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 28 and Thursday, July 29, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
The Metropolitan Opera: Il Barbiere di Siviglia
On Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET, although the Metropolitan Opera wrapped up its nightly offerings last week, the institution is still presenting weekly student streams on Wednesdays. These productions have been specially selected for families and are complemented by online educational materials. This week's offering is Tony winner Bartlett Sher's sparkling mounting of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini's comic masterpiece about Figaro, a resourceful barber who helps a couple out of a hairy situation. Christopher Maltman plays the sassy stylist in this 2014 production alongside Isabel Leonard, Lawrence Brownlee, Maurizo Muraro and Paata Burchuladze. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
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 The Cher Show Tony winner Stephanie J. Block and country crooner Randy Austin. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
Stars in the House: The Phantom of the Opera Reunion
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley are on a well-deserved vacation, during which they're presenting encore streams of popular episodes. Tonight, catch a Phantom of the Opera Broadway reunion from June 2020 featuring Ramin Karimloo, Norm Lewis, Howard McGillin, Hugh Panaro and Sierra Boggess. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Shakesolo Festival: Unspoken Garden/ El jardin que calla
On Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET, Frigid New York's The Shakesolo Festival, showcasing Bard-inspired solo performances, continues with Unspoken Garden/ El jardin que calla, a bilingual piece in which Shakespeare soliloquies are juxtaposed against harrowing real-life testimonies of abused women in Latin America. The one-woman play is being performed in person at the Kraine Theater in the East Village, but you can also live-stream the production from home. Tickets are $13.
St. Louis Shakespeare Festival: King Lear
On Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, André De Shields may be best known for his performances in Broadway musicals, notably The Wiz, The Full Monty and his Tony-winning turn as Hermes in Hadestown, but he's also a fabulous classical actor who's put his indelible stamp on many Shakespeare roles, including King Lear. In 2006, he did it Off-Off Broadway, and this past June he played the complicated monarch at the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. Now audiences everywhere can stream a recording of that acclaimed production, directed by Carl Cofield and featuring a diverse cast of actors of color. Register to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged. The recording is viewable until Sunday.
New York Stage and Film: Sanctuary
Starting on Thursday, Billy Porter may be best known for his fabulous, award-winning turns in Broadway's Kinky Boots and TV's Pose. But he's also a talented writer whose works include the semiautobiographical drama While I Yet Live and the gospel musical Ghetto Superstar. This week, you can catch recorded segments from his brand-new show Sanctuary, which is being developed at New York Stage and Film this summer. With a book by Porter and songs by Kurt Carr, the musical celebrates the power and fellowship of an inclusive, loving God through gospel music. Deborah Cox, Bryan Terrell Clark, Ledisi and Virginia Woodruff star alongside Broadway Inspirational Voices. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link; the recording is viewable until Monday.
The Great Filter
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, Jason Ralph and Trevor Einhorn from the Syfy series The Magicians star in The Great Filter, an out-of-this-world thriller about a pair of astronauts returning to Earth after a failed mission who realize the planet may not be like the one they left. Equal parts sci-fi and comedy, this one-act was written and directed by Frank Winters and filmed live on stage earlier this summer at the Wild Project in the East Village. Tickets are $18 and the recording is viewable until Thursday, August 26.
The Shakesolo Festival: Two Households
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, Frigid New York's The Shakesolo Festival, showcasing Bard-inspired solo performances, continues with Two Households, a comedy about a clueless clown tasked with performing Romeo and Juliet as a one-person show. The play is being performed in person at the Kraine Theater in the East Village, but you can also live-stream the production from home. Tickets are $13.
Stars in the House: Six Reunion
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley are on a well-deserved vacation, during which they're presenting encore streams of popular episodes. Tonight, catch the royal stars of Six in an April 2020 interview. All of King Henry VIII's wives are present: Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Abby Mueller, Brittney Mack, Samantha Pauly and Anna Uzele, as well as show creators Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
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 opens tonight and tickets are pay-what-you-wish. Parts II and III run later this week and all the installments are performed live online.
Barrington Stage Company: Judgment Day
Barrington Stage Company presents an encore stream of Judgment Day, an over-the-top comedy by veteran TV writer/producer Rob Ulin. Jason Alexander stars as a shady lawyer who's scared into trying to change by a domineering angel, played by an acerbic Patti LuPone. Santino Fontana costars as a priest in crisis, and the rest of the cast includes Loretta Devine, Elizabeth Stanley and Michael McKean. If this trailer is any indication, prepare for irreverent laughs. Tickets are $9 and the recording is viewable until Sunday.
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene: A Yiddish Renaissance
In honor of the 70th birthday of its longtime artistic director, Zalmen Mlotek, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents A Yiddish Renaissance, a virtual cabaret featuring numbers from many of its popular productions, including Yiddish Fiddler, The Golden Bride, Soul to Soul and Amerika - The Golden Land. Yiddish singers from across the globe will participate in this celebration that will fill you with naches. Register to receive the free viewing link; the recording is viewable until Friday at 2 p.m. ET.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Cordelia Dream
On Wednesday at 3 and 8 p.m., and Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, NYC's venerable Irish Rep presents The Cordelia Dream, Marina Carr's psychologically complex two-hander about the fraught interactions between a Woman and a Man which recall the dysfunctional relationship between Cordelia and King Lear. Director Joe O'Byrne's production was filmed live on stage at Dublin's New Theatre and stars Stephen Brennan and Danielle Ryan. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested.
Lincoln Center Theater: The Wolves
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. Register on Broadway on Demand to receive the free viewing link; the recording is viewable until Sunday, August 15.
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.
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.
Baltimore Center Stage: A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction
On Wednesday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., 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.
The Brick: Machine Learning Hamlet; or Text Like Dagger
On Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, one of Brooklyn's most adventurous theatres, The Brick, presents an in-person performance of Machine Learning Hamlet; or Text Like Dagger, which will also be live-streamed to at-home audiences. This high-tech riff on Shakespeare was devised by the NYC-based troupe Meta-Phys Ed., with an approximation of Hamlet performed by a super-intelligent computer AI. This singular show was conceived and directed by Jesse Freedman, and inspired by Shakespeare, the 1981 text adventure computer game ZORK 1 and '80s icon Max Headroom. Watch for free on The Brick's YouTube channel.
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.
Top image: Patti LuPone, who's starring in an encore stream of the virtual comedy Judgment Day.