Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
With in-person theatre still a rarity for the time being, many companies and performers from Broadway and beyond are showcasing their work online. Below are performances you can watch this Monday, June 7 and Tuesday, June 8, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Wendy Wasserstein Project Celebration
On Monday at 5 p.m. ET, hear from the next generation of theatregoers and world changers at TDF's annual Wendy Wasserstein Project Celebration. One of our signature education programs, it was started by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein in 1998 when she partnered with TDF to see if theatre was relevant to young people. We took eight high school students to see six shows that season, and had pizza and talked after every performance. Today, that experiment has blossomed into 24 mentorships, with top theatre professionals (James Lapine, Kathleen Marshall, Scott Ellis and Kathleen Chalfant, to name a handful) sharing their time and expertise with public school students throughout the five boroughs. Even the pandemic couldn't stop them—they just watched and discussed online shows! Join us for this end-of-season celebration featuring thoughtful speeches from students and mentors. Watch for free on TDF's YouTube channel.
Necromancers of the Public Domain: The Periodical Cicada
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, prior to the pandemic, Tony-winning Urinetown cocreator Greg Kotis and his writer-performer-director-illustrator wife, Ayun Halliday, presented monthly variety shows inspired by obscure tomes. For the series' virtual return, they're using The Periodical Cicada (1907) for fodder, in honor of the insect's reemergence after 17 years—and humans' after 15 months. In addition to pieces by Kotis and Halliday, enjoy impossible-to-categorize live performances by Lisa Lim, Chris Lindsay-Abaire, Nick Balaban and others. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
The Drama League's 2021 DirectorFest: the bull-jean stories
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, The Drama League kicks off a virtual edition of its annual DirectorFest, showcasing the talents of four New York Directing Fellows as they helm new work. The first offering is Sharon Bridgforth's the bull-jean stories, directed by Signe V. Harriday, chronicling the life and loves of a Black lesbian in the rural South in the 1920s. Register to receive the free viewing link though a $15 donation is suggested. The recording is viewable until Monday, June 14 at 8 p.m. ET.
Playwrights Horizons: The KILL ONE Race
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, equal parts theatre, reality TV competition and documentary, this online series from the multitalented Raja Feather Kelly follows participants in an arduous contest to be crowned the most ethical. The prize? Death. Filmed at Playwrights Horizons, this dystopian exploration of morality versus media unfolds in seven episodes over the next week. The first two installments dropped on Friday; episodes 3 and 4 premiere tonight. Watch for free online.
The Metropolitan Opera: Rigoletto
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Tony winner Michael Mayer's mounting of Verdi's Rigoletto. Reset in '60s Las Vegas, the 2013 production stars Željko Lucic as the title character, a comedian who tries to protect his innocent daughter (Diana Damrau) from Piotr Beczal's lascivious Duke, a popular entertainer and casino owner. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Akhnaten, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Roundabout Theatre Company Gala Starring Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, join Tony winner Jane Krakowski and her hilarious Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt costar Tituss Burgess for Roundabout Theatre Company's 2021 Gala celebrating the return of the arts. Streaming live from Central Park, the evening features thrilling performances and appearances by Whoopi Goldberg, Tony nominees Vanessa Williams and Blair Underwood, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Rachel Brosnahan and other stars, plus music by The New York Pops. Tickets start at $25 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
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 Tony winner and beloved Broadway diva Kristin Chenoweth along with some of the talented teens participating in her virtual Broadway Bootcamp this week. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
New Federal Theatre: A Small World
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, Woodie King Jr.'s half-century-old New Federal Theatre kicks off its annual Ntozake Shange Reading Series spotlighting undersung plays by Black dramatists. The first offering is A Small World by the late Trinidadian playwright Mustapha Matura, about two Jamaicans who rekindle their romance after two decades. Seret Scott directs Joyce Sylvester and Tucker Smallwood. Join the Zoom link by 6:45 p.m. ET in order to watch. Donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Faust
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Des McAnuff's riveting 2011 production of Gounod's Faust, starring Jonas Kaufmann as a man who makes a deal with the devil. René Pape and Marina Poplavskaya costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Rigoletto, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Celebrating the Legacy of Mary Wilson
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley celebrate the late, great Mary Wilson with Stars in the House clips featuring the music icon and civil rights activist that were recorded last year. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Shows Must Go On! Live at the Palace Theatre
Ever since the pandemic began, the UK-based The Shows Must Go On! YouTube channel has been keeping the magic of musicals alive by streaming recordings of popular shows for free. But last week, the presenters traded the screen for the stage by producing a series of in-person concerts at London's Palace Theatre. The final performance was also live-streamed to an at-home audience and you can watch a recording this week. Enjoy intimate numbers, mostly solos and duets, from some of the West End's biggest blockbusters, including Tina - The Tina Turner Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, Everybody's Talking About Jamie, SIX, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Wicked, Matilda the Musical, & Juliet, Les Misérables, The Lion King, The Prince of Egypt, Come From Away, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia!, Back to the Future the Musical and Pretty Woman the Musical. Watch for free until Friday at 2 p.m. on YouTube though donations to Theatre Support Fund+ are encouraged.
National Asian American Theatre Company: What If If Only
On Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, NAATCO, one of NYC's leading Asian-American theatre companies, presents a live online performance of What If If Only, a new playlet by the incomparable Caryl Churchill about the questions we ask ourselves after the loss of a loved one. Les Waters and Jared Mezzocchi direct an all-Asian cast in the short, including NAATCO co-founder Mia Katigbak. Tickets are $15.
Soho Theatre: Herding Cats
In May, London's Soho Theatre presented this groundbreaking stage-cinema hybrid of Lucinda Coxon's drama Herding Cats, featuring Jassa Ahluwalia and Sophie Melville acting in person on stage, with Grey's Anatomy star Greg Germann performing live via video from New York. Now you can watch a recording of this high-tech production about two millennial roommates, Justine and Michael, struggling to navigate their disconnected lives. Michael earns his living by chatting with strangers online, including boomer Saddo, who's grappling with his own intimacy issues. What's left to say when words can't bridge the gap? Tickets start at $19 and the recording is viewable until Monday, June 21.
Play-PerView: How to Raise a Freeman
On Saturday, Play-PerView presented a live reading of How to Raise a Freeman and you can watch a recording until Wednesday. Zakiyyah Alexander's powerful drama explores what it takes for an American family to make sure their Black son doesn't become a devastating statistic. Susan Dalian directs Karla Mosley, Brandon Scott, John Chaffin, Aric Floyd and Desean Terry. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish.
Bard at the Gate: Bulrusher
Last year, Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Paula Vogel launched Bard at the Gate, a play reading series showcasing timely, under-the-radar scripts. The initiative is now being presented by New Jersey's lauded McCarter Theatre Center and the new season kicks off with an encore stream of Eisa Davis' Bulrusher, a sexual and political coming-of-age tale about a multiracial girl with clairvoyant gifts struggling to belong in her predominantly white town in 1955 California. But when a Black girl from Alabama arrives, everything shifts. Recorded remotely in fall 2020, the performance stars Corey Stoll, Kara Young, André Holland, Edmund Donovan, Sydney Elisabeth and Tanis Parenteau, and is directed by the playwright. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link and the recording is viewable until Wednesday.
New York City Ballet: George Balanchine's Vienna Waltzes
New York City Ballet wraps up its digital spring season with George Balanchine's 1977 epic Vienna Waltzes, set to music by Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehár and Richard Strauss and featuring more than 50 dancers. This performance was filmed in 2013 and stars Rebecca Krohn, Tyler Angle, Megan Fairchild, Anthony Huxley, Erica Pereira, Sean Suozzi, Teresa Reichlen, Ask la Cour, Maria Kowroski and Jared Angle weaving through Rouben Ter-Arutunian's evolving scenery. Watch for free until Thursday, June 17 on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Manhattan Theatre Club: The Niceties
Manhattan Theatre Club presents The Niceties, Eleanor Burgess' thought-provoking two-hander about a Black student and her veteran white college professor locking horns over the presentation of American history. The play sparked lots of conversation when it ran Off Broadway at MTC in 2018. This new digital mounting, co-presented by Boston's Huntington Theatre Company, reunites the stars of that production, Lisa Banes and Jordan Boatman, with director Kimberly Senior. RSVP to receive the free viewing link. The recording is viewable until Sunday.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Jane Krakowski, who headlines Roundabout Theatre Company's 2021 Gala on Monday evening.