Jamie LaVerdiere, F. Michael Haynie, and Colin McAdoo
in We the People: America Rocks!
(© Joan Marcus)
Jamie LaVerdiere, F. Michael Haynie, and Colin McAdoo
in We the People: America Rocks!
(© Joan Marcus)
You can celebrate living in the land of the free this summer with some totally free theater down at the Lucille Lortel, where TheaterworksUSA is presenting the post-Independence Day bash We the People: America Rocks! (July 8 - August 13). In this 60-minute world premiere, recommended for ages 8 and older, a student running for school election gets schooled herself by a band of those original American bad boys -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Ben Franklin. The rocking family-friendly musical bills itself as "Jon Stewart meets the Jonas Brothers," so there should be something for everyone to enjoy.

Another free-of-charge will be taking place at the Byrant Park Reading Room, as playwrights Bekah Brunstetter, Zack Friedman, Chisa Hutchinson, Cassandra Hume, and Dan Kitrosser collaborate on A Grimm Reality, which celebrates the diversity, the excitement, and the "magic" of New York City and your favorite Brothers Grimm tales. It's intended for audiences eight and up.

One of the few children's theaters that is performed for youth and by youth, the TADA! Theater has a new summer musical co-commissioned with St. Paul's SteppingStone Theater. The New York premiere of The Magic Pot: Three Tales From China (July 9 - August 4) is directed by TADA!'s own co-founder and artistic director Janine Nina Trevens and features book, music, and lyrics by Dane Stauffer. The story is about a girl who goes on an extraordinary and enlightening adventure when she finds her way into the action of three wonderful ancient tales.

The 13th Street Rep is currently performing two children's musicals each Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Rumple Who?, a staple at the Rep, was written by Will Barlett and is based on the classic tale Rumplestilskin. Wiseacre Farm is a musical for kids 3 and up about a collection of quirky creatures like birthday girl Cliffie the Pig, hound dog Conrad O'Conner, Babette the poetic cat, and Foxy the Fox, who has a penchant for stealing birthday cakes. The young audience is actually encouraged to come on stage to help save the cake!

The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park, with its big stars, may get all the press, but the New York Classical Theatre is also doing free performances of Shakespeare on the green this summer, and you don't have to wait in a long line to see its shows. The company is performing the Bard's romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing (July 17 - August 1) at Castle Clinton in Battery Park, and special family workshops are being held in conjunction with the play on July 18, 20, and 31, and August 1.