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 performers from Broadway and beyond are sharing their talents online. Below are performances you can watch today, Friday, April 17, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
At noon, Russia's Bolshoi Ballet shares a recording of Spartacus about the leader of the slave uprising against the Romans. Watch it for free on the dance company's YouTube channel through noon on Saturday.
At 2 p.m. EST, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Shows Must Go On! series continues with The Phantom of the Opera. This isn't the 2004 movie with Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler; it's a recording of the 2011 mega-mounting at London's Royal Albert Hall in honor ofhsthe musical's 25th anniversary, starring Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess backed by hundreds of singers and musicians. Even if you've seen Broadway's longest running musical, you've never experienced it quite like this! Watch it for free on YouTube through Sunday, April 19 at 2 p.m.
At 2 p.m. EST, catch the cast of Caroline, or Change on Stars in the House. Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's beloved musical was scheduled to begin previews on Broadway the day after the shutdown, but has been rescheduled to open in the fall. But star Sharon D Clarke knows the title role well: She played the part to great acclaim in London last year, where she won an Olivier Award for her performance. We can't wait to hear her sing a few songs! Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley host this twice daily series, which supports The Actors Fund. You can watch for free on the organization's YouTube channel.
At 6:30 p.m. EST, cabaret haven Feinstein's/54 Below continues its #54BelowatHome series with a recording of Tovah Feldshuh's inspirational concert Aging Is Optional, in which the four-time Tony nominee (and erstwhile Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star) recounts her decades-long career on stage and screen. Watch for free on Feinstein's/54 Below's YouTube channel. Note: this performance won't be available after-the-fact so you have one chance to watch.
At 7 p.m. EST, now that the union kerfuffle has been resolved, you can catch the star-studded Disney on Broadway concert. Recorded live last November to celebrate Disney on Broadway's 25th anniversary, it features a slew of stage luminaries, including Jelani Alladin, Sierra Boggess, Christian Borle, Gavin Creel, Whoopi Goldberg, Aladdin Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart, Adam Pascal and Sherie Rene Scott. Ryan McCartan from Broadway's Frozen hosts this special event, and will do live check-ins with Disney on Broadway stars throughout the night. You can watch for free on Broadway Cares' YouTube channel, though donations to the organization's COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund are strongly encouraged.
At 7 p.m. EST, the live-streamed theatre series Play-PerView presents a reading of Jonathan Caren's Four Woke Baes about a bachelor weekend upending by the unexpected arrival of a liberated woman. The cast includes Evan Cabnet (the artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 series), Nate Corddry, Danny Pudi (NBC's Community) and Gayle Rankin, who was Ophelia to Oscar Isaac's Hamlet at The Public Theater in 2017. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Tickets start at $5, and proceeds benefit nonprofit troupes Center Theatre Group and IAMA Theatre Company as well as the Los Angeles Mission.
At 7:30 p.m. EST, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2009 mounting of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, starring Patricia Racette, Marcello Giordani and Dwayne Croft, and conducted by Patrick Summers. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series, and is available to watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Le Comte Ory, until 6:30 p.m. today, as well as Carmen.
At 8 p.m. EST, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome the cast of NBC's Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist to Stars in the House. The exuberant musical TV series stars lots of actors who've been on Broadway, including Skylar Astin, Tony nominee Peter Gallagher, Lauren Graham, Alex Newell and Mary Steenburgen. This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on the organization's YouTube channel.
At 8 p.m. EST, experimental theatre mecca La MaMa presents its weekly Downtown Variety show, featuring brief acts of dance, music, theatre, new media and comedy. Prepare yourself for the unexpected! Watch for free on the theatre's website.
At 8 p.m. EST, Chicago's lauded Goodman Theatre shares a recording of its production of School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, Jocelyn Bioh's shrewd comedy about the pecking order at an elite boarding school in Ghana. The play was a hit in New York with two Off-Broadway runs. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
At 8 p.m. EST, one of the most acclaimed regional theatres in the country, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, shares a recording of Where the Mountain Meets the Sea by lauded playwright Jeff Augustin (Little Children Dream of God at Roundabout Theatre Company, The New Englanders at Manhattan Theatre Club) with songs by The Bengsons (Hundred Days). An exploration of the complicated relationship between a Haitian immigrant and his American-born son, the show was commissioned by the theatre for its Humana Festival of New American Plays. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
At 8 p.m. EST, Actors Theatre of Louisville shares a recording of Are You There?, a trio of new short works about socializing in the digital age that were commissioned for its annual Humana Festival of New American Plays. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
At 10:30 p.m. EST, you can see two performers in the same room thanks to Seattle-based playwright Danielle Mohlman's brilliant idea of having her two-hander Nexus played by actors in lockdown together. A dissection of a dysfunctional romance, the drama will star a different pair at every performance. Imagine, a live show in which characters touch and kiss live! Tickets are a suggested $10 per viewer, though a donation of any amount will get you access to the show.
London's National Theatre shares a recording of its dynamic stage adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Olivier winner Patsy Ferran (a celebrated actress across the pond who was scheduled to make her Broadway debut in the now-cancelled Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and Dr. Who's Arthur Darvill star in the play, which was recorded for the National's NT Live series. Watch it for free on the theatre's YouTube page through Thursday, April 23.
Dave Malloy, the Tony-nominated creator of Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, posted a full-length recording of the 2015 mounting of his musical Ghost Quartet on YouTube. Now he's sharing another one from his archives, the original 2011 Shotgun Players production of Beardo, which he describes as "a surreal retelling of the Rasputin myth." Clearly Russia is his muse. Watch it for free on Vimeo.
London's Hampstead Theatre continues its #HampsteadTheatreAtHome series with a recording of its 2013 production of Drawing the Line, Harold Brenton's historical epic about the behind-the-scenes drama leading to the world-changing Partition of India in 1947. Watch it for free anytime on the company's website through Sunday, April 19.
Remember to check out our roundup of performances you can watch online anytime.
Top image: Ashley Brown and Christian Borle in Disney on Broadway. Photo by Monica Simoes.