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, July 1, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
The Building: Under Lockdown
At 1 p.m. ET, dramatist and screenwriter Ed Napier (Criminal Minds) originally envisioned The Building as a play. But once COVID-19 hit, he immediately set about reimagining it for digital consumption. Now called The Building: Under Lockdown, the multi-episode series centers on the diverse residents of a Riverside Drive co-op as they try to navigate life—and their shared elevators and hallways—during the pandemic. Co-directed by Emmy-winning TV producer Jesse Green and performer/filmmaker Jodie Markell, and produced by En Garde Arts visionary Anne Hamburger, it features Laura Esterman, Robert LuPone, Kathryn Grody, Alexandra Napier, Kevin R. Free and other stalwart NYC actors in its ensemble cast. Watch the first episode for free on YouTube.
Charles Busch in Die, Mommie, Die!
At 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House continues its popular live play readings with Die, Mommie, Die!, written by and starring the brilliant Charles Busch. A loving and punch-line-perfect mash-up of the Oresteia and '60s thrillers starring aging Hollywood icons (think What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford), the show costars Tony winner BD Wong and Willie Garson from Sex and the City, and is directed by Busch's longtime collaborator Carl Andress. Watch for free on YouTube. A recording will be available to watch through Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
English National Ballet: La Sylphide
At 2 p.m. ET, the English National Ballet continues its series of dance recordings with August Bournonville's romantic tragedy La Sylphide, set to music by Herman Severin Løvenskiold. Created in 1836, it's one of the oldest surviving ballets, and Eva Kloborg, Frank Andersen and Anne Marie Vessel Schlüter painstakingly recreated Bournonville's choreography for this 2017 mounting, starring Isaac Hernández as James, Anjuli Hudson as his fiancée Effy and Jurgita Dronina as the title forest spirit he becomes obsessed with. Watch for free anytime until Friday at 2 p.m. ET on the troupe's YouTube channel.
Theater of War Productions: The Book of Job Project
At 4 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents a starry reading of passages from The Book of Job, the ancient biblical story of how people react when disaster strikes, followed by a town hall-style discussion with the audience. Tony winner Jeffrey Wright stars as Job with support from Kimberly Hèbert, Frankie Faison, David Strathairn, David Zayasand NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. The post-performance conversation will explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals, families and communities. The Book of Job Project 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.
The Metropolitan Opera: Rusalka
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 the Met's 2017 mounting of Antonín Dvorák's Rusalka, a tragic Little Mermaid-like tale about a water sprite who yearns to become human in order to fall in love. Tony winner Mary Zimmerman directs the production, which stars Kristine Opolais, Tenor Brandon Jovanovich, Eric Owens and Jamie Barton. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET. on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
And So We Come Forth: The Apple Family: A Dinner on Zoom
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Tony-winning dramatist and director Richard Nelson premieres And So We Come Forth, his 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 and how they're processing the unrest in our nation. The last hour-long Zoom was profoundly moving and akin to eavesdropping, an uncanny reflection of how so many white, middle-class, middle-aged liberals are feeling today. We expect more of the same from this installment. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged. A recording will be available to watch for eight weeks.
The Metropolitan Opera: The Nose
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Shostakovich's The Nose, based on Nikolai Gogol's 1836 satirical short story about a bureaucrat who loses his schnoz. Directed and designed by celebrated South African artist William Kentridge, the production was filmed for the Met's Live in HD series in 2013, and stars Andrey Popov, Alexander Lewis and Paulo Szot. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Die Walküre, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley spotlight organizations that are helping the Broadway communithy on Stars in the House. Guests include Joe Benincasa, the President and CEO of The Actors Fund; Tom Viola, the Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; and Broadway baby and co-founder of Broadway Babysitters Vasthy Mompoint. Watch for free on YouTube.
The Queerly Festival, an annual showcase of cutting-edge LGBTQ artists usually held at FRIGID: New York's Kraine Theater, goes virtual this year with two and a half weeks of indie performances. Tonight there are four separate shows:
Available to Watch All Day
Christine Lahti in Gloria: A Life
PBS presents Gloria: A Life, Emily Mann's vibrant bio-play about feminist icon Gloria Steinem starring Christine Lahti. The show played for months Off Broadway and is as engaging as it is informative, with insightful recreations of Steinem's seminal moments such as her 1963 undercover assignment at the Playboy Club, her co-founding of Ms. magazine in 1971 and the 1977 Houston Women's Conference. A multiracial, all-female ensemble embodies a variety of her peers. Watch for free until Friday, July 24 on PBS' website.
National Theatre: A Midsummer Night's Dream
It's the last day to watch this lauded 2019 mounting of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Bard's beloved romantic comedy about sparring fairies messing with lovesick humans in a magical forest. Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie pulls double duty as Titania and Hippolyta, with hilarious support from UK stage vets Oliver Chris, David Moorst and Hammed Animashaun. Watch for free until Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Stratford Festival: The Adventures of Pericles
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with The Adventures of Pericles, a rechristening of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, written at least in part by the Bard. Rarely staged, the play follows the dramatic journey of the title character, who gains, loses and then unexpectedly reunites with his family. Watch for free until Thursday, July 16 on the fest's YouTube channel.
Top image: Jay O. Sanders, Maryann Plunkett and Stephen Kunken in What Do We Need To Talk About? Photo courtesy of The Public Theater.