It’s Fourth of July week, so most of the country will be doing the three Bs: beach, barbecue, and blowing stuff up. You can do better! Our forefathers fought to declare your independence from cliches, so that means tackling the fun stuff in the city, including a starry Shakespearean evening in Central Park, a Rent reunion, and a patriotic concert at 54 Below. It’s all part of this week’s picks!
Spend an Evening with the Bard & Co.
June 30 at the Delacorte Theater
Great glistering gold, do we have a cure for the Monday blues! A group of cultural heavyweights—former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Alec Baldwin, Jessica Chastain, and Steven Pasquale—assemble to honor William Shakespeare in “Public Forum: Shakespeare in America.” Expect impassioned readings from the playwright’s works, including James Earl Jones tackling Othello, which he performed at the Delacorte 50 years ago. Need more convincing? The event is free. Click for tickets!
La Vie Boheme for a Good Cause
June 30 at Toshi’s Living Room & Penthouse
Yeah, you’ve seen Rent so many times that you occasionally dream parts of it, but don’t let that—and your therapist’s stern counsel—stop you from attending this special occasion. Alums from productions Broadway and elsewhere, including Amy Spanger, MJ Rodriguez and more will perform in a Rent-themed tribute as part of Broadway Sings for Pride's fourth annual gay pride benefit show. Try not to sing along, OK? Click for tickets!
Place Your Trust in Faust: The Concert
July 1 at New York City Center
It’s the show your Sunday School teacher forbids you to see—so you know it’s good! In Randy Newman’s Faust: The Concert, the Lord and the Devil, childhood chums reunite in heaven. The Devil (played by Newman) tells the Lord that man is bad. The Lord disagrees. A bet is made and we’re off. The Encores! Off-Center revival of this 1995 comedic musical boasts a top-flight cast, including Michael Cerveris and Laura Osnes. Click for tickets!
Bring Hedwig and the Angry Inch Home
We joke about how the cast recordings are a great way to create a little homespun Broadway magic, but the new Hedwig and the Angry Inch album is perfect. Not only do the Neil Patrick Harris-sung songs from the Tony-winning rock musical, er, rock, it’s a great album for impromptu living room performances. All you need is lots of makeup, fishnets, a German accent, and you’re there. If a roommate walks in, well, you’re on your own.
Celebrate the Fourth, Broadway-Style!
July 3 and 5 at 54 Below
Amidst the colorful fireworks, endless baseball games, and mounds of potato salad it’s easy to forget why we celebrate the Fourth of July. For a boredom-free reminder, head to 54 Sings 1776, a concert featuring Broadway talent belting songs from the timeless musical that centers on—you guessed it—the Declaration of Independence. Among the performers are Michael McCormick and Paul Michael Valley, who starred in the Broadway revival. Click for tickets!