Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
With in-person theatre still a rarity, many companies and performers from Broadway and beyond are showcasing their work online. Below are performances you can watch this Wednesday, July 21 and Thursday, July 22, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Signature Theatre: Preview of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
On Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's celebrated Signature Theatre was in the middle of a season honoring the work of Anna Deavere Smith when the pandemic hit. This fall, the company continues its focus on the groundbreaking playwright with a reimagined production of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, her searing, Tony-nominated examination of the LA uprising, which was precipitated by the acquittal of white police officers who had beaten a Black man named Rodney King almost to death. After interviewing more than 300 people both directly and tangentially connected to the unrest, Smith created a collage of disparate voices and perspectives. This week, you can enjoy a digital sneak peek at Signature's upcoming production, featuring actors Esther Chae, Wesley T. Jones, Karl Kenzler, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart and Carmen Zilles performing select monologues from the play in tandem with historical footage. Taibi Magar directs. Register to receive the free viewing link. The recording is viewable until Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. Captioning and ASL interpretation are available.
The Metropolitan Opera: Le Comte Ory
On Wednesday 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. These productions have been specially selected for families and are complemented by online educational materials. This week's offering is Rossini's rarely staged comedy Le Comte Ory. Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher helmed this charming 2011 production starring Juan Diego Flórez as the title character, a philandering count whose lust life is complicated by Diana Damrau's virtuous Countess Adèle and his page, played by Joyce DiDonato. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: Les Pêcheurs de Perles
On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, after 71 weeks (!!!), the Metropolitan Opera wraps up its free nightly screenings with favorites picked by fans. Tonight, enjoy Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles about an innocent priestess wooed by two friends. Penny Woolcock's lauded 2016 production marked the first time the work had been performed at the Met in a century. Diana Damrau, Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien star. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's double bill, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, cabaret maven Jim Caruso is pulling double duty! His in-person Cast Party gatherings are back at Birdland on Mondays, which means the live-streamed version of the show, dubbed Pajama Cast Party, has moved to Wednesdays. Every week, the charming host welcomes renowned singers and up-and-comers for songs and stories. Tonight's lineup includes West Side Story star Shereen Pimentel, Tony-winning The Light in the Piazza songwriter Adam Guettel and singer-trombonist Hailey Brinnel. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
Weathervane Theatre: Buyer & Cellar
On Thursday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. ET, New Hampshire's Weathervane Theatre presents a virtual production of Buyer & Cellar, Jonathan Tolins' uproarious one-man play about an out-of-work actor who lands an insane job curating the tchotchkes in Barbra Streisand's basement. Nathaniel P. Claridad directs Jorge Donoso in this laugh-out-loud comedy. Tickets start at $22.50 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
Vineyard Theatre: Composers in Conversation: John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, two musical theatre legends—composer John Kander and performer and songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda—chat about their illustrious careers in the climactic installment of Vineyard Theatre's Gala Series. In addition to sharing insights about their creative processes, they'll reveal their favorite selections from each other's songbooks, with performances by Broadway vets Heidi Blickenstaff, Brandon Victor Dixon, Mandy Gonzalez, Bryonha Marie Parham and George Salazar. Don't throw away your shot to this cabaret! Tickets are pay-what-you-wish and a recording is viewable until Sunday.
Lincoln Center Theater: The Wolves
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, Lincoln Center Theater shares a never-before-seen treat: a recording of The Wolves, Sarah DeLappe's Pulitzer finalist play about nine high school juniors on a soccer field, exchanging ideas, thoughts and confidences as they pass the ball back and forth. The chatter is incessant but insightful, offering a glimpse into the insular and messy world of American teenage girls as they candidly discuss everything from periods to politics. Directed by Lila Neugebauer, this Obie-winning production stars Lauren Patten, Sarah Mezzanotte, Susannah Perkins, Tedra Millan and other up-and-comers, and was filmed live on stage at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in 2017. The footage was originally intended to be used for promotional clips, but Lincoln Center Theater is releasing the full recording as part of its Private Reels: From the LCT Archives series. Register on Broadway on Demand to receive the free viewing link. The recording is viewable until Sunday, August 15.
The Metropolitan Opera: Les Contes d'Hoffmann
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, after 71 weeks (!!!), the Metropolitan Opera wraps up its free nightly screenings with favorites picked by fans. Tonight, enjoy Tony winner Bartlett Sher's fantastical 2015 production of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, starring Vittorio Grigolo as the title lovesick poet alongside a trio of leading ladies: Erin Morley as the mechanical doll Olympia, Hibla Gerzmava as the fragile Antonia and Christine Rice as courtesan Giulietta. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Les Pêcheurs de Perles, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
The Actors Gang: We Live On: Part I
On Thursday at 10 p.m. ET, LA's innovative theatre company The Actors' Gang, led by Oscar-winning actor Tim Robbins, presents We Live On, a three-part performance inspired by Studs Terkel's epic Hard Times, in which Americans from all walks of life shared what it was like surviving the Great Depression. In April 2020, Robbins and his company started working on a virtual adaptation of this nonfiction classic, dramatizing 30 different stories, some from the original book, others from the family history of cast members. Part I premieres tonight and tickets are pay-what-you-wish. Parts II and III debut later this week and all the installments are performed live online.
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
CollaborAzian presents an abridged online concert of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder starring an all-Asian American and Pacific Islander cast. A dark musical comedy about a man gleefully killing off his kin in an attempt to inherit a fortune, this production is directed by Alan Muraoka and stars Cindy Cheung, Karl Josef Co, Ali Ewoldt, Diane Phelan and Thom Sesma. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish and proceeds benefit Stop AAPI Hate. The recording is viewable until Thursday.
Russell Brand in Our Little Lives: Shakespeare & Me
Actor, comedian and bad boy Russell Brand riffs on his tempestuous life and his love for the playwright behind The Tempest in Our Little Lives: Shakespeare & Me. Filmed live on stage at London's Almeida Theatre, Brand's confessional solo show was developed in collaboration with director Ian Rickson and explores how the Bard's themes and language remain relevant in our modern-day world. Bonus: Brand's dog costars! Tickets start at $15 and the recording is viewable until Friday.
National Theatre at Home
Last December, London's lauded National Theatre launched its own streaming service featuring professional stage captures of its productions. What I didn't realize until a TDF Stages reader recently told me is that the recordings are available to rent individually for 72 hours. That means you can watch Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane in Angels in America, Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch in Frankenstein, Sienna Miller and Jack O'Connell in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and many other plays as one-offs. Tickets are $10 for each offering.
59E59 Theaters: East to Edinburgh Goes Virtual
59E59 Theaters presents a virtual edition of its annual East to Edinburgh Festival featuring nine cutting-edge productions worthy of the world's largest fringe fest. One pass gets you on-demand access to all the offerings, including Tristan Bernays's Testament, a modern-day take on four biblical characters; Katherine Teed-Arthur's Joan/Jehanne, a meditation on Joan of Arc; Priyanka Shet's solo exploration of racially charged violence in #Charlottesville; and Somebody Jones's self-explanatory Black Women Dating White Men. Tickets are $20 to watch all the shows at your convenience until Sunday.
Baltimore Center Stage: A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction
On Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Baltimore Center Stage presents A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction, a dark comedy by Miranda Rose Hall about a theatre company putting on a show about climate change that goes awry. So the stage manager/light board operator/dramaturg comes up with some unexpected ways to engage the audience. Log on ready to participate in this communal experience. Tickets start at $25 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
New Normal Rep: Lines in the Dust
New Normal Rep presents Lines in the Dust by Obie winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Nikkole Salter. Set in Newark in 2010, this moving drama centers on a working-class single mother desperate to find an alternative to the underperforming zoned school for her bright young daughter. How much will she risk to give her kid a leg up? Awoye Timpo directs Lisa Rosetta Strum, Melissa Joyner and Jeffrey Bean. 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 Sunday, August 8 and closed captions are available.
Signature Theatre: After Midnight
Virginia's lauded Signature Theatre presents After Midnight, an enthralling celebration of the legendary Cotton Club that was nominated for seven 2014 Tony Awards. Recorded on stage during quarantine, this new production is headlined by Hamilton Tony nominee Christopher Jackson and Nova Y. Payton, and is directed and choreographed by Jared Grimes, who appeared in the show on Broadway. Evocative renditions of Langston Hughes poems provide the framework for eye-popping tap-dance numbers set to the swinging songs of Duke Ellington, Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields, Harold Arlen and other big band-era greats. Tickets are $35 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Wednesday, August 4.
Top image: A scene from The Wolves, which is streaming for free courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater. Photo by Daniel J. Vasquez.