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, October 1, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Primary Stages: The Tribute Artist
At 2 and 8 p.m. ET, Primary Stages kicks off its virtual season with camp master Charles Busch headlining a reading of his real estate romp The Tribute Artist. The uproarious tale of a female impersonator who poses as his deceased landlady in order to hold on to her townhouse, this event reunites Busch with two of his regular comedy conspirators, director Carl Andress and scene-stealer Julie Halston, who both worked on the show's 2014 Off-Broadway production. Tickets are $35.
The New York Times Offstage: How I Miss Broadway
At 7 p.m. ET, The New York Times continues its Offstage series with an episode about how artists and one very special audience member are grappling with the loss of live in-person theatre and their hopes for its future. The evening kicks off with a one-on-one conversation between Times staffer Michael Paulson and Broadway lover Hillary Clinton, followed by a roundtable with stage stars Audra McDonald, Danielle Brooks, Jessie Mueller and Neil Patrick Harris. Watch for free on YouTube.
Radio Free Birdland: The Skivvies: Classic Undie Rock
At 7 p.m. ET, midtown jazz haunt Birdland presents The Skivvies, the enviably talented and toned "undie rock" duo of Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley, who perform eclectic covers and original tunes on cello and ukulele in their underwear. Both Broadway vets, the two are making their Birdland debut with this virtual concert, which guest stars fellow musical theatre performers Matt Doyle and Tamika Lawrence. Tickets are $20.
HowlRound TV: Regina Taylor's VOTE!
At 7:30 p.m. ET, HowlRound TV and The Oaks Collective present VOTE!, a collection of shorts by young dramatists exploring the African-American community's relationship with our nation's political process. Celebrated actor-playwright Regina Taylor curated and directs the evening, and contributes her own piece. The live performance will be followed by a panel discussion. Watch for free on HowlRound's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: Die Zauberflöte
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Mozart favorites continues with Tony winner Julie Taymor's eye-popping, puppet-filled staging of Die Zauberflöte, a fantastical fable starring Golda Schultz, Kathryn Lewek, Charles Castronovo, Markus Werba, Christian Van Horn and René Pape. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, La Fille du Régiment, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
PTP/NYC: Don’t Exaggerate
At 7:30 p.m. ET, PTP/NYC, known for its insightful mountings of politically charged plays, continues its virtual season with Howard Barker's searing solo Don't Exaggerate, about the spirit of a WWI soldier examining the violent legacy of the 20th century. The company's co-artistic director Richard Romagnoli helms this 40-minute work, which stars Broadway vet Robert Emmet Lunney. Watch for free until Sunday on the troupe's YouTube channel but donations are encouraged.
¡Viva Broadway! Hear Our Voices
At 8 p.m. ET, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Playbill and The Broadway League present ¡Viva Broadway! Hear Our Voices, a concert celebrating Latinx artists and theatrical milestones. Sergio Trujillo directs and choreographs the evening, which is hosted by On Your Feet! diva Andréa Burns and features a reunion of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights; sneak peeks at John Leguizamo's musical Kiss My Aztec! and Antonio Banderas' Spanish-language production of A Chorus Line; plus performances by Gloria Estefan, Raúl Esparza, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Ana Villafañe, Ariana DeBose, Shereen Pimentel, Caesar Samayoa and Josh Segarra. Watch for free on Playbill's YouTube channel but donations to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway Bridges are encouraged.
Sweeney Todd Reunion on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, attend the tale of the Sweeney Todd reunion on Stars in the House! Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome cast members from the original Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's beloved musical bloodbath, including Tony winner Len Cariou, Victor Garber, Sarah Rice and Ken Jennings. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Expand the Canon: Spunk
At 8 p.m. ET, every year, Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre comes up with a curated list of classic, underproduced plays by women. The 2020 roundup of nine works (developed in partnership with Ma-Yi Theater Company, American Players Theatre and the Classical Theatre of Harlem) dropped last week, and Hedgepig is presenting virtual readings of four of them. Tonight's climactic offering is Spunk by Harlem Renaissance icon Zora Neale Hurston. Based on her short story of the same name, this music-filled play focuses on the romance between a married woman and a wandering troubadour in a small Southern town in the 1930s. Bianca LaVerne Jones directs Jason Bowen, Terence Archie, Jamal James, Gregory Bastien, Donnell E. Smith, Fulton C. Hodges, Ben Chase, Basil Rodericks, C. Kelly Wright, Destinee Rea, Leandra Ellis-Gaston and Kubbi. Register to receive the free viewing link though a $15 donation is suggested.
TRLive!: Matt Zambrano
At 8 p.m. ET, 42nd Street's nonprofit complex Theatre Row continues its live concert series with Matt Zambrano, a member of Broken Box Mime Theater, which has a residency at the venue. Zambrano will show off his silent skills! Watch for free on Theatre Row's Facebook page.
Together LA Festival
At 10 p.m. ET, 34 diverse Los Angeles theatre companies come together for the three-week Together LA Festival, featuring 10-minute shorts created specifically for digital consumption. Opening night includes works by the Ammunition Theatre Company, The Fountain Theatre, Lower Depth Theatre, Company of Angels, Echo Theatre Company and IAMA Theatre Company. This is the perfect way to get a taste of what's happening on stage on the West Coast! Register to receive the free viewing link; donations are encouraged.
Available to Watch All Day
Len Cariou in Broadway & the Bard: An Evening of Shakespeare & Song
Even though Len Cariou has spent the past decade playing the patriarch on CBS' Blue Bloods, the stage is his first and greatest love. In this charming solo show, he celebrates his five decades on the boards as both a Shakespearean actor and a musical theatre star, whose credits include his Tony-winning turn as the title character in Sweeney Todd. Watch for free until Sunday on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: The Merry Widow
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 2015 mounting of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, helmed by Tony-winning director Susan Stroman and starring opera legend Renée Fleming as the title character, who's wooed by Nathan Gunn's Danilo, an old flame with ulterior motives. Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara costars. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
New York City Ballet: All Balanchine
After taking the summer off, New York City Ballet leaps into fall with five weeks of exhilarating archival recordings. The series kicks off with an all-Balanchine program—Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and The Unanswered Question from Ivesiana, with excerpts from Symphony in C, Liebeslieder Walzer, Episodes and Stravinsky Violin Concerto—featuring some of the company's biggest stars, including Ashley Bouder, Lauren Lovette, Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Ask la Cour and Taylor Stanley. Watch for free until Monday, October 5 on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Al Hirschfeld: West Wing Ha!
So this is an online exhibition, not a performance, but we couldn't resist sharing this wonderful collection of Al Hirschfeld caricatures of statesmen or actors playing politicians, including illustrations of the musicals 1776 and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Check out the art for free online.
Top image: Lin-Manuel Miranda, center, and the original Broadway cast of In the Heights on Broadway. Photo by Joan Marcus..