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, October 14, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
A Company Conversation
At 1 p.m. ET, TDF reunites Company castmates Matt Doyle and Etai Benson for an intimate chat. Director Marianne Elliott's gender-swapped revival of Stephen Sondheim's landmark musical about relationships only played nine preview performances before Broadway shut down. But the cast has remained close—especially Doyle and Benson who play Jamie and Paul, a longtime couple engaged to be married. They'll share backstage stories about their beloved show, their hopes for Broadway's future and their best Patti LuPone stories! Watch for free on TDF's Facebook page.
Theater of War Productions: The King Lear Project
At 2 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents scenes from King Lear to kick-start a guided community conversation about aging and elder care in the time of COVID-19. Oscar nominee Amy Ryan, Frankie Faison, Andrea Patterson, Marjolaine Goldsmith, David Zayas, Nyasha Hatendi and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams perform the excerpts, and company artistic director Bryan Doerries facilitates the discussion with a panel of experts. Reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite at least an hour in advance. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Give Me Your Hand
At 3 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's intrepid Irish Rep presents Give Me Your Hand, featuring Tony nominee Dearbhla Molloy and Dermot Crowley taking audiences on a virtual tour of London's National Gallery by pairing Paul Durcan poems with paintings by Van Gogh, Rubens and other masters. Directed by Jamie Beamish, this is a digital reimagining of the company's 2012 hit production. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested. There is a second screening at 8 p.m. ET.
The Metropolitan Opera: Hansel and Gretel
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 2008 mounting of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, a holiday staple at the venue. Starring Alice Coote and Christine Schäfer, it's an eye-popping, English-language production with oversize cartoon chefs, singing trees and an unforgettable witch's kitchen. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Bard at the Gate: Origin Story
At 7 p.m. ET, Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Paula Vogel continues her Bard at the Gate play reading series showcasing timely, under-the-radar scripts. Tonight's offering is Dan LeFranc's Origin Story, a mystery about two teenagers trying to solve a crime with clues provided by a comic book illustrated by the enigmatic Pronoun. Delving into issues of gender identity and alienation, the play is directed by Christopher Bayes and stars Brandon E. Burton, Edmund Donovan, Gabriel Levey, Zoe Mann, Anula Navlekar and Liz Wisan. Watch for free on Bard at the Gate's YouTube channel.
French Institute Alliance Française: Melissa Errico & Adam Gopnik: Love, Desire & Mystery
At 7 p.m. ET, Tony-nominated chanteuse Melissa Errico and New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik team up for a trio of concerts exploring what the French call l'amour fou, all-consuming love. The duo will weave together conversations and chansons, as Errico performs some of her favorite love songs, including Michel Legrand's "Valse des Lilas" and Cole Porter's "I Love Paris," as well as a new number from an in-development musical about Eleanor of Aquitaine by Gopnik and David Shire. Tickets are available from the French Institute but TDF members get a discount.
New York Theatre Barn: New Works Series
At 7 p.m. ET, for the past 13 years, New York Theatre Barn has showcased works in progress in its New Works Series. That initiative has now gone virtual, with 40-minute peeks at two new musicals a week. Tonight, catch excerpts from Bobby Daye and Monica L. Patton's Love & Southern D!scomfort, about an estranged mother and daughter featuring Tony winner Nikki M. James and Ramona Keller; and Jaime Lozano and Nancy Cheser's Present Perfect, about immigrants connecting in Brooklyn featuring Mauricio Martínez and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Watch for free on New York Theatre Barn's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: L'Elisir d'Amore
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Donizetti favorites continues with L'Elisir d'Amore, a charming rom-com about a spirited landowner, a lovesick peasant and a purported love potion that may lead to romance. Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher helmed this 2018 mounting that stars Pretty Yende, Matthew Polenzani, Davide Luciano and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo. 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.
Broadway's Best Shows: Gore Vidal's The Best Man
At 8 p.m. ET, Broadway's Best Shows, which presented powerhouse readings of plays such as Love Letters and November in the spring, kicks off its new virtual season with a star-packed performance of Gore Vidal's political drama The Best Man. John Malkovich and Zachary Quinto portray the two men vying for the job of POTUS, Morgan Freeman is the former commander-in-chief, and Elizabeth Ashley, Reed Birney, Matthew Broderick, Katie Finneran, Julie Halston, Stacy Keach, Phylicia Rashad and Vanessa Williams play some of the characters in their orbit. Michael Wilson, who directed the 2012 Broadway revival of this 1960 play, helms this production. Tickets start at $5 and proceeds go to The Actors Fund. The recorded performance will be available for 72 hours.
Dance Stars on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome a trio of dance luminaries to Stars in the House: New York City Ballet principal and Broadway vet Tiler Peck; Emmy-nominated choreographer and tap great Chloé Arnold; and Bessie Award-winning hip-hop dancer Lil Buck. They're joined by Broadway favorite Sierra Boggess, who's quite a hoofer herself. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Broadway Podcast Network: Broadway for Biden Pep Rally
At 8 p.m. ET, Broadway Podcast Network welcomes a host of Broadway favorites cheering on Joe Biden for president, including Joel Grey, Donna Murphy, James Monroe Iglehart, Telly Leung, Lesli Margherita, Patti Murin, Brandon Uranowitz, Leslie Uggams and a reunion of the stars of Beetlejuice. Regardless of what you plan to do on Election Day, if you're a Broadway musical lover you won't want to miss this lineup. Watch for free on Broadway Podcast Network's YouTube channel.
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New York City Ballet: Classic NYCB
New York City Ballet continues its virtual fall season with recent performances of four works by its two cofounders: excerpts from Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering; and Duo Concertant, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet (First Movement) and Symphony in C (Fourth Movement and Finale), all by George Balanchine. Dancers include Ashley Bouder, Megan Fairchild, Anthony Huxley, Adrian Danchig-Waring and Peter Walker. Watch for free until Tuesday, October 20 on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: Why Would I Dare?: The Trial of Crystal Mason
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater presents Why Would I Dare?, a virtual reading of the court transcript from the trial of Crystal Mason, a Black woman convicted of trying to cast an illegal vote during the 2016 presidential election. Conceived by actors Marin Ireland, Peter Mark Kendall and Reggie D. White and director Tyler Thomas (the same group behind the Vineyard Theatre's documentary-style series Lessons in Survival), this timely performance features Crystal Dickinson, Peter Gerety, Shane McRae and creators Kendall and Ireland. Watch for free until Monday, November 2, aka Election Day eve, on Rattlestick's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
St. Ann's Warehouse: Julius Caesar
Throughout October, Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse presents director Phyllida Lloyd's acclaimed Donmar Warehouse Shakespeare Trilogy, starring Tony nominee Harriet Walter and an all-female ensemble as inmates mounting the Bard's plays in prison, a framing that provides a fresh perspective on familiar works. All three productions were filmed in front of live audiences in 2016, with handheld and GoPro footage edited in to give them a kinetic feel. The series kicks off with Julius Caesar featuring Walter as Brutus. Watch for free until Thursday on St. Ann's website though donations are encouraged.
Red Bull Theater: American Moor
On Monday, NYC's Red Bull Theater, known for reinvigorating classics, presented a live reading of Keith Hamilton Cobb's thought-provoking American Moor, and you can watch a recording until Friday. Part of the company's Othello 2020 season, this almost-solo show centers on a Black actor deconstructing Shakespeare's Othello, a character too often misunderstood by white directors and audiences. This event reunites Cobb with costar Josh Tyson and director Kim Weild, who collaborated with him on Red Bull's Off-Broadway production last year. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Top image: Morgan Freeman, star of Gore Vidal's The Best Man.