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, July 21, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
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 Ashlie Atkinson, Hugh Dancy, Josh Hamilton, Katie Holmes, Michael Potts and AnnaSophia Robb—will perform tailor-made monologues, all penned and filmed within the last 24 hours. Participating playwrights include Jesse Eisenberg, Amina Henry, Grace McLeod, Carlos Murillo and Jonathan Payne. Watch on The 24 Hour Plays' Instagram though donations are encouraged.
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 Coriolanus, Shakespeare's tragedy about a Roman general turned politician who's brought down by his principled bluntness, corrupt colleagues and an easily manipulated populace. The evening kicks off with a half hour of live music. Watch for free on the company's Facebook page though donations to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Weir
At 7 p.m. ET, Irish Rep presents The Weir, Conor McPherson's haunting 1997 drama about a quartet of Irishmen sharing ghost stories at a pub in order to impress a comely lass. The venerable Off-Broadway company originally mounted the play in 2013; this virtual adaptation reunites director Ciarán O'Reilly with three cast members from that production, Dan Butler, Sean Gormley and John Keating, along with Amanda Quaid and Tim Ruddy, who appeared in its 2015 encore run. Tickets are a suggested donation of $25 but TDF members get a discount.
The New Group: Facing the Rising Tide: shadow/land
At 7 p.m. ET, pioneering Off-Broadway theatre company The New Group partners with the Natural Resources Defense Council for Facing the Rising Tide, a five-day festival of virtual readings of new plays exploring environmental racism and the climate crisis. Tonight's offering is Erika Dickerson-Despenza's shadow/land about a Black mother and daughter wrestling with giving up their family business in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina bears down. Watch for free on The New Group's YouTube channel.
Café La MaMa Live
At 7 p.m. ET, go avant-garde with Café La MaMa Live, a smorgasbord of short performances that experiment with form. Brooklyn-based comedian and Brown Theatre Collective co-founder Mateo Hurtado curates and hosts this edition, which features Urayoán Noel, Kristen Kelso, Melissa Rocha, Lauren Walker Suni Reyes and Christin Eve Cato. Watch for free on La MaMa's website though donations 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 11. Tonight's kickoff features The Great Comet's Heath Saunders, who recently penned a compelling essay for Medium about racism in theatre, and Addams Family alum Rachel Potter. 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: Tannhäuser
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: its 1982 mounting of Wagner's Tannhäuser, brilliantly directed by Otto Schenk and designed by Günther Schneider-Siemssen. Richard Cassilly is the tortured title character, torn between Tatiana Troyanos' Venus and Eva Marton earthy Elisabeth. James Levine conducts. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Dixon Place: HOT! Festival: Checking In
At 7:30 p.m. ET, downtown staple Dixon Place brings its 29th annual queer culture fest online with four weeks of theatre, dance, music, readings and comedy. Tonight you can stream Checking In, Aine Griffiths' dark comedy about a hotel for dead souls. Pay-what-you-can tickets are available to purchase from the theatre.
Monk Parrots: After an Earlier Incident
At 7:30 p.m. ET, decade-old experimental theatre troupe Monk Parrots presents After an Earlier Incident, which is subtitled "a dyschronic Romeo and Juliet." Written by David Todd and performed at La MaMa in 2013, this play is a Derrida-like deconstruction of forbidden romances throughout the ages. Watch for free on the company's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Comeback Reunion on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome the cast of the cult comedy The Comeback to Stars in the House. A satirical examination of the TV industry, the series was co-created by Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King and former Friends icon Lisa Kudrow, who also starred. They'll be joined by cast members Dan Bucatinsky, Laura Silverman, Lance Barber and Damian Young. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Hot show alert! A heads up that tickets go on sale on Wednesday at 5 a.m. ET for the Old Vic's world-premiere play Three Kings, written by Stephen Beresford for Andrew Scott (Fleabag's "hot priest"). Performed live on stage to an empty auditorium, the show features a man recounting his complicated relationship with his estranged father. The virtual production runs July 29 to August 1 and tickets cost £20 to £40, approximately $25 to $50.
Available to Watch All Day
The Transport Group: Broadbend, Arkansas
Stalwart NYC theatre company The Transport Group presents Broadbend, Arkansas, a two-person musical about a Black father and daughter grappling with the personal impact of racial oppression three decades apart, first in the '60s, then in the '80s. The show had its world premiere Off Broadway last fall but its themes feel even more urgent in the current moment. Reserve your free ticket to receive the viewing link; donations to the Black Theatre Network are encouraged. The recording is available until August 16.
Graeae Theatre Company: Reasons to Be Cheerful
Back in the '70s and '80s, Ian Dury became one of the first rockers with a disability to break through to mainstream success with his New Wave band The Blockheads. In 2017, London's Graeae Theatre Company, which showcases artists with disabilities, produced a gleefully raucous musical about his life, Reasons to Be Cheerful, filled with songs from his career, including his in-your-face anthem "Spasticus Autisticus." Watch for free until Monday, August 3 on Graeae Theatre Company's YouTube channel. There's also an audio-described version.
National Theatre: Amadeus
London's National Theatre presents Amadeus, Peter Shaffer's award-winning play about the rivalry between 18th composers Salieri and Mozart. Michael Longhurst directed this critically acclaimed production, which was filmed in 2017 and features live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia. Lucian Msamati portrays the more successful in life Salieri, who's tortured by the knowledge that the louche Mozart (Adam Gillen) is the true genius who will be remembered. Watch for free until Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel. There's also an audio-described version.
Stratford Festival: The Taming of the Shrew
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with the Bard's admittedly problematic battle of the sexes Taming of the Shrew, starring real-life husband and wife Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay. Watch for free until Thursday, August 6 on the fest's YouTube channel.
Top image: The cast of Irish Reps' 2015 production of The Weir. Photo by Carol Rosegg.