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 this Wednesday and Thursday, November 4 and 5, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Martha Graham Dance Company: Night Journey
On Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET, Martha Graham Dance Company presents Night Journey, a ballet inspired by scenes from Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, set to music by William Schuman. This 1961 performance was filmed for television and features Graham alongside Bertram Ross and Paul Taylor. Newsreel footage of the troupe from 1954 and other archival gems round out the program. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Cendrillon
On Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, 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 Cendrillon, Jules Massenet and Henri Caïn's turn-of-the-20th-century take on the old Cinderella story, featuring internationally revered mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role and Alice Coote as her prince. Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe and Laurent Naouri costar in this 2018 mounting. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Joe's Pub: Toshi Reagon's Post-Election Concert
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, regardless of who ultimately wins the presidential election, our nation is clearly in need of healing. Singer-songwriter Toshi Reagon, whose socially conscious songs fuse folk, blues and rock, wants to jump-start that process. Joe's Pub presents this live concert, as Reagon and her diverse all-women band come together to make beautiful and uplifting music. Watch for free on Joe's Pub's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Broadway's Great American Songbook: Alton Fitzgerald White
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, The York Theatre Company kicks off its new Broadway's Great American Songbook cabaret series with Alton Fitzgerald White, a soulful singer who's starred in Ragtime, The Lion King and The Color Purple. Michael Feinstein hosts. Tickets are $20.
New York Theatre Barn: New Works Series
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, for the past 13 years, New York Theatre Barn has showcased musicals in progress in its New Works Series. That initiative has now gone virtual, with 40-minute peeks at two new projects a week. Tonight, Amanda Robles and West Side Story's Shereen Pimentel perform excerpts from Nevada Lozano's Ramona, a musical adaptation of Helen Hunt Jackson's 19th-century novel about a multicultural orphan girl on a journey of self-discovery across the US. Meanwhile, Douglas Waterbury-Tieman's Johnny and the Devil's Box is a countryfied take on the old fiddling Satan story. Watch for free on New York Theatre Barn's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Idomeneo
On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Idomeneo, an early Mozart work featuring Matthew Polenzani as the King of Crete, who's faced with an impossible dilemma. Elza van den Heever, Nadine Sierra, Alice Coote and Alan Opie costar in Jean Pierre-Ponnelle's 2017 production. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Orfeo ed Euridice, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Sierra Boggess and Montego Glover
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, Phantom favorite and frequent Stars in the House guest host Sierra Boggess welcomes Montego Glover to the show. The two costarred in the musical rom-com It Shoulda Been You on Broadway, so they'll have lots of stories and maybe a few songs to share. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Atlantic Theater Company: Guards at the Taj Reunion Reading
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company presents a reunion reading of Guards at the Taj, Rajiv Joseph's brutal Obie-winning play about a pair of pals guarding the newly constructed Taj Mahal who are tasked with committing an unspeakable act. The stars of Atlantic's 2015 production, Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed, reprise their roles under Amy Morton's direction in this devastating tale of the powerful and the powerlessness. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link though a $25 donation is suggested.
The Christopher Sieber Special
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, midtown jazz haunt Birdland presents two-time Tony nominee Christopher Sieber, a beloved Broadway scene-stealer for his uproarious turns in Spamalot, Shrek the Musical and The Prom in a new solo cabaret. With Billy Stritch at the piano and an array of cardboard cutouts as Sieber's "special guests," this hour-long comedic cavalcade of songs—the set list includes numbers from his career as well as "The Theme From Hill Street Blues" and "Free Bird"—is sure to be a riot. Tickets are $20.
The Metropolitan Opera: Semiramide
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Rossini's rarely performed Semiramide, set in ancient Babylon as the title Queen (Angela Meade) discovers the warrior she's wooing (Elizabeth DeShong) may be her long-lost son. Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov and Ryan Speedo Green costar in this 2018 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Idomeneo, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Best of the Vote-a-Thon
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, Stars in the House hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley share best-of clips from their Election Day Vote-a-Thon. Broadway bigwigs such as Laura Benanti, Stephanie J. Block, Betty Buckley, Josh Groban, Jeremy Jordan, Laurie Metcalf, Jessie Mueller, Kelli O'Hara, Karen Olivo, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga were just some of the stars who dropped by for stories and songs. Relive that emotional day (which already feels so long ago!). Watch for free on YouTube.
The American Dance Guild Performance Festival: 10 Years Over 10 Weeks
Each year, the American Dance Guild produces a festival that includes salutes to iconic dance-makers. Since the event is virtual this year, the organizers are transforming it into a retrospective of the last decade of honorees, with archival recordings released every Monday. The fourth features tributes to 2013's masters Lar Lubovitch, Marilyn Wood and Remy Charlip. Watch for free until Sunday on Vimeo though donations are encouraged.
The Shed: November
Claudia Rankine's buzzy play Help had just started previews at The Shed when the shutdown hit. Now the playwright and performance venue have transformed the piece into a short film titled November, which was shot during quarantine. Real-life exchanges Rankine had with white men in public spaces are reenacted by five Black women, Zora Howard, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, Crystal Dickinson, April Matthis and Melanie Nicholls-King, examining how privilege impacts the way one navigates the world. A fusion of stage and cinema, November was filmed at The Shed, with Taibi Magar directing the actors on stage and Phillip Youmans behind the camera. Register to receive the free viewing link; the recording is viewable until Saturday.
Incidental Moments of the Day: The Apple Family: Life on Zoom
It's your last chance to catch Richard Nelson's 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—assuage their isolation via technology as they discuss how they're faring. Watch for free until Thursday on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Joyce DiDonato in the title role of Cendrillon. Photo by Ken Howard, courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera..