While Shakespeare in the Park is still going strong with its musical adaptation of “As You Like It,” other local companies producing shows this summer are winding things up and getting ready for the new season. But if you need just a little taste of Broadway to sate your appetite until then, you just might find it on a pedestrian plaza near you: Starting on Tuesday, the non-profit organization NY Forever is hosting a series of four free midday pop-up concerts.
Broadway Forever gets underway with Shoshana Bean – who’s nominated for a Tony Award for her work in “Mr. Saturday Night” – performing at Cooper Square Plaza. After that, watch out for Jelani Remy from “The Lion King” at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights on Wednesday; Ashley de la Rosa from “Hamilton” and “Rent” at Quisqueya Plaza in Inwood on Thursday; and Matt Doyle, who won a Tony for his work in “Company,” at Albee Square in downtown Brooklyn on Friday. Aug. 23rd – 26th at 3:30 p.m.; instagram.com/nyforever
The Metropolitan Opera kicks off the latest season of its very popular Summer HD Festival next Friday, August 26th, on Lincoln Center Plaza. The series brings the Met’s excellent live HD cinema broadcasts back for free outdoor screenings, and some of the operas coming up this time around include “Porgy and Bess,” “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “Turandot,” Philip Glass's "Akhnaten" and Terence Blanchard's "Fire Shut Up in My Bones."
But the first offering in the series isn’t a Met production at all – instead, on Friday you’ll get to see Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of “West Side Story," jointly presented by the Met and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Aug. 26th at 8 p.m.; metopera.org
If you’re a fan of Jamaican music, a real bounty is coming up during the week ahead...weather permitting, you might even imagine you’re visiting Reggae Sunsplash. The good vibes start on Wednesday night, when the British band UB40 headlines a free show at Central Park SummerStage. UB40 got together in 1978, and still boasts a solid handful of its original founding members, along with a persuasive young singer named Matt Doyle. They’ll be joined by The Original Wailers, a band led by Bob Marley’s guitarist Al Anderson, and vocalist Maxi Priest. Aug. 24th at 6:30 p.m.; cityparksfoundation.org
Come back to Central Park SummerStage the very next night to catch a bona fide reggae icon. Jamaican vocalist Winston Rodney, better known as Burning Spear, has been a standard bearer for conscious roots music since he scored massive Jamaican hits in the early ‘70s with songs like “Marcus Garvey” and “Slavery Days.” This concert is ticketed, not free – but if you’ve never seen Burning Spear, you won’t be sorry. At age 77, he's still going strong. Aug. 25th at 7 p.m.; cityparksfoundation.org
And if your appetite still isn’t sated, you can catch one more iconic Jamaican band next Saturday, August 27th, when The Skatalites come to Brooklyn Bowl. The band was founded by Jamaica’s top studio aces in 1964, and played a pivotal role in creating the ska, rocksteady and reggae styles. The current band still boasts two founding members, joined by a crew of seasoned players who definitely know how to lively up a joint. Aug. 27th at 8 p.m.; brooklynbowl.com