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, May 28 from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
National Theatre: This House
At 2 p.m. ET, London's National Theatre presents This House, James Graham's gripping examination of Britain's political strife in the '70s. Much as he did for his Tony-nominated play Ink, Graham uses historical events to illuminate current woes, both in the U.K. and the U.S. This play may have been filmed in 2013 but its exploration of polarized politics feels insanely timely. Watch for free through Thursday, June 4 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Variety Thursday on Stars in the House
At 2 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome a trio of talented performers on Stars in the House: Tony-nominated performer Rob McClure, who was starring Mrs. Doubtfire when Broadway shut down; cellist Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf, who's played in many a Broadway orchestra pit; and Anneliese van der Pol, best known as the BFF of the title character in the TV series That's So Raven and Raven's House. This twice daily show benefits The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on YouTube.
Justin Vivian Bond: Auntie Glam's Happy Hour
At 5 p.m. ET, groundbreaking trans artist and activist Justin Vivian Bond shares their wit, wisdom and singular song stylings in their weekly "live-screamed" show Auntie Glam's Happy Hour. It's always an entertaining and insightful time. Watch for free on their website though tips are encouraged.
Steven Pasquale on Classic Conversations
At 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company continues its Classic Conversations with a chat between artistic director John Doyle and Steven Pasquale (The Bridges of Madison County), who was set to star in the theatre's highly anticipated revival of Assassins, which has been indefinitely postponed. While this is billed as an interview series, the theatre promises "occasional" singing, and we're hoping they'll up that to frequent. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page. Assassins bonus: Watch Pasquale's costar Ethan Slater croon "The Ballad of Czolgosz" with fellow cast members. It gives you a tantalizing taste of what could have been—and hopefully one day will be.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: The Hunt
At 7 p.m. ET, the invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares a recording of The Hunt, created by choreographer Robert Battle a decade before he became the company's artistic director in 2011. An incredible showcase for the raw athleticism of dance, the work examines the relationship between modern sports and the rites of gladiators as six men in skirts perform to a percussive score by Les Tambours du Bronx. Watch for free through Sunday on the troupe's YouTube channel.
Irondale Ensemble: Henry V
At 7 p.m. ET, in 2016, Brooklyn's intrepid Irondale Ensemble presented an ambitious event: a multi-hour marathon of four Shakespeare plays, all written in 1599: Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and Hamlet. Now the company is revisiting the project for bite-size digital consumption, starting with tonight's streamlined Henry V, followed by a virtual discussion of the work. Watch for free on Irondale's YouTube channel.
Love's Labour's Lost at the Stratford Festival
At 7 p.m. ET, Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with Love's Labour's Lost, an effervescent comedy about a quartet of men who swear off women in order to study... but fate has other plans. Tony-winning Les Misérables director John Caird helmed this 2015 production for the stage, and you can watch for free on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.
Theater in Quarantine: Closet Works
At 7 p.m. ET, downtown multihyphenate Joshua William Gelb, known for deconstructing complicated classics like The Jazz Singer, performs a series of brief dance pieces in his closet. The works were created by Hadestown associate choreographer Katie Rose McLaughlin, and are followed by a Q&A with the artists, then an encore performance at 9 p.m. ET. Watch for free on Gelb's YouTube channel.
Les Troyens at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2013 mounting of Berlioz's Les Troyens, starring Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Bryan Hymel and Dwayne Croft, conducted by Fabio Luisi. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series, and is available to watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Manon Lescaut, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Mark Morris Dance Group: Dance On!
At 7:30 p.m. ET, celebrated choreographer Mark Morris and his company premiere a quartet of short pieces, all created, rehearsed and danced via Zoom. The titles are telling: Lonely Waltz, Lonely Tango, Anger Dance and Sunshine, an indication that these works reflect the intense emotions we're all feeling. After the performance, there will be a talkback with Morris. It's free to watch on YouTube but advance registration is required in order to receive the link.
The Billie Holiday Theatre: 50in50: Love in the Time of Corona
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Billie Holiday Theatre, which showcases black artists, presents a virtual, COVID-19-themed edition of its 50in50 monologue series. Playwrights from around the world were invited to pen pieces about how love binds us together, even during this challenging time of isolation. Out of hundreds of submissions, 50 were chosen, and they'll be performed live by celebrated actors of color, including Jason Dirden (Skeleton Crew), Roscoe Orman from Sesame Street, Tyler Perry regular Lamman Rucker, Pauletta Pearson Washington and Tony nominee Michele Shay. The evening begins with live music from Maritri Garrett at 7:30 p.m. ET; the show starts at 8 p.m. ET. Watch for free on the theatre's Facebook page.
Movie Night with Josh Groban: Live at the Greek
At 8 p.m. ET, international recording sensation and Tony-nominated Great Comet star Josh Groban hosts a one-time screening of his 2004 concert movie Live at the Greek online. Throughout, he'll provide running commentary, sharing memories and stories about the film and his career. Watch for free on Groban's YouTube channel.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: New Songs Now in Your Living Room
At 8 p.m. ET, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater continues its series of unplugged mini-concerts with new work by the fabulously talented Grace McLean, a performer in shows such as The Great Comet and Alice by Heart who made her Off Broadway debut as a musical theatre writer last year with the ambitious In the Green at Lincoln Center Theater. She'll be joined by Rotana, a performance artist and songwriter from Saudi Arabia who's developing the solo musical Alien of Extraordinary Ability. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Wallies at The Brick
At 8 p.m. ET, one of Brooklyn's most adventurous theatres, The Brick, continues its Archival Streaming Series with Wallies, comedy troupe Simple Town's irreverent examination of today's surveillance state, which was filmed earlier this year. This is your chance to see boundary-pushing, outer-borough performance without having to take the subway! Watch for free on The Brick's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
English National Ballet: Swan Lake
The English National Ballet shares a recording of Swan Lake choreographed by Derek Deane, the troupe's former artistic director. His interpretation has been enthralling audiences for two decades on stage, but this is the first time it's being shown online in full. Dancers Isaac Hernández and Jurgita Dronina star as Prince Siegfried and Odette/Odile in this 2018 mounting, with Tchaikovsky's iconic score played by the English National Ballet Philharmonic. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 2 p.m. on the troupe's YouTube channel.
La Fille du Régiment at the Met
Ever since the shutdown began, the opera house has been sharing productions from its Live in HD series nightly at 7:30 p.m. But it also presents weekly student streams that debut on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. These operas 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 Fille du Régiment, Gaetano Donizetti's beloved romantic comedy about an orphan girl raised by a regiment of French soldiers who ends up falling for a rebel. Pretty Yende, Stephanie Blythe, Javier Camarena and Maurizio Muraro star in this 2008 mounting. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 5 p.m. on the Metropolitan Opera's website
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Gifts You Gave to the Dark
The resilient Irish Rep kicks off its all-digital summer season with the world-premiere one-act The Gifts You Gave to the Dark. Written by Darren Murphy to be performed online, the drama centers on the final remote conversation between Tom, sick in Belfast with COVID-19, and his elderly mother Rose, who's on her deathbed in Dublin. Directed by Caitríona McLaughlin, the play stars Seán McGinley, Marty Rea and The Beauty Queen of Leenane Tony winner Marie Mullen. Watch for free anytime through October on the Irish Rep's YouTube channel.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Charles Edwards in the National Theatre's This House. Photo by Johan Persson.