Summer Guide to Theatre

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Downtown Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Tired of waiting in the stifling heat for Shakespeare in the Park to no avail? Fear not; there's another free outdoor option to view the Bard's work. The Drilling Company's LES staple, taking place in the municipal parking lot at the corner of Broome and Ludlow streets, will present The Merry Wives of Windsor in July, followed by Coriolanus in August. Keep in mind that these productions are prone to interruption; the action occurs around parked cars whose drivers sometimes return and drive away mid-performance. Now that's something performers never needed to concern themselves with during the Elizabethan era! Thursdays-Saturdays, July 12-28 & Aug. 2-18, 8 p.m.; free. Broome St. at Ludlow St., Upper West Side Shakespeare in the Park It wouldn't be summer without a trip (or better yet, two) to the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, where the Public Theater presents Shakespeare in the Park. This summer, it isn't just the Bard taking the stage, however. In addition to As You Like It, starring Oliver Platt and Lily Rabe, there will also be a run of Stephen Sondheim's classic musical Into the Woods, featuring movie star Amy Adams and Broadway vet Donna Murphy. As You Like It opens June 5, Into the Woods opens July 2; free. The Delacorte Theater in Central Park, enter at W. 81st St. & Central Park West, Upper West Side Lincoln Center Theater Festival The esteemed arts institution will offer a diverse mix of live programming, including two works-Giselle and Orpheus and Eurydice-by the Paris Opera Ballet and a 70th birthday tribute to late soul great Curtis Mayfield on July 20. Performers will include Tunde Adebimpe, Meshell Ndegeocello, Ryan Montbleau, Sinéad O'Connor and Mavis Staples. The National Theatre of Scotland will perform Macbeth, starring Tony winner Alan Cumming as the famed Thane of Cawdor. And six years after playing Hedda Gabler at BAM, Cate Blanchett and the Sydney Theater Company will revive another Chekhov classic, Uncle Vanya. Completists can check out both this version and Annie Baker's adaptation at Soho Rep. July 5-Aug. 5. Lincoln Center, W. 62nd St. & Columbus Ave., Midtown Marble Collegiate Church New Work Festival Entering its second year, The Puzzle, Marble Collegiate Church's festival of new work, brings together a host of freshly written theater pieces from New York and around the country for a three-week workshop process culminating in a week of plays, musicals and spoken word. June 25-30; free. Marble Collegiate Church, 29th St. at 5th Ave., Midtown Signature Theater In its first season in its new three-theater Midtown home, the Signature Theatre will present Athol Fugard's My Children in Africa, Will Eno's Title and Deed, the world premiere of Kenneth Lonergan's Medieval Deed and Sam Shepard's Heartless, among others. In addition to the plays, the theater will offer talk-back programs with performers and playwrights as well as pre-show discussions with designers. Times and dates vary. Signature Theatre, 480 W. 42nd St., Citywide New York Musical Theatre Festival Featuring live music, workshops and full productions of brand-new musicals, the NYMTF has been giving New York audiences a chance to experience exciting musical theater without Broadway price tags (or tourists) since 1994. This year's lineup is particularly strong, with 30 musicals including A Letter To Harvey Milk, about a butcher sending a letter to Milk; Baby Case, Michael Ogborn's take on the Lindbergh baby's disappearance; and Prison Dancer, a show based on the Filipino prisoners who became a worldwide sensation thanks to their YouTube performances. July 9-29. Various locations, Citywide Fringe Fest Even at 16 years old, this annual marathon of offbeat, cutting-edge theater-which birthed Rent, among other memorable shows-is devoted to the new and the strange. This year's performances will include From Busk Till Dawn: The Life of an NYC Street Performer, Love Death Brains (A Zombie Musical), Occupy the Constellations: A Collaborative Revolutionary Puppet Tale and, all the way from California, a show called What I Learned From Porn. Not everything you'll see at the Fringe is great, but it's always done with humor and spirit, making it more interesting-if not quite as professional-than most other festivals. Aug. 10-26.

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