Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
With in-person theatre out of commission for the foreseeable future, many companies and performers from Broadway and beyond are showcasing their work online. Below are performances you can watch today, Wednesday, October 7, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Theater of War Productions: Frances McDormand in Philoctetes and Women of Trachis
At 1 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents a reading of scenes from Philoctetes and Women of Trachis, followed by a town hall-style discussion with the audience. Two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand, Frankie Faison, Nyasha Hatendi and Marjolaine Goldsmith will perform scenes from Sophocles' tragedies, and then director-adapter Bryan Doerries will facilitate a conversation about how the plays' themes relate to the trauma frontline medical workers are facing during the pandemic. Reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite at least an hour in advance. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
The Metropolitan Opera: Madama Butterfly
At 5 p.m. ET, ever since the shutdown began, the Metropolitan Opera has been sharing productions from its Live in HD series nightly at 7:30 p.m. ET. But it also presents weekly student streams that debut on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. ET. These productions have been specially selected for families, and Zoom education sessions leading up to the screening teach school-age kids about opera. This week's offering is Madama Butterfly, Puccini's tragic tale of a young geisha (Hui He) abandoned by her lover, a callous American naval officer (Bruce Sledge). Anthony Minghella's staging was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2019, and also features Elizabeth DeShong and Tony winner Paulo Szot. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
New York Theatre Barn: New Works Series
At 7 p.m. ET, for the past 13 years, New York Theatre Barn has showcased works in progress in its New Works Series. That initiative has now gone virtual, with 40-minute peeks at two new musicals a week. Tonight, catch excerpts from Kira Stone's Salem, which examines the Salem witch trials through a modern-day lens; and Truth Bachman and Zhailon Levingston's LGBTQ adventure Shapeshifters: A Queer Comic Book Musical. Watch for free on New York Theatre Barn's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
HERE Arts Center: US
At 7 p.m. ET, HERE Arts Center shares a recording of US, a 2007 solo multimedia work by dancer-choreographer Alexandra Beller that examines political questions through movement, music and text. Watch for free on HERE's Facebook page.
Carnegie Hall Opening Night 130th Anniversary Season: A Virtual Gala Celebration
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Carnegie Hall kicks off its virtual season with performances by some of the musical stars who have graced its stage. A mix of archival footage and new recordings, the program includes luminaries from opera, jazz, classical, pop and world music, including Jon Batiste, Joyce DiDonato, Gustavo Dudamel, Michael Feinstein, Renée Fleming, Rhiannon Giddens and Our Native Daughters, Angélique Kidjo, Lang Lang, Wynton Marsalis, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, James Taylor and Michael Tilson Thomas. Watch for free on Carnegie Hall's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Das Rheingold
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Wagner favorites continues with Otto Schenk's production of Das Rheingold, the first installment in the iconic Ring cycle. Christa Ludwig, Siegfried Jerusalem, James Morris and Ekkehard Wlaschihaa star. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Tannhäuser, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Vineyard Theatre: Lessons in Survival Episode 2
At 8:30 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's invaluable Vineyard Theatre continues Lessons in Survival, featuring a collective of 40 theatre artists sharing historic conversations, interviews and speeches by listening to the original speakers in an earpiece while repeating their words verbatim. Conceived by actors Marin Ireland, Peter Mark Kendall and Reggie D. White and director Tyler Thomas, this singular series continues tonight with the second episode, "I'm Trying to Make You See Something," featuring Ricardy Fabre, Chris Stack and Dan Butler channeling a 1969 Dick Cavett interview with author and activist James Baldwin and philosopher Paul Weiss debating discrimination in America. Tickets start at $5.
Available to Watch All Day
WNET's All Arts: Under the Greenwood Tree
In 2017, The Public Theater presented a musical production of As You Like It as part of its Public Works program, which stages exuberant theatrical pageants starring a handful of professional actors alongside hundreds of everyday New Yorkers. With songs by Shaina Taub and direction by Laurie Woolery, that magical mounting of Shakespeare's intoxicating romance was scheduled to be part of The Public's Shakespeare in the Park season this summer before COVID-19 hit. This documentary Under the Greenwood Tree chronicles the creation of the show as well as how the community participants came together during the health crisis to help each other. Watch for free on WNET's All Arts' website.
New York City Ballet: Modern Innovation
New York City Ballet continues its virtual fall season with innovative classics. This week's stream features two works by George Balanchine, Kammermusik No. 2 (First Movement) and Movements for Piano and Orchestra; a pair of pieces by Jerome Robbins, Opus 19/The Dreamer (First Movement) and Glass Pieces (Third Movement); Chiaroscuro by Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Red Angels by Ulysses Dove. Dancers include principals Sara Mearns, Maria Kowroski, Teresa Reichlen, Jared Angle, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Gonzalo Garcia, Ask la Cour and Andrew Veyette. Watch for free until Monday on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Who's Your Baghdaddy, or How I Started the Iraq War
Marshall Paillet and A.D. Penedo's irreverent musical satire Who's Your Baghdaddy, about a support group for the operatives who started the Iraq War, gets the streaming treatment. A hit Off Broadway, the show was adapted for a socially distanced staging in Australia earlier this year, which is now available to watch in the US. Laugh at the simpler times when all we had to worry about were WMDs! Tickets are $22 AUD, approximately $16.
Dramatists Play Service: The Party Hop
Last Saturday, Dramatists Play Service premiered this star-studded reading of Natalie Margolin's The Party Hop, and you can watch a recording today. A dark comedy set three years into COVID-19 quarantine (oy!), it centers on three Zoom-party hopping college sophomores yearning for in-person contact. The cast includes young Broadway and Hollywood favorites Ben Platt, Beanie Feldstein, Ashley Park, Noah Galvin, Kathryn Gallagher, Ayo Edebiri, Kaitlyn Dever and Catherine Cohen. Watch for free on Dramatists Play Service's YouTube channel.
Play-PerView: Title and Deed Starring Will Eno
Last Saturday, Play-PerView presented a live reading of Title and Deed starring the playwright himself, Will Eno, and you can watch a recording through Wednesday, October 21. The Pulitzer Prize finalist plays a nameless traveler seeking solace and connection in an unknown country. Eno's favorite Beckettian themes of mortality, isolation and loneliness are all present! Tickets are pay what you wish and proceeds benefit RAICES in Texas.
Top image: Frances McDormand.