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, July 8, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
The Old Vic: Mood Music
At 2 p.m. ET, London's Old Vic shares Mood Music, Joe Penhall's examination of the toxic pop industry, with a veteran producer (Ben Chaplin), a young songwriter (Seána Kerslake) and their lawyers and psychotherapists fighting over who owns a hit tune. Recorded at the venue in 2018, the production was helmed by Roger Michell, who directed the smash movie Notting Hill. Watch for free until Tuesday, July 14 at 2 p.m. ET on the Old Vic's YouTube channel.
English National Ballet: Cinderella in-the-round
At 2 p.m. ET, the English National Ballet wraps up its series of dance recordings with its biggest production ever: Christopher Wheeldon's lavish 2019 mounting of Cinderella performed in-the-round to Prokofiev's glorious score. The Tony-winning choreographer transformed London's Royal Albert Hall for the fairy tale with help from scenic designer Julian Crouch, and a cast of more than 130 dancers performs alongside Basil Twist's inventive puppets. A magical experience for ballet lovers of all ages. Watch for free anytime until Friday at 2 p.m. ET on the troupe's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Roméo et Juliette
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 Roméo et Juliette, Charles Gounod's adaptation of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy about ill-fated teenage lovers. Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher staged this production in 2017, updating the action to decadent 18th-century Verona, and Vittorio Grigolo and Diana Damrau play the star-crossed couple. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
TheaterWorksUSA: Telling Our Stories & Talking About Race
At 7 p.m. ET, lauded family theatre troupe TheaterWorksUSA presents a live reading of two short plays from Idris Goodwin's recently released collection for kids, Free Play: Open Source Scripts Toward an Antiracist Tomorrow. Director Schele Williams reads The Water Gun Song with her daughter, while comedian Bill Bellamy performs Nothing Rhymes with Juneteenth with his son. Afterward, there will be a moderated discussion with Goodwin. If you just want to see the plays, tune in to TheaterWorksUSA's YouTube channel. In order to watch and join the discussion, you must register in advance to receive the free Zoom link.
Ballet Hispánico: El Viaje
At 7 p.m. EST, Ballet Hispánico presents El Viaje, choreographer Edwaard Liang's moving meditation on immigration and the emotionally fraught process of leaving one's homeland, with a specific focus on Chinese emigration and the Chinese-Cuban diaspora. This performance was recorded at The Joyce Theater in 2019, and you can watch for free on the dance company's website.
Dixon Place: HOT! Festival
Downtown staple Dixon Place brings its 29th annual queer culture fest online with four weeks of theatre, dance, music, readings and comedy. Tonight you can stream:
The Public Theater: The Line
At 7:30 p.m. ET, The Public Theater presents the world premiere of The Line, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's ripped-from-the-front-lines docudrama based on interviews with New York City healthcare workers about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The married playwrights are masters of the form: their previous plays include The Exonerated, about wrongly convicted inmates on Death Row, and Coal Country, about the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia. The latter had its run cut short at The Public Theater due to the pandemic, and Blank and Jensen almost immediately turned their attention to our city's first responders to craft this one-act for digital consumption. Under Blank's direction, an impressive cast, including Tony winner Santino Fontana, Tony nominee Alison Pill, Jamey Sheridan and Lorraine Toussaint, give voice to these harrowing real-life stories, which are complemented by Aimee Mann's original music. Watch for free until Tuesday, August 4 on The Public's YouTube channel.
FRIGID New York: 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, Regina Decicco and Leighann Lord are bawdy broads who've seen it all, and they're willing to talk. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
The Metropolitan Opera: Così fan tutte
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Così fan tutte, Mozart's beloved comedy about love and fidelity, featuring Susanna Phillips and Isabel Leonard as the sisters whose loyalty is tested by their disguised fiancés, played by Matthew Polenzani and Rodion Pogossov. James Levine conducts this production, which was filmed for the Met's Live in HD series in 2014. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Il Trovatore, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Bernadette Peters on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome Broadway legend Bernadette Peters to Stars in the House. The two-time Tony winner will chat about her illustrious career as well as the upcoming rebroadcast of her 2009 concert as a fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. We're hoping for a musical preview! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Black Lives Black Words International Project's Plays for the People: Ride Share
At 8 p.m. ET, Black Lives Black Words International Project, an activist theatre initiative that commissions and produces shows by Black playwrights, kicks off its virtual Plays for the People reading series with Ride Share. Written by the org's co-founder Reginald Edmund, the play chronicles the journey of a young African-American Uber driver as he navigates racism and grapples with his "dark passenger." Tickets are $16.96.
Bayard: A New Musical
At 8 p.m. ET, the four-day Allen & Gray Musical Festival continues with a live online reading of Bayard: A New Musical, the inspiring story of how Bayard Rustin, an openly gay Black man, came to organize The Great March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
The Mint Theater's Summer Stock Streaming Festival
Off Broadway's esteemed Mint Theater Company, which has been resurrecting forgotten plays since 1992, presents a virtual festival featuring professional recordings of three full-length productions from its archives: George Kelly's domestic dramedy The Fatal Weakness, Harold Chapin's comedy of morals The New Morality and Hazel Ellis's suspenseful comedy with an all-women cast Women Without Men. For the two weeks the streams are available, the cast members will receive their full salaries, and yet the theatre is offering these streams for free. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the password to watch the shows for free on The Mint's website. The videos will remain up through Sunday, July 19. Donations are encouraged.
National Theatre: Les Blancs
It's your last day to catch National Theatre's 2016 production of Les Blancs, the final play by Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun) which was compiled and edited by her ex-husband Robert Nemiroff four years after her death. The 1970 drama explores the waning days of colonialism in Africa through the eyes of one family as rebels try to expel the British from their unnamed country. Examining themes of imperialism, racism, assimilation, identity and the legacy of white supremacy, it's an incredibly timely work. Watch for free until Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Stratford Festival: Antony and Cleopatra
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with Antony and Cleopatra, starring Geraint Wyn Davies (Broadway's King Lear, TV cult favorite Forever Knight) and Yanna McIntosh as the Roman general and the Egyptian queen torn between love and war. Watch for free until Thursday, July 23 on the fest's YouTube channel.
Short North Stage: John & Jen
Columbus, Ohio's Short North Stage presents Jon & Jen, an early Andrew Lippa musical about Jen's relationship with the two Johns in her life: her beloved late brother, a soldier killed in the Vietnam War in the '60s, and her son, who's having trouble growing up in the '80s. The production was filmed remotely and is available to stream until Sunday, July 12. Tickets are $15.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Erina Takahashi in English National Ballet's production of Cinderella. Photo by Laurent Liotardo.