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 performers from Broadway and beyond are sharing their talents online. Below are performances you can watch today, Wednesday, May 6, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Nia Vardalos in Tiny Beautiful Things
At 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House presents a live reading of Tiny Beautiful Things, Nia Vardalos' adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's best-selling and inspirational advice book. Just as she did in The Public Theater's hit productions (it was so popular, there were two), Vardalos stars as the empathetic Sugar, who helps strangers by divulging her own troubles. Catch it for free anytime through Sunday on YouTube.
English National Ballet: Romeo & Juliet
At 2 p.m. ET, the English National Ballet shares a recording of Romeo & Juliet, choreographed for the company by the legendary Rudolf Nureyev. Alina Cojocaru and Isaac Hernández star as the ill-fated lovers in this 2015 mounting. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 2 p.m. on the troupe's YouTube channel.
Martha Graham Dance Company: Chronicle
At 2:30 p.m. ET, the Martha Graham Dance Company presents Chronicle, a searing, all-female piece created by the choreographer after she refused the Nazis' invitation to dance at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. In addition to archival clips of the work's original cast, there will be a recording of the entire dance performed by her namesake troupe at Jacob's Pillow last August. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
Linda Lavin and Billy Stritch
At 3 p.m. ET, legendary jazz pianist and singer Billy Stritch and his Tony-winning BFF/neighbor Linda Lavin continue their series of live online concerts in support of their new album Love Notes. Their friendship, banter and American Songbook standards feel incredibly soothing in this uncertain time. Watch for free on Lavin's Facebook page.
Madama Butterfly at the Met
At 5 p.m. ET, it's a bonus opera from the Metropolitan! 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 about a month ago, it quietly launched another online initiative to engage audiences: 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 the Met's 2019 mounting of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, based on Anthony Minghella's staging, and starring Hui He, Andrea Carè, Elizabeth DeShong and Paulo Szot. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 5 p.m. on the Metropolitan Opera's website
Drew Gasparini's It's Kind of a Funny Story
At 6:30 p.m. ET, cabaret haven Feinstein's/54 Below shares a recording of It's Kind of a Funny Story, a concert of songs from Drew Gasparini's musicalization of Ned Vizzini's dark comic novel about a teen whose depression lands him in a mental hospital. If you're worried that sounds like a downer, keep in mind that another Vizzini book served as the basis for a pretty fun show called Be More Chill, and that Tony-nominated jokester Alex Brightman (yup, from Beetlejuice) penned the script. The cast includes Tony nominee Bryce Pinkham, Girl From the North Country's Colton Ryan and the hilarious Ann Harada. Watch for free on the club's YouTube channel. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
At 7 p.m. ET, Tony-nominated songwriter Paul Gordon has a knack for musicalizing literary classics, including Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice. Tonight you can see his tuneful take on Emma, Jane Austen's beloved novel about a woman who's way too interested in other people's love lives. This special screening will be hosted by Laura Osnes and Emma star Kelli Barrett, and there's an encore showing at 10 p.m. Watch for free on the show's website
Ballet Hispánico: Tito on Timbales
At 7 p.m. EST, Ballet Hispánico presents Tito on Timbales, choreographer William Whitener's tribute to the King of Latin Music, Tito Puente, known for his percussion-heavy mambo and Latin jazz compositions. Watch for free on the dance company's Facebook page.
The Homebound Project
At 7 p.m. ET, the The Homebound Project releases its first edition of playlets, and the lineup is stellar. Enjoy new shorts by big-name dramatists including Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok, Sarah Ruhl, Qui Nguyen and Lucy Thurber, featuring Broadway vets such as Jessica Hecht, Marin Ireland, Alison Pill and Thomas Sadoski. The brainchild of playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, this initiative is raising money to support food insecure kids during the pandemic. Tickets start at $10.
L’Amour de Loin at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2016 mounting of Saariaho's L’Amour de Loin, starring Susanna Phillips, Tamara Mumford and Eric Owens, conducted by Susanna Mälkki. 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, Hamlet, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Christine Ebersole, Norm Lewis and Others on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, it's a birthday celebration for Seth Rudetsky's mom, Sally, on Stars in the House, and he's giving her quite the party! Broadway stars Christine Ebersole, Norm Lewis and Brian Stokes Mitchell are all scheduled to drop by to fete his mother in song, and you can watch for free on YouTube.
Acquanetta at the Fisher Center
Visionary director Daniel Fish unveiled his dark take on Oklahoma! at the Fisher Center at Bard College years before the production made its way to Broadway. Now you can watch him work his magic on a new show, Acquanetta, a multimedia tribute to a kitschy '40s horror goddess that fuses cinema, opera and theatre elements, which was recorded at the Fisher Center last summer. Watch for free on the culture spot's website.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore
See a starry performance of Nora and Delia Ephron's long-running Off-Broadway smash Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a collection of witty, moving and cathartic stories inspired by real-life women. In 2017, the 92nd Street Y hosted a one-night only reading of the play featuring Rosie O'Donnell, Tracee Ellis Ross, Carol Kane, Natasha Lyonne and Lucy DeVito, and the recording is available to watch for three weeks as a fundraiser for the culture hub. Tickets are $10.
The Two Noble Kinsmen at Shakespeare's Globe
London's Shakespeare's Globe shares a recording of its 2018 mounting of The Two Noble Kinsmen, a tragicomic love triangle generally believed to be the Bard's final play, written in collaboration with John Fletcher. Watch for free anytime through Saturday, May 17 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Frankenstein at the National Theatre
Catch a double creature feature courtesy of the National Theatre. The lauded London company shares its 2011 monster hit Frankenstein, directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle and featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating in the lead roles. Both versions are available to watch for FREE on YouTube, so it's your choice whether you want to catch Cumberbatch as the doctor and Miller as his ungodly creation, or see the stars the other way around.
The Wooster Group
Pioneering avant-garde theatre troupe The Wooster Group is posting recordings of some of its seminal works online, including Rumstick Road, Spalding Gray's response to his mother's suicide; To You, the Birdie!, the company's riff on Racine's Phèdre; and House/Lights, a mash-up of Gertrude Stein's Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights and the 1964 B-movie Olga's House of Shame. If you've never seen a show by this influential and iconoclastic company, prepare for nudity, obscurity, multimedia experimentation and Willem Dafoe, who was in many early productions. Watch for free on the Wooster Group's website.
Sleepover at TADA! Youth Theater
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 hour-long musicals for families. First up is Sleepover, a musical comedy about the drama at a teen sleepover party. 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.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Nia Vardalos in Tiny Beautiful Things at The Public Theater. Photo by Joan Marcus