Central Park SummerStage is the largest performing arts festival in NYC and the only one of it’s kind that’s free and open to the public. From May to October, Central Park takes the center stage as artists from different backgrounds and cultures come to represent the diversity that defines New York as one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. Check out some of this year’s best shows and concerts by reading below.
There are lots big name acts and talented performers in this summer’s lineup. Here are our best picks:
Cage The Elephant / Portugal. The Man / BRONCHO
May 16 & 17, 5-10pm
This year, a trio of acclaimed rock bands will be in charge of opening the festival and setting the tone for the rest of the summer. Cage The Elephant will bring to the stage an edge-cutting alternative rock sound that’s launched the band to mainstream success in the US and UK. Their latest album release, Tell Me I’m Pretty, is produced by Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys. One of the other bands performing, Portugal. The Man, will bring their own blend of psychedelic pop and progressive rock to delight concertgoers with a medley of their biggest hits to date. Completing the trio is BRONCHO, an euphoric band that’s known for delivering guitar-driven rock tunes infused with a slight touch of pure energy pop. Get ready to get your rock on!
Yiddish Soul: A Concert of Cantorial and Chassidic Superstars
June 15, 6 – 10pm
Even though mainstream pop continues to dominate most radio stations, there’s been a surge of interest in modern orthodox music. This unique genre is based on the tenets of Judaism and incorporates contemporary music styles such as jazz to create a sound like no other. The music of the Cantor has inspired many Jewish communities and synagogues around the world to connect with the spiritual realm. Great Cantors like Yosele Rosenblatt have become role models for vocal virtuosity and have left a legacy that extends far beyond the reach of music. “Yiddish Soul” is a treat for fans of modern orthodox music. Some of the Cantorial and Chassidic stars performing at the concert will be Yanky Lemmer, Lipa Schemltzer, and The Maccabeats amongst many others. Attend this concert and explore Jewish culture through its music.
Screening: A Ballerina’s Tale / Jeremy McQueen’s The Black Iris Project
June 29, 7 – 10pm
Documentary “A Ballerina’s Tale” revolves around the life of the talented Misty Copeland who made history when she became the first African-American woman to be named the principal dancer of the American Ballet Theater. The documentary allows the audience to catch a glimpse of Copeland’s life behind-the-scenes as she overcame obstacles in her professional and personal life before becoming one of the most awe-inspiring dancers of her generation. Her story is a heartwarming tale that serves as a reminder of the rewards of perseverance and determination. Afterwards, the premiere of “The Black Iris Project” will highlight the accomplishments of professional Black ballet dancers, jazz, and classical composers. The presentation will feature new works inspired by black heritage in hopes of inspiring a young generation of creative minds to pursue their dreams and believe in themselves.
Chicago The Musical: 20th Anniversary Concert
August 31, 7 – 10pm
Broadway smash Chicago celebrates its 20th year with a star-studded concert event on August 31. Chicago is now the longest running musical in Broadway history and has managed to win 6 Tony Awards, 2 Olivier’s, and a Grammy in its run. The musical is a enthralling tale about greed in show business and features some truly electric tunes like “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle”. Don’t miss out on the special opportunity to see the worldwide phenomenon that is Chicago right in the midst of Central Park. Rumor has it the current Broadway cast will make an appearance!
This year’s SummerStage revolves around jazz as a genre and there’ll be a celebration dedicated to its evolution in late August. During Charlie Parker Jazz Festival (Aug. 26 – 28), musicians will gather to show appreciation for jazz legend Charlier Parker. Parker’s celebrated for bringing bebop to the world and helping transition jazz into the modern times. The Jazz Festival will honor his talent with performances from established jazz acts and young musicians so that past and future can meet once again.
There are membership passes available that will allow the pass holder to skip lines and wait times at concerts to enjoy SummerStage in a truly luxurious fashion. There’ll be food and drink stands placed throughout the park catered from Manhattan’s best food vendors. SummerStage is backed by the City Parks Foundation and this year there’ll be more than 100 shows featuring comedy (Trevor Noah and the cast of “The Daily Show” will be hosting a stand-up special), dance (Brazil Summerfest), and even theatre in parks across NYC.
The SummerStage events above will take place at Ramsey Playfield (East 69th St).
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