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 4 from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
First, a hot show alert! This Thursday evening at 8:30 p.m. ET, newly minted EGOT winner Alan Menken, who wrote the music for Little Shop of Horrors and many a Disney movie/show, is doing a live mini-concert in support of the Walt Disney Family Museum's At-Promise Youth Animation Academy initiative. Tickets to the VIP pre-show chat are pretty pricey, but you can watch the performance for free if you register before Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET! Bonus: Menken's pal Lin-Manuel Miranda is scheduled to pop by, too. Donations are encouraged.
The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues
At 6 p.m. ET, catch the latest installment of The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues, a six-hour series of solos about how we're living today. Every 15 minutes from 6 p.m. until midnight, actors perform tailor-made monologues, all penned and filmed within the last 24 hours. The monologues in this week's edition were all created by the Nationals: emerging theatre artists under age 25 who spent the past seven days in The 24 Hour Plays' intensive training program. Watch on The 24 Hour Plays' Instagram though donations are encouraged.
POSTPONED Bedlam: Don Juan in Hell
At 6:30 p.m. ET, Bedlam, a NYC theatre company lauded for its reinventions of classics (Sense & Sensibility, The Crucible), presents a live reading of Don Juan in Hell, George Bernard Shaw's philosophical debate between the title character and the Devil. Bedlam's artistic director Eric Tucker plays Don Juan, and the evening kicks off with a half hour of live music by Joshua Fried. Watch for free on the company's Facebook page though donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center are encouraged.
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 Broadway performers. This year the show goes online with live-streamed sets on Tuesday nights through October 27. This evening enjoy numbers by Lauren Elder (Hair, Side Show), James Harkness (Ain't Too Proud, Beautiful) and Nathan Salstone (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). 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: Les Contes d'Hoffmann
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Tony winner Bartlett Sher's vibrant mounting of Offenbach's whimsical opera, starring Vittorio Grigolo as the title lovesick poet alongside a trio of leading ladies: Erin Morley as the mechanical doll Olympia, Hibla Gerzmava as the fragile Antonia and Christine Rice as courtesan Giulietta. The production was filmed in 2015 for the Met's Live in HD series, and you can watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, The Magic Flute, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers: Voices from the Great Experiment
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, one of the country's leading companies showcasing artists with disabilities, kicks off an eight-night live reading series featuring new shorts created for Zoom by dramatists who participated in its Virtual Playmakers' Intensive. Tonight's premiere is Sing by Khalil LeSaldo, directed by Ward Nixon and starring Martin Lewis and AhDream Smith. Watch for free with live captioning on the company's YouTube channel.
SolFest 2020 Virtual Edition: A Latinx Theater Festival
At 7:30 p.m. ET, The Sol Project, a national theatre initiative devoted to showcasing Latinx voices, brings its third annual festival of works-in-progress online. Night two features conversations and performances, including a discussion with Miranda Gonzalez, writer of the '80s house music "dancesical" Back in the Day; a live performance of I Don't Speak Spanish by poet Alexis Elisa Macedo; a presentation of 20 After 20: A Mock Into the Future (Part One), a short mockumentary about a BIPOC revolution; and a sneak peek of Carla's Quince, an immersive virtual theatre experience that aims to mobilize the Latinx vote. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link.
L.A. Law Reunion on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley host an L.A. Law reunion on Stars in the House. NBC's beloved legal drama featured lots of NYC stage veterans in its cast, including real-life husband and wife Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, who actually met doing theatre; Blair Underwood, who recently headlined A Soldier's Play on Broadway; Harry Hamlin; Jimmy Smits and Alan Rachins, who was in the original cast of Oh! Calcutta!. They're all joined by Corbin Bernsen, Susan Dey and Michele Greene for stories and, hopefully, a song or two. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Ice Factory: Who's There?
At 10 p.m. ET, the New Ohio Theatre brings its 27th annual Ice Factory festival online with four boundary-pushing premieres over four weeks. The third offering is Who's There?, an ambitious exploration of cross-cultural blind spots featuring Black, Asian and white artists based in Singapore, Malaysia and the U.S. Created by The Transit Ensemble for digital consumption, the show examines othering in the age of online activism. Pay-what-you-can tickets start at $1.
Metropolitan Opera Stars Live in Concert: Renée Fleming
On Saturday, the Metropolitan Opera presented a live recital with Renée Fleming, a beloved diva known for her work in opera houses and on Broadway, and you can watch a recording until Wednesday, August 12. With Robert Ainsley at the piano, the star performs popular arias by Massenet, R. Strauss and Puccini, as well as a touching rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from the music salon of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. Tickets cost $20.
Broadway Bares: Zoom In
If you missed it on Saturday night, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' virtual edition of its annual fundraiser Broadway Bares is still streaming (and steaming!) as stage performers show off their sexy sides in socially distant stripteases. Creator and Tony-winning director Jerry Mitchell curated this online ogling fest, a mix of brand-new numbers, recordings of old favorites and special guest appearances by Charles Busch, Lea DeLaria, J. Harrison Ghee, Nathan Lee Graham, Debbie Gravitte, Jane Krakowski, Nathan Lane, Beth Leavel, Judith Light, Lesli Margherita, Angie Schworer, Marc Shaiman, Miriam Shor, Christopher Sieber, Wesley Taylor and other fabulous folks. Watch for free on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Great Performances: Kevin Kline in Present Laughter
PBS Great Performances is streaming Moritz von Stuelpnagel's effervescent 2017 mounting of Noël Coward's Present Laughter starring Kevin Kline, who earned his third Tony Award for portraying narcissistic actor Garry Essendine, plagued by midlife fears, an uncontrollable libido and obsessed fans. Kate Burton, Kristine Nielsen and Cobie Smulders costar. Watch for free until Saturday, August 29 on PBS' website.
On Saturday, the live reading series Play-PerView presented RoosevElvis, and you can watch a recording until Thursday. A devised theatre piece by Brooklyn-based ensemble The TEAM, the show features Elvis Presley and Theodore Roosevelt battling over the soul of a shy meat-processing plant worker. This event reunites the cast and creative team of the play's 2013 Off-Off Broadway premiere: actors Kristen Sieh and Libby King and director Rachel Chavkin, who went on to win a Tony Award for helming Hadestown on Broadway. Tickets are $15 and benefit The TEAM and Emergency Release Fund.
Manual Cinema: The End of TV
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 offering is The End of TV, a deconstruction of the American Dream set in a post-industrial Rust Belt city in the '90s, as the aspirational promise of TV commercials is juxtaposed against declining opportunities. Watch for free until Monday, August 10 at 1 p.m. ET on the company's website.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Blair Underwood.