Theater Preview: EAST SIDE STORIES: INSIDE EDITION (Metropolitan Playhouse in New York)

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by Tony Frankel on June 23, 2020

in Theater-New York


Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse will present free “screened” readings of four new one-act plays inspired by life and history in the East Village, via live stream video and YouTube with talkback to follow, on Saturday, June 26 and 27, 2020, at 8 p.m. EDT. Saturday’s program will also be simultaneously broadcast on WBAI Radio 99.5 FM and WBAI online.

Metropolitan Playhouse explored in its 28th season America’s diverse theatrical heritage through lost plays of the past and new plays of American historical and cultural moment. The Playhouse began presenting new one-act plays about the theater’s neighborhood, the East Village, in 2003, and has offered a new crop nearly every season since. 2020 will be the 15th festival of these new works.Adapting them for stay at home viewing, the plays will be presented free as rehearsed readings. The evenings are:

ARRIVALS – 2 lyrical plays about immigrating and belonging
Friday, June 26th, 2020, at 8 pm

by Paloma Sierra
music by Pedro Emanuel  Franco Fraticelli
directed by Gloria Zelaya
starring Jorge Luis Berrios and Yazmin Morales Vicente

Two lovers with contrary opinions about Puerto Rican national identity uncover how to prepare “authentic” coffee.

Text in Spanish and English with supertitles.

Fulltime Active
by Bill Russell
directed by Mark Harboth
starring  Ako, Michael Basile, Randy Cordero,  and Suzanne Toren

The stories of 4 residents’ lives, beautifully interwoven into a theatrical fugue:
a Russian labor organizer; an Italian boxing trainer;
a 2nd Generation Japanese American; a young Puerto Rican immigrant.
(Based on interviews conducted  in the 70’s and 80’s
as a part of The Community Documentation Workshop)


EVOLUTION – 2 comedies about gentrification and gentrifiers
Saturday, June 27th, 2020 at 8 pm

by Robin Rothstein
directed by John Long
starring Maxwell Bartel, Alia Shakira & Kim Yancey-Moore
Backgrounds by Danny Licul

Two undercover police discover a long-devoted patron
of an East Village local well after hours on New Year’s Eve,
the night it closed for good.  She’s not ready to go.

East Village Trader Joe’s
by Jessica Moss
directed by Rachael Langton
starring  Ollie Corchado, Lianne Kressin, Jammie Patton, Sushma Saha & Perri Yaniv
Backgrounds by Randy Wong-Westbrooke

The diverse and active East Village Community Coalition
meets to discuss the encroachment of that oxymoron: the boutique chain.
They have successfully fended off many a corporate interloper, but this one…
this one is different.


Metropolitan presents these readings as a way of keeping the theater’s pilot lit. They also serve to help us compensate performing artists, so particularly affected, during this long “pause.” Information about the theater’s ARTISTS RELIEF FUND may be found at COVID AID.

The Playhouse is at the forefront of streaming drama with its VIRTUAL PLAYHOUSE which began on March 28, 2020, with Alice Gerstenberg’s He Said and She Said, and continued the following week with Eugene O’Neill’s The Rope, with five times the attendance. Since presenting Gerstenberg’s Hearts, April 11th, the program is simultaneously broadcast on New York’s Pacifica Radio Station WBAI, 99.5 FM.

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