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5 Best Storytelling Series In NYC

Looking for something new to do in the city? Attend one of these fun storytelling events and find out how raconteurs from all walks of life make stories come alive on stage. These are some of the best storytelling series in NYC. By Carly Petrone.

Yum's The Word
Yum's The Word (credit: Nolan Conway)

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You can thank host Robin Gelfenbien for combining engaging storytelling with delicious cake eating in the monthly series Yum's the Word. Sugar-loving folk can watch comedians, culinary pros, and some of New York City's best take the stage to share their favorite stories all based on a specific theme. And what's the icing on the cake? The actual cake! Robin transports a variety of homemade ice cream cakes to each show, in honor of whoever is celebrating a birthday that month. Plus, there are Mad Libs, nostalgic candy, and a fun game or two to keep you entertained in between sets. Why wouldn't you want to spend an evening laughing, drinking, and eating as much cake as you possibly can consume? Tickets range from $15-$20 and shows start at 7:30 p.m. Next show is February 18th, where storytellers Kevin Allison, Natalie Wall, Aasif Mandvi, and SNL's Sasheer Zamata will tackle the theme Mister Softee (Awkward Sex Stories). Don't say we didn't warn you.

The Moth
(credit: Facebook/TheMoth)

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What started out in New York back in 1997 has now grown into an international phenomenon. The Moth is dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling and it has presented thousands of stories over the years. Each show has a theme, while each storyteller works with The Moth's directors to help find, shape, and present their best story up on stage. Those who are willing to take a chance can sign up for the popular Moth StorySLAM, which takes place every week in NYC. When doors open, storyteller hopefuls can put their names in The Moth"hat" for the chance to tell their tales in front of teams of judges selected from the audience. After ten SLAMs, the winners face off in their GrandSLAM Championships. There's also The Moth Podcast you can download in case you can't make it to the show or it's sold out. Check website for next event and location.

Soundtrack Series
(credit: Facebook/SoundtrackSeries)

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It's funny how music ignites memories in all of us. Dana Rossi had the idea back in 2009, shortly after Michael Jackson died, to ask people to tell their stories about the music that matters to them. What started out as an experiment has led to a popular monthly series with such guests as Sway and Kennedy from MTV as well as Grammy-winning producer Ken Caillat (of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours) sharing their tales. Oh yeah, and who can forget Dana's parents, who frequently hit the stage, too. The next show is February 7th at 7 p.m. at QED in Astoria. Check website for future live shows and locations.

How I Learned

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Make sure to keep the night of February 25th open because that's when the next How I Learned Series event takes place. For the past six years, this series has featured writers, storytellers, comedians, and other raconteurs holding forth on lessons learned, unlearned, relearned, or in progress. Host and producer Blaise Allysen Kearsley has now set up shop at Union Hall on the last Wednesday of every month. With such themes as "How I Learned It was a Good Idea at the Time" and "How I Learned To Live in New York," there's always an exciting topic to explore. Tickets are $6 in advance, $10 at the door and show start at 8 p.m.

Tom Shillue
(credit: Facebook/Tom Shillue)

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Head over to the Brooklyn Brewery every third Thursday of the month for a fun-filled evening with comedian Tom Shillue. He and the folks from Brooklyn Based put together Funny Story, a program of true stories from various narrators, including most of Tom's hilarious friends. Just a few of his guests have included John Mulaney, Sara Schaefer, Dave Hill, Kurt Braunohler, and Adam Wade. For $10 you can enjoy a beer and a laugh, courtesy of some of the funniest people living in NYC. Next show is February 19th at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door (cash only).

For the latest on all of the Tri-State's events and happenings, follow us on Twitter!

Carly Petrone is a freelance writer living in New York City.

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