New York, NY– City Parks Foundation is proud to announce the 2016 season of SummerStage, New York City’s largest free performing arts festival, bringing more than 115 free performances to Central Park and 15 neighborhood parks throughout the five boroughs. With performances ranging from American pop, Yiddish Soul, and Taiwanese music to dance, comedy and theater, SummerStage will feature more than 200 unique artists, filling a vital niche in New York City’s summer arts landscape, ensuring that New Yorkers will have access to exceptional cultural experiences, free of charge. Since its inception 31 years ago, SummerStage has benefited more than six million people from New York City and around the world.
Having highlighted hip-hop music and culture in 2013 and salsa and Latin music in 2014, the festival is thrilled this year to honor another distinctly New York musical form: Jazz. The 2016 season of SummerStage will both showcase exceptional performing artists from around the globe, and will also feature more jazz performances than ever before, with nearly half a dozen planned for Central Park and many more in neighborhood parks across the city. The focus on jazz this season coincides with the upcoming centennial of the musical dawning of the term “jazz,” as well as what would have been the 100th birthdays of late jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Ella Fitzgerald.
In Queens, the festival opens with a big night of music on June 26 in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park featuring R&B star, Ginuwine. Programming will continue throughout July in Socrates Sculpture Park and Queensbridge Park both in Long Island City.
Highlights in Queens for music lovers include hip-hop pioneers Black Moon & Smif-N-Wessun and preeminent jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves.
In the world of dance the festival presents a collaboration of visual and auditory elements featuring choreographer Stephanie Batten Bland with live music performed by Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber.
For theater aficionados, SummerStage has partnered with the Nuyorican Poets Cafe to present a night of local poetry hosted by Queens Poet Laureates Paolo Javier and Maria Lisella.
In keeping with this year’s celebration of jazz, SummerStage offers a special jazz infused family day. The day will feature post-bop jazz pianist Marc Cary, award winning actor, dancer, and poet Joseph Monroe Webb, and a special performance by the WBGO Kids Jazz featuring rising young jazz singer Brianna Thomas and The Jazz Travelers.
“At City Parks Foundation, we believe culture should be convenient and affordable for everyone. Our SummerStage festival removes the barriers to culture, bringing world-class artists, topical and popular, to neighborhood parks across all five boroughs, free of charge,” said Heather Lubov, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation. “SummerStage brings together New York’s diverse communities in authentic and meaningful ways, making high quality performing arts — from music to spoken word, circus and contemporary dance — truly accessible. We are thrilled to bring another season, filled with exceptional artistry, to communities across the City.”
“Capital One is proud to once again support SummerStage as it celebrates New York’s artistic energy and creativity,” said Michael Slocum, President, Commercial Banking and Northeast Regional President, Capital One. “The arts build communities and enrich lives, and this remarkable festival embodies our commitment to investing for good in the diverse communities where our associates live and work.”