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, Tuesday, September 22, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Bristol Old Vic: Romantics Anonymous
At 2:30 p.m. ET, the UK's lauded Bristol Old Vic presents Romantics Anonymous, performed live on stage to an empty theatre and streamed to an at-home audience. Based on the French film Les Émotifs Anonymes, this charming musical chronicles the unlikely love story between a painfully shy sweets maker and her harried chocolate factory boss. Emma Rice, who helmed Brief Encounter on Broadway, penned the book and directs this confection, which features songs by Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman. And since the cast and crew have been quarantining for weeks, no social distancing is required. There will be singing, dancing and kissing! Tickets are £21, approximately $27.
The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Musicals
At 6 p.m. ET, this week's edition of The 24 Hour Plays' signature pandemic series trades monologues for mini-musicals! Every 15 minutes from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.-ish, well-known actors—including Christopher Fitzgerald, Noah Galvin, Lora Lee Gayer, L Morgan Lee and Kate Rockwell—will perform tailor-made numbers about how we're living today, all created and filmed within the last 24 hours. The songs were created by a stellar list of musical theatre-makers, including Eli Bolin, Kristoffer Diaz, Gordon Greenberg, Tasha Gordon-Solmon, christopher oscar peña, Jonathan Marc Sherman, William Finn, Aimee Mann & Jonathan Coulton, plus James Lapine and Kirsten Childs, two mentors from TDF's educational program the Wendy Wasserstein Project, which is the recipient of all money raised tonight. Watch for free on The 24 Hour Plays' Instagram though donations are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Belfast Blues
At 7 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's intrepid Irish Rep presents Belfast Blues, Geraldine Hughes' touching autobiographical solo show about growing up in Ireland during The Troubles in the '80s and how acting offered her a way out. After touring with this very personal play for more than a decade, Hughes, whose Broadway credits include Jerusalem and Harry Potter, did a final engagement at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast last year. This never-before-seen video comes from that run. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested.
New York Theatre Workshop: What the Hell Is a Republic, Anyway?
At 7 p.m. ET, New York Theatre Workshop kicks off an innovative fall season with What the Hell Is a Republic, Anyway?, a four-part interactive online experience from Tony winner Denis O'Hare and director-writer Lisa Peterson. The duo previously mounted the Obie-winning An Iliad at NYTW. Now they're inviting audiences into their creative process as they deconstruct democracy in real time by parsing the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and the challenges of successfully collaborating on anything, be it a play or politics. This first episode is titled "Rome & America: Joined at Birth," and Roberta Stewart from Dartmouth's Department of Classics will make a guest appearance. Log on ready to participate! Tickets are $10.
At 7 p.m. ET, since 2018, the Times Square Alliance has been presenting Broadway Buskers, a concert series showcasing the songwriting talents of NYC theatre folk. This year the show goes online with live-streamed sets on Tuesday nights through October 27. This evening enjoy numbers by The Secret Life of Bees and Passing Strange star Eisa Davis, who also happens to be a Pulitzer Prize finalist; Broadway pit musician Will Van Dyke; and Tidtaya Sinutoke and Isabella Dawis, whose musical Half the Sky is about an Asian-American woman scaling Mount Everest. Watch for free on the Times Square Alliance website though donations to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Broadway Advocacy Coalition are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Fanciulla del West
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Puccini favorites continues with La Fanciulla del West, a rootin'-tootin' romance set during the California Gold Rush, as a charming outlaw wins the heart of a gun-toting saloon owner. Deborah Voigt and Marcello Giordani headline this 2011 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, La Rondine, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Stars for the Arts
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome a stellar lineup of celebs in support of Americans for the Arts, a venerable nonprofit whose mission is to support this essential sector of our country's workforce. Tonight's guest list includes Annette Bening, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ariana DeBose, Ben Folds, Todrick Hall, Javier Muñoz, Bebe Neuwirth, Storm Reid, Alfre Woodard and Nina Ozlu Tunceli, the org's executive director. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
Expand the Canon: Bold Stroke for a Husband
At 8 p.m. ET, every year, Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre comes up with a curated list of classic, underproduced plays by women and underrepresented genders. The 2020 roundup of nine works (developed in partnership with Ma-Yi Theater Company, American Players Theatre and the Classical Theatre of Harlem) dropped on Monday night, and Hedgepig will be presenting virtual readings of four of them over the next few weeks, starting tonight with Bold Stroke for a Husband. Written by Susanna Centilivre in 1718, this restoration comedy pokes fun at the patriarchy as a master of disguise is forced to win over four eccentric male guardians in order to win the hand of his lady love. Centilivre's oeuvre was produced as frequently as Shakespeare's until the 20th century. With tonight's reading, Hedgepig hopes to start turning that around. Register to receive the free viewing link though a $15 donation is suggested.
Latino Theater Co.: Home
At 10 p.m. ET, Los Angeles' Latino Theater Co. presents a recording of Home, playwright-performer Nancy Ma's moving coming-of-age tale about a young woman torn between two cultures, who leaves NYC's Chinatown in search of herself. Geoffrey Rivas directed this one-act, which was recorded at the theatre last season. Watch for free on the company's YouTube channel.
Short North Stage: Howard Crabtree's When Pigs Fly
Columbus, Ohio's Short North Stage presents When Pigs Fly, the late Howard Crabtree's hilarious musical revue, which was an Off-Broadway smash in the '90s. A costume designer by trade, Crabtree was inspired to create this over-the-top spectacle featuring songs (by Mark Waldrop and Dick Gallagher), sketches and outrageous styles thanks to a high school counselor who told him he'd make it in show business "when pigs fly." Guess who got the last laugh? The audience! RuPaul's Drag Race alum Nina West guest stars. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Actors Theatre of Louisville: COVID-Classics: One-Act Plays for the Age of Quarantine
One of the most acclaimed regional theatres in the country, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, presents five classic shorts by Guillaume Apollinaire, Anton Chekhov, Luigi Pirandello, August Strindberg and Thucydides, reimagined for our plagued times. Robert Barry Fleming directs this poignant 45-minute program. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Play-PerView: Sugar in Our Wounds
On Saturday, Play-PerView presented a live reading of Sugar in Our Wounds and you can watch a recording through Wednesday. Donja R. Love's lyrical queer romance between two slaves is set during the Civil War, and this event reunites the cast of the play's Manhattan Theatre Club world premiere: Stephanie Berry, Sheldon Best, Fern Cozine, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart and Chinaza Uche. Malika Oyetimein directs. Tickets start at $15 and benefit HIV/AIDS nonprofit Bebashi.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Carly Bawden and Marc Antolin in Romantics Anonymous at the Bristol Old Vic. Photo by Steve Tanner.