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New York’s SummerStage kicks off 2014 season

Performing arts festival presents over 100 free music, dance, film, comedy, family and theater programs 
in 14 parks across NYC.

Presented by the City Parks Foundation, the 2014 season of SummerStage will kick off Tuesday, June 3 and run through Sunday, August 24. As New York’s largest free performing arts festival, it will bring more than 100 free performances to 14 parks throughout the five boroughs.

With performances ranging from American pop, Latin and World music to dance, comedy and theater, SummerStage fills a vital niche in New York City’s summer arts festival landscape. Since its inception 29 years ago, more than six million people from New York City and around the world have enjoyed SummerStage.

This year, the dance programs of SummerStage will open with award-winning tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith, as he takes the stage in Brooklyn with renowned musician/singer/composer Owen “Fiidla” Brown on Friday, June 20 at 7 p.m. 

In July, fans will welcome Ballet Hispanico, recognized as the nation’s premier Latino dance organization, who will perform under the stars on two not-to-be-missed evenings. Their Central Park performance on Wednesday, July 16 will include a special piece celebrating the life and music of Celia Cruz on the anniversary of her 2002 SummerStage performance in Central Park and her 2003 passing. 

Ballet Hispanico in Mad

Ballet Hispanico. Photo by Eduardo Patino.

Other dance offerings include performances by Seattle-based contemporary troupe Spectrum Dance Theater, flamenco company A Palo Seco, New York fusion company Harambee Dance Company, the energetic and musical The Harlem Dance Caravan and innovative and kinetic Sidra Bell Dance NY.

Rounding out the season will be contemporary dance company Urban Bush Women, who will present works in celebration of their 30th anniversary, and a diverse bill specially curated by arts writer Valerie Gladstone.

The festival, which is even more affluent in concerts and theater performances, will team up with FANIA this year in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the iconic label. Programs across the five boroughs will celebrate and reflect on FANIA, showcasing both the past and present performers in the neighborhoods where this movement was born. 

Music lovers will enjoy everyone from legends such as Roberto Roena, Joe Bataan, and Ismael Miranda to more modern descendants of the FANIA sounds, including Chilean hip-hop fusion artist Ana Tijoux and psychedelic Salsa group La Mecánica Popular. A very special FANIA All Stars show will close out the season in Central Park, an outdoor event that is sure to be reminiscent of their 1976 Yankee Stadium concert.

African dance company Urban Bush Women

Photo courtesy of Urban Bush Women.

Theater-goers will welcome Urban Theatre Movement’s Handball, an explosive take on gentrification in New York City set in a public park. SummerStage Theater presented by Time Warner will also welcome The New York Neo-Futurists, who will perform their critically acclaimed, energetic signature show of original short plays, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Also not to be missed is Ghetto Klown, Emmy Award winner John Leguizamo’s wickedly funny one-man show.

“We are so excited to present our 2014 SummerStage season in celebration of FANIA and the 50th anniversary. Our fans will be wowed by new and intriguing talent as well as legends that spearheaded the musical movement right here in New York City five decades ago,” says City Parks Foundation President Alison Tocci. “SummerStage has something for everyone of all ages and all artistic tastes, so we hope to see you out in the parks.”

For the most up-to-date scheduling and line-up for all SummerStage programming, visit www.SummerStage.org and follow SummerStage on social media.

Photo (top): New York’s SummerStage. Photo by Mule Army, courtesy of City Parks Foundation. 

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