Theater for the New City’s Village Halloween Costume Ball, a revered Village tradition that frequently welcomes over 1,200 revelers, will be presented virtually this year with most of its key traditions preserved. Notable artists including Everett Quinton, F. Murray Abraham, Austin Pendleton, Phoebe Legere and Penny Arcade will appear along with over 100 other performers. A wide variety of multi-arts events is promised, including cabaret shows, music for dancing, radio plays, kids’ attractions, an art exhibit, I Ching readings, a scream contest, a costume judging and a vicious and sexy late night cabaret.
This is the 44th year for the colossal event. It began in 1976, launched many prominent downtown performance acts and styles through the years, and even spun off the Village Halloween Parade.
While Covid-19 makes remote participation necessary this year, the festival has managed to retain one effort at in-person entertainment: “Chop Shop Theater” in TNC’s Set Shop. In that non-traditional space, a series of ten-minute plays will be mounted that will be visible from East Tenth Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues) through a light metal fence. The shop will be lit with stage lighting and equipped with a backdrop, piano and sound system. Passers-by will be able to peer in though an accordion gate. Standing spaces for audience members will be delineated six feet apart and no chairs will be provided. The audience will be expected to move on between performances, which will be spaced ten minutes apart. The barrier between the onlookers and the actors is meant to represent the complex feelings of separation and hope that are experienced by the theater community at this time.