Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
With in-person theatre a rarity for the foreseeable future, many companies and performers from Broadway and beyond are showcasing their work online. Below are performances you can watch this Monday, April 12 and Tuesday, April 13, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Monday, April 12
ABT Incubator: Death and Life
On Monday at noon ET, American Ballet Theatre continues its Incubator series showcasing brand-new digital dance works created by emerging choreographers during quarantine. Today's premiere is Death and Life by company member Sung Woo Han, a pas de deux set to Bach's Adagio from Concerto No. 3 in D Minor featuring his fellow ABTers Joo Won Ahn and SunMi Park. Watch for free on ABT's YouTube channel.
Red Bull Theater: Paradise Lost Part I: The Fall of Lucifer
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, NYC's Red Bull Theater, known for reimagining classics, presents a theatricalization of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost about the questions that haunt us all: What is evil? Why does God allow bad things to happen? Do humans have free will? Michael Barakiva adapted and directed the production and tonight is part I: The Fall of Lucifer. Watch for free on Red Bull's YouTube channel though a $25 donation is suggested. A recording will be available until Friday at 7 p.m. ET. Part II, Eve and Adam, premieres Monday, April 26.
Arts for Autism Benefit Featuring Kelli O'Hara
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Tony winner Kelli O'Hara headlines this annual benefit concert, which goes virtual this year. The lineup includes Broadway vets Jackie Burns from Wicked, Adam Jacobs from Aladdin and Jagged Little Pill Tony nominee Elizabeth Stanley along with students from theatre programs across the country. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link and the recording is viewable until Friday, April 16. Donations to Autism Speaks are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Cendrillon
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Cendrillon, Jules Massenet and Henri Caïn's turn-of-the-20th-century take on the old Cinderella story, featuring internationally revered mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role and Alice Coote as her prince. Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe and Laurent Naouri costar in this 2018 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Luisa Miller, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, for once you can rejoice that it's that time of the month as a diverse slate of storytellers and stars come together for Period Piece, a meditation on menstruation. Conceived by Susan Cinoman and directed by Karen Carpenter, this three-evening event kicks off tonight with a dozen actors, including Tony winners Beth Leavel and Julie White, Broadway funny lady Julie Halston, The Prom's Isabelle McCalla and Mandy Moore from This Is Us, performing playlets by Bekah Brunstetter, Lauren Gunderson, Theresa Rebeck and others that aim to destigmatize menses. Tickets are $20 but for $40 you can see all three installments, which take place on three successive Mondays.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, cabaret maven Jim Caruso welcomes renowned singers and up-and-comers at Pajama Cast Party, a live-streamed version of his popular weekly Cast Party gatherings that have taken place at Birdland for years. Tonight's lineup includes longtime Elphaba in Wicked Jackie Burns and Nashville crooners Emily West and Chase McDaniel. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
Bindlestiff Family Cirkus: Open Stage Variety Show: Quarantine Edition
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus continues its live weekly variety show hosted by adorkable ringmaster Keith Nelson. Tonight's awe-inspiring lineup includes aerialist Cecilia Boyers, Magician Ishamudin, The Fiery Jack Family jugglers and clown Rich Potter. Watch for free on Bindlestiff's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
American Conservatory Theatre: Arms and the Man
On Monday at 9 p.m. ET, San Francisco's lauded American Conservatory Theater continues its A.C.T. Out Loud reading series spotlighting prescient plays with George Bernard Shaw's 1894 comedy Arms and the Man, about a love triangle set against the backdrop of the Serbo-Bulgarian War. Tony nominee Colman Domingo directs Phillip James Brannon, Allen Darby, Allie Marie Evans, Kimberly Hebert Gregory, Danny Scheie, Ariel Shafir, Avanthika Srinivasan and Liam Vincent. Tickets start at $5 and the recording is viewable until Sunday.
Tuesday, April 13
The Public Theater: shadow/land
On Tuesday at noon ET, The Public Theater presents a new audio production of shadow/land, a drama by newly minted Smith Blackburn Prize winner Erika Dickerson-Despenza about a Black mother and daughter wrestling with giving up their historic family business in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina bears down. Lizan Mitchell and Michelle Wilson star in this powerful piece, and Candis C. Jones directs. Listen for free on The Public's website.
Out of the Box Theatrics: The Last Five Years
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Jason Robert Brown's musical dissection of a romance, The Last Five Years, has proven to be a pandemic favorite, with multiple productions in the UK and stateside. It makes sense since the two-hander is about disconnection, as the man tells his side of their love story chronologically while the woman recalls their relationship in reverse. This digital reimagining of the show was coproduced by Out of the Box Theatrics and Holmdel Theatre Company and filmed inside a New York City apartment, giving it an air of verisimilitude. Nasia Thomas and Nicholas Edwards star as the ill-fated couple, and celebrated musical director Jason Michael Webb helmed the production. Tickets start at $29.
Iolanta and Bluebeard's Castle at the Met
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a double bill of one-acts inspired by folk tales: Tchaikovsky's final opera Iolanta starring Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala, and Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle featuring Nadja Michael and Mikhail Petrenko, both conducted by Valery Gergiev. The productions were filmed in 2015 for the company's Live in HD series and are available to watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Cendrillon, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Guest Host Brenda Braxton
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, Brenda Braxton guest hosts Stars in the House. The Smokey Joe's Cafe Tony nominee will be joined by her former Cougar the Musical castmates. They'll chat about their experiences performing the crowd-pleasing Off-Broadway musical and also pay tribute to the late B. Smith, whose namesake restaurant was their go-to post-performance spot. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Available to Watch Both Days
TheaterWorks: The Sound Inside
TheaterWorks in Hartford presents a digital reimagining of The Sound Inside, Adam Rapp's enigmatic Tony-nominated play about an ailing literature professor who forms an unexpected relationship with a precocious but mysterious student. Maggie Bofill and Ephraim Birney star in this twisty two-hander, which was directed by Rob Ruggiero and Pedro Bermudez. Tickets are $25 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Friday, April 30 and ASL interpretation is available.
Goodman Theater: Smokefall
Chicago's lauded Goodman Theatre gives audiences a peek at its archives with a recording of Smokefall, Noah Haidle's surreal play about unborn twins contemplating their future lives, and the family drama taking place outside the womb. Anne Kauffman directed this singular 2013 production. Reservations are required to receive the free viewing link and the recording is viewable until Sunday, April 25. Closed captions are available.
The Shows Must Go On!: Julius Caesar
The Shows Must Go On! presents a powerful mounting of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar about a political assassination with deadly consequences. Based on the Royal Shakespeare Company's acclaimed stage production and set in post-colonial Africa, this film is directed by Gregory Doran and stars Paterson Joseph, Jeffry Kissoon, Cyril Nri and Ray Fearon. Watch for free until Friday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube.
John Cullum: An Accidental Star
Two-time Tony winner John Cullum reflects on his 65-year career in An Accidental Star. He'll croon songs from the shows he's known for, such as Shenandoah, On the Twentieth Century, The Scottsboro Boys and Urinetown, and share never-before-heard stories about working with stars like Julie Andrews, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Coproduced by three theatres he has longstanding relationships with—The Vineyard Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House and Irish Rep where it was filmed—this intimate and inspiring solo show is a must-see for theatre history buffs. Tickets start at $28.75 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Thursday, April 22.
The Joyce Theater: Ayodele Casel: Chasing Magic
Chelsea dance haven The Joyce continues its digital season with tap master Ayodele Casel's Chasing Magic, an evening of works about the power of reconnecting. The program features a new collaboration with choreographer Ronald K. Brown as well as "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Cheek to Cheek," both co-choreographed by Anthony Morigerato. Casel is joined on the Joyce stage by Morigerato, Naomi Funaki, Amanda Castro and John Manzari. Tickets are $25 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Wednesday, April 21.
Roundabout Theatre Company: Reverb Theatre Arts Festival
Roundabout Theatre Company presents its inaugural Reverb Theatre Arts Festival showcasing artists with disabilities. A few months ago, the venerable nonprofit put out a call inviting artists with disabilities to submit original monologues, dance pieces, spoken word and musical works. The result is 24 short collaborations between emerging artists and pros, including Tony-winning performer Ali Stroker, Tony-nominated director Scott Ellis, Tony-nominated performer Lauren Ridloff, choreographer Chase Brock and songwriter Adam Gwon. Watch for free until Thursday, May 20 on Roundabout's website. ASL interpretation, closed captions and audio description are available.
Play-PerView: Babette in Retreat
On Saturday, Play-PerView presented a live reading of Babette in Retreat and you can watch a recording until Wednesday. Justin Sayre's glorious farce centers on a 50-year-old courtesan looking to retire in peace at her country house... if only her old friends and clients would stop bothering her. The cast includes the playwright, who's also a fabulous performer, along with three-time Tony nominee Mary Testa, Becca Blackwell, Nathan Lee Graham, Randy Harrison, Auden Thornton and Jack Wetherall. Ellie Heyman directs. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish but a $20 donation is suggested. Net proceeds benefit the Ali Forney Center.
Top image: Beth Leavel, one of the Broadway stars participating in Period Piece on Monday, a meditation on menstruation.