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 this Thursday, January 21, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
St. Ann's Warehouse: The Approach
At 2:15 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse continues bringing some of the UK's best theatre to US audiences with a live-stream of The Approach, Mark O'Rowe's enigmatic play about three women (Cathy Belton, Derbhle Crotty and Aisling O’Sullivan) telling different but interconnected tales. The production will be performed live on stage at Dublin's Project Arts Centre and broadcast to international audiences. Tickets start at €15, approximately $18.
Old Vic: Michael Sheen in Faith Healer
At 2:30 p.m. ET, last year, London's Old Vic presented a series of starry shows performed live on stage to an empty auditorium; now the theatre is offering encore streams. Today, catch Brian Friel's Faith Healer, a powerful play about the dramatic life of Hardy, portrayed by Michael Sheen. This story about faith and fragility unfolds through a series of monologues delivered by Hardy, his wife (Indira Varma) and his longtime manager (David Threlfall). Tickets start at £10, approximately $14. Audio description and closed captions are available.
Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival: The Scourge and The Gifts You Gave to the Dark
Since 2008, Origin Theatre Company has presented the annual Origin 1st Irish Festival featuring readings, productions and panels. This year the event goes virtual with daily offerings through the end of the month. On Thursday, catch two mainstage shows:
African Caribbean MixFest: Let There Be Love
At 6 p.m. ET, throughout the month, Off Broadway's invaluable Atlantic Theater Company is presenting African Caribbean MixFest, a series of free readings by African Caribbean dramatists. Tonight, the artistic director of the UK's Young Vic, Kwame Kwei-Armah, shares his new play Let There Be Love, about an ill-tempered West Indian immigrant living in London (Kevin Mambo) and his estranged adult daughter (Renika Williams) who are unexpectedly reunited thanks to his idealistic Polish caregiver (Tony nominee Marin Ireland). Register to receive the free viewing link.
Danielle Brooks on Classic Conversations
At 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company continues its Classic Conversations with a chat between artistic director John Doyle and stage and screen star Danielle Brooks. The actor and activist earned a Tony nomination for her fabulous performance in the revival of The Color Purple, which Doyle directed on Broadway. We expect these two have a lot to chat (and hopefully sing) about. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page.
An Evening of Hope: Offerings for the Future of Theatre
At 7 p.m. ET, Broadway MVP Ann Harada hosts a cabaret featuring musical theatre up-and-comers as a benefit for The Actors Fund. The young and talented performers, including Gizel Jiménez from Wicked, George Salazar from Be More Chill and Shanice Williams who headlined NBC's The Wiz Live!, will share songs and stories that reflect their hopes for the industry's recovery and reimagining. Watch for free on Broadway on Demand though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Traviata
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents La Traviata, Verdi's romantic tragedy about a courtesan whose chance at true love is thwarted by bourgeois mores. Willy Decker helmed this 2012 mounting, which stars Natalie Dessay and Matthew Polenzani as the ill-fated lovers, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as his disapproving father. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Norma, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Making the Broadway Inauguration Song
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley sit down with director Schele Williams to discuss the making of that fabulous "Seasons of Love / Let the Sunshine In" medley that premiered during the virtual inauguration festivities last night. Find out how it came together as some of the Broadway stars involved pop by, including Andy Karl, BD Wong, Charlotte D’Amboise, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Javier Muñoz and Orfeh! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Saving Wonderland: A Seize the Show Experience
At 8 p.m. ET, go down the rabbit hole with Seize the Show's interactive adventure featuring Lewis Carroll's iconic Alice in Wonderland characters. This family show takes place live on Zoom as audiences solve puzzles to move the story forward. Multiple endings are possible, so log on ready to participate. Tickets start at $13.
Not a Moment, But a Movement: Crowndation
At 8 p.m. ET, LA's Center Theatre Group partners with Watts Village Theatre and NYC's The Fire This Time Festival for Not a Moment, But a Movement, a series of virtual events spotlighting Black artists. It kicks off with a reading of Angelica Chéri's one-person play Crowndation about a young woman who's pulled in different directions by her faith, her sexuality and a secret she discovers about her dad. Tickets are $10 and the recording is viewable until Monday, March 22.
The Exponential Festival: Lucky Star: superstar
At 8 p.m. ET, every January since 2016, The Exponential Festival has showcased cutting-edge works mostly on Brooklyn stages. For its sixth annual edition, the event goes virtual with performances by some of the most exciting theatre-makers in the digital space. Tonight, Pioneers Go East Collective presents Lucky Star: superstar, an installation inspired by icons of NYC's '70s performance art scene. Watch for free on the fest's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
San Francisco Ballet: George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream
At 9 p.m. ET, San Francisco Ballet kicks off its new digital season with a recording of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which had its run cut short due to the pandemic last year. Based on Shakespeare's enchanting comedy about love, magic and manipulation, the ballet features a lovely score by Felix Mendelssohn and was the first full-length ballet choreographed by George Balanchine. Tickets are $29 and the recording is viewable until Wednesday, February 10.
Opéra-Comique in Paris: Titon et l'Aurore
Here's something you don't see every day, a brand-new production streamed directly from Opéra-Comique in Paris! Award-winning puppet master Basil Twist (Symphonie Fantastique) directs Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville's rarely staged 1753 fable Titon et l'Aurore, about the relationship between a shepherd (Reinoud Van Mechelen) and a goddess (Gwendoline Blondeel). Although the opera's in-person run this month was canceled due to COVID, the venue produced it live on stage to an empty house and recorded the performance. Watch for free until Monday, April 19 on Medici TV though you need to create an account.
The Metropolitan Opera: Carmen
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 Richard Eyre's thrilling mounting of Bizet's Carmen, featuring Elina Garanca as the title character, who captivates all the men around her. Filmed in 2010, the production was choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, and costars Barbara Frittoli, Roberto Alagna and Teddy Tahu Rhodes. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Vineyard Theatre: Gloria Original Cast Benefit Reading
Off Broadway's Vineyard Theatre presents a reading of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' pitch-black comedy Gloria, which was a huge hit for the company in 2015 and went on to be short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize. While Jacobs-Jenkins is best known for his searing plays about race (An Octoroon, Appropriate), Gloria starts out as an office comedy about editorial peons with big literary dreams and then goes in a shockingly dark direction. Ultimately, it's a biting exploration of who gets to tell their own story. This performance reunites the original Vineyard cast, Kyle Beltran, Catherine Combs, Michael Crane, Jennifer Kim, Jeanine Serralles and the invaluable Ryan Spahn, with director Evan Cabnet. Tickets start at $25 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Sunday.
New York Theatre Workshop: The Wright Stuff
New York Theatre Workshop presents The Wright Stuff, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright's new interview series of one-on-one chats with some of the most insightful and hilarious political commentators of our time: comedians. The five-episode series features talks with New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz, Daily Show alum Aasif Mandvi, CBS Sunday Morning special correspondent Nancy Giles, irreverent stage and screen scribe Paul Rudnick, and Late Night with Seth Meyers' writer Jenny Hagel. Watch the series for free on NYTW's YouTube channel.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Ann Harada, who's hosting a cabaret benefiting The Actors Fund.