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 28, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
It Can't Happen Here
At 1 p.m. ET, Sinclair Lewis' 1935 satirical novel It Can't Happen Here, about a totalitarian U.S. presidential candidate and the journalist who opposes his regime, seems to be the story of the moment. Earlier this month, Berkeley Rep released it as a multi-episode audio play. Today, a coalition of diverse theatre companies are doing a reading of its 1936 stage adaptation, with dozens of actors performing the tale in six languages: English, Yiddish, Spanish, Italian, Turkish and Hebrew. National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene spearheads the event in collaboration with Israeli Artists Project, Kairos Italy Theater, New York Classical Theatre, New Heritage Theatre Group, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, Playful Substance, Repertorio Español and Turkish American Repertory Theater & Entertainment. Watch for free on Folksbiene's website; the recording will be viewable until Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
Irish Repertory Theatre: A Touch of the Poet
At 3 and 8 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's intrepid Irish Rep presents its digital take on Eugene O'Neill's compelling immigrant drama A Touch of the Poet, featuring Tony nominee Robert Cuccioli as Con, an Irish-American inn owner near Boston in 1828, clinging to a gentlemanly past that never was. Ciarán O’Reilly directs a cast that includes Ciaran Byrne, Kate Forbes and Mary McCann. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested.
The Metropolitan Opera: Rusalka
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 Rusalka, Antonín Dvorák's tragic Little Mermaid-style fable, starring soprano Kristine Opalais, tenor Brandon Jovanovich and Eric Owens (Porgy and Bess) in Mary Zimmerman's acclaimed 2017 mounting. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Karen, I Said
At 6 p.m. ET, writer, performer and TDF Stages contributor, Eliza Bent, explores the phenomenon of white wokeness with wit and bite in her solo show Karen, I Said, directed by Tara Ahmedinejad. Tickets start at $5 and a portion of the proceeds go to the Black LGBTQ org Brave Space Alliance.
The New Group: Evening at the Talk House Starring Matthew Broderick
At 7 p.m. ET, The New Group presents a live reading of Wallace Shawn's Evening at the Talk House, about a 10th anniversary reunion of participants in a failed play, set in a world where theatre—and freedom—have all but died. Talk about eerie! This performance brings together the cast of the 2017 Off-Broadway production: Matthew Broderick, real-life spouses Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker, John Epperson (aka Lypsinka), Claudia Shear, Larry Pine, Annapurna Sriram and playwright Shawn. Tickets are $25; a recording will be viewable until Sunday, November 29.
Ogunquit Playhouse: A Very Brady Musical
At 7 p.m. ET, here's the story, of a clan named Brady, whose kids think that their parents want to split. That's the premise of this kitschy new musical, inspired by The Brady Bunch and written by Lloyd J. Schwartz and Hope and Laurence Juber, the children and son-in-law of the timeless sitcom's creator, Sherwood Schwartz. A pair of camp masters, Xanadu's Kerry Butler and SpongeBob SquarePants' Gavin Lee, star as Carol and Mike Brady, bawdy belter Klea Blackhurst is wisecracking maid Alice, and the meddling kids are Celia Hottenstein, Troy Iwata, Diana Huey, Mason Reeves, Anthony Zambito and Trista Dollison. All proceeds go to Maine's Ogunquit Playhouse. Tickets start at $20; a recording is viewable until Sunday.
New York Theatre Workshop: The Seagull on the Sims 4 Acts III and IV
At 7 p.m. ET, New York Theatre Workshop presents playwright-performer Celine Song's fascinating reinvention of Anton Chekhov's breakthrough play for our digital age: The Seagull on the Sims 4. Full of subtext and experimentation, the drama was initially a flop because it was breaking new ground. Song hopes to do the same as she tries to reenact it on the 21st-century videogame Sims 4 via game streaming service Twitch. No idea what to expect? That's the point! Acts I and II were performed last night, Song tackles Acts III and IV this evening. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link.
The Metropolitan Opera: Simon Boccanegra
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera continues its week of Election Day-themed productions with Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, with Plácido Domingo in the title role, a man plagued by political and personal problems. Adrianne Pieczonka, Marcello Giordani and James Morris costar in this 2010 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Agrippina, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
New York City Ballet: Festival of New Choreography
At 8 p.m. ET, New York City Ballet wraps up its digital fall season with five nights of world-premiere works, performed at different locations around the city and filmed by director Ezra Hurwitz. Tonight, catch Pam Tanowitz's Solo for Russell: Sites 1-5, created for NYCB principal Russell Janzen and danced to a cello score by Alfred Schnittke. Watch for free indefinitely on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Halloween is NOT Cancelled
At 8 p.m. ET, Freestyle Love Supreme's Anthony Veneziale is rapping up treats for Halloween! This boo-tiful benefit includes performances by singing American Idol spouses Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, outfit tips from Tony-winning costume designer Linda Cho and makeup artist Eddie Duyos, and a special spooky appearance by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Watch for free online though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Signature Theatre: The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World Reunion Reading
Four years ago, Off Broadway's lauded Signature Theatre revived Suzan-Lori Parks' The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead, a response to the murders of unarmed Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement. Sadly, the play's themes feel even more urgent now, which is why the theatre presented a live reunion reading last night, and the recording is viewable until Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. Lileana Blain-Cruz once again directs William Demeritt, Patrena Murray, Reynaldo Piniella, Julian Rozzell, Roslyn Ruff, Mirirai Sithole, David Ryan Smith, Daniel J. Watts, Jamar Williams and Amelia Workman in this poetic evocation of a never-ending cycle of racism and violence as a Black man dies over and over and over. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link.
George Street Playhouse: Conscience
New Jersey's George Street Playhouse presents Conscience about US Senator Margaret Chase, who heroically denounced McCarthyism in her 1950 "Declaration of Conscience" speech. Written by Memphis Tony winner Joe DiPietro, this comic drama was running at the New Brunswick theatre when the shutdown hit. Director David Saint reunites castmates Mark Junek, Lee Sellars, Cathryn Wake and Tony winner Harriet Harris as the courageous Chase for this virtual production. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish but a $25 donation is suggested. A recording is viewable until Friday.
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. The second program includes a pair of world-premiere commissions: tap great Dormeshia performing Lady Swings the Blues, a tribute to the legacy of Black women in dance; and Kyle Abraham's titled to be seen danced by American Theatre Ballet principal Calvin Royal III. Joseph Gordon and Adrian Danchig-Waring performing the male duet from Concerto Six Twenty-Two; and Ashley Bouder, Tiler Peck and Brittany Pollack dancing excerpts from George Balanchine's Who Cares? round out the evening. Tickets are $15 and the recording is viewable until Sunday.
Earlier this month, veteran stage and screen character actor Ronald Guttman performed a solo stage adaptation of Albert Camus' final novel The Fall, about an exiled Parisian lawyer whose fall from grace mirrors man's expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Didier Flamand directed this hour-long piece exploring themes of innocence, imprisonment and truth. Watch for free until tonight on Vimeo.
The American Dance Guild Performance Festival: 10 Years Over 10 Weeks
Each year, the American Dance Guild produces a festival that includes salutes to iconic dance-makers. Since the event is virtual this year, the organizers are transforming it into a retrospective of the last decade of honorees, with archival recordings released every Monday. The third features tributes to 2012's masters Elaine Summers and Dianne McIntyre. Watch for free until Sunday on Vimeo though donations are encouraged.
Top image: Kerry Butler, who stars in A Very Brady Musical at 7 p.m. ET.