Live Theater Returns to Lower Manhattan Streets With “Downtown Stories”
The Alliance for Downtown New York, Lower Manhattan’s business improvement district, in association with nonprofit theater group En Garde Arts have teamed up to present “Downtown Stories: Dreams from New York’s Oldest Streets,” a monthlong series of performances inspired by the people and places of Lower Manhattan. Performances will run June 8-25 (Wednesdays through Saturdays), and advance tickets will be available May 4 at engardearts.org/downtown-stories/.
“Downtown Stories” will feature a nightly documentary theater piece inspired by interviews with real Lower Manhattan business owners and two daily fictional walking tours that combine the area’s rich history with imaginative storylines.
“Nine Steps To Making A Shoe” is a documentary theater piece from award-winning playwright Rogelio Martinez (“Born In East Berlin”) and director Johanna McKeon (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “American Idiot”) that invites the audience into the world of Lower Manhattan’s independent business owners. Together they journey into the remarkable choices that everyday people must make to reinvent their circumstances, and in turn themselves, against all odds. (John Street Methodist Church, 44 John Street, Wednesdays-Fridays at 8pm and ADA-accessible performances Saturdays at 3pm)
“Uncovering Downtown: A Magical Expedition Of Unrecorded Dreams” is a walking tour by playwright Mona Mansour (“Vagrant Trilogy,” Public Theatre) and co-conceived and directed by Jessica Holt (“Ironbound,” “Sense and Sensibility”) that follows the unlikely path taken by a Hamilton! walking tour guide who chooses to explore the lesser known world of Downtown. (Trinity Church, 89 Broadway, Wednesdays-Saturdays at 12:30pm and 5:30pm)
“Sweet Exchange” is a walking tour from playwright Eric Lockley (co-founder Movement Theatre Company) and director Morgan Green (co-artistic director, Wilma Theatre), that uses unexpected ghost stories to examine how agents of change have always been the foundation of this city and for the people who inhabit it. (Trinity Church, 89 Broadway, Wednesdays-Saturdays at 1pm and 6pm)
“‘Downtown Stories’ celebrates the immigrants, entrepreneurs and resilient small-business owners who have shaped Lower Manhattan and fought hard to keep their doors open throughout the pandemic,” said Jessica Lappin, President, Alliance for Downtown New York. “A thriving arts and culture scene is critical to their recovery and creates excitement in the neighborhood. These performances will engage and delight the workers, residents and visitors returning to Lower Manhattan while directly supporting local businesses with every ticket purchased.”
Anne Hamburger, En Garde Arts’ Artistic Director said, “The impetus for En Garde’s partnership with Downtown Alliance sprang from our mutual desire to support the neighborhood by doing what the arts do so well…bring people back to our streets, support small businesses and add excitement and vitality to the area. I gathered a group of artists and asked them the question: ‘How often do we walk down the street oblivious of our surroundings?’ For Downtown Stories artists are investigating and uncovering the stories of the people and places that make up a neighborhood. In this way, we can look at what surrounds us with fresh eyes.”
“Downtown Stories” renews the collaboration between En Garde Arts and the Downtown Alliance, which launched Downtown Live, a festival that hosted 36 live performances to three different sites across Lower Manhattan last May.