jakub | April 7, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | NYC’s Downtown Urban Arts Festival Lineup Announced

Savion Glover, Alexander Perez, Annie Brown, Bryan-Keyth Wilson, Arelia Johnson, Cris Eli Blak, James Bosley, Julian Sky, Lucy Wang, Marcus Harmon, Marita A. McKee, Mel Nieves, Rollin Jewett, Sarah Congress, Susan Justiniano (aka RescuePoetix), Taj Rauch, Emma Denson, and Willie the Genius.

NEW YORK CITY: The 21st annual Downtown Urban Arts Festival will open May 5-6 and continue June 7-24. The multi-disciplinary arts event held each spring at renowned New York venues presents performances and storytelling from America’s burgeoning multicultural landscape, sharing stories that interpret our history and current times. This year’s festival will present 16 plays (nine shorts and seven one-acts) by playwrights from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, North Carolina, and California. These plays explore pivotal and prevalent themes such as mental health, grief, book bans, colonization, hate crimes, dementia, police brutality, immigration, addiction, and internet culture.

The lineup includes The Bad in Each Other by Alexander Perez, Remembering Morgan by Annie Brown, sTrapped by Bryan-Keyth Wilson and Arelia Johnson, The Former Kings of Clutch City by Cris Eli Blak, Chiquita by James Bosley, Good Year, Arizona by Julian Sky, The Silver Menace by Lucy Wang, The Dandiest Duo by Marcus Harmon, Collide by Marita A. McKee, Caged by Mel NievesOur Little Secret by Rollin Jewett, Overdose by Sarah Congress, By the Light of the Ghetto Moon by Susan Justiniano (aka RescuePoetix), Ellsworth by Taj Rauch, Otis and Anna by Emma Denson, and Willie Gets Naked! by Willie the Genius.

Programming will kick off on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, when Savion Glover and Reg E. Gaines (Bring in ‘da Noise Bring in ‘da Funk) return to the Public Theater with the centerpiece production If Trane Wuz Here. Celebrating jazz great John Coltrane’s genius, Glover and Gaines, along with a special guest saxophonist, will use Trane’s magical melodies as suggestions for improvisation in an inspirational and educational evening of music, dance, and text.

The DUAF at large will continue Wednesday, June 7 through Saturday, June 24 at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater on 42nd Street.

The festival was founded in 2001 with the purpose of building a repertoire of new American theatre that echoes the true spirit of urban life and speaks to a whole new generation whose lives defy categorizing along conventional lines. Over the past 20 years, DUAF has presented nearly 300 new plays by over 200 emerging and established playwrights.

The Downtown Urban Arts Festival is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council. Arcos Communications is a founding sponsor of DUAF. It is presented by Creative Ammo Inc., receiving support as part of the Coalition Theaters of Color, a New York City Council initiative to support the operations and programming of theaters and cultural organizations primarily in communities of color.

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