The National Theater of the United States of America is a troupe of professional entertainers and theater makers. They exist for your entertainment, enlightenment and greater glory. The NTUSA works collaboratively to script, design, choreograph and build each of their shows, often installing temporary show-specific theaters into raw spaces. In 2006 they won an OBIE Award for Design and, in 2007, a Spalding Gray Award for innovation in writing and production. Their works have been produced in New York and Dublin, Ireland to popular and critical acclaim. They have been called an “underground theatrical coup” by Time Out New York (David Cote), “one of the most exciting and eccentric theater companies in town” by The New York Times (Ada Calhoun), and their works have appeared on several “Best Of…” lists including Time Out New York (2002), The Village Voice (2006) and Brooklyn’s L Magazine. The company’s artistic excellence has been recognized with grants from The Greenwall Foundation, The New York State Council on the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Arts International’s DNA project grant, as well as multiple space grants and residencies from chashama, the Chocolate Factory, and Two Trees Realty.
The NTUSA was created in 2000 with the inaugural production Garvey and Superpant$: Episode #23, for which a lavish, miniature 1930’s era vaudeville theater was constructed in the basement of a dilapidated deli in Times Square. The piece was a popular and critical success, and firmly established the company on the New York theater scene.
In 2001, as chashama artists-in-residence, the NTUSA created Episode #17 of our Fathers, Garvey & Superpant$: Placebo Sunrise, converting a vacant storefront on 42nd St. into a 1950’s era Havana-style nightclub. An audience of forty followed the amnesiac heroes from Episode #23 on a paranoiac holiday, sipping custom ‘placebo’ cocktails in vertical tiers of seating. The show ran for three and a half months to sold-out houses and was hailed as one the years 10 best by Time Out New York.
In 2002 The NTUSA was awarded Arts International’s DNA project Grant and remounted Episode #23 at the 2002 ESB-Dublin Fringe Festival. (“…blows most of what we see these days on bourgeois stages out of the water,” The Guardian.) The NTUSA also offered a one-night-only special presentation of Jack Russell’s Superconfidence Seminar™! at Galapagos in Brooklyn.
In 2003, in residence at Nest Arts in DUMBO, Brooklyn, the NTUSA created What’s That On My HEAD!?! Conceived as a theme park ride, the show’s audience rode a mobile platform pushed and pulled through the space, visiting sets on all sides. HEAD!?! explored multiple visions of the American Dream, alternate versions of accepted history and the culture’s dual tendencies towards complacency and revolt. The show was extended twice and ran for ten weeks (January to March 2004).
In January 2006 the NTUSA premiered Abacus Black Strikes Now: The Rampant Justice of Abacus Black at Performance Space 122 (2006 Village Voice OBIE award,) and developed an adaptation of Moliere’s Don Juan, which was presented as a workshop to limited audiences at chashama’s Bank Vault space in Long Island City, Queens.
In February, 2007, the NTUSA’s premiered Moliere’s Don Juan at the Chocolate Factory in Long Island City, Queens.
The same year the company received Spalding Gray Award for its innovative theatrical vision, a commissioning grant for the production of Chautauqua!. Chautauqua premiered at Vanderbilt University in Nashville in November, 2008 and was presented at The Walker Art Center and at PS 122 that season. Chautauqua! has since been customized and presented on tour at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; the Stonington Opera House in Maine; MASS MoCA in North Adams; at the Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven; and at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, CA. In New York City it was most recently presented at The Public Theatre as part of the 2010 Under the Radar programming.
In June 2012, the company premiered The Golden Veil, at The Kitchen in New York City. This epic micro spectacle portrayed a familiar seduced-and-abandoned story through a variety of narrative frames and theatrical forms. Conceived as part pastoral ballet and part backwoods jamboree, part Punch-and-Judy show and part forlorn testimony, part bleak exposé of the lives of the rural poor and part celebration of their lovely handicrafts, The Golden Veil conjured the intimacy of a séance and the abandon of a hootenanny. The show was praised for its “…organized chaos, wry irony and shrewd intelligence…” (The Village Voice) and “…extraordinary depth of feeling, created not so much by logic as it is with sheer theatricality…” (NY Stage and Cinema).
What will the future hold? The NTUSA is currently hard at work developing three new projects for the benefit of all. Check the “Shows” page for more information!