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, Monday, August 10, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Corkscrew Theater Festival: corkscrew 4.0
At 1 p.m. ET, although the fourth annual Corkscrew Theater Festival has been moved to next summer, the producers are presenting a series of online experiences inspired by the postponed productions. The website itself is a hoot, a throwback to the GeoCities days. Many of the works are interactive and all are free, though it's worth clicking on the "buy tickets here" link to see what happens. Watch for free until Sunday, August 23 on Corkscrew's website.
Manual Cinema: No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks
At 1 p.m. ET, here's a dazzling treat: Over the next month, the multimedia theatre collective Manual Cinema, which combines shadow puppetry and filmic elements, is sharing recordings of one eye-popping show each week. This week's show is No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, a celebration of the groundbreaking poet, author and teacher, who became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize. Set in Brooks' beloved city of Chicago, the show explores her remarkable literary life. Watch for free until Monday, August 17 at 1 p.m. ET on the company's website.
The Seth Concert Series: Liz Callaway
At 3 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a daily talk show online and a Sirius XM Satellite Radio series isn't enough for the multitalented Seth Rudetsky. Well-known for his skills as a pianist, musical director and interviewer, he's hosted a series of intimate live concerts in Provincetown with Broadway stars for the past decade. This summer he brings the show online. Last night's headliner was Tony nominee Liz Callaway, and you can watch a recording today. Callaway made her Broadway debut in Merrily We Roll Along when she was just 20, then went on to star in Baby, Miss Saigon and five years as Grizabella in the original production of Cats. She's also provided the singing voice of many an animated heroine, including Princess Odette in The Swan Princess and the title character in Anastasia. Tickets are $25.
Mike Bartlett's Cock
At 6 p.m. ET, catch a live reading of Cock, Mike Bartlett's cheekily titled 2009 play about a gay man who takes a break from his boyfriend and falls in love with a woman. Broadway vets Michael Hsu Rosen (Torch Song), Charnette Batey (Hamilton), Nick Rashad Burrough (Tina) and Ron Bohmer (Ragtime) star. Tickets start at $15 and proceeds benefit The Trevor Project.
The Metropolitan Opera: Manon Lescaut
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Manon Lescaut, Puccini's romantic tragedy about a woman torn between love and luxury. Karita Mattila, Marcello Giordani and Dwayne Croft star in this 2008 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Don Giovanni, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Weathervane Theatre: Heathers
At 7:30 p.m. ET, New Hampshire's Weathervane Theatre presents the pitch-black musical comedy Heathers, which began Off Broadway and spawned a massive Gen Z following. Based on the 1989 Winona Ryder-Christian Slater cult movie of the same name, the show focuses on a quippy teen and her rebel boyfriend who start killing their popular but abusive peers. Weathervane is mounting a hybrid production, with the cast performing the musical live on stage in front of a small in-person audience with many more watching online. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers: Voices from the Great Experiment
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, one of the country's leading companies showcasing artists with disabilities, wraps up its live reading series featuring new shorts created for Zoom by dramatists who participated in its Virtual Playmakers' Intensive. The final playlet is M-O-U-S-E by Christopher Chan Roberson, directed by Kimille Howard and starring Scott Barton, Nayab Hussein, Ayako Ibaraki and Sean Phillips. Watch for free with live captioning on the company's YouTube channel.
BD Wong in Songs from an Unmade Bed
At 8 p.m. ET, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS presents Songs from an Unmade Bed, a theatrical song cycle exploring the inner musings and romantic life of a gay man living in New York City. Created by Pulitzer Prize-winning lyricist and librettist Mark Campbell with 18 composers, the piece was first produced by New York Theatre Workshop in 2005. It has been reimagined for digital consumption by Tony-winning actor BD Wong and his husband, videographer Richert Schnorr, who produced the project while in lockdown in their NYC apartment. They enlisted some of their talented friends for cameos and supporting parts, including Awkwafina, John Lithgow, John Cameron Mitchell, Billy Porter, Keala Settle, Maulik Pancholy, Raymond J. Lee, Telly Leung, Jose Llana and Bowen Yang. Watch for free on on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
CANCELED Stars in the House: Andréa Burns
At 8 p.m. ET, On Your Feet! diva Andréa Burns guest hosts Stars in the House and she's bringing a longtime friend with her: Tony, Grammy and Emmy-winning music director and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire, who worked on Hamilton and In the Heights. We expect some LMM tea! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
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 married American Idol alums and Broadway stars Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young, violin prodigy Jonathan Russell, jazz singer Michelle Johnson and Forbidden Broadway funnyman Michael West channeling his new character Kenn Boisinger. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
The Muny: Summer Variety Hour
At 9:15 p.m. ET, after 102 years, the shows won't go on at The Muny this summer. But tonight, the beloved St. Louis institution streams a new episode of its online variety show featuring clips from past mainstage productions as well as brand-new virtual performances. The lineup for week three includes production numbers from the Muny's mountings of Annie, West Side Story, Jersey Boys and The Unsinkable Molly Brown; duets by real-life Broadway couples Jason Gotay and Michael Hartung, and Jenny Powers and Matt Cavenaugh; and a game show with stage stars such as Ann Harada and Christopher Sieber. Watch for free on the Muny's YouTube channel.
Great Performances: In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams
PBS Thirteen presents In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams, a documentary about the journey to Broadway for Lin-Manuel Miranda's first book musical. A Latin and hip-hop-infused love letter to immigrant striving and the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, In the Heights bowed Off Broadway in 2007 and was such a smash, it transferred to the Main Stem the next year, where it won four Tony Awards including Best Musical. Watch the inspiring story and see how the cult of LMM began for free on the PBS website.
Hamilton isn't the only must-see title for theatre fans on Disney+. The service is now streaming Howard, a documentary about the late lyricist Howard Ashman, who collaborated with Alan Menken on Little Shop of Horrors; Kurt Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; and the Disney animated movies The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Ashman died of AIDS at age 40 in 1991, yet director Don Hahn lets him tell his own story by splicing together old interviews, complemented by song demos, new conversations with his family and friends, and footage from a Beauty and the Beast recording session featuring Angela Lansbury and Jerry Orbach. If you haven't subscribed to Disney+ yet, a month costs just $6.99 and that gives you plenty of time to watch this and Hamilton.
On Saturday, Play-PerView presented a live reading of Dutchman, Amiri Baraka's searing 1964 play about a white temptress trying to seduce a Black man on the subway, and you can watch a recording through Wednesday. This event reunites the leads of the 2007 Cherry Lane production: Dulé Hill (Psych, The West Wing) and Jennifer Mudge. The one-act's depiction of the insidiousness of white supremacy feels as disturbingly timely as ever. Tickets are $15 and benefit Newark Arts.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The world's largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which has taken place in Scotland every August since 1947, goes virtual this year, with dozens of online performances from artists around the world. They're a charmingly motley bunch, an array of cutting-edge comedy, experimental theatre, wacky musicals and the indefinable. Some offerings cost money, others are free; some are available on demand, others have specific start times. You can browse the options to see what piques your interest. Also be sure to peruse Online@theSpaceUK, which lists Fringe shows that are 100% free and were all written and produced during the pandemic.
TADA! Youth Theater: Heroes
TADA! Youth Theater, NYC's 35-year-old, Drama Desk Award-winning youth company whose alums include Jordan Peele and Kerry Washington, is sharing recordings of its original shows for families. Recorded in 2015, Heroes is a timely tale about a group of narcissistic kids who gain empathy and selflessness and learn how to work together when the Woman of Great Magic plunges the world into darkness. The production stars talented tykes from ages 8 to 18 who are members of TADA!'s Resident Youth Ensemble. Watch for free on TADA!'s YouTube channel.
Top image: BD Wong.