Three fabulous Off-Broadway offerings to start the weekend with a bang

This Friday, April 23, three acclaimed Off-Broadway companies get the weekend off to a great start with an enticing variety of offerings – a podcast, a livestream celebration, and a live in-person séance experience.

Radio Nowhere – Making its world premiere in Keen Company’s Hear/Now season of audio-theater re-imaginings of the classic radio play is the newly commissioned work by Brooklyn- and Boston-based playwright Kate Cortesi, who returns to the company after her 2019 KeenTeens comedy Citizens United. Directed by Taylor Reynolds, Cortesi’s latest piece recounts, with her signature thought-provoking wit, the attempt of young DJ Anonymous to save his strange little radio show by selling off an even stranger set of valuables, as his scrappy telethon turns into an exploration of grief, art, popularity, and the myth of the white male genius.

The irreverent three-hander stars award winner and Keen alum George Salazar (Be More Chill; tick, tick . . . BOOM!), along with stage-and-screen actors Alfredo Narciso and Amelia Workman. The fully-produced podcast is stage managed by Avery Trunko and audio engineered by Garret Schultz, with sound design and original music by Fred Kennedy.

Beginning on Friday, April 23, at 7 pm, Radio Nowhere streams free on the Keen Company website and all popular podcasting platforms. Listeners who are able to support Keen Company can purchase a season membership (starting at $1/month), which includes early access to all episodes and other exclusive perks (talkbacks with playwrights and artists, panels with experts, behind the scenes interviews, digital programs, opening night premiere parties, and more). As with all of the audio plays in the Hear/Now series, a full transcript will also be available for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons.

Shakespeare Sonnet SlamGingold Theatrical Group celebrates The Bard with a free virtual birthday bash, featuring a company of all-stars and you! It’s a Friday night come-as-you-are open-mic party (not a fundraiser), giving audiences the chance to join in the festivities by raising a glass, cutting the cake, and sharing one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, quotes, or a song based on a sonnet, with a three-minute performance limit to allow enough time for everyone to participate.

Throughout the fun-filled evening, members of GTG’s extended family of illustrious Shakespearean actors and aficionados – including Stephen Brown-Fried, Robert Cuccioli, Tyne Daly, George Dvorsky, Melissa Errico, Alison Fraser, Tom Hewitt, Daniel Jenkins, John-Andrew Morrison, Patrick Page, Maryann Plunkett, Tonya Pinkins, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders, Renee Taylor, Jon Patrick Walker, and more – will volunteer offerings of their own favorite sonnets and sonnet-inspired work.

Artistic Director David Staller noted, “We’re eager to celebrate as much as we can with whatever we can these days, and since nobody has contributed more to the world of the theatre than William Shakespeare, we’re going to celebrate like mad. He wrote more than 150 magnificent sonnets and I doubt we’ll get through them all, but we’ll give it our best shot. Speaking of shot, we’re celebrating getting those, too!”

The party starts at 6 pm, on Friday April 23. If you’d like to participate, you must register before 4 pm, on Thursday, April 22. If you just want to watch the livestream, you can tune in on the GTG Facebook page and enjoy; may “fair thought and happy hours attend you” (Merchant of Venice, Act 3, Scene 4).

SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street.

Haunt QuestSoHo Playhouse is welcoming audiences back in person with a new immersive experience that will send shivers down your spine and could even raise the dead. The building on Vandam Street, in which the theater makes its home, stands on land that once housed the Colonial mansion of Richmond Hill – headquarters for General George Washington and later home to Aaron Burr. Purchased from Burr by John Jacob Astor in 1817, the property was developed into a row of Federalist-style townhouses, part of which became The Huron Club – a popular meeting house and nightclub for the Democratic Party’s Tammany Hall political machine.

Throughout its more than 200-year existence, the historic site has witnessed many dark events and been connected with many people, now deceased, leading NYC-based illusionist Todd Robbins to ask, “They may be dead, but are they gone?” He doesn’t think so, and he’s using arcane retro-paranormal ghost-hunting techniques to invite them to return, with the help of everyone in attendance, in a 75-minute séance play in the intimate space of the SoHo Loft (a floor above the main stage of the Playhouse).

Be forewarned that there is nothing passive about this spectral experience, and every time will be unique. Also be advised that SoHo Playhouse is following all COVID-19 guidelines, including reduced capacity, social distancing, sanitizing before and after each show, and mandatory masks, to ensure your safety from the virus (if not from the spirits).

By popular demand prior to the opening, the run of the event has already been extended by two weeks. Haunt Quest plays Thursdays-Saturdays, April 23-June 5, in the SoHo Loft at SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street, NYC. For times and tickets, go online.

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