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, July 2 from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene: Zalmen Mlotek Living Room Concert
At 1 p.m. ET, Zalmen Mlotek—the artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, which produced Yiddish Fiddler—celebrates the Fourth of July with songs about Di Goldene Medine, aka The Golden Land, many plucked from the company's musical revue of the same name about immigrating to America. Watch for free on Folksbiene's Facebook page.
National Theatre: Les Blancs
At 2 p.m. ET, London's National Theatre presents its 2016 production of Les Blancs, the final play by Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun) which was compiled and edited by her ex-husband Robert Nemiroff four years after her death. The 1970 drama explores the waning days of colonialism in Africa through the eyes of one family as rebels try to expel the British from their unnamed country. Examining themes of imperialism, racism, assimilation, identity and the legacy of white supremacy, it's an incredibly timely work. Watch for free until Thursday, July 9 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Judy Kuhn on Classic Conversations
At 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company continues its Classic Conversations with a chat between artistic director John Doyle and four-time Tony nominee Judy Kuhn, who was set to star in the theatre's highly anticipated revival of Assassins, which has been indefinitely postponed. While this is billed as an interview series, the presenters promise "occasional" singing, and we're hoping they'll up that to frequent. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page. Assassins bonus: Watch Kuhn's costar Ethan Slater croon "The Ballad of Czolgosz" with fellow cast members. It gives you a tantalizing taste of what could have been—and hopefully one day will be.
Stratford Festival: Antony and Cleopatra
At 7 p.m. ET, Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with Antony and Cleopatra, starring Geraint Wyn Davies (Broadway's King Lear, TV cult favorite Forever Knight) and Yanna McIntosh as the Roman general and the Egyptian queen torn between love and war. Watch for free until Thursday, July 23 on the fest's YouTube channel.
The Joyce Theater: Olivier Tarpaga's Declassified Memory Fragment
At 7 p.m. ET, dance haven The Joyce Theater presents Declassified Memory Fragment by choreographer-director Olivier Tarpaga, who hails from Burkina Faso. This 70-minute dance-theatre piece explores memory, history, and the political and cultural issues impacting Africans. Watch for free until Friday, July 31 at 10 a.m. ET on The Joyce's YouTube channel.
Theater in Quarantine: HYPOCHONDRIAC!¹
At 7 p.m. ET, downtown multihyphenate Joshua William Gelb, known for deconstructing complicated classics like The Jazz Singer, presents HYPOCHONDRIAC!¹, the first installment of a new adaptation of Molière's The Imaginary Invalid by Gelb and David McGee. The live event will be followed by a Q&A with the artists, and then an encore performance at 9 p.m. ET. Watch for free on Gelb's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Lazarus
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents Lazarus, acclaimed hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris's two-act ballet exploring the racial inequities that plague America, from Ailey's time to today. The ensemble piece is danced to original music by Darrin Ross as well as songs by Nina Simone, Terrence Trent D’Arby, Michael Kiwanuka and Odetta. Watch for free until Thursday, July 9 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Alvin Ailey's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Carmen
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Bizet's Carmen with Anita Rachvelishvili as the title character, who captivates all the men around her. Filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2014, the production costars Anita Hartig, Aleksandrs Antonenko and Ildar Abdrazakov. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, The Nose, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Variety Thursday
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome a trio of brilliant women to Stars in the House: Rebecca Drysdale, a comic who's currently the head writer for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; Colette Hawley, who rented a cherry picker in order to sing to seniors outside their windows during lockdown; and veteran stand-up comedian Wendy Liebman. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Tank: Rule of 7x7
At 8 p.m. ET, The Tank's longtime series Rule of 7x7 goes digital! Every few weeks, the theatre premieres seven brand-new 10 minute plays by seven different writers, each incorporating seven rules, all performed live. Sign up in advance to receive the free Zoom link; donations are encouraged.
Muny Magic in Your Home: Our Leading Ladies
At 9:15 p.m. ET, after 102 years, the shows won't go on at The Muny this summer. Thankfully, the beloved St. Louis institution is sharing some past performances from its intimate cabaret series. Tonight, enjoy a concert by four of the theatre's marvelous female headliners of recent years, as Danielle Bowen, Ali Ewoldt, Stephanie Gibson and Elena Shaddow pay tribute to Muny stars of the past, including Ethel Merman, Shirley Jones and Bernadette Peters. Watch for free on the Muny's YouTube channel.
And So We Come Forth: The Apple Family: A Dinner on Zoom
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.
English National Ballet: La Sylphide
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 until Friday at 2 p.m. ET on the troupe's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Rusalka
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.
The Building: Under Lockdown
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.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Tunji Kasim and Danny Sapani in National Theatre's Les Blancs. Photo by Johan Persson.