cynthiahopkins.jpgStarting tonight, the Under the Radar Festival of new theater will be cleared for take-off. The three-year-old festival is produced by indie theater impresario Mark Russell, who, as Executive Artistic Director of P.S. 122 for over two decades, nurtured the venue into the alt-performance epicenter it is today.

This year’s lineup runs 11 days and features performance, playwriting, puppetry, solos, and "classics re-considered" by artists from around the world. All but four of the 15 full-scale productions are being presented at The Public Theater, where tickets cost a mere $15 (and the Lobby Bar will stay open late). Considering the high quality and global variety of the productions, it’s the kind of deal that would make Joe Papp proud.

Recommending just a few highlights in a festival that seems to consist of nothing but highlights is a bit daunting. Nevertheless, here’s a short-list of shows that are all up in our airspace; explore the entire flight plan in detail at the Under the Radar website.

Cynthia Hopkins (pictured right) is back at St. Ann’s Warehouse with Must Don't Whip 'Um, a prequel/sequel to the acclaimed Accidental Nostalgia. Her new piece is described as “a Last Waltz-style farewell concert performance of one Cameron Seymour – obscure, failed pop star from the 1970's – on the eve of her disappearance.” Expect Hopkins, who puts her irresistible voice and musicianship to delicious use in the band Gloria Deluxe, to work her wild, multi-media imagination to the max.

Daniel MacIvor, the Canadian playwright whose Never Swim Alone was a hit revival at last year’s Fringe Festival, is presenting A Beautiful View with his innovative da da kamera theater company. “The play charts the emotional turbulence of two women whose thirty year relationship neither of them really understands. Aided by a unique sense of humor and inventively minimal staging, the characters evoke the profound and ultimately unknowable history they have created together.”

For four nights only, Anne Bogart and the internationally acclaimed SITI Company will present Radio Macbeth, using "their trademark style of thrilling visual and narrative complexity. In the guts of an abandoned theater, a company of actors rehearse Shakepeare's most savage play while the ghosts of previous productions hover around them.”

We also can’t encourage you enough to go Get Your War On (read our review here), which extends beyond the festival. Also check out this week’s Voice for a glowing feature on festival entry No Dice, a “melodramatic take on amateur dinner theater."