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 22, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
First Date: The Musical
At 2:30 p.m. ET, if you're hankering for a funny, feel-good romance, swipe right on First Date: The Musical. The show played on Broadway in 2013, and this production was filmed on stage during quarantine at London's famed Crazy Coqs cabaret, with the cast crooning to an empty house. Pretty Woman: The Musical's Samantha Barks and West End vet Simon Lipkin star as hate-at-first-sight singles who are destined to get together... they just need some outside encouragement. Tickets are £12.50, approximately $17.
Heroes of the Fourth Turning
At 4 p.m. ET, when Will Arbery's drama Heroes of the Fourth Turning about a Catholic college reunion of conservative intellectuals premiered at Playwrights Horizons last fall, it felt incredibly timely. As Election Day approaches in an increasingly polarized nation, its fly-on-a-Red-State-wall perspective feels even more urgent. Perhaps that's why Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris has decided to produce this virtual remount of the original Off-Broadway production, once again directed by Danya Taymor and performed live by Zoë Winters, Julia McDermott, John Zdrojeski, Jeb Kreager and Michele Pawk. If you missed this unforgettable and eye-opening Pulitzer finalist play, don't make that mistake again. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged with all proceeds going to NYC theatre workers.
Atlantic Theater Company: Skeleton Crew Reunion Reading
At 7 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's Atlantic Theater Company presents a reunion reading of Dominique Morisseau's Obie-winning Skeleton Crew about Detroit factory workers facing the closure of their automobile parts plant and the erasure of their community. The show had its critically acclaimed world premiere at Atlantic's intimate Stage 2 in 2016, soon transferring to its larger Linda Gross Theater for an extended run. Ruben Santiago-Hudson once again directs original cast members Jason Dirden, Wendell B. Franklin, Nikiya Mathis and Adesola Osakulumi, with new addition Caroline Clay. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested.
BRIC: DEBATE: Baldwin vs. Buckley
At 7:30 p.m. ET, in the wake of nationwide protests sparked by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans, theatre artists have been parsing our country's recent racist past by acting out historical speeches, trials and conversations. There's The Vineyard Theatre's Lessons in Survival series and Rattlestick Playwright Theater's Why Would I Dare?: The Trial of Crystal Mason. Now Brooklyn's BRIC partners with the american vicarious for DEBATE: Baldwin vs Buckley, a recreation of the legendary 1965 debate between author and civil rights activist James Baldwin and conservative intellectual William F. Buckley Jr. around the subject, "Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?" Christopher McElroen directs Teagle F. Bougere as Baldwin and Eric T. Miller as Buckley, though this isn't impersonation, it's about how far we haven't come. Watch for free on BRIC's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Cenerentola
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of operatic comedies continues with David McVicar's captivating 2011 mounting of La Cenerentola, Rossini's charming take on the Cinderella story, which includes mistaken identities on the royal side, too. Cecilia Bartoli, Ramón Vargas, Simone Alaimo and Alessandro Corbelli star in this 1997 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Così fan tutte, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Fake Friends: Circle Jerk
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Slave Play scribe Jeremy O. Harris is producing a second show about white conservatives, the provocatively titled Circle Jerk. Cocreated by Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley, it's an unsettling satire about gay right-wing trolls spreading misinformation and white supremacy online. The duo performs the play live from Brooklyn with support from Cat Rodríguez and codirector Rory Pelsue. Tickets start at $5.
Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy
At 7:30 p.m. ET, although foreign manipulation of our populace and our elections via social media is no joke, playwright Sarah Gancher mines the phenomenon for dark humor in Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy. Presented by TheaterWorks Hartford and TheatreSquared with an assist from docutheatre masters The Civilians, the play was created specifically for digital consumption and is performed live by Danielle Slavick, Mia Katigbak, Haskell King, Ian Lassiter and Greg Keller, who portray professional internet trolls. Elizabeth Williamson and Jared Mezzocchi codirect. Get ready to laugh-cry. Tickets cost (what else?) $20.20.
Black Lives, Black Words International Project: Plays for the People: Call for the Wailing Women
At 8 p.m. ET, Black Lives, Black Words International Project presents Call for the Wailing Women, Katrina D. RiChard's searing Afro-Centric adaptation of Euripides' The Suppliants about two mothers at odds as they desperately fight for their respective sons. Valerie Curtis-Newton directs Bianca Laverne Jones and Allyson Lee Brown. Tickets start at $10.
Club Cumming: Amber Martin: Bette Bathhouse and Beyond: Live from Fire Island
At 8 p.m. ET, Alan Cumming, who hosted downtown divas at his eponymous East Village club pre-COVID, is now sharing their fabulosity online with streamed performances. Tonight, bask in the glory of Amber Martin, a powerhouse vocalist and uncanny impressionist, as she recreates early-career Bette Midler entertaining half-naked gay men at the Continental Baths in the '70s. Filmed on Fire Island in front of (what else?) half-naked gay men, this performance is for adults only. Tickets are $15.
APAC: American Arcana
At 8 p.m. ET, Queens' intrepid Astoria Performing Arts Center presents em>American Arcana, an apocalyptic comedy by Texas-based playwright Cyndi Williams about what feels like the end of the world, aka right now, and the fight for a better future. An ensemble cast stars, and proceeds benefit the theater and vote.org. Tickets are $25.
Vineyard Theatre: Lessons in Survival Live Open Rehearsal
At 8:30 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's invaluable Vineyard Theatre continues its fascinating Lessons in Survival project, featuring a collective of 40 theatre artists sharing historic conversations, interviews and speeches about race by listening to the original speakers in an earpiece while repeating their words verbatim. Conceived by actors Marin Ireland, Peter Mark Kendall and Reggie D. White and director Tyler Thomas, the series presents an open rehearsal tonight, giving viewers a peek at how these performances are created. Crystal Dickinson, Peter Gerety, Jennifer Ikeda, Peter Mark Kendall, TL Thompson and Nicole Villamil explore interviews with jazz great Miles Davis in 1988; athlete and activist Muhammed Ali and poet and educator Nikki Giovanni in 1971; singer-songwriter Joan Baez in 1984 and folk legend Pete Seeger in 2006. Tickets start at $5.
Goodman Theatre: Death of a Salesman
Attention must be paid when the Goodman Theatre streams its production of Death of a Salesman, which originated at the lauded Chicago venue before transferring to Broadway where it won the 1999 Tony Award for best revival of a play. The always compelling Brian Dennehy won a Tony for his performance as Willy Loman, the hapless never-was at the center of Arthur Miller's American tragedy. Director Richard Falls and Elizabeth Franz as Loman's devoted wife also won statuettes, and the mounting was preserved on film for Showtime. Watch for free until Sunday on the Goodman's website though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Don Pasquale
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 Otto Schenk's staging of Don Pasquale, starring Anna Netrebko as Norina, the clever young widow who helps teach John Del Carlo's Scrooge-like title character much-needed lessons about generosity and love. Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien costar in this 2010 mounting. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
All Arts: Women of Color on Broadway
Back in February, the nonprofit Women of Color on Broadway presented a tribute concert to Tony Award winners Melba Moore and LaChanze at Cooper Union's Great Hall. Starting today, you can watch a recording of that one-night-only event featuring Celia Rose Gooding (Jagged Little Pill), Kimberly Marable (Hadestown), Kuhoo Verma (Octet), Aléna Watters (The Cher Show), Anastacia McCleskey (Waitress), Darlesia Cearcy (Once on This Island) and other BIPOC theatre performers crooning tunes from Hamilton, The Wiz, The Band's Visit and other musicals. Watch for free on All Arts' website.
City Center: 2020 Fall for Dance Festival
Every autumn, City Center welcomes famous movers and shakers for its Fall for Dance Festival. Of course this 17th annual edition looks a little different: the dancers are still on the venue's storied stage but audiences stream the performances at home. Opening night includes a pair of world-premiere commissions: the solo Morani/Mungu (Black Warrior/Black God) by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's resident choreographer Jamar Roberts examining his identity as a Black man; and Christopher Wheeldon's The Two of Us starring New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns and American Ballet Theatre principal David Hallberg. Excerpts from Ballet Hispánico's mambo-driven 18+1 and Martha Graham Dance Company's Lamentation round out the program. Tickets are $15 and the recording will be viewable until Sunday, November 1.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Jason Dirden and Nikiya Mathis in the Atlantic Theater Company's 2016 production of Skeleton Crew, which is having a reunion reading tonight. Photo by Ahron Foster.