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 Monday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 2, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Ensemble Studio Theatre: First Light Festival: Henry Makes a Bible
On Monday at 3 p.m. ET, throughout March, Off-Off Broadway's innovative Ensemble Studio Theatre is presenting an online edition of its First Light Festival, spotlighting new plays about science. Today, catch a live reading of Henry Makes a Bible, AJ Clauss' creation story of the medical textbook Gray's Anatomy, written and illustrated by two college students named Henry in 1850. Lilli Hokama directs Mehry Iris Eslaminia, Rebecca Harris, Kurt Hellerich, Paul Pontrelli, Amber Quick and Kelsey Rainwater. Register to receive the free Zoom link.
The Metropolitan Opera: Don Pasquale
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: John Dexter's 1979 mounting of Donizetti's comedy Don Pasquale, starring Beverly Sills in her final Met role as Norina, the clever widow who helps teach the Scrooge-like title character much-needed lessons about generosity and love. Alfredo Kraus, Håkan Hagegård and Gabriel Bacquier costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's offering, Il Trovatore, until 6:30 p.m. today.
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 Broadway vet Jeremy Stolle, Josephine Baker impersonator Tymisha Harris and jazz champion Brandon Bain. 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 Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy, aerialists Troy Lingelbach and Willow Wraith, hula-hooper Brooke Hanson, and acrobat Eries El Malabarista. Watch for free on Bindlestiff's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Molly Sweeney
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, this winter, the venerable Irish Rep is presenting encore streams of its entire digital season. Tonight, catch Molly Sweeney, Brian Friel's popular drama about a woman blind since infancy whose sight is restored with unexpected consequences. Geraldine Hughes and Ciarán O'Reilly reprise their performances as Molly and her husband from the theatre's hit 2011 production, alongside newcomer Paul O'Brien as the surgeon who changes the title character's life. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Falstaff
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Franco Zeffirelli's classic 1992 staging of Verdi's Falstaff. Paul Plishka is the lascivious and louche title character, who's outwitted by the clever ladies around him, played by Marilyn Horne, Mirella Freni and Susan Graham. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Don Pasquale, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
New York Theatre Workshop: 25 Years of Rent: Measured in Love
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, a quarter century ago (aka 525,600 minutes x 25), Rent premiered at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW). Loosely based on La Bohème, the musical was a love letter to artists, activists and aspirers grappling with AIDS and gentrification in the '90s East Village. But you probably already know all this—the show transferred to Broadway, won four Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, became a cultural phenomenon and indoctrinated a new generation of theatre lovers. Tonight, NYTW celebrates Rent's legacy at this virtual gala featuring many actors from the show's original cast, including Tony winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Anthony Rapp. They'll share songs from and behind-the-scenes stories about the show, and tributes to its creator, Jonathan Larson, who died the night of Rent's first preview at NYTW. Other performers include Christopher Jackson, Eva Noblezada, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Ali Stroker and Tracie Thoms plus new songs from Joe Iconis and Pasek and Paul. Tickets start at $25 and the recording is viewable until Saturday, March 6 at 8 p.m. ET.
Some Old Black Man
Three years ago, James Anthony Tyler's moving two-hander Some Old Black Man had its New York premiere at 59E59 Theaters. Last fall, the University of Michigan restaged and recorded that production, with Joe Cacaci directing original star Wendell Pierce and Charlie Robinson stepping in for the late Roger Robinson (no relation). Pierce plays Calvin, a 62-year-old NYC college professor who moves his irascible, working-class Southerner father into his Harlem brownstone. There, the two engage in a generational conflict about race, opportunities and past history. Register to receive the free viewing link. The recording is viewable until Friday, March 12.
Black Theatre Coalition: Upon These Shoulders
Black Theatre Coalition presents Upon These Shoulders, a celebration of the incredible work Black theatre artists have created over the past 150 years. A jaw-dropping lineup of Black luminaries, including André De Shields, Bebe Winans, Brandon Victor Dixon, Camille A. Brown, Carly Hughes, Daniel J. Watts, Lilli Cooper, Michael R. Jackson, Nathan Lee Graham, Norm Lewis, Paul Tazewell, Raja Feather Kelly, Savion Glover, Shereen Pimentel, Tituss Burgess, Whoopi Goldberg and Wynton Marsalis, honor their forebears with performances, interviews and tributes. Tickets are $18 and the recording is viewable until Wednesday.
Play-PerView: The Typists
Last Friday, Play-PerView presented a live reading of The Typists and you can watch a recording until Tuesday. Murray Schisgal's two-hander about a pair of coworkers who become involved in an unlikely romance stars real-life husband and wife Michael McKean and Annette O'Toole. The busiest man in showbiz, Austin Pendleton, directs. Tickets are a suggested donation of $20 and net proceeds go to the Williamstown Theatre Festival.
The Directors Company: Chicken and Biscuits
On Saturday, The Directors Company presented a live reading of Chicken and Biscuits and you can watch a recording until Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET. Douglas Lyons's rollicking comedy is set at a family funeral filled with skeletons. Janet Hubert from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air headlines a cast that includes Broadway vets Carly Hughes and Michael Urie; Zhailon Levingston directs. Tickets start at $10.
George Street Playhouse: Bad Dates
New Jersey's George Street Playhouse presents a new digital production of Theresa Rebeck's one-woman comedy Bad Dates, about a single mom recounting the dud dates she endured on her quest for Mr. Right. Peter Flynn directed his wife, the effervescent Andréa Burns (Broadway's In the Heights, On Your Feet!) in this romp, which was filmed in their real-life bedroom. Their son, filmmaker Hudson Flynn, serves as cinematographer, making this a funny family affair. Tickets are $33 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them for $18. The recording is viewable until Sunday, March 14. Closed captions and audio description are available.
MasterVoices: Myths and Hymns: Work
MasterVoices presents Work, the second installment of the four-part theatrical song cycle Myths and Hymns by Light in the Piazza Tony winner Adam Guettel. Inspired by Greek myths and 19th-century Presbyterian hymns, the 1998 work explores the nature of faith and longing in our secular society. The first chapter, Flight, was released last month and can be streamed for free on YouTube. I was absolutely enchanted by the inaugural collection of multimedia musical shorts and I expect to be charmed anew by part II, which stars Broadway favorites Shoshana Bean, Daniel Breaker, Broadway Inspirational Voices founder Michael McElroy and John Lithgow. Watch for free on MasterVoices' YouTube channel; the final two parts will be released in the coming months.
Brooklyn's upscale burlesque and circus troupe Company XIV has released recordings of two sexy spectacles: the holiday-themed Nutcracker Rouge and Valentine, a Virtual Variety Show. Both were recorded at the company's swanky Bushwick theatre and feature titillating acts of music, magic, aerial arts and striptease. Tickets to each show are $50, but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them for $25.
New York City Ballet: Prodigal Son
New York City Ballet kicks off its digital spring season with Prodigal Son, George Balanchine's biblically inspired 1929 ballet set to Sergei Prokofiev's score. Daniel Ulbricht and Teresa Reichlen star in this archival recording. Watch for free until Thursday, March 4 on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Metropolitan Opera Stars Live in Concert: Sonya Yoncheva
On Saturday, the Metropolitan Opera streamed a live recital with superstar soprano Sonya Yoncheva and you can watch a recording until Friday, March 12. Filmed at Germany's Schussenried Cloister, the concert features popular arias from Aida, La Bohème, Rusalka, Carmen and other beloved operas. Tickets are $20.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice: The Magical New Musical
On Monday at 2 p.m., and Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET, catch the new British musical The Sorcerer's Apprentice inspired by Goethe's poem of the same name about an aspiring wizard who makes all spells break loose. In Richard Hough and Ben Morales' take on the tale, the title character is actually the conjurer's rebellious daughter, but the pair mend their relationship to save a troubled town. Filmed at London's Southwark Playhouse earlier this month, the production was directed by Charlotte Westenra and stars Dawn Hope, David Thaxton and newcomer Mary Moore. Tickets are £18, approximately $25.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal in the Broadway production of Rent. Photo by Joan Marcus.