BY CLAUDE SOLNIK | Actors, singers, dancers, belly dancers, bands, aerial performers, oh my!
Theater for the New City is gearing up for its 47th annual Village Halloween Costume Ball, shutting down E. 10th Street in the afternoon free for attendees and taking the show indoors at night with a cavalcade of performers, bands, belly dancers and aerial artists.
In what TNC, located at 155 First Ave., between Ninth and 10th Streets, is billing as a return to Halloween as usual (or unusual) on Tues., Oct. 31, those in the East Village will find a one-day festival, mixing song, dance and performance.
“We have an aerial dance act that we’ve never had on Halloween,” TNC Executive Artistic Director Crystal Field said of the event, which will also include performances by Penny Arcade, Austin Pendleton, Phoebe Legere, Terry Lee King and many others.
“Halloween is a nonreligious holiday,” she added. “It’s fun, enjoyable and not serious.”
In what is possibly the most theatrical holiday of the year, TNC will offer costume and scream contests, as well as a chance to entertain yourself and be entertained in the four-theater complex. The event launched in 1976 and has since become a Village tradition.
The free outdoor show — indoors in case of rain — begins at 3 p.m. on E. Tenth Street near First Ave., and will include a swing and Latin band, costume contest and street theater.
More than the ghosts of Halloweens past will haunt the Village amid dancing in the street with Art Lillard’s Heavenly Big Band, a 17-piece swing orchestra performing swing, samba, jazz and bossa nova.
Mr. Pablo’s Latin Dance Band, a five-piece fusion band, mixes salsa, samba and flamenco with rock, reggae and funk.
The show is slated to move inside from 8 p.m. to midnight (admission $20) with performances in two theaters and the lobby — as well as a champagne bar, cider and kegs presided over by a Village vampire for additional charge.
“It’s a very theatrical holiday,” Field said at her desk in the theater. “People wear costumes and they are invariably characters. They transform themselves.”
Performers are slated to include pianist Peter Dizzoza, The Witcherly Sisters, Zero Boy, Rome Neal, Lei Zhou, Lissa Moira and the Scream Contest, Richard West, Bina Sharif, Danielle Aziza and Emmy-award winner William Electric Black, along with an astrologer and palm reader.
The event, including performances emceed by Mary Tierney, also is slated to include the Yip Harburg Rainbow Troupe, Matt Angel & Rob Varcony, Whimsical Hips Belly Dance led by Carol Tandva, John Grimaldi juggling with fire, Elizabeth Ruf and stilt walking by Bond Street Theatre.
“We started the Halloween Parade,” Field noted. “Originally, it was for children. The Village Halloween Costume Ball was for the adults in the evening. That’s the way the Village Halloween Costume Ball began.”
The Village Halloween Costume Ball will be held Tues., Oct. 31, from 8 p.m. to midnight, at Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave., at E. 10th Street. Reservations optional. For more information, call the TNC box office at 212-254-1109 or go to www.theaterforthenewcity.net.