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 15, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: Watching the Watcher
At 5 p.m. ET, performer, playwright and poet Dael Orlandersmith presents Watching the Watcher, a work in progress about the power of the gaze. Best known for her Obie-winning Beauty's Daughter and Yellowman, which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer, Orlandersmith leans in to uncomfortable but urgent explorations of race, gender and power. After the performance, there will be a community conversation about the play's themes. Register to get the free Zoom link.
Jessye Norman at 75: A Celebration
At 6 p.m. ET, last fall, opera legend Jessye Norman passed away from septic shock and multiple organ failure. Tonight, on what would have been her 75th birthday, Black luminaries gather to honor her life and legacy online. Expect tributes from Orange Is the New Black actor and activist Laverne Cox, Tony-nominated writer and performer Anna Deavere Smith, Alvin Ailey great Judith Jamison and diva Harolyn Blackwell, as well as performances by Dance Theatre of Harlem and the next generation of Black opera greats: J'Nai Bridges, Denyce Graves, Measha Brueggergosman, Karen Slack, Errin Duane Brooks, Chauncey Packer, Krysty Swann, Audrey DuBois-Harris, Sidney Outlaw, Brandie Sutton, Justin Austin and Laquita Mitchell. Pay-what-you-can tickets start at $0 but a $35 donation is suggested.
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, well-known actors—including Dagmara Dominczyk, Kevin R. Free, Noah Galvin, Lora Lee Gayer, Jeremy Shamos, Richard Kind, Sarah Steele and Patrick Wilson—will perform tailor-made monologues, all penned and filmed within the last 24 hours. Participating playwrights include TDF Stages contributor Eliza Bent, TDF mentor and Tony winner James Lapine, Kenneth Lonergan, Marsha Norman, Liliana Padilla, Alexis Scheer and Jonathan Marc Sherman. Watch on The 24 Hour Plays' Instagram though donations are encouraged.
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 Romeo and Juliet starring a pair of seasoned actors as the star-crossed couple: Nigel Gore and Tina Packer, the founding artistic director of Massachusetts' acclaimed Shakespeare & Company. Bedlam artistic director Eric Tucker helms this mature take on the Bard's romantic tragedy. Watch for free on the company's Facebook page though donations to Communities United for Police Reform 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 NYC theatre folk. This year the show goes online with live-streamed sets on Tuesday nights through October 27. This evening enjoy numbers by Michael Longoria from Jersey Boys; Margo Seibert from Rocky and Octet; and 2020 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient Rona Siddiqui. 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: Le Comte Ory
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of bel-canto favorites continues with Rossini's rarely staged comedy Le Comte Ory. Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher helmed this charming 2011 production starring Juan Diego Flórez as the title character, a philandering count whose lust life is complicated by Diana Damrau's virtuous Countess Adèle and his page, played by Joyce DiDonato. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Don Pasquale, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Next to Normal Reunion on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, it's gonna be good when Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome the original Broadway cast of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal to Stars in the House. All six stars are scheduled to appear, including Alice Ripley, who won a Tony Award for her enthralling performance as a mentally ill mom, as well as J. Robert Spencer, Adam Chanler-Berat, Jennifer Damiano and Aaron Tveit. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Live from Rockwood Music Hall: Lauren Patten
At 8 p.m. ET, last season, Lauren Patten was bringing down the house nightly with her searing rendition of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" in Jagged Little Pill on Broadway. But when theatres shut, that wasn't the only job she lost—she also had to cancel a concert with her rock band at the Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side. Now, six months to the date of that canceled gig, she and her group are back in the club jamming, but the viewers are all at home. Patten and her pals will be playing an intimate acoustic set for this live-stream, which is captured by a multi-camera setup. Tickets are $15.
Latino Theater Co.: La Víctima
At 10 p.m. ET, Los Angeles' Latino Theater Co. presents a recording of La Víctima, an emotional exploration of the history of Mexican-US immigration through the eyes of two families. It was the first play the company ever produced in 1985, and this 2010 revival starred the late Lupe Ontiveros from Selena and Desperate Housewives. Watch for free on the company's YouTube channel.
MCC Theater: Miscast20
If you missed MCC Theater's fabulous Miscast20 concert on Sunday night featuring stage stars performing songs from roles they're wrong for, you can watch a recording through Thursday. 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 sang, 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.
Incidental Moments of the Day: The Apple Family: Life on Zoom
Tony-winning dramatist and director Richard Nelson presents Incidental Moments of the Day, the final installment of his of-the-moment Zoom trilogy centered on his fictional Apple family. From 2010 to 2013, Nelson mounted one hyper-realistic play a year about this Rhinebeck, New York clan as they grappled with national milestones such as the 10th anniversary of September 11, the 2012 reelection of Barack Obama and the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. This past April, as the COVID-19 pandemic peaked in New York, the Apples reunited for What Do We Need To Talk About?, a Zoom call in quarantine, followed by And So We Come Forth in July. Once again, the four siblings and one boyfriend, played by the cast of the original tetralogy—Tony winner Maryann Plunkett, Sally Murphy, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders and Stephen Kunken—will assuage their isolation via technology as they discuss how they're faring. There's also a surprise guest, Charlotte Bydwell as Lucy Michael, a character from another Nelson series, The Michaels. The previous hour-long Apple Zooms were profoundly moving and akin to eavesdropping, an uncanny reflection of how so many white, middle-class, middle-aged liberals are feeling today. Expect more of the same from this climactic episode. Watch for free until November 5 on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Great Performances: Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet
In 1965, acclaimed choreographer Kenneth MacMillan debuted his iconic staging of Romeo and Juliet at The Royal Ballet. This film adaptation by the BalletBoyz, aka Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, brings the romantic tragedy to the screen, with Francesca Hayward and William Bracewell as Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers dancing to Sergei Prokofiev's lush score. Watch for free until Friday, October 9 on PBS' website.
Play-PerView: Seneca Falls
On Saturday, Play-PerView presented a live reading of Seneca Falls, and you can watch a recording through Thursday. Jean Ann Douglass' darkly humorous triptych about the first 72 years of the women's suffrage movement is directed by Jess Chayes, and stars Off-Broadway favorites Susannah Flood, Kelly McAndrew, Monique St. Cyr, Erin Wilhelmi, John Zdrojeski and two-time Obie winner April Matthis. Tickets start at $15 and benefit NYC-based theatre company New Georges.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Alice Ripley, Aaron Tveit and J. Robert Spencer in Next to Normal on Broadway. Photo by Joan Marcus.