in its namesake park. The kickoff promises performances by Stomp, Rocky, Wicked and If/Then. (12:30 PM, Thursdays through Aug. 15, Bryant Park, 6th Ave., btwn. 40th & 42nd Sts. Info.) 

Friday, July 11
PREVIEWS→ Austin Pendleton directs the latest from Stephen Adly Guirgis, Between Riverside And Crazy. Victor Almanzar, Elizabeth Canavan, Rosal Colón, Liza Colon-Zayas, Tony nominee Stephen McKinley Henderson, Michael Rispoli and Ray Anthony Thomas star in the urban story about an ex-cop struggling to stay in a rare New York City rent-stabilized apartment. Officially opens July 31. (Linda Gross Theatre, 336 W. 20th St., btwn. 8th & 9th Aves. Info/tickets.)