Entertainment » Culture

Rubin-Vega Interprets the ’Crazy Pies’ of Sweeney Todd at LES

Wednesday May 21, 2014

"The Lower East Side (LES) Festival of the Arts" - one of the most exciting, eclectic and FREE annual festivals in all of New York City - will present a once in a lifetime performance from Broadway legend Daphne Rubin-Vega at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 23. The indispensable Theater for the New City (155 Fist Ave. at 10th St.) is sponsoring the event, which runs all weekend long from May 23 until May 25.

Daphne Rubin-Vega, star of Broadway's "Rent," "Les Misérables," "A Streetcar Named Desire" and, most recently, NBC's "Smash," will present a monologue from Aaron Mark's new play "Empanada Loca." Mr. Mark wrote and directed the drama, which finds inspiration in true events and the legend of Sweeney Todd.

The one-time performance is one of many happening in and around the Theater for the New City (TNC) during the 2014 "Lower East Side Festival of the Arts." As it is for the entire weekend, admission to the performance is absolutely free and available in a first come, first serve manner.

Presented annually by TNC - and led by Festival founder Crystal Field - LES is a multi-cultural, multi-generational cavalcade of FREE, FREE, FREE performances of music, dance, theater, film, comedy, aerial acts and entertainment for the whole family for three days over Memorial Day Weekend.

Among the many acts scheduled to perform after Daphne Rubin-Vega on Saturday are juggler and plate-spinner extraordinaire John Grimaldi of the NY Lyric Circus, a performance by the Rod Rodgers Dance Company and Cobu - a dance troupe known for its combination of traditional Japanese Taiko drumming with rhythmic tap dancing.

Bringing audiences together with scores of poets, musicians, performance artists, comediennes, and playwrights, "The Lower East Side Festival of the Arts" serve as a tribute to the men and women who have lived and created art on the Lower East Side of New York City throughout its history, and continue to do so today, many struggling to stay afloat in the neighborhood amidst the rising cost of living there.

This year's LES Festival is especially proud to announce that Crystal Field - Festival Founder and Theater for the New City Artistic Director - has received an "Acker Award," given annually for achievement in the Avant-Garde.

The theme for the 2014 Lower East Side Festival is "Art Stands Up to Power. Corporations Are Not People, Green vs. Greed."

Among those scheduled to perform at this year's LES: Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham, Wise Guise, Trav S.D., Le Squeezebox Cabaret, NY Lyric Circus with juggler and bubblemeister John Grimaldi, the aerial dance Constellation Moving Company, Burning City Orchestra, comedienne Penny Arcade, The Rod Rodgers Dance Company, chanteuse Louisa Bradshaw, musicians Phoebe Legere and David Amram, legendary TV pioneer Joe Franklin, scenes from a new musical adaptation of NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, and theater pieces by Pulitzer Prie-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, Eduardo Machado, Mario Fratti, Lissa Moira, Barbara Kahn, Larry Myers, Bina Sharif, Peter Welch, and Tom Diriwachter, and dozens more.

In addition to the live performances, local artist and activist Carolyn Ratcliffe will host an art gallery inside the lobby of The Theater for the New City. Curated by Ratcliffe herself, the gallery will feature paintings, photographs, and sculptures from many more Lower East Side and East Village artists. The gallery will have a special opening on Wednesday, May 21 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Theater for New City (TNC) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning community cultural center known for its high artistic standards and widespread community service. One of New York's most prolific theatrical organizations, TNC produces 30-40 premieres of new American plays per year, at least 10 of which are by emerging and young playwrights.

"The 19th Annual Lower East Side Festival of the Arts" runs in and around the Theater for the New City (155 1st Ave between 9th and 10th) throughout Memorial Day weekend.


Friday, May 23 - performances from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Special Performance from Daphne Rubin-Vega at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 24 - Outdoor Festival from noon to 5 p.m., Film Program from noon to midnight, Youth Program from 2 to 5 p.m.

Sunday, May 25 - Performances 6 p.m. to midnight, Poetry readings 4 to 7 p.m.

All events are free and open to the public. For additional information and a full performance schedule, please call Theater for the New City at (212) 254-1109 or visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net.


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