Thanks to the sorry state of the economy, the belt-tightening Public Theater will stage only one Shakespeare in the Park production this year. Fortunately, it promises to be a good one. Henry V (June 24–August 10; 212-539-8750) will star Liev Schreiber, who wowed audiences at the Delacorte in 1995 as Sebastian in The Tempest, and, more recently, appeared at the MCC opposite Sigourney Weaver in The Mercy Seat.
In an otherwise quiet summer on Broadway, Avenue Q, set to open on July 31 at the Golden, is generating good buzz. “Puppet musical” and “hotly anticipated” may not seem to belong in the same sentence, but this inventively staged Rent-like story about postcollege life in the big city—one puppet has commitment issues, another can’t get his career plans together—was a smash at the Vineyard this spring. (In previews July 11 for the July 31 opening; call 212-239-6200
If the Park’s production doesn’t scratch your free-outdoor-Shakespeare itch, the reliably good, four-year-old Off–Off Broadway company Boomerang Theatre presents Henry IV, Part One at parks around town (now through July 27; boomerangtheatre.org, 212-501-4069).
Live outdoor performances will also be a part of the seventh annual New York International Fringe Festival (August 8–24; fringenyc.org, 212-279-4488), which this year features everything from a Canadian “post-mortem love story” called Tuesdays and Sundays to local boy Andy Horowitz’s affectionately vulgar solo show Potty Mouth. The always exciting Ice Factory ’03 festival (July and August; 212-966-4844; sohothinktank.org), which has spawned such Off Broadway successes as the Rude Mechanicals’ Lipstick Traces looks promising this year, with the Foundry presenting recent Guggenheim winner David Greeenspan’s new show, The Myopia, and Salt Theater staging a revival of Charles Ludlam’s enchantingly campy Conquest of the Universe. And the first annual Howl! Festival of East Village Arts (August 20–26; howlfestival.com; 212-505-2225) will take over Tompkins Square Park for a weekend; feature plenty of “way-Off-Broadway” theater companies; and perhaps include a Wigstock revival.