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Photo via Facebook/Queens Theatre
Photo via Facebook/Queens Theatre
A total of 10 plays will be performed that use Flushing Meadows Corona Park as a backdrop.

Queens is the most diverse county in the nation and one place to witness how people from different cultures have made the borough their home is Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The Queens Theatre, in partnership with Theatre 167, will produce 10 plays this summer that use the 897-acre park as the backdrop. The production, called “Park Plays,” will take place from July 28 through Aug. 6 at the venue’s Studio Theater at 14 United Nations Avenue South.

“There is no better place to people-watch,” said Queens Theatre Executive Director Taryn Sacramone. “The diversity of the communities who have  integrated this park into their lives — who celebrate birthdays, play soccer games, practice yoga, restore life to the New York State Pavilion Towers, and much, much more — is really extraordinary. I see it daily — it is one of the privileges of working at Queens Theatre, and it always sparks my imagination.”

Six of the plays were commissioned and four were chosen from open submissions. The playwrights either have a personal connection to the park or wrote plays that capture “the spirit of inclusivity and diversity that the park represents,” according to Park Plays Festival Director Brant Russell.

Playwrights include Ngozi Anyanwu, Jenny Lyn Bader, Jess Barbagallo, Gracie Gardner, Richard Hinojosa, MJ Kaufman, Rex McGregor, Don Nguyen, Frank Paiva and Lauren Yee.

In “G.O.A.T.” by Ngozi Anyanwu, three women bring tailgating to a new level in order to help their favorite athlete win the ultimate prize.

“Care” by Jess Barbagallo tells a story about the romance of friendship while “The Tennis Club” written by Frank Paiva follows a mother and daughter while they deal with an alien invasion.

Three sisters participate in the annual Dragon Boat Festival in “Race Day” by Don Nguyen, and in “What Once We Were,” which is written by Lauren Yee, three museum curators talk about their memories of the city.

“Ruthie at the Fair” by MJ Kaufman follows Ruthie as she explores the 1939 World’s Fair that took place at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. “Afternoon Prayers” by Jenny Lyn Bader is a play about three passersby in the park and is inspired by Marina Budhos’ novel “Watched.”

Other plays include “Amazons of Tomorrow” by Rex McGregor, “Time Away” by Richard Hinojosa and “Ball Court” by Gracie Gardner.

The plays are directed by Evan Cummings, Candis Jones, Nico Grelli, Emma Miller and Marilee Talkington, and will be performed by an ensemble of 11 actors.

“These writers are at the absolute top of their game – they have work produced around the world,” Russell said. “The plays we chose from submissions come from all corners of the globe as well – one is from New Zealand! – and they are true representations of the people and events that populate the park.” 

Each ticket costs $18 and tickets for students and seniors cost $15. The plays will be performed on Saturday, July 28, at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday, July 30 at 3 p.m.; and on Thursday, Aug. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

To purchase tickets, visit the Queens Theatre website.

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