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 today, Wednesday, June 10, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Stars in the House Presents Free Speech: Performing Artists and the Power of the Spoken Word
At 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House presents Free Speech: Performing Artists and the Power of the Spoken Word, an impactful selection of poems, songs and speeches that address this moment performed by James Alexander, Masi Asare, Valerie David, Jennifer Nelson, Awa Sal Secka, Nandita Shenoy, Riki Stevens, Janelle Stewart and Bil Wright, hosted by Devanand Janki. Watch for free on YouTube.
Martha Graham Dance Company: Lamentation
At 2:30 p.m. ET, the Martha Graham Dance Company celebrates the choreographer's groundbreaking 1930 solo Lamentation with a program that examines how the work still resonates in modern dance today. Selections include a 1943 film featuring Martha Graham improvising on the piece's themes; Lament from Acts of Light, created by Graham in 1981 and starring Christine Dakin; and riffs on the solo by choreographers Bulareyaung Pagarlava and Michelle Dorrance. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
La Fanciulla del West at the Met
At 5 p.m. ET, it's a bonus opera from the Metropolitan! Ever since the shutdown began, the opera house 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 Zoom education sessions leading up to the screening teach school-age kids about opera. This week's offering is La Fanciulla del West, Giacomo Puccini's colorful romance set during the California Gold Rush, as a charming outlaw wins the heart of a gun-toting saloon owner. Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jonas Kaufmann and Željko Lucic star in this 2018 mounting, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website
HERE Arts Center: Disposable Men
At 6:30 p.m. ET, downtown culture hub HERE presents Disposable Men, playwright-performer-techie James Scruggs' searing multimedia exploration of how American culture depicts Black men as monsters. Using eight channels of video, satire and unforgettable audience interaction, this 2005 work examines many timely issues, notably how police brutality and unequal health care are killing Black men. The recording will be followed by a live conversation with Scruggs and director Kristin Marting. Watch for free on HERE's Facebook page.
Ballet Hispánico: Nací
At 7 p.m. EST, Ballet Hispánico presents Nací, choreographed by Andrea Miller of Gallim. In this 2009 work, the dance-maker celebrates her multicultural Spanish and Jewish-American background with an exploration of the Sephardic culture of Spain. Watch for free on the dance company's Facebook page.
New York Theatre Barn: Teeth and Maya
At 7 p.m. ET, for the past 13 years, New York Theatre Barn has showcased musicals in progress in its New Works Series. That initiative has now gone virtual, with 40-minute peeks at two new shows a week. Today, newly minted Pulitzer Prize winner Michael R. Jackson and Anna K. Jacobs present songs from Teeth, based on the humorous 2007 horror movie of of the same name, while Cheeyang Ng and Eric Sorrels share selections from Maya, which infuses traditional Indian music into its score. Watch for free on New York Theatre Barn's YouTube channel.
Hansel and Gretel at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares one of its holiday staples, Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. Filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2008, this fantastical, English-language production stars Alice Coote and Christine Schäfer, and features oversize cartoon chefs, singing trees and an unforgettable witch's kitchen. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's double bill of Iolanta and Bluebeard's Castle until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Betty Buckley on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome Tony-winning Cats diva Betty Buckley to Stars in the House, where she's sure to talk about the dramatic ups and downs of her lengthy career, from headlining the notorious flop Carrie to acting in big-time TV shows such as Eight Is Enough and Supergirl, to starring in the recent national tour of Hello, Dolly!. This twice daily show benefits the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and you can watch for free on YouTube.
Anna Deavere Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles
In April 1992, when playwright-performer Anna Deavere Smith was about to premiere her career-making one-woman play Fires in the Mirror about the Crown Heights riots, the Los Angeles uprising broke out after the acquittal of white police officers who had beaten a Black man named Rodney King almost to death. That upheaval became the subject of Smith's next solo show Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, which ran at The Public Theater before transferring to Broadway, where she earned 1994 Tony nominations for best actress and best new play. After interviewing more than 300 people both directly and tangentially connected to the Los Angeles unrest, Smith created a collage of disparate voices and perspectives, channeling citizens who were there alongside LAPD chief Daryl Gates, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and activist and scholar Cornel West. Given Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992's timeliness, PBS is streaming its 2000 film adaptation for free on its website.
The Wilma Theater: Kill Move Paradise
Philadelphia's Wilma Theater shares a recording of its 2018 mounting of Kill Move Paradise, James Ijames' potent play about three Black men and one Black boy who find themselves trapped in a surreal netherworld after being victims of police violence. This indelible work was inspired by the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and so many others. To access the viewing link, make a donation of any amount to Black Lives Matter Philly.
Matrix Theatre Company: Scraps
Los Angeles' Matrix Theatre Company shares its 2019 production of Scraps, Geraldine Inoa's powerful examination of how friends and family cope when a Black loved one is murdered by police. We covered the play when it had its world premiere at The Flea two years ago, and its themes and emotions remain infuriatingly timely. Directed by Obie winner Stevie Walker-Webb, the production is available to watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Lincoln Center Theater: Pipeline
BroadwayHD is streaming Pipeline at no cost, Dominique Morisseau's thought-provoking drama about a Black inner-city public school teacher (Karen Pittman) fighting to ensure her son doesn't become a statistic of the school-to-prison pipeline. Watch for free anytime on BroadwayHD.
Jomama Jones in Black Light
Joe's Pub presents a recording of Black Light starring Jomama Jones, the theatrical alter ego of writer-performer Daniel Alexander Jones. A breathtaking Black diva who's not afraid to let her pain show, Jomama shares her original songs and her struggles in a performance that ultimately champions love and connection. Watch for free on Joe's Pub's YouTube channel.
National Theatre: Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus
It's your last chance to catch National Theatre's mounting of Shakespeare's Coriolanus starring Tom Hiddleston (the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Betrayal on Broadway), who earned a 2014 Olivier nomination for his powerful turn in the title role, a Roman general turned politician who's brought down by his principled bluntness, corrupt colleagues and an easily manipulated populace. Watch for free through Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Shakespeare's Globe: The Merry Wives of Windsor
London's Shakespeare's Globe shares a recording of its 2019 mounting of The Merry Wives of Windsor, the Bard's comedy about the clownish Falstaff, who romances two women for their fortunes until they turn the tables on the two-timer. Olivier nominee Bryony Hannah and Sarah Finigan play the clever ladies and Pearce Quigley is Falstaff. Watch for free anytime through Sunday on the theatre's YouTube channel.
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
In honor of Pride Month, the 92nd Street Y shares a recording of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, writer-performer James Lecesne's one-man play about how the disappearance of a gay teenager impacts a small New Jersey town. Lecesne, who earned an Oscar for his short film Trevor, portrays all the characters in this award winner, which was a hit Off Broadway. Watch for free anytime all month on the 92Y's website though donations are encouraged.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Anna Deavere Smith in Twilight: Los Angeles.