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, August 11 from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: Virtual Salon: Spotlight on Critics of Color
At 5 p.m. ET, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater hosts an important conversation with four critics of colo—three of whom have written many articles for TDF Stages. Jose Solís is joined by fellow NYC-based theatre journalists Juan Michael Porter II and Diep Tran and California's David John Chávez for a no-holds-barred discussion about their approach to criticism, the challenges they've faced in the predominantly white industry and their hopes for what American theatre will look like when it reopens. Register in advance to receive the free Zoom link.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Love, Noël: The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward
At 7 p.m. ET, Irish Rep presents Love, Noël, a virtual reinvention of its 2019 celebration of playwright, songwriter and sparkling wit Noël Coward. Barry Day devised this two-person tribute featuring seasoned cabaret stars Steve Ross and KT Sullivan singing Coward's songs, such as "Mad About the Boy," "Together with Music" and "I'll Follow My Secret Heart," and channeling his famous friends, including Gertrude Lawrence, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Elaine Stritch. Tickets are a suggested donation of $25 but TDF members get a discount.
At 7 p.m. ET, since 2018, the Times Square Alliance has been presenting Broadway Buskers, a summer 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 Tamika Lawrence, a Broadway vet who was scheduled to appear in Caroline, or Change when the pandemic hit, and Joey Contreras, a singer-songwriter with multiple albums and musicals on his résumé. 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: Carmen
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Bizet's Carmen, with Clémentine Margaine as the title character, who captivates all the men around her. Filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2019, the production costars Aleksandra Kurzak, Roberto Alagna and Alexander Vinogradov. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Manon Lescaut, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Weathervane Theatre: Speech & Debate
At 7:30 p.m. ET, New Hampshire's Weathervane Theatre presents Speech & Debate, an early play by Stephen Karam, who took home a 2016 Tony Award for The Humans. Like that drama, Speech & Debate also started Off Broadway at Roundabout Theatre Company, and centers on a trio of teenage misfits in Salem, Oregon who discover they're linked by a scandal and decide to set the record straight. Weathervane is mounting a hybrid production, with the cast performing the show live on stage in front of a small in-person audience with many more watching online. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
RESCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY AT 8 P.M. The Cher Show Stars on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley prove the old adage that it's nice to Cher with the three leads of The Cher Show: Micaela Diamond, Teal Wicks and Stephanie J. Block, who won a Tony for her turn as the grown-up showbiz icon. Expect sequin-studded backstage stories and hit songs. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The 24 Hour Plays
At 8 p.m. ET, this week The 24 Hour Plays trades its Viral Monologues for five playlets and one mini-musical created by students in its Nationals intensive for artists 25 and under. After a week of workshops and panel discussions, the participants will show off what they've learned in a half dozen shorts written, rehearsed and filmed within the last 24 hours. Tickets are $15 and the recordings will remain available for (what else?) 24 hours.
Available to Watch All Day
BD Wong in Songs from an Unmade Bed
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS presents Songs from an Unmade Bed, a theatrical song cycle exploring the inner musings and romantic life of a gay man living in New York City. Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist and librettist Mark Campbell with 18 composers, the piece was first produced by New York Theatre Workshop in 2005. It has been reimagined for digital consumption by Tony-winning actor BD Wong and his husband, videographer Richert Schnorr, who produced the project while in lockdown in their NYC apartment. They enlisted some of their talented friends for cameos, including Awkwafina, John Lithgow, John Cameron Mitchell, Billy Porter, Keala Settle, Maulik Pancholy, Raymond J. Lee, Telly Leung, Jose Llana and Bowen Yang. Watch for free on on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Corkscrew Theater Festival: corkscrew 4.0
Although the fourth annual Corkscrew Theater Festival has been moved to next summer, the producers are presenting a series of online experiences inspired by the postponed productions. The website itself is a hoot, a throwback to the GeoCities days. Many of the works are interactive and all are free, though it's worth clicking on the "buy tickets here" link to see what happens. Be sure to scroll down—that's where the content is! Watch for free until Sunday, August 23 on Corkscrew's website.
Manual Cinema: No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks
Here's a dazzling treat: Over the next month, the multimedia theatre collective Manual Cinema, which combines shadow puppetry and filmic elements, is sharing recordings of one eye-popping show each week. This week's show is No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, a celebration of the groundbreaking poet, author and teacher, who became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize. Set in Brooks' beloved city of Chicago, the show explores her remarkable literary life. Watch for free until Monday, August 17 at 1 p.m. ET on the company's website.
On Saturday, Play-PerView presented a live reading of Dutchman, Amiri Baraka's searing 1964 play about a white temptress trying to seduce a Black man on the subway, and you can watch a recording through Wednesday. This event reunites the leads of the 2007 Cherry Lane production: Dulé Hill (Psych, The West Wing) and Jennifer Mudge. The one-act's depiction of the insidiousness of white supremacy feels as disturbingly timely as ever. Tickets are $15 and benefit Newark Arts.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The world's largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which has taken place in Scotland every August since 1947, goes virtual this year, with dozens of online performances from artists around the world. They're a charmingly motley bunch, an array of cutting-edge comedy, experimental theatre, wacky musicals and the indefinable. Some offerings cost money, others are free; some are available on demand, others have specific start times. You can browse the options to see what piques your interest. Also be sure to peruse Online@theSpaceUK, which lists Fringe shows that are 100% free and were all written and produced during the pandemic.
TADA! Youth Theater: Heroes
TADA! Youth Theater, NYC's 35-year-old, Drama Desk Award-winning youth company whose alums include Jordan Peele and Kerry Washington, is sharing recordings of its original shows for families. Recorded in 2015, Heroes is a timely tale about a group of narcissistic kids who gain empathy and selflessness and learn how to work together when the Woman of Great Magic plunges the world into darkness. The production stars talented tykes from ages 8 to 18 who are members of TADA!'s Resident Youth Ensemble. Watch for free on TADA!'s YouTube channel.
Top image: Teal Wicks, Stephanie J. Block and Micaela Diamond in The Cher Show. Photo by Joan Marcus.