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, Thursday, September 3, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Theater of War Productions: Damian Lewis and Brian F. O'Byrne in Oedipus the King
At 2 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents a starry reading of scenes from Oedipus the King, followed by a town hall-style discussion with the audience. Homeland Emmy winner Damian Lewis, Tony winner Brian F. O'Byrne, Kathryn Hunter, Clarke Peters, Jason Isaacs and others will perform scenes from Sophocles' powerful tragedy, about an overconfident ruler during the time of a great plague, After the performance, director-adaptor Bryan Doerries will facilitate a conversation about how the plays' themes relate to our current reality. The event takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite at least an hour in advance. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Old Vic: Three Kings
At 2:30 p.m. ET, after a monthlong delay due to star Andrew Scott's emergency surgery, the Old Vic finally presents the world premiere of Three Kings. Stephen Beresford wrote the solo play specifically for Scott (best known as Fleabag's Hot Priest), and he's captivating as a man recounting his complicated relationship with his estranged father. Directed by Matthew Marchus, the show is performed live on stage to an empty auditorium and streamed to an at-home audience. Tickets cost £20 to £40, approximately $25 to $50, and must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance—that means today's performance is no longer available, but you can still buy for Friday and Saturday! Audio description and closed captions are available.
Skylight Theatre Company: Flapping & Flying
At 6 p.m. ET, Los Angeles' Skylight Theatre Company presents a live reading of Flapping & Flying, the second installment of Michelle Kholos Brooks' two-part comedy of isolation as two older folks, played by Emmy nominee JoBeth Williams and Joe Spano, grapple with technology, loneliness and love. Watch part one, recorded last month, on Vimeo, and then make a reservation to receive the free viewing link for the climax.
Radio Free Birdland: Telly Leung
At 7 p.m. ET, midtown jazz haunt Birdland presents Broadway favorite Telly Leung in a new solo concert. With his affable presence and powerhouse pipes, Leung has impressed on stage (Godspell, Allegiance, the title character in Aladdin) and on screen (Wes the Warbler on Glee, Angel in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl). With an assist from his musical director Gary Adler and J.J. Johnson on viola, this Brooklyn native croons tunes from past and, hopefully, future parts, plus a little pop. Three cameras capture the show, which is performed in the club without an audience. Tickets are $20.
The Metropolitan Opera: Lulu
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Berg's Lulu about the charismatic title character, who captivates all the men around her. Marlis Petersen stars in William Kentridge's 2015 production, with Johan Reuter Daniel Brenna, Paul Groves and Franz Grundheber as those under her spell. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Nixon in China, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Lewis Black on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome the hilarious stand-up Lewis Black to Stars in the House. Although he's best known for his uproariously angry, politically charged rants in comedy clubs, Black actually started out in theatre—in the '80s, he was the playwright-in-residence and associate artistic director of West Bank Cafe's downstairs stage, and he even wrote a musical called The Czar of Rock and Roll with Rusty Magee. We know he's been driving across America during the pandemic and we can't wait hear his blunt take on the current state of our nation. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
TRLive!: Jessie Shelton
At 8 p.m. ET, 42nd Street's nonprofit complex Theatre Row continues its live concert series with Jessie Shelton, who was performing in Hadestown on Broadway when the shutdown hit. Since then, this multi-hyphenate (actor-singer- dancer-violinist-composer) has been working on her own material. She'll share some of it tonight as well as familiar songs for free on Theatre Row's Facebook page.
Broadway Sessions Presents Belting for Biden
At 9 p.m. ET, Broadway Sessions presents a starry concert in support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and regardless of who you plan to vote for, it's an impressive lineup for theatre lovers. The crooners include Tony nominees Judy Kuhn, Hailey Kilgore, Laura Bell Bundy and Saycon Sengbloh, plus Hamilton alum Krystal Joy Brown, Company's Nikki Renée Daniels, Frozen's Ryann Redmond and singer-songwriter Shaina Taub. Watch for free on YouTube.
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The Rev Theatre Co.: The Buddy Holly Story
Auburn, New York's The Rev Theatre Co. presents The Buddy Holly Story, a jukebox musical celebrating the life and music of the title rocker, who died tragically in a plane crash at age 22. Featuring a slew of his '50s hits, including "That’ll Be the Day," "Peggy Sue" and "Not Fade Away," the show was filmed live at the theatre earlier this summer without an audience. Now it's being streamed to fans around the globe. Tickets are $15 and the recording is available until Wednesday, September 16.
The Wooster Group: The B-Side
Pioneering avant-garde theatre troupe The Wooster Group shares a recording of its acclaimed 2017 production The B-Side, inspired by the 1965 LP Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons, featuring work songs and spirituals recorded live by inmates in Texas' then-segregated penitentiaries. Billed as a "record album interpretation," the singular piece is a collaboration between the company and actor Eric Berryman, who brought the source material to The Wooster Group's attention. Watch for free until Monday, September 14 on The Wooster Group's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: Cendrillon
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 drag king 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.
Urban Stages: Bars and Measures
On Tuesday night, Off-Off Broadway's Urban Stages kicked off its September Play Fest & Fundraiser series with a reading of Idris Goodwin's Bars and Measures, and you can watch a recording through Sunday. The moving story of two estranged brothers, one Christian, the other Muslim, who reconnect through their shared love of music, this performance reunites the cast of the theatre's 2019 production: Shabazz Green, Roderick Lawrence, Abraham Makany and Salma Shaw. Watch for free on Urban Stages' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
A Come From Away Conversation
On Tuesday, TDF live-streamed a moving conversation between Come From Away castmates Caesar Samayoa and Kenita R. Miller, and you can still watch a recording. The musical's message of resilience, hope and togetherness speaks urgently to our current moment. Expect lots of laughs and a few tears as these offstage pals discuss their funniest onstage mishaps, how they've been staying creative during the shutdown and what they think the future of theatre looks like. Watch on TDF's Facebook page.
American Ballet Theatre: Center Stage Reunion
On Tuesday evening, the esteemed American Ballet Theatre reunited the stars of the cult dance movie Center Stage in celebration of its 20th anniversary, and you can still watch a recording. Costars Zoe Saldana, Amanda Schull, Ethan Stiefel and Sascha Radetsky share stories about their time at the "American Ballet Academy" and chat about the film's impact on the dance world. Watch for free on ABT's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Top image: Damian Lewis.