Part of the fun of having professional theaters in the Lower Hudson Valley — aside from the proximity, price and the parking — is watching their productions move to Manhattan and telling your hip New York friends you saw it here first.
There are plenty of opportunities to do just that this summer, with several plays Off-Broadway that started here. Let the bragging begin.
“Brownsville Bred,” Elaine Del Valle’s gut-wrenching yet satisfying story of growing up a Latina in Brownsville, Brooklyn, first played The Schoolhouse Theater in Croton Falls last October. Now, the one-woman show, directed by the Schoolhouse’s Pamela Moller Kareman, has taken up residence through July 31 at 59E59 Theaters. Performances at 7:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3:15 p.m. Sundays. $35, $24.50 for 59E59 members. 212-279-4200. www.ticketcentral.com. (Photo by Susanna Buckley)
“The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith” continues to play at St. Luke’s Theater on Restaurant Row. The play, by Rockland’s Angelo Parra, is directed by Penguin Rep’s artistic director Joe Brancato and presented by Brancato and Penguin executive director, Andrew Horn. Full of great music by Bessie Smith — embodied by Miche Braden, reprising a role she first played at Penguin in 2000 — “The Devil’s Music” tells the compelling story of the most successful entertainer of her time. At 7 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, and 8 p.m. Wednesdays in an open run. St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 W. 46th St. $36.50 to $69.50. 845-786-2873. penguinrep.org. (Photo courtesy Penguin Rep.)
Brancato is represented elsewhere Off-Broadway, directing Karoline Leach’s “Tryst,” an Edwardian thriller running at Irish Rep through Aug. 21. The story of con-man George Love and a lonely hatmaker Adelaide Pinchin, began life in 2000 at Penguin Rep, the tiny theater on Crickettown Road, and went on to play Off-Broadway in 2006 and the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. This latest production stars actors well-known to Penguin audiences: Andrea Maulella (“Tryst,” “Our Lady of South Division?Street,” “Centennial Casting”) and Marc Shanahan (“Mrs. Mannerly”). 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 W. 22nd St. $55 and $65. 212-727-2737. www.irishrep.org.
Jon Marans’ “A Strange and Separate People” had its world premiere at Penguin Rep in 2005 and now comes to Theater Row on West 42nd Street. The intermissionless 90-minute play is about an Upper West Side Orthodox couple whose religious and personal lives are tested by an outsider. Directed by Jeff Calhoun through July 30. Studio Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd St. $18. 212-239-6200. www.telecharge.com.