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, August 12, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
A Killer Party: A Murder Mystery Musical
At 10 a.m. ET, a bunch of Broadway A-listers, including Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, Carolee Carmello, Alex Newell, Jarrod Spector and Drew Gehling, are all suspects in A Killer Party, a brand-new comedic murder mystery musical being released in nine bite-size installments. The second set of clue-filled episodes drop today, with the climatic three released next Wednesdays. Created by Kait Kerrigan, Jason Howland and Nathan Tysen, the show was shot remotely and directed by Marc Bruni. Buy the full season for $13.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Love, Noël: The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward
At 3 p.m. ET, Irish Rep presents 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 a suggested donation of $25 but TDF members get a discount. There is also an 8 p.m. ET performance.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Fanciulla del West
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 Zoom education sessions leading up to the screening teach school-age kids about opera. This week's offering is La Fanciulla del West, Puccini's colorful romance set during the California Gold Rush, as a charming outlaw wins the heart of a gun-toting saloon owner. Deborah Voigt and Marcello Giordani headline this 2010 mounting. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Theatre Communications Group's Too Legit to Quit! A Theatres of Color Virtual Event
At 6:30 p.m. ET, the Theatre Communication Group's third annual Theatres of Color celebration goes online. The lineup includes music from DJ Ushka, the premiere of We Will Always Be Here by Ty Defoe and Kate Freer, the African Heritage Youth Theatre, an Art2Action showcase with multidisciplinary artists and interactive breakout sessions with Theatres of Color. Register in advance to receive the free Zoom link.
Brave New World Repertory Theatre: The Plantation
At 7 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Brave New World Repertory Theatre presents The Plantation, producing artistic director Claire Beckman's adaptation of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard reset in post–Civil War Virginia. In 2016, the company mounted this production on Governors Island, and this virtual recreation features Alice Barrett Mitchell, Craig. A Grant, John E. Morgan, Perri Yaniv and octegenarian theatre vet Arthur French. Tickets are a suggested donation of $10.
Martha's Vineyard Playhouse: Crumbs from the Table of Joy
At 7 p.m. ET, the Martha's Vineyard Playhouse presents a live reading of Crumbs from the Table of Joy, an early play by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage about a Black widower in the '50s, who moves with his teenage daughters from Florida to Brooklyn where they start a new life. This event reunites director Adrienne D. Williams with the cast of the theatre's 2016 mounting, including Abigail Rose Solomon, Lawrence Evans, Danielle Hopkins and Dria Brown. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Funny Women of a Certain Age
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the seasoned comics in Funny Women of a Certain Age really pack some punch lines. Carole Montgomery, Vicky Kuperman and Joanne Filan are bawdy broads who've seen it all, and they're willing to talk. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Concert for Cooper
At 7:30 p.m. ET, since 1858, The Cooper Union has welcomed world-changing figures to its Great Hall, including Presidents Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Barack Obama, as well as rebels such as Susan B. Anthony and Betty Friedan. Tonight, the institution presents a benefit featuring luminaries like Kathleen Chalfant, Margaret Cho, Alan Cumming, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Arian Moayed and Tracey Ullman reciting excerpts of iconic speeches previously delivered at the venue, as well as musical performances by The Broadcast, Amy Engelhardt, Ben Folds, David Wain with Bobby Cannavale and Broadway performers Jen Malenke, Aléna Watters and Kimberly Marable. Watch for free on The Cooper Union's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Acting Company: Endgame
At 7:30 p.m. ET, venerable repertory troupe The Acting Company, founded by John Houseman back in 1972, presents a live reading of Endgame, Samuel Beckett's minimalist masterpiece featuring four people trapped together, waiting for the end to come. All the cast members are Acting Company alumni: J.D. Mollison, John Skelley, Marjorie Johnson and William Sturdivant. Watch for free on the company's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Rigoletto
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: its thrilling 1981 production of Verdi's Rigoletto, with Louis Quilico as the title character, a court jester who tries to protect his innocent daughter (Christiane Eda-Pierre) from Luciano Pavarotti's lascivious Duke. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Carmen, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Available to Watch All Day
BD Wong in Songs from an Unmade Bed
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, 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.
Corkscrew Theater Festival: corkscrew 4.0
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. Be sure to scroll down—that's where the content is! Watch for free until Sunday, August 23 on Corkscrew's website.
Manual Cinema: No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks
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.
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: Marcello Giordani and Deborah Voigt in The Metropolitan Opera's La Fanciulla del West. Photo courtesy of the Met.