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 Wednesday, March 3 and Thursday, March 4, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
The National Arts Club: Ian McKellen in Conversation
On Wednesday at noon ET, acting icon Sir Ian McKellen discusses his illustrious career with John F. Andrews from The Shakespeare Guild. This live in-depth conversation is presented by NYC's National Arts Club and is a must-see for anyone who loves McKellen's performances, whether on stage (his Tony-winning turn as Salieri in Amadeus, riveting interpretations of Richard III and King Lear) or screen (Magneto in The X-Men, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and so many more!). Register to receive the free Zoom link though donations are encouraged.
TDF: Ain't Too Proud Stars in Conversation
On Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, TDF presents a candid conversation with Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations costars Jawan M. Jackson and Taylor Symone Jackson. He plays group cofounder Melvin Franklin and she channels Motown icon Mary Wilson in the Broadway blockbuster. These colleagues and close friends will be sharing outrageous fan stories, favorite onstage flubs and and their hopes for Broadway's future. Watch for free on TDF's Facebook page.
Irish Repertory Theatre: YES! Reflections of Molly Bloom
On Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, this winter, the venerable Irish Rep is presenting encore streams of its entire digital season. Today is your last chance to watch YES! Reflections of Molly Bloom, Aedín Moloney's solo adaptation of the "Penelope episode" from James Joyce's Ulysses. This monologue play was a hit at the theatre in 2019 and offers intimate insights into one woman's desires and dreams, with brief musical interludes composed by Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Les Contes d'Hoffmann
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 at 5 p.m. ET. 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 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 until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: Die Walküre
On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Die Walküre, the second opera in Wagner's Ring cycle, with Brünnhilde defying her god father Wotan. Hildegard Behrens, Jessye Norman, Christa Ludwig, Gary Lakes, James Morris and Kurt Moll star in this 1989 Otto Schenk/Günther Schneider-Siemssen production. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Falstaff, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Floyd Collins Reunion
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, it's a Floyd Collins reunion on Stars in the House! The beloved cult musical bowed at Playwrights Horizons 25 years ago and chronicled the life and tragic death of the title character, a cave explorer who perished during an expedition in Kentucky in 1925. Original Off-Broadway cast member Jason Danieley hosts, and guests include his costars Chris Innvar, Martin Moran, Theresa McCarthy, Cass Morgan and Jesse Lenat, along with creators Adam Guettel and Tina Landau. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Weir
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, this winter, the venerable Irish Rep is presenting encore streams of its entire digital season. Today is your last chance to watch The Weir, Conor McPherson's haunting 1997 drama about a quartet of Irishmen sharing ghost stories at a pub in order to impress a comely lass. The theatre originally mounted the play in 2013; this virtual adaptation reunites director Ciarán O'Reilly with three cast members from that production, Dan Butler, Sean Gormley and John Keating, along with Amanda Quaid and Tim Ruddy, who appeared in its 2015 encore run. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged.
New Normal Rep: Jericho
Starting Thursday, New Normal Rep presents Jericho, Jack Canfora's poignant drama about a Jewish family on Long Island navigating the emotional minefield of a post-9/11 Thanksgiving gathering. Four-time Academy Award nominee Marsha Mason directs a cast headlined by L.A. Law star Jill Eikenberry and Eleanor Handley, reprising their roles from the play's 2013 critically acclaimed Off-Broadway run. 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, April 4.
Ensemble Studio Theatre: First Light Festival: Smart
On Thursday 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 Smart, Mary Elizabeth Hamilton's comedy about a tech support worker who falls for an AI assistant. Matt Dickson directs Christine Farrell, Layla Khoshnoudi and Tiffany Villarin. Register to receive the free Zoom link.
Sarah Ruhl on Classic Conversations
On Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company presents a chat between artistic director John Doyle and prolific playwright Sarah Ruhl, whose adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando ran at the theatre in 2010. A Tony nominee and Pulitzer finalist, Ruhl also penned The Clean House, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) and Dead Man's Cell Phone. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Love, Noël
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, this winter, the venerable Irish Rep is presenting encore streams of its entire digital season. Tonight is your last chance to watch Love, Noël, a virtual reinvention of its 2019 celebration of playwright, songwriter and sparkling wit Noël Coward. Barry Day devised this two-person tribute featuring seasoned cabaret stars Steve Ross and KT Sullivan singing Coward's songs, such as "Mad About the Boy," "Together with Music" and "I'll Follow My Secret Heart," and channeling his famous friends, including Gertrude Lawrence, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Elaine Stritch. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Die Zauberflöte
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Tony winner Julie Taymor's eye-popping, puppet-filled staging of Die Zauberflöte, a fantastical fable starring Golda Schultz, Kathryn Lewek, Charles Castronovo, Markus Werba, Christian Van Horn and René Pape. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
New York City Ballet: Theme and Variations
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, New York City Ballet continues its digital spring season with Theme and Variations, George Balanchine's celebration of classical Russian ballet, set to the final movement of Tchaikovsky's third orchestral suite. Andrew Veyette and Tiler Peck headline this archival recording. Watch for free until Thursday, March 11 on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Stars in the House: Duke Ellington: The Music That Defined A Century
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley celebrate the music and legacy of jazz genius Duke Elington on Stars in the House. Guests are all alums of Sophisticated Ladies, a Broadway revue of Ellington's songs, including his granddaughter, dancer and choreographer Mercedes Ellington; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater artistic director emerita Judith Jamison, and ensemble members Ty Stephens and Terri Klausner. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
New York Theatre Workshop: 25 Years of Rent: Measured in Love
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, and became a cultural phenomenon. 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 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.
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 at a discount. 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 at a discount.
Top image: Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette in George Balanchine's Theme and Variations. Photo by Paul Kolnik.