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 online this weekend, Friday, August 20 to Sunday, August 22, for free or at low cost.
Christopher Lloyd in King Lear
On Friday at 10 a.m. ET, Obie and Emmy Award-winning actor Christopher Lloyd (Taxi, Back to the Future) is currently headlining King Lear at Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires, but you can also stream the show at home. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi, the production was filmed live on stage earlier in the run. Tickets are $25 and the recording is viewable for 72 hours from the start time.
Battery Dance Festival
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, after going completely virtual last year, downtown's Battery Dance Festival returns as a hybrid event, with in-person performances also streamed to at-home audiences. The nine-day fest wraps up tonight with an eclectic program featuring traditional flamenco, a thrilling acrobatic solo, and a fusion of Mexican folklórico and contemporary ballet. Attend in person at Robert F. Wagner Park or watch for free on YouTube—the link will be posted on the fest's website at showtime. The recording is viewable until Monday, August 30, and you can also watch previous Battery Dance Festival performances on YouTube.
Chichester Festival Theatre: South Pacific
On Saturday at 9:30 a.m. ET, the UK's Chichester Festival Theatre presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved musical South Pacific. Filmed live on stage last month, this new production of the Tony-winning classic about romance and racism during World War II features British stage stars Gina Beck and Julian Ovenden as Navy nurse Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque, the dashing Frenchman with a secret; Joanna Ampil as Bloody Mary; Keir Charles as Luther Billis and Rob Houchen as Lt. Joseph Cable. Tickets start at £20, approximately $28, and the recording is viewable for 24 hours from the start time. Closed captions are available.
Christopher Lloyd in King Lear
On Saturday at 10 a.m. ET, Obie and Emmy Award-winning actor Christopher Lloyd (Taxi, Back to the Future) is currently headlining King Lear at Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires, but you can also stream the show at home. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi, the production was filmed live on stage earlier in the run. Tickets are $25 and the recording is viewable for 72 hours from the start time.
We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert
On Saturday at 5 p.m. ET, while the starry We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert is taking place in person on Central Park's Great Lawn, if you weren't able to snag tickets (or aren't yet up for being around 60,000 other folks), you can watch it from home on CNN. Produced by legendary music industry executive and native New Yorker Clive Davis, the show is, admittedly, rock-centric. However, alongside Wyclef Jean, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, The Killers, LL Cool J and Patti Smith are Broadway and classical stars including tenor Andrea Bocelli, Tony winner Cynthia Erivo, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and The New York Philharmonic. Watch for free on CNN's website or on TV.
Live from Feinstein's/54 Below: Norbert Leo Butz Sings Torch Songs for a Pandemic
On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, even though Feinstein's/54 Below has reopened for in-person performances, the swanky cabaret club is continuing to stream select shows live from its stage. Tonight, catch two-time Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz in a brand-new concert of torch songs that speak to this volatile time. While he's a bona fide Broadway star whose credits include Rent, Wicked, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Catch Me If You Can and My Fair Lady, Butz spent much of the pandemic shooting the ill-fated NBC series Debris in Canada. This intimate set featuring Butz accompanying himself on guitar and piano was inspired by his time in isolation while doing the TV show, as he explores themes of alienation, anxiety and hope. Don't expect to hear songs from his stage career; instead, he'll play his own arrangements of tunes by pop and rock royalty, including Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton, Peter Gabriel, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell and Fleetwood Mac. Tickets are $25. If you prefer to attend in person, click here for info.
Adam Pascal: So Far...An Acoustic Retrospective
Earlier this week, Tony nominee Adam Pascal performed So Far, a live concert career retrospective, and you can watch a recording this weekend. With his shaggy sex appeal and raspy rock tenor, he rocketed to fame as Roger in the original production of Rent, and went on to star in Broadway's Aida, Cabaret and Chicago. In this intimate set, Pascal shares songs and personal stories, accompanying himself on guitar—how very Roger from Rent! Tickets are $15 and the recording is viewable until Monday.
Irish Repertory Theatre: George M. Cohan Tonight!
On Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NYC's venerable Irish Rep presents George M. Cohan Tonight!, theatre historian Chip Deffaa's celebration of the Irish-American entertainer, songwriter and so-called "father of American musical comedy." A hit for the theatre back in 2006, this abridged version of that one-man show features Jon Peterson reprising his award-winning turn as Cohan as he croons some of the icon's most beloved tunes, including "Over There," "Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway," "You're A Grand Old Flag" and "All Aboard for Broadway." Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested.
Outfest: Charles Busch in The Sixth Reel
So technically, The Sixth Reel is a movie. However, considering it's the wacky invention of longtime theatrical collaborators Charles Busch, who helped pen the screenplay and stars, co-writer-director Carl Andress and scene-stealer Julie Halston, we had to include it! Drag legend Busch plays a classic movie-obsessed New Yorker, who unearths the long-lost final reel of an iconic Tod Browning horror film. Realizing its value, he and his kooky pals concoct all kinds of crazy schemes to cash in on this discovery. Expect fake romances, drag personas, supernatural creatures and lots of camp. Tickets are $10 and the film is viewable until Sunday.
Jacob's Pillow: Dallas Black Dance Theatre
The Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow dance festival resumed in-person performances this summer, but select events are also being streamed to at-home audiences. This weekend, catch a newly commissioned work by choreographer Darrell Grand Moultrie for the 45-year-old Dallas Black Dance Theatre. RSVP to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged. The recording is viewable until Thursday, September 2 at 6 p.m. ET.
PBS Great Performances: Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age
PBS Great Performances presents Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age, the long-awaited sequel to the award-winning 2003 documentary Broadway: The Golden Age, By the Legends Who Were There, written, directed and produced by the late Rick McKay. Hosted by two-time Tony nominee Jonathan Groff, this new movie focuses on Broadway musicals between 1959 and 1980, and features a starry lineup of artists sharing remembrances about the original productions of Once Upon a Mattress, Bye Bye Birdie, Pippin, A Chorus Line, Ain't Misbehavin' and other beloved shows. Enjoy interviews with Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Glenn Close, André De Shields, Jane Fonda, Robert Goulet, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Dick Van Dyke and Ben Vereen alongside rare vintage clips. Watch for free until Saturday, September 11 on PBS Thirteen's website or catch it on TV on Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at noon ET.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: Ni Mi Madre
On Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, NYC's acclaimed Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is presenting a hybrid season, with its productions performed in person but also streamed to at-home audiences. First up is Arturo Luís Soria's autobiographically inspired solo show Ni Mi Madre, about the complex relationship between an over-the-top Brazilian woman and her queer son as they grapple with identity and what it means to be an immigrant family in America. Tickets are usually $35 for both streamed and in-person performances at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, however, Sunday's performance is pay-what-you-wish.
Jacob's Pillow: Life Encounters: Archie Burnett
The Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow dance festival resumed in-person performances this summer, but select events are also being streamed to at-home audiences. This weekend, catch Life Encounters, a celebration of the evolution of NYC's underground dance scene choreographed by ballroom legend Archie Burnett. Guest performers include former Martha Graham Dance Company principal Abdiel, performance artist Princess Lockerooo and Bessie Award winner Ephrat Asherie. RSVP to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged. The recording is viewable until Thursday.
Signature Theatre: Detroit '67
Virginia's lauded Signature Theatre presents Detroit '67, the first installment in Tony-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau's Detroit Project exploring different periods in her beloved hometown's history. This powerful family drama about two Black siblings squabbling over how to move forward takes place against the backdrop of the Detroit Rebellion, as tensions rise indoors and outside. Directed by Candis C. Jones, this production was filmed live on stage. 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 Thursday, September 16.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The world's largest arts festival, Scotland's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is back in person this year, but many offerings are also being streamed to adventurous at-home audiences. Check out performances from artists around the world, including cutting-edge comedy, experimental theatre, wacky musicals and the indefinable. Some shows cost money, others are free; some are available on demand, others have specific start times. Browse the options to see what piques your interest. I highly recommend the poignant solo show Open by NYC playwright (and TDF teaching artist) Crystal Skillman. I loved it Off-Off Broadway a few years back and it's free to watch online.
Untitled Theater Company #61: Alma Baya
Untitled Theater Company #61 is presenting an in-person run of Alma Baya that was also filmed for at-home audiences. In this absurdist sci-fi drama, Alma and Baya are struggling to survive on a hostile planet. But when a refugee arrives begging for shelter, they face a moral dilemma. Two different casts perform this thought-provoking play, written and directed by Edward Einhorn. 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, September 19.
TADA! Youth Theater: Heroes
TADA!, NYC's 36-year-old, Drama Desk Award-winning youth company whose alums include Jordan Peele and Kerry Washington, presents Heroes, an original musical for all ages that was recorded live on stage earlier this summer. A fantastical tale of bickering kids who need to band together to save the world after the sun disappears, the song-filled fable celebrates teamwork and stars members of TADA!'s Resident Youth Ensemble, talented tykes ages 8 to 18 (including, full disclosure, my daughter). Tickets are $10 and the recording is viewable until Monday, September 6.
MCC Theater: FreshPlay Online Summer Festival
In addition to being a celebrated Off-Broadway company, MCC Theater also has a robust theatre education program, including playwriting classes for NYC adolescents overseen by award-winning dramatist Lucy Thurber. This week, catch five brand-new shorts by some of these talented teens that tackle timely subjects such as sexual assault and gun violence. Register to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Broadway scene-stealer Norbert Leo Butz, who's performing an in-person concert at Feinstein's/54 Below on Saturday that will also be streamed to at-home audiences.