Off-Broadway Theater Preview: 2020-2021 VIRTUAL SEASON (Primary Stages)

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by Lamont Williams on September 25, 2020

in Theater-New York,Virtual


New York’s Primary Stages is gearing up for the new fall virtual season. Included in the mix are The Tribute Artist by Charles Busch and The Night Watcher by Charlayne Woodard. Also, the Living Room Commissions, which is for artists who are creating new work in this time of evolution: Inda Craig-Galván, Kate HamillChesney Snow and Susan Soon He Stanton.


The Foundation Series celebrates the artists that are the bedrock of the Primary Stages family, revisiting them through a series of Virtual Readings. These artists are foundational members of the organization, whose work is a reminder of why it’s worth fighting for the theater.

The Tribute Artist
Written by & Starring Charles Busch
Directed by Carl Andress
September 30 – October 4, 2020

Originally presented in the 2013/2014 Season, Busch stars as an out-of-work female impersonator who, when his elderly landlady dies in her sleep, takes on her identity in order to hang on to her valuable Greenwich Village townhouse. This ‘perfect’ scheme goes awry and leads to a wild path of twists and reversals plotted by an eccentric rogues gallery of outrageous schemers. Expect Busch’s signature blend of quick-witted banter and gender-bending hijinks in this play by the master of farce.

The Night Watcher
Written and Performed by Charlayne Woodard
Fall 2020 (dates TBA)

The Night Watcher is an auto-biographical, one-woman play by actress-playwright Charlayne Woodard. These are stories of reaching out. And they cover a whole spectrum of feelings about the variety and diversity of African-American experience, as seen through the eyes of some of the wondrous young women who have moved through Ms. Woodard’s life. Simultaneously a best friend, advisor, confidant and sage to the many young people who call her “Auntie,” Woodard is childless only by biological standards. Told with penetrating grace and candor, Woodard beautifully weaves together stories of the ordinary and extraordinary ways she has mentored the children in her life.


Your living room will be rife with new and innovative works written for the virtual world. These one-acts will amplify essential voices while reinventing the form, ensuring we can still share stories while socially distant.

Soil Beneath: An Empirical Decay
by Chesney Snow
November 11 -15, 2020

Chesney Snow joins composer Diedre Murray for his new choreopoem commissioned by Primary Stages. Soil Beneath: An Empirical Decay is a visceral, timely and nuanced exploration of race, class and American political culture told through the mediums of poetry, storytelling, dance and music. (More information, dates and ticket on-sale dates for the other three commissions are forthcoming.)


Primary Stages Virtual Gala
Honoring NYC Public School TeachersAdam Gwon
Hosted by Judy Gold
October 21, 2020

Primary Stages will bring the party into your home with their Virtual Gala honoring the dedicated NYC public school teachers who are keeping theater alive at their schools. Primary Stages will also present the Einhorn Mentorship Award to long-time ESPA faculty member and Drama Desk-nominated composer/lyricist Adam Gwon (Scotland, PA; Ordinary Days). Performers, presenters and ticket information will be announced at a later date.

A Benefit Reading of A CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Charles Dickens
Adapted and Directed by Theresa Rebeck

This is a benefit reading of the Charles Dickens classic novel A Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by Theresa Rebeck. Everyone knows and loves the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, the mean-spirited miser who is visited by three ghosts and transformed to help a family in need. See this time-tested classic anew featuring Primary Stages family members from past, present and future in this virtual holiday celebration. Casting, dates and ticket information will be announced at a later date.


The free programming series Primary Plus: Virtual Community, will continue to create opportunities for connection while we remain socially distant this Fall with Master Classes and Lunch-and-Learn playwriting prompts with our Virtual Season artists, Read-Alongs of some of our favorite plays, events featuring our artists at ESPA and more! The Latinx Playwrights Circle, the Primary Stages Company-in-Residence, will present a Digital Reading Series as part of the Primary Plus programming. Primary Stages free Primary Plus programs are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Axe-Houghton Foundation and The Howard Gilman Foundation. More information will be announced in the coming weeks.


This program focuses on four Latino playwrights who will partner with four mentors — Migdalia Cruz, Carmen Rivera, J. Julian Christopher and Cándido Tirado — culminating in four new plays. Each Digital Reading will be led by a panel underscoring unique themes of Primary’s Latino playwrights’ new work.

Legends of Texas
By Nilsa Reyna
Monday September 21, 2020 at 7pm ET
Click here to RSVP for free.

By Noelle Viñas
Thursday September 24, 2020 at 7pm ET
Click here to RSVP for free.

Reservations for the other two readings will open at a later date.

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