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, Thursday, October 8, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Folksbiene! Live: A Bisl Borscht: A Tribute to Mickey Katz
At 1 p.m. ET, Ben Liebert, who starred as Motl in the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's mounting of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, presents a concert of songs made famous by legendary Jewish comedian and musician Mickey Katz. Well-known for his parodies, Katz also wrote original numbers, many with a klezmer flair, and his son happens to be Joel Grey, who directed Yiddish Fiddler! Kathryn Krull accompanies Liebert on piano. Watch for free on Folksbiene's website.
The Original Theatre Company: Apollo 13: The Dark Side of the Moon
At 2:30 p.m. ET, the ill-fated Apollo 13 spaceflight has been turned into a Hollywood blockbuster and a TV miniseries. Now the UK's The Original Theatre Company presents this harrowing true story of astronauts stranded 205,000 miles from home as a digital one-act, complete with special effects and evocative design. Playwright Torben Betts based his piece in part on actual transcripts. Alastair Whatley and Charlotte Peters codirect a cast of British stage vets, including Tom Chambers, Christopher Harper and Michael Salami. Tickets are £17.50, approximately $23, and the recording will remain available through the end of the year.
TheaterWorksUSA Virtual Benefit
At 7 p.m. ET, lauded family theatre troupe TheaterWorksUSA presents a benefit concert featuring a host of Broadway stars, some of whom got their start in the company's musicals for young audiences. The lineup of performers includes Miguel Cervantes from Hamilton; Be More Chill's George Salazar; The Life Tony winner Chuck Cooper and his talented progeny Lilli Cooper (Tootsie) and Eddie Cooper (Little Shop of Horrors at Encores! Off-Center); Jalynn Steele, Quentin Earl Darrington and The Skivvies, plus appearances by Rachel Dratch, Lynn Ahrens, Colman Domingo and Daphne Rubin-Vega. Register to receive the free viewing link though a $25 donation is suggested.
Ars Nova: Showgasm.
At 7 p.m. ET, one of Off-Off Broadway's most innovative institutions, Ars Nova has served as the launching pad for lots of big things, including the musical The Great Comet and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Now it's launching its own streaming service, Ars Nova Supra!, with a virtual edition of its anything-goes variety show Showgasm. Comedian Sonia Denis hosts this edition, which features fellow funny folks Odinaka Ezeokoli, Rebecca O'Neal and Jonathan Teklai. Tickets are $5 or you can subscribe to the platform for a flat monthly fee of $15.
The Metropolitan Opera: Die Walküre
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of Wagner favorites continues with a legendary 1989 mounting of Die Walküre, the second opera in the iconic Ring cycle. Hildegard Behrens is Brünnhilde, who defies her god father Wotanm, played by James Morris. Christa Ludwig, Gary Lakes, Kurt Moll and Jessye Norman costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Das Rheingold, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
PTP/NYC: The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage
At 7:30 p.m. ET, PTP/NYC, known for its insightful mountings of politically charged plays, continues its virtual season with The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, an autobiographical play written by and starring Dan O'Brien that explores the unhappy history of his dysfunctional family. Alex Draper costars in this one-act, which is directed by Christian Parker. Watch for free until Sunday on the troupe's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Crux: Black Imagination | Black Performance
At 7:45 p.m. ET, Crux, a VR company that showcases Black artists, presents a trio of new high-tech shorts created specifically for digital consumption. Cheryl L. Davis' Making a Perfect World, Amara J. Brady's Last Ones First and Breana C. Venablé's It's Homecoming Y'all! will be performed by Léoh Hailu-Ghermay, Liz Morgan, Cristina Pitter, Deon Releford-Lee and TL Thompson. Watch for free on Crux's YouTube channel.
Stars in the House: Ain't It Grand - A Celebration to Support the Redhouse Arts Center
At 8 p.m. ET, Stars in the House streams an online fundraiser for the Redhouse Arts Center. Tony-nominated actor Hunter Foster is the artistic director of this beloved Syracuse, NY theatre, and he'll be joined by some of his famous friends and family, including his sister, two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster, Broadway regulars Jeremy Kushnier and Nikki Renée Daniels, and songwriters Trey Anastasio and Georgia Stitt. Erstwhile Love Boat costars Fred Grandy and Ted Lange host the song-filled event. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels in America
At 8:30 p.m. ET, amfAR presents pivotal scenes from Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning AIDS epic Angels in America and the cast is jaw-dropping as well as delightfully unexpected. Glenn Close gets to sink her teeth into Roy Cohn, the closeted lawyer and influencer who succumbs to the disease. S. Epatha Merkerson is his nurse Belize. Black actor Brian Tyree Henry plays quintessential WASP Prior Walter, the young Mormon housewife Harper Pitt is portrayed by octogenarian legend Lois Smith, and the title Angel is a composite of Patti LuPone, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Nikki M. James and Linda Emond. Laura Linney, Andrew Rannells, Paul Dano, Jeremy O. Harris, Vella Lovell, Larry Owens and Brandon Uranowitz round out the ensemble. Downtown director Ellie Heyman and her designers have reimagined these moments for the digital space, with socially distanced actors brought together through the magic of technology. Truly a must-see, this hour-long program will remain viewable until Thursday, October 15. Watch for free on Broadway.com's YouTube channel though donations are suggested. A gift of $100 or more gets you a post-show Q&A with cast members and playwright Tony Kushner.
Vineyard Theatre: Lessons in Survival Live Open Rehearsal
At 8:30 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's invaluable Vineyard Theatre continues its fascinating Lessons in Survival project, featuring a collective of 40 theatre artists sharing historic conversations, interviews and speeches by listening to the original speakers in an earpiece while repeating their words verbatim. Conceived by actors Marin Ireland, Peter Mark Kendall and Reggie D. White and director Tyler Thomas, this series presents an open rehearsal tonight, giving viewers a peek at how these performances are created as Crystal Dickinson, Brandon J. Dirden and Victoria Villier channel a 2002 Angela Davis interview of legendary actors, activists and spouses Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Tickets start at $5.
Together LA Festival
At 10 p.m. ET, Together LA Festival kicks off its second week of 10-minute shorts created specifically for digital consumption by disparate Los Angeles companies. Tonight, check out shorts by Theatre West, Ophelia's Jump, Group Repertory Theatre and Interact Theatre Company. This is the perfect way to get a taste of what's happening on stage on the West Coast! Register to receive the free viewing link; donations are encouraged.
Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 12
Scott Siegel has been producing starry cabaret concerts at Town Hall and other storied venues for years. Now he brings his talent for assembling crackerjack crooners to YouTube. This edition's lineup includes Broadway vet and Mad Men star Bryan Batt; Ragtime Tony nominee Christiane Noll duetting with Jamie LaVerdiere; Urinetown's Jeff McCarthy and cabaret great Jim Caruso. Watch for free on YouTube.
DANCE NOW: Chapter 2
Usually presented over a few jam-packed days at Joe's Pub, this 25th annual dance festival has been reimagined for our virtual world, with monthly online installments through May 2021. Chapter 2 features new digital commissions from Jamal Jackson, Nicole Wolcott and Katy Pyle, alongside archival recordings of pieces by Wanjiru Kamuyu, Katherine Helen Fisher and Robert Battle. Tickets start at $10 and the program can be viewed anytime.
The Metropolitan Opera: Madama Butterfly
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 Madama Butterfly, Puccini's tragic tale of a young geisha (Hui He) abandoned by her lover, a callous American naval officer (Bruce Sledge). Anthony Minghella's staging was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2019, and also features Elizabeth DeShong and Tony winner Paulo Szot. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
WNET's All Arts: Under the Greenwood Tree
In 2017, The Public Theater presented a musical production of As You Like It as part of its Public Works program, which stages exuberant theatrical pageants starring a handful of professional actors alongside hundreds of everyday New Yorkers. With songs by Shaina Taub and direction by Laurie Woolery, that magical mounting of Shakespeare's intoxicating romance was scheduled to be part of The Public's Shakespeare in the Park season this summer before COVID-19 hit. This documentary Under the Greenwood Tree chronicles the creation of the show and how the community participants came together during the health crisis to help each other. Watch for free on WNET's All Arts' website.
New York City Ballet: Modern Innovation
New York City Ballet continues its virtual fall season with innovative classics. This week's stream features two works by George Balanchine, Kammermusik No. 2 (First Movement) and Movements for Piano and Orchestra; a pair of pieces by Jerome Robbins, Opus 19/The Dreamer (First Movement) and Glass Pieces (Third Movement); Chiaroscuro by Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Red Angels by Ulysses Dove. Dancers include principals Sara Mearns, Maria Kowroski, Teresa Reichlen, Jared Angle, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Gonzalo Garcia, Ask la Cour and Andrew Veyette. Watch for free until Monday on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Andrew Rannells in The Great Work Begins: Scenes from Angels in America. Image created by Paul Tate dePoo III.