Review: Best Live Performances Of The NYC Summer

  • Lauren deLisa Coleman
  • Lifestyle

Photo by Rosie Marinelli for Lincoln Center

As we all begin to make the most of the last couple weeks of summer while simultaneously looking forward to the fall social season ahead, we'd be remiss not to mention a pair of stand-out performances that recently closed during the summer performance season in New York City.

The annual Mostly Mozart Festival did not, as usual, disappoint. In fact, the 2019 offering was a triumph featuring a number of performances from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” to the Budapest Festival Orchestra. However, a truly exceptional performance was that of th U.S. premiere of Under Siege, an exquisite dance-theater work from Yang Liping Contemporary Dance from China. Visually impactful, this work, which examines the story of an ancient Chinese battle via contemporary dance fused with martial arts was somehow playful, hypnotic, majestic and dynamic all within the same piece.

Moving expertly from a dreamlike ambiance to that of explosive force, this work was awe-inspiring in its strength and creativity.  This talented troupe offers as much grace as stamina, and we get the sense that there is a true sense of comradery and unity among these performers as much on the stage as off.  The creativity with which such concepts as duality, power, and fragility is nothing short of impressive.  And the visual landscape, particularly that of the final scene which drenches the stage in red feathers, is jaw-dropping and provides endless waves of delight. Oscar Winner Tim Yip (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) proves why he is a creative genius. 


Production photo by Joan Marcus


This year's offerings from Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park offered an unexpectedly wonderful title selection. While the first half of the season featured “Much Ado About Nothing,” the second half offered a play that is a bit outside the Shakespearean titles with which most are familiar from our formal educational years. 

Coriolanus was a production that certainly did not disappoint. A diverse offering in age and ethnic background, somehow this production was able to bring together an ancient story of troubled political leadership that speaks to a prominent cultural narrative of contemporary times that was set in an apocalyptic-like setting of the future. The style of delivery, particularly from the lead Jonathan Cake, was particularly intriguing creating anticipation for his every return to a scene once he exited. The dedication of the entire cast was evident, however, as they brought the title to life under the stars of the open-air theater.

Expertly directed by Daniel Sullivan, this work itself not only makes one consider the macrocosm of the impact of unstable leadership within a culture while also examining the microcosm of the effect on the leader him or herself as a result of unaddressed personal flaws via th character, Corilanus. This production was so perfectly selected for the current times as it speaks to the deeper collisions of the populace and political leadership, hyper-active ego and ramifications of adult decisions based on childhood patterns which linger based on domineering parental figures. 

Works like these resonate well beyond the long days of summer and into the rest of the year.

Get the latest delivered to right to your inbox! Sign up here:

Please enable the javascript to submit this form

Let's Be Social.