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Free Summer Theater in Manhattan 2019

NYC Free Things To Do In Manhattan

Free Things To Do In Manhattan - Free Summer Theater On the Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca & Shakespeare in Central Park in NYC

August 1, 2019 / Manhattan Neighborhoods / Dance & Theater / Theatre Manhattan / Manhattan Things To Do / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

manhattan free summer theater uws ues upper east side upper west side manhattan nyc free summer theater manhattan nycSummer is in full swing. A number of community groups in collaboration with the NYC Parks Department and frequently some measure of government funding, have put together a summer full of free summer theater in the parks. The free theatre events listed below are designed for young and old alike and they're FREE.

Please note that the Fringe Festival - a festival of avante garde original theater - which up through 2017 occurred in the Village in late July / early August. Like in 2018, this year they will NOT be hosting the July festival, but are in the process of organizing Fringe BYOV 2019 [Bring Your Own Venue] which will be a five-borough-wide festival operating at various locations from October 1 - 31, 2019. They did this last year too. Check our site during the month of October for details.

Also, for 18 years the Midtown International Theater Festival offerred a series of short, generally modern original works once or twice a year in the Manhattan Theatre District, but in 2017 the Founder, John Chatterton, decided to retire the program. Neither of these were free, but they didn't cost a lot, and both will be missed this summer.

Foreign Films / Free Movies in the Park Manhattan. Click here to view our report on free movies in the park - summer movies in Manhattan, Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca.

SummerStage Concerts in Manhattan. Click here to view our report showing the paid & free SummerStage concerts in Manhattan.

Music / Concerts in the Park Manhattan. Click here to view our report on free concerts in the parks - summer concerts in Manhattan, Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca this summer 2016.

Current Manhattan Things To Do. Click here to view a listing of current Manhattan things to do or click here to view our member submitted Manhattan events calendar.


Directory of Free Summer Theater in Manhattan NYC

Click for Each Neighborhood - Performances Organized by Month

August 1, 2019 / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

1. Upper West Side Free Summer Theater - Manhattan NYC - free summer theater & things to do

2. Upper East Side Free Summer Theater Manhattan - free summer theater & things to do

3. Central Park Free Summer Theater NYC - free summer theater & things to do

4. Midtown Manhattan Free Summer Theater Manhattan NYC - free summer theater & things to do

5. East & West Village Free Summer Theater - Manhattan NYC - free summer theater & things to do

6. SoHo Bowery & Lower East Side Free Summer Theater - Manhattan - free summer theater & things to do

7. Downtown NYC & Tribeca Free Summer Theater - Manhattan - free summer theater & things to do

8. Harlem, Inwood & Washington Heights Free Summer Theater - NYC - free summer theater & things to do

 

Also Check Our Monthly NYC Events / Manhattan Things To Do Calendar



1. Upper West Side UWS - Free Theater

Free Shakespeare At Soldiers & Sailors Monument 2019

Free Things To Do In Upper West Side NYC - Free Shakespeare In Riverside Park

free summer theater uws ues upper east side upper west side manhattan nyc free summer theater uws upper west side ues upper east side riverside park carl schurz parkClick here to view a Riverside Park map [TBD]. The theatrical and Shakespearean productions are performed on the north patio of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument which can be accessed at West 89th Street and Riverside Drive [see photo at right]. Take the steps behind the monument down to the large patio.

The FREE [pay what you can] theatrical productions / Shakespeare in the Park is organized by the Hudson Warehouse a theater company.

  • Thursdays thru Sundays, June 6 - June 30, 2019 from 6.30 - 8.30 pm / Free but donations welcome - Antony & Cleopatra - Directed by George K. Wells. The play is described by the Riverside Park website as, "A power struggle for the Mediterranean is the backdrop to the tumultuous love affair between Mark Antony and Cleopatra as their doomed love attempts to conquer the world." Free summer theater / plays on the Upper West Side UWS.
  • Thursdays thru Sundays, July 4 - July 28, 2019 from 6.30 - 8.30 pm / Free but donations welcome - The D'Artagnan Romances Part III - Man in the Iron Mask - by Suzanne Lee adapted from a play by Alexandre Dumas & directed by Nicholas Martin-Smith - Based on an adventure and historic play that begins with a young man seeking his fortune, meeting up with three others. It explores the debate for monarchy versus a republic form of government. This play is described on the NYC Parks website as, "the final installment of Dumas’s ‘The D’Artagnan Romances’ trilogy, which Hudson Warehouse began in 2017. Join Athos, Aramis, Porthos and D’Artagnan as they ‘right’ the greatest ‘wrong’ in rescuing the Man in the Iron Mask in an attempt to bring peace to a Europe on the brink of war." The performances may be found on the north patio of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument which is located at West 89th Street and Riverside Drive [see photo at right].
  • Thursdays thru Sundays, August 1 - 25, 2019 from 6.30 - 8.30 pm / Free - The Merry Wives of Windsor - This play is described on the NYC Parks website as, "Mistress Page and Mistress Ford conspire to humiliate Shakespeare’s much-loved character, Sir John Falstaff, set against the backdrop of a 1960s resort hotel in the “Borscht Belt.” Free summer theater / plays on the Upper West Side UWS.

Also see free summer movies on the UWS Upper West Side Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the UWS Upper West Side Neighborhood.




2. Upper East Side UES - Free Theater 2019

Free Summer Theater in Carl Schurz Park

Free Things To Do In Upper East Side NYC - Free Shakespeare In Carl Schurz Park

Click here to view a Carl Schurz Park map. The theatrical and Shakespearean productions are performed at Carl Schurz Park at East End Avenue and 86th Street.

  • Tuesday - Sunday, June 25 - 30, 2019 from 7 - 9 pm - The Importance of Being Earnest - The romantic comedy is described as follows: "Who really wears the pants in 19th century England? At every other performance, the entire cast switches genders & roles. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are traditional casting, while Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays gender roles are reversed. To receive ADVANCE program info, including RAIN CANCELATION NOTICE, or make a FREE RESERVATION at nyclassical.org/earnest." Performed by NY Classical Theatre Company in Carl Schurz Park. Free.

Also see free summer movies on the UES Upper East Side Manhattan and the free summer concerts on the Upper East Side and the things to do section of the UES Upper East Side Neighborhood.




3. Central Park - Free Theater in Manhattan

Free Theater & Shakespeare in Central Park 2019

Free Things To Do In Upper East Side NYC - Free Shakespeare In Central Park

free shakespeare in the park free shakespeare delacorte theater central park nyc shakespeare in the park manhattanClick here to view a Central Park map. The photo to your right was taken at Central Park between the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. The Shakespearean productions are performed by the Public Theater Company at the Delacorte Theatre which can be accessed via the West 82nd Street entrance on the UWS and the 86th Street entrance on the UES [see photo at right]. Limited seating available - some tickets must be picked up the day of the performance. FREE but first come, first serve - or you can pay for a certain ticket at www.publictheater.org.

 

Shakespeare at Delacorte Theater Central Park May 21 - June 23, 2019

  • Tuesday - Sundays, May 21 - June 23, 2019 [except Sunday 6/2 & Wednesday 6/12 - but performance on Monday 6/3] from 8 - 10.45 pm - Much Ado About Nothing - This is a Shakespearean comedy which the www.publictheater.org describes as follows, "modern production, we find the community of Messina celebrating a break from an ongoing war. But not all is peaceful amid the revelry, as old rivals engage in a battle of wits, unexpected foes plot revenge, and young lovers are caught in a tumultuous courtship – until love proves the ultimate trickster, and undoes them all." Free theater but you need to rsvp a ticket [pay] or line up at the theater the day of - Free Shakespeare in the park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Central Park - May 28 - June 16, 2019

  • Tuesday - Sunday, May 28 - June 16, 2019 from 7 - 9 pm - The Importance of Being Earnest - The romantic comedy is described as follows: "Who really wears the pants in 19th century England? At every other performance, the entire cast switches genders & roles. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are traditional casting, while Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays gender roles are reversed. To receive ADVANCE program info, including RAIN CANCELATION NOTICE, or make a FREE RESERVATION at nyclassical.org/earnest." Performed by NY Classical Theatre Company in Central Park. Free.

Shakespeare at Delacorte Theater Central Park July 16 - August 11, 2019

  • Tuesdays thru Saturdays, July 16 through Sunday, August 11, 2019 from 8 - 10.45 pm [except Saturday, August 6] - Coriolanus - A Shakespearean tragedy that the www.publictheater.org describes as follows, "the Bard’s blistering drama about a general voted into power by a populace hungry for change, and the unraveling that follows. Tony Award winner Daniel Sullivan (Proof, Shakespeare In The Park’s Troilus and Cressida) directs a modern-day version of this riveting epic of democracy and demagoguery." Free theater but you need to rsvp a ticket [pay] or line up at the theater the day of - Free Shakespeare in the park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

Mineral Springs in Central Park

  • NOT RETURNING IN 2018 or 2019 - Laughter in the Park - this year in Washington Square Park & Nelson Rockefeller Park. Scroll down for details in those neighborhoods / parks.

 

Harlem Meer Shakespeare in the Park

  • June 16 - September 4, 2019 from 2 - 4 pm on Sundays - Harlem Meer Performance Festival. Every week they host musical, dance & theatrical performances at the Harlem Meer at 110th Street between 5th Avenue & Lenox Avenue on the Upper East Side near Harlem.

Also see free summer movies on the UES Upper East Side Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the UES Upper East Side Neighborhood.




4. Midtown Manhattan NYC - Free Summer Theater

Free Theater in Bryant Park 2019

Free Things To Do In Midtown NYC - Free Summer Broadway At Bryant Park

summer theater bryant park midtown manhattan nyc free summer theater hells kitchen chelsea free summer theaterClick here to view a Bryant park map [TBD]. The free summer Broadway theater events are organized by Bryant Park Org. The photo to your right was taken at the Midtown International Theater Festival in an earlier year.

 

Midtown International Theater Festival - DISCONTINUED IN 2018

  • DISCONTINUED - Midtown International Theater Festival - After 18 years the Midtown International Theater Festival which offerred a series of short, generally modern original works once or twice a year in the Manhattan Theatre District - ceased productions. In November 2017, the Founder, John Chatterton, decided to retire the program. Attendance at these weren't free, but they didn't cost a lot either, and will be missed this summer as they were also missed in 2018. Details at www.midtownfestival.org.

 

Shakespeare in Bryant Park 2019

  • free summer theater uws ues upper east side upper west side manhattan nyc free summer theater uws upper west side ues upper east side riverside park carl schurz parkThursday, May 16, 2019 from 7 -9 pm - Hamlet: Princess of Denmark. BryantPark.org tells us it's a modernized adaptation, "Many women have played Hamlet throughout history, but rarely have they played Hamlet as a woman. What happens to this classic story when feminine power is a defining force? Might Hamlet have been a greater leader given the chance? A Hamlet for the #MeToo era, produced by The Drilling Company and directed by Karla Hendrick." FREE and on the lawn - see photo below.
  • Friday, Saturday & Sunday, August 30 & 31 & September 1, 2019 from 7 - 9 pm - Othello - by Shakespeare. An adaptation Bryant Park org described as, "The classic tale of betrayal, race, friendship, and loss is reinterpreted through a contemporary lens in this fresh exploration of Shakespeare's devastating tragedy.
    Produced by The Drilling Company."
    Free summer theater organized by Bryant Park Corp in Midtown Manhattan NYC.

 

Broadway World in Bryant Park 2019

  • Thursday, August 1, 8 & 15, 2019 from 12.30 - 1.30 pm - Broadway World. BryantPark.org tells us it's a modernized adaptation, "The most popular shows on and off Broadway perform their biggest hits each summer in the park. Join hundreds of fans on the Lawn and enjoy favorite Broadway tunes. Arrive early and catch rehearsals! The most popular shows on and off Broadway perform their biggest hits. Hosted by 106.7 Lite FM DJs." FREE and on the lawn - see photo below.

 

Contemporary & Folk Dance in Bryant Park 2019

  • Wednesdays, May 1 - June 5, 2019 from 6 - 8.30 pm - Dance Party - Learn how to dance to live bands with free dance instruction at Fountain Terrace in Bryant Park. The following is their schedule - May 1: Salsa Night with Tito Puente Jr. / May 8: Latin & Ballroom Night with Fleur Seule / May 15: Contra Dance Night with Brooklyn Swing Ensemble / May 22: R&B Night with Exenia and the Transformation / May 29: Cumbia Night with LaMar NYC / June 5: LGBTQ Dance Night with One Up Duo and Stars of Hot to Trot.
  • Friday, June 7, 2019 there's a Latin Dance Festival – Celebrating Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue..
  • Fridays, June 14 - July 5, 2019 from 6 - 8 pm - Contemporary Dance Performances by Top Local NYC Dancers & Choreographers - by several companies each night - on the Bryant Park Stage. The following are the scheduled performances - June 14 - Jennifer Muller/The Works / Patrick O'Brien Dance Project / Talissa Bavaresco/Bava Dance / Steps Conservatory - June 21 - Buglisi Dance Theatre / Von Howard Project / Beatrice Capote / LaGuardia Dance Ensemble - June 28 - LaneCoArts / Syren Modern Dance / Jolt Dance Project / Harlem Dance Ensemble / Dorothy Maynor Singers - July 5 - David Dorfman Dance / Francesca Harper Project / Urban/Tribe / Earl Mosley's Institute of the Arts.
  • Friday, September 27, 2019 from 5 - 10 pm - Square Dance / Free - Swing your partner round & round in the big city.

Also see free summer movies in Midtown Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the Midtown Neighborhood.




5. East Village & West Village NYC - (mostly) Free Summer Theater

Free Summer Theater in Washington Square Park 2019

Free Things To Do In The East Village & West Village NYC - Free Summer Theater In Washington Square Park

summer theater east village west village free summer theater manhattan nycClick here to view a Washington Square park map. The photo to your right was taken at the Fringe Theater Festival in the East Village in a prior year.

 

Washington Square Park

  • Sunday, July 14, 2019 from 2 - 4 pm - Laughter in the Park - at Garibaldi Plaza in Washington Square Park in the Village. Organized by the Parks Dept & Laughter in the Park. Free summer theater in the Village.
  • Tuesdays, July 2 - September 10, 2019 from 6 - 8 pm / Free - Tango Nights at Washington Square Park in Holley Plaza. The Washington Square Park Conservancy tells us this. "Dance the night away with Strictly Tango NYC dance school with FREE tango classes and open milonga at Washington Square Park. Strictly Tango brings you “an authentic Buenos Aires Tango feeling.” Come with your partner, your friends or come by yourself and find a new dancing partner."

 

FringeNYC Now in October 2019

  • October 1 - 31, 2019 - Fringe Theater Festival BYOV [Bring Your Own Venue]. Tickets will go on sale on September 1, 2019. See www.fringenyc.org for details. The Fringe Festival - a festival of avante garde original theater - which up through 2017 occurred in the Village in late July / early August. Like in 2018, this year they will NOT be hosting the July festival, but are in the process of organizing Fringe BYOV 2019 [Bring Your Own Venue] which will be a five-borough-wide festival operating at various locations from October 1 - 31, 2019. They did this last year too. Check our site or theirs www.fringenyc.org during the month of October for details.

 

Also see free summer movies in the East Village West Village Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the W & E Village Neighborhood.




6. Lower East Side, Bowery, SoHo Manhattan NYC

Free Summer Theater - SoHo, Bowery & LES 2019

Free Things To Do Near SoHo, Bowery on the Lower East Side LES

manhattan free summer theater manhattan tribeca bowery soho nyc free summer theater manhattanClick here to view an East River Amphitheater map in SoHo / the Bowery. The photo to your right was taken by Allison Brzezinski, Founder & Artistic Director of CheckItDance, at one of their performances along the East River near Solar One - which is not the location, but north of it - and gives you a sense of East River theater.

 

East River Park Amphitheatre

  • Monday, July 29, 2019 from 6 to 7.30 pm - New York NY Euripides Summer Festival - IPHIGENIA AMONG THE TAURIANS - "Iphigenia was actually not sacrificed in Aulis by Agamemnon but was saved by Artemis whom she now serves as a priestess in the goddess’ temple at Tauris where her brother Orestes and his friend Pylades go to rob the temple." At the East River Park Amphitheater in John V. Lindsay East River Park at Grand Street exit between Cherry & Jackson. Free summer theater on the Lower East Side [aka LES] near SoHo and Tribeca in Manhattan NYC. FREE. Produced by American Thymele Theatre. Rsvp not required, but to be sure of a seat you can contact Ticket Central at 212.279.4200.

Tompkins Square Park

  • NOT RETURNING TO TOMPKIN SQUARE IN 2019 - See Washington Square & Nelson Rockefeller Park - This is the 2018 listing - Sunday, July 22, 2018 from 2 - 4 pm - Laughter in the Park - at Tompkins Square Park - Billed as, "Laughter in the Park is a free, outdoor weekly comedy series, presented by NYLaughs.org, that takes place over the course of five weeks throughout the summer." Enter park from East 7th Street between Avenues A & B - by Laughter in the Park Org.

Also see free summer movies in Midtown Manhattan and the Manhattan things to do calendar and the things to do section of the Midtown Neighborhood.




7. Downtown NYC & Tribeca - Free Summer Theater 2019

Free Shakespeare at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park & Rockefeller Park

These events are being staged near the Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park & at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City.

Nelson Rockefeller Park

  • Sunday, July 21, 2019 from 2 - 4 pm - Laughter in the Park - at Nelson Rockefeller Park - Billed as, "Laughter in the Park is a free, outdoor weekly comedy series, presented by NYLaughs.org, that takes place over the course of five weeks throughout the summer." At Battery Park Terrace at River Terrace & Warren Street - by Laughter in the Park Org.

Battery Park Conservancy at Battery Park 2019

  • Monday, July 22, 2019 beginning at 7 pm / Free - King Lear - a romantic tragedy about two feuding families, two true lovers and a costly lesson for all. Performed by by NY Classical Theatre Company at the Battery Park Conservancy at 75 in Battery Place [note that the Battery Park Conservancy on Google Maps is NOT the place] on the ground floor. Free summer theater in Tribeca / Downtown NYC.

Battery Park Dance Festival 2019

  • August 11 - 16, 2019 from 7 - 9 pm - Battery Dance Festival - in Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park at 20 Battery Place just south of 1st Place. The 38th Annual Dance Festival featuring dozens of choreographers and dancers from around the city, the nation and parts of the world. Free summer dance performances in Manhattan. Free summer dance performances in Manhattan.
  • Saturday, August 17, 2019 from 6 to 10 pm - Battery Dance Festival. The week-long Battery Park Dance Festival ends tonight with performances at the Schimmel Theater at Pace University at 3 Spruce Street between Park Row and Gold Street, only blocks away from City Hall downtown. Rsvp general admission $10 tickets at www.batterydance.org or schimmelcenter.org.

 




8. Harlem, Inwood & Washington Heights - Summer 2019

Free Summer Theater at Marcus Garvey Park, Jackie Robinson Bandshell & Inwood Hill Parks

There's free summer theater at -

Jackie Robinson Bandshell in Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem

  • Saturday, July 27, 2019 beginning at 4.30 pm [kids] & 5 pm / Hip to Hip Theater Free - Richard III - The tragic play of Richard III is about two brothers - one king and the prince in waiting - and about the last death on a battlefield of an English King. It is one of Shakespeare's history plays. The Jackie Robinson Bandshell is located at the southern end of Jackie Robinson Park in northwest Harlem at West 146th Street at Bradhurst Avenue.

 

Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem

  • Tuesdays through Sundays, July 7 - July 29, 2019 beginning at 8.30 pm - The Bacchae - by Euripides performed by the Classical Theatre of Harlem. The NYC Parks website bills the play as follows. "Dionysus, the god of wine, prophecy, religious ecstasy, and fertility, returns to his birthplace in Thebes in order to clear his mother’s name and to punish the insolent city state for refusing to allow people to worship him." At the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park [enter at 124th St & Fifth Ave and walk south to the venue]. Free.
  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019 from 6 to 7.30 pm - New York NY Euripides Summer Festival - IPHIGENIA AMONG THE TAURIANS - "Iphigenia was actually not sacrificed in Aulis by Agamemnon but was saved by Artemis whom she now serves as a priestess in the goddess’ temple at Tauris where her brother Orestes and his friend Pylades go to rob the temple." At the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park [enter at 124th St & Fifth Ave and walk south to the venue]. Free summer theater in the Harlem neighborhood of NYC. FREE.
  • Thursday, August 1, 2019 from 6 - 7.30 pm - New York NY Euripides Summer Festival - DAUGHTERS OF TROY - "One of the best antiwar plays ever written, it reflects Euripides’ disillusionment of Athenian democracy, borrowing events from the Trojan War just after the stratagem of the Trojan Horse, when Troy fell to the Greeks." At the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater at Marcus Garvey Park [enter at 124th St & Fifth Ave and walk south to the venue]. Free summer theater in the Harlem neighborhood of NYC. FREE.

Inwood Shakespeare Festival

  • On HIATUS in 2017, 2018 & 2019. The Inwood Shakespeare Festival did not return in 2017 after 16 years of performances, as the theater group that performed in it [Moose Hall Theatre Company], said they needed a greater commitment from the NYC Parks Department for them to raise funding to support the effort. In 2019 it looks like more of the same, but they're planning a production of Anton Chehkov's The Cherry Orchard in 2020 - but they are still seeking support at www.moosehallisf.org [the isf stands for Inwood Shakespeare Festival]. More about the production times / location in 2020.

Free Things to do in Manhattan 2019

Free Things To Do In Manhattan - Free Theatre On the Upper East Side UES, Upper West Side UWS, Midtown, West & East Village, SoHo & Tribeca & Shakespeare in the Park in NYC

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