Off-Broadway News: Broadway Bound Theatre Festival’s Inaugural Lineup Sets the Stage for a New Age at the 14th Street Y

Off-Broadway News: Broadway Bound Theatre Festival's Inaugural Lineup Sets the Stage for a New Age at the 14th Street Y (Through August 20, 2017)
Preview by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

Tony winning casts, revolution, a Spanish language performance, an honest look at mental health, and an After-Hours Fringe: BBTF proves itself to be fresh, diverse and relevant to the modern audience.

Broadway Bound Theatre Festival is quickly crowding our calendars this summer, creating an artistic oasis in Fringe’s absence. Between July 30 and August 20, 2017, twenty curated new works written by the most talented playwrights from across the continent will hit the stage at the Theatre at the 14th Street Y in New York’s eclectic and electric East Village.

Productions run the gamut and you’re certain to be struck by the exquisite selection. Here’s a sliver of the shows that will be treading the boards:

Anitola, Louisiana may only be a blip on the map, but the cast of “Small Town Confessions” have certainly left their mark. Tony winners and nominees portray Anitola’s colorful residents regaling Martian encounters, the unforgettable day Diana Ross came to town and marrying Satan, in this lighthearted comedy. Nothing says summer quite like sipping iced tea and whiling away the afternoon with Jobeth Maybelline, manicurist to the town and keeper of community secrets.

Meet the playwrights who are traversing the immigrant experience through some of the most raw and honest writing the stage has seen: In “The American Dream” a ‘coyote’ (human smuggler) and a young Guatemalan woman wait just across the border for a final payment that may not come. Drawn from the playwright’s own life and the terrifying ordeal behind his mother’s desire to become a proud US citizen.

Based on true events, “Out There” tells the story of the Cuban fight for freedom whilst navigating three worlds and time periods over the last 60 years; A young pilot for the Brothers to the Rescue organization; two Cubans fleeing the island on a raft; and soldiers for the Revolution fighting against their own inner demons. This piece was inspired by the playwright’s high school friend who was shot down while saving refugees near Cuban airspace. There will be an English and Spanish language performance of this production.

The too often taboo topics of mental health and the terrifying fallout of war are tackled in: “The Voices Project,” a charity reading benefiting the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which aims to end stigma and promote acceptance. Individuals and family members share their honest experiences of living life with mental health conditions in this bold new work, the result of several years of research and interviews conducted by students and members of the Psychology Department at Pennsylvania-based Misericordia University. “Bedlam” is the story of a Lance Corporal Hunt, who discovers a fellow Marine who has committed suicide. Unanchored, Hunt wrestles with his own depression, the ever-present violence of war and his own sense of purpose. This honest portrayal of the psychological price of warfare is written by a former U.S. Marine.

Join Heroina in the absurdist dark-comedy “Keys.” In a vast chamber filled with keys, our destitute heroine fends off rivals, con artists, guards and judges while searching for the one key that will unlock the door to Paradise. “Must Win” will help you meet your target heart rate, when Beau, a Texas high school football coach, facing enormous pressure to win at all costs, must decide what’s more important: his ethics or his job.

BBTF has curated an exceptional addition to the summer scene, and fear not, night owls! The fun spills out into the streets post shows with “Come Out & Play – BBTF’s After-Hours Fringe.” Readings will be held in various East Village locales as well as poetry slams and Puppet Shakespeare.

These are just a few of Broadway Bound’s happenings in the coming months. Other productions delve deep into LGBTQA relationships, living with cancer, becoming a parent, young love relayed through a chorus of orphans, euthanasia, carnivals, madness, and everything in between. Broadway Bound Theatre Festival . . . more than just a bunch of plays!