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, Wednesday, August 26, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Weathervane Theatre: Speech & Debate
At 2 p.m. ET, New Hampshire's Weathervane Theatre presents Speech & Debate, an early work 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. The play centers on a trio of teenage misfits in Salem, Oregon, who discover they're linked by 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. There's a final performance this evening at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Metropolitan Opera: Don Pasquale
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 a 2010 mounting of Donizetti's comedy Don Pasquale, starring Anna Netrebko as Norina, the clever young widow who helps teach the Scrooge-like title character much-needed lessons about generosity and love. Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien and John Del Carlo costar. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Signature Theatre: David Henry Hwang
At 5 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's venerable Signature Theatre presents a conversation between Tony-winning M. Butterfly playwright David Henry Hwang and Diane C. Fujino, professor of Asian American Studies and former director of the Center for Black Studies Research at UC Santa Barbara. They'll be chatting about the historical alliances between Black and Asian-American progressive activists and artists, and how that can help shape the future. There will be a brief Q&A at the end. Register in advance to receive the free Zoom link.
It's a New World, Golde: Classic American Musicals in the 21st Century
At 5:30 p.m. ET, how did you feel about the recent Broadway mountings of Oklahoma! and My Fair Lady? Did those reinventions make the shows more relevant or ruin them? The Library of America presents a discussion about reimagining classic musicals through a contemporary lens featuring NYU arts professor Laurence Maslon, director and writer Tazewell Thompson, and Ted Chapin, president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. There will be a brief Q&A at the end. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link.
Brave New World Repertory Theatre: Over & Above: Women Over 55 Speak
At 7 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Brave New World Repertory Theatre celebrates the centennial of women's right to vote with Over & Above: Women Over 55 Speak, 18 original monologues written, directed and performed by ladies ages 55 and up. Participating playwrights include Emily Mann and the troupe's artistic director, Claire Beckmen, and Laura San Giacomo, Tamara Tunie and Blair Brown are some of the performers. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link; $15 donations are suggested.
HERE Arts Center: Sunken Cathedral
At 7 p.m. ET, HERE Arts Center shares a recording of its 2015 production of Sunken Cathedral, a multimedia musical performance by Korean-American composer Bora Yoon that combines voice, electronics and a diverse array of instruments with vibrant video design. Set in a mysterious house, it's a journey of cultural identity and self-discovery. Watch for free on HERE's Facebook page.
Funny Women of a Certain Age
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the seasoned comics in Funny Women of a Certain Age really pack some punch lines. Carole Montgomery and her pals are bawdy broads who've seen it all, and they're willing to talk. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
The Metropolitan Opera: Luisa Miller
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's Verdi week continues with Luisa Miller, featuring Peter Mattei as the title character, the object of affection for Anna Netrebko's Tatiana. Elena Maximova, Alexey Dolgov and Štefan Kocán costar in this 2017 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Il Trovatore, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
The Acting Company: Letters from Cuba
At 7:30 p.m. ET, venerable repertory troupe The Acting Company, founded by John Houseman back in 1972, presents a live reading of Letters from Cuba by María Irene Fornés, based on 30 years of correspondence with her brother in Cuba. Sebastian Arroyo stars in this time-hopping drama about family and connection. Watch for free on the company's YouTube channel.
Women in Theatre: A Centennial Celebration
At 8 p.m. ET, Playbill marks Women's Equality Day, aka the centennial of the 19th Amendment, with a star-studded celebration of theatrical milestones by women, nonbinary and gender nonconforming artists over the past 100 years. Tony-nominated actress Rebecca Naomi Jones and Tony-nominated playwright-performer Heidi Schreck host the evening, which includes musical performances by Sara Bareilles, Daphne-Rubin Vega, Jessie Mueller, Nikki M. James, Shoshana Bean, Charlotte d'Amboise, Ann Harada, L Morgan Lee, Beth Malone, Ashley Park, Solea Pfeiffer, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Saycon Sengbloh and Alysha Umphress, along with appearances by playwrights and directors such as Quiara Alegría Hudes, Lynn Nottage, Paula Vogel, Lynn Ahrens, Jocelyn Bioh, Linda Cho, Dominique Morisseau, Sarah Ruhl, Leigh Silverman, Susan Stroman, Shaina Taub and Whitney White. There will also be sneak peeks at upcoming projects led by women, including Jeannette and Gun & Powder, as well as a new song from the creators of Six. Watch this incredible lineup for free on Playbill.com though donations to Broadway Advocacy Coalition's Artivism Fellowship are encouraged.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley: Women's Equality Day
At 8:30 p.m. ET, California's TheatreWorks Silicon Valley celebrates this momentous day with selections from Perfect 36 about the intense days leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave white women the right to vote. Book writer and lyricist Laura Harrington will discuss the piece after the performance. Watch for free on the theatre's website though donations are encouraged.
Available to Watch All Day
Barrington Stage Company: Judgment Day
On Saturday, Barrington Stage Company presented a star-studded reading of Judgment Day, and you can watch a recording until 7:30 p.m. ET tonight. An over-the-top comedy by veteran TV writer/producer Rob Ulin, the show stars Jason Alexander as a shady lawyer, who's scared into trying to change by a domineering angel, played by an acerbic Patti LuPone. Santino Fontana costars as a priest in crisis, and the rest of the cast includes Loretta Devine, Elizabeth Stanley and Michael McKean. If this trailer is any indication, prepare for irreverent laughs. Donate $35 or more to receive the viewing link.
And So We Come Forth: The Apple Family: A Dinner on Zoom
It's your last chance to see And So We Come Forth, Tony-winning director and playwright Richard Nelson's latest of-the-moment drama 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. 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 tonight on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Great Performances: Kevin Kline in Present Laughter
It's your last chance to catch 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 Friday on PBS' website.
Top image: Sara Bareilles in Waitress on Broadway. Photo by Josh Lehrer.