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, Friday, July 17, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
The Royal Opera House: Faust
At 2 p.m. ET, London's Royal Opera House shares a recording of David McVicar's eye-popping 2019 mounting of Faust, Gounod's adaptation of the first part of Goethe's epic poem about a philosopher who makes a deal with the devil. Michael Fabiano sings the title role, with Erwin Schrott as Méphistophélès and Irina Lungu as Faust's lady love. Watch for free until Wednesday, July 29 on YouTube.
Eureka on Virtual Halston
At 5 p.m. ET, Julie Halston, Broadway funny lady and longtime friend to TDF, welcomes drag performer Eureka to her weekly chatfest. Eureka came to prominence as a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race but has become a bona fide star on the HBO reality series We're Here. We can't wait to hear these two divas dish. Watch for free on YouTube.
Virtual Fire Island Dance Festival
At 7 p.m. ET, for its 26th annual edition, the Fire Island Dance Festival goes online with a half dozen works: three encore performances by Al Blackstone, Kyle Abraham and Garrett Smith alongside three world premieres: a solo by tap star Ayodele Casel; Larry Kiegwin's When the Sun Comes Out performed by socially distant dancers across the isle; and Stephen Petronio's Are You Lonesome. Reserve your free ticket in advance to receive the viewing link; donations to Dancers Responding to AIDS are encouraged.
So Many Shakespeares: im ur hamlet.
At 7 p.m. ET, FRIGID New York kicks off its second annual So Many Shakespeares festival featuring four unexpected takes on Hamlet. First up is im ur hamlet. about all the drama that ensues when a theatre troupe tries to mount the Bard's tragedy on Zoom. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Cenerentola
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents La Cenerentola, Rossini's charming take on the Cinderella story, which includes mistaken identities on the royal side, too. Elina Garanca stars as the plucky princess to be, wooed by Lawrence Brownlee. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2009, and you can watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Wozzeck, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Dixon Place HOT! Festival: Spanking Machine
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Dixon Place presents the centerpiece of its 29th annual queer culture festival: Marga Gomez's darkly comic memoir Spanking Machine about growing up brown and queer in Washington Heights. A celebrated stand-up comic who's written and performed in 13 solo shows, Gomez recounts the good, the bad and the ugly about her life with insight and raunchy realness. Tickets are $20-$40.
Stars in the House: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Reunion
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome cast members from the smash musical TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to Stars in the House. Creator-star-theatre nerd Rachel Bloom will be joined by Skylar Astin, Donna Lynne Champlin, Scott Michael Foster, Pete Gardner, David Hull, Vella Lovell, Gabrielle Ruiz and Vincent Rodriguez III for stories and hilarious songs. And yes, we hope Rebecca's original Greg, Santino Fontana, pops up (hey, anything is possible!). Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Aye Defy: Model Minority
At 8 p.m. ET, the Aye Defy live reading series presents Model Minority, Chloé Hung's engaging examination of cultural appropriation. Michele Selene Ang, Katie Lee Hill, Cardi Wong and Tom Zhang play a group of Chinese-American teens who hire an African-American student (Marquis Rodriguez) to help them craft an original rap song for their church's talent show, but with rhymes come racist notions. Tickets start at $5 and proceeds go to The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and The Kilroys. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Great Performances at the Met: The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess
At 9 p.m. ET, PBS presents James Robinson's lauded production of The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, which premiered in London in 2018 and went on to be a hit at The Metropolitan Opera. Eric Owens and Angel Blue star as the title couple trying to find happiness on Catfish Row, a tenement neighborhood on Charleston's waterfront, and the supporting cast includes Alfred Walker, Frederick Ballentine, Latonia Moore, Golda Schultz and Donovan Singletary. This is a breathtaking mounting of a classic, with a Tony-winning creative team and choreography by Camille A. Brown. Watch for free on PBS' website.
SheLA Summer Theater Festival: This Will Be Our Year
At 10 p.m. ET, the five-day SheLA Summer Theater Festival, which showcases women writers, continues with Ali MacLean's anti-rom-com This Will Be Our Year about an on-again, off-again couple trapped in a dysfunctional cycle. Tickets are $5-$10.
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme
Hamilton isn't the only Lin-Manuel Miranda stage project getting the streaming treatment. Starting today, Hulu is showing We Are Freestyle Love Supreme, a documentary about the improvisational hip-hop group that launched Miranda's NYC theatre career in the early '00s. Filmmaker Andrew Fried chronicled Miranda and his fellow rhyme-makers Christopher Jackson and Anthony Veneziale from 2005 through their triumphant Broadway engagement last season. See how the cult of LMM began! Not a Hulu subscriber? You can still watch at no cost by signing up for a 30-day free trial.
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, July 23 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel. There's also an audio-described version.
The New Group: The True
Tony nominee Edie Falco headlines a reading of The True, Sharr White's profanity-laden history play about the complex relationship between longtime Albany mayor Erastus Corning II (Michael McKean) and his tough-talking lobbyist Dorothea "Polly" Noonan. The show was a hit at The New Group in 2018 and this event, which was recorded live on Thursday night, reunites the original Off-Broadway cast, including Peter Scolari and John Pankow. Tickets are $25 and you can watch anytime until Sunday.
The Public Theater: Richard II
Although The Public Theater had to cancel its free Shakespeare in the Park summer season, the invaluable institution is still giving audiences quality no-cost drama with its radio production of Richard II. A collaboration with WNYC, this four-part audio play is directed by Saheem Ali, who was scheduled to mount the tragedy at the Delacorte Theater before the pandemic hit. André Holland from Moonlight stars as the inept king and the supporting cast includes Oscar winner Estelle Parsons, Tony winner Phylicia Rashad, and Tony nominees John Douglas Thompson and Stephen McKinley Henderson. Hear all four episodes on WNYC's website.
Stratford Festival: The Taming of the Shrew
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with Taming of the Shrew, starring real-life husband and wife Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay as Petruchio and Katherina in the Bard's admittedly problematic battle of the sexes. Watch for free until Thursday, August 6 on the fest's YouTube channel.
Top image: Skylar Astin and Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Photo courtesy of The CW.