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12 Stage Performances to Watch Today, September 17

Date: Sep 17, 2020


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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, Thursday, September 17, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.

Old Vic: Michael Sheen in Faith Healer
At 2:30 p.m. ET, London's acclaimed Old Vic presents Brian Friel's Faith Healer, a powerful play about the dramatic life of Hardy, portrayed by Michael Sheen. Since this story about faith and fragility unfolds through a series of monologues delivered by Hardy, his wife (Indira Varma) and his longtime manager (David Threlfall), it's ideal for this era of social distancing, and will be performed live on stage to an empty auditorium and streamed to an at-home audience. Tickets cost £20 to £40, approximately $26 to $52, and must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance—that means today's performance is no longer available, but you can still buy tickets for Friday or Saturday. Audio description and closed captions are available.

Ben Brantley on Classic Conversations
At 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company continues its Classic Conversations with a chat between artistic director John Doyle and longtime New York Times chief theatre critic Ben Brantley, who recently announced he's stepping down from the influential post after a 24-year run. Expect lots of talk about the future of theatre—and theatre journalism—post-COVID. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page.

Bard at the Gate: Bulrusher
At 7 p.m. ET, Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Paula Vogel continues her Bard at the Gate play reading series showcasing timely, under-the-radar scripts. Tonight's offering is Eisa Davis' Bulrusher, a sexual and political coming-of-age tale about a multiracial girl with clairvoyant gifts struggling to belong in her predominantly white town in 1955 California. But when a Black girl from Alabama arrives, everything shifts. Corey Stoll, Kara Young, André Holland, Edmund Donovan, Sydney Elisabeth and Tanis Parenteau star. Watch for free on Bard at the Gate's YouTube channel.

Irish Repertory Theatre: Gregory Harrington in Concert
At 7 p.m. ET, acclaimed Irish violinist Gregory Harrington kicks off the Irish Rep's fall season with a virtual concert performed live on the theatre's Chelsea stage. The virtuoso will perform fresh arrangements of traditional Irish and Celtic classics, including "Shenandoah," "The Last Rose of Summer" and "The Parting Glass," with a little help from cellists Eleanor Norton and Philip Sheegog. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel though a $10 donation is encouraged.

Radio Free Birdland: Julie Halston: Virtual Judge Julie
At 7 p.m. ET, midtown jazz haunt Birdland presents one of TDF's favorite funny ladies, Broadway scene-stealer Julie Halston, in a solo show dubbed Virtual Judge Judy that's a mash-up of riotous rants, reminiscences and readings. If you've ever seen her on stage or her YouTube talk show, you know Halston has no censor and it's awesome. Tickets are $20.

The Metropolitan Opera: La Cenerentola
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of bel-canto favorites continues with La Cenerentola, Rossini's charming take on the Cinderella story, which includes mistaken identities on the royal side, too. Elina Garanca stars as the plucky princess-to-be, wooed by Lawrence Brownlee in this 2009 production. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, La Fille du Régiment, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.

Best of Stars in the House Part 3!
At 8 p.m. ET, when Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley vowed to keep theatre fans entertained with Stars in the House as long as Broadway was shut down, it was impossible to imagine we'd be here six months later. In honor of that bittersweet milestone, the spouses continue their half-year anniversary celebration with a third installment of best-of clips, including lots of Broadway and Hollywood stars. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.

TRLive!: Starr Busby
At 8 p.m. ET, 42nd Street's nonprofit complex Theatre Row continues its live concert series with Starr Busby, who starred in Dave Malloy's Octet Off Broadway last season, but is also a promising songwriter in her own right. Tonight she'll share some of her original soul music, such as her heart-stopping "Ms. Bland," a haunting gospel tribute to victims of police brutality. Watch the concert for free on Theatre Row's Facebook page.

Do Re #MeToo: Sexist Songs Reclaimed by Righteous Feminists
At 9 p.m. ET, a fabulous lineup of fierce females and nonbinary performers turn problematic tunes into a night of powerful political entertainment in Do Re #MeToo: Sexist Songs Reclaimed by Righteous Feminists. Hosted by The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead, the evening features covers and comic rants by Tony winner Laura Benanti, stand-up Margaret Cho, Peppermint from RuPaul's Drag Race, and rockers Kathy Valentine from The Go-Go's, Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! and Nina Gordon and Louise Post of Veruca Salt. Contribute any amount to receive the viewing link; proceeds benefit Abortion Access Front.

Available to Watch All Day

The Metropolitan Opera: L'Elisir d'Amore
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 Donizetti's charming rom-com L'Elisir d'Amore, about a spirited landowner, a lovesick peasant and a purported love potion that may lead to romance. Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher helmed this 2018 mounting that stars Pretty Yende, Matthew Polenzani, Davide Luciano and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.

MCC Theater: Miscast20
It's your last chance to watch MCC Theater's fabulous Miscast20, which was performed live on Sunday and features stars crooning tunes from roles they're wrong for. In years past, videos of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Raúl Esparza singing "A Boy Like That" from West Side Story, Aaron Tveit and Gavin Creel crooning "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent, and Tina Fey and Tituss Burgess one-upping each other in "You're Nothing Without Me" from City of Angels have gone viral. This year, since Miscast20 is completely virtual, audiences everywhere can enjoy the entire evening of kooky casting, which is often hilarious but also unexpectedly thought-provoking and poignant. The stellar lineup includes Leslie Odom Jr., Norbert Leo Butz, Robert Fairchild, Heather Headley, Joshua Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Phillipa Soo and Adrienne Warren. No spoilers about the surprising numbers they sing, but let's just say that if Norbert crooned that love ballad to me, I would leave my husband. Watch for free on MCC's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.

Urban Stages: The Incels
Off-Off Broadway's Urban Stages continues its September Play Fest & Fundraiser with a reading of The Incels, Ruth Zamoyta's look at three volatile men who can't get girlfriends and their chilling potential for violence, which was recorded live on Wednesday evening. Kim T. Sharp directs Jason Asher, Grant Bowen, Christopher Daftsios, Ian Hayes, Mat Labotka and Chris Marshall in this chilling play. Watch for free on Urban Stages' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.


Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.

Top image: Julie Halston.