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 5, 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 first three clue-filled episodes drop today, with three more released for the next two 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.
In This Life
At noon ET, WNET's All Arts series presents In This Life, a dance film created by director Bat-Sheva Guez and American in Paris Tony nominee/former New York City Ballet star Robert Fairchild, who co-produced, co-wrote and stars. A meditation on grief, the 15-minute movie features five sections, each choreographed by a different dance-maker: James Alsop, Warren Craft, Andrea Miller, Christopher Wheeldon and Fairchild himself. Watch for free on All Arts' website.
The Old Vic: Jekyll & Hyde
At 2 p.m. ET, London's Old Vic shares Jekyll & Hyde, director-choreographer Drew McOnie's reinvention of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale as a dance drama, set to original music by Grant Olding. An Olivier Award winner, McOnie is best known stateside for King Kong on Broadway, proving he knows how to reimagine a classic. Watch for free until Wednesday, August 12 at 2 p.m. ET on the Old Vic's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Cosi fan tutte
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 Phelim McDermott's eye-popping 2018 mounting of Cosi fan tutte, which sets Mozart's tantalizing comedy of romance and infidelity on Coney Island in the '50s. Amanda Majeski, Serena Malfi, Ben Bliss and Adam Plachetka star as the young lovers, with Tony winner Kelli O’Hara in a supporting role. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Homebound Project
At 7 p.m. ET, The Homebound Project presents its fifth and final edition of world-premiere playlets and as always the lineup is stellar. The 12 shorts include Austin Pendleton in a piece by Craig Lucas, Laurie Metcalf in a work by Stephen Karam, Kelli O'Hara in a playlet by Lindsey Ferrentino and Lena Dunham in a self-penned solo. The brainchild of playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, this initiative is raising money to support food insecure families during the pandemic. Tickets start at $10 and proceeds go to No Kid Hungry.
Ballet Hispánico: Cada Noche...Tango
At 7 p.m. ET, Ballet Hispánico, an invaluable NYC-based dance company, shares a recording of Cada Noche...Tango by ten-time Tony nominee Graciela Daniele, a 1998 work evoking the passionate underground nightlife of Buenos Aires in the '20s and '30s. Watch for free on Ballet Hispánico's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
New York Theatre Barn: Between the Lines and My Little Barbizon
At 7 p.m. ET, for the past 13 years, New York Theatre Barn has showcased musicals in progress in its New Works Series. That initiative has now gone virtual, with 40-minute peeks at two new shows a week. Today, catch excerpts from Between the Lines, based on the best-selling young-adult novel of the same name, sung by Broadway's Arielle Jacobs and Jason Gotay; and My Little Barbizon by Angela Sclafani about female writers and mental illness. Watch for free on New York Theatre Barn's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Simon Boccanegra
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: Giancarlo del Monaco's lavish 1995 production of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, with Plácido Domingo as the title character's sworn enemy and Kiri Te Kanawa's as his lady love. Vladimir Chernov and Robert Lloyd costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
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, Rhonda Hansome and Vanessa Hollingshead 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.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers: Voices from the Great Experiment
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, one of the country's leading companies showcasing artists with disabilities, continues its live reading series of new shorts created for Zoom by dramatists who participated in its Virtual Playmakers' Intensive. Tonight's premiere is 3 Stops from Loop Tape Station by Enrique Huili, directed by Ashley Scott and starring Juan Carlos Diaz and Melissa Jennifer Gonzalez. Watch for free with live captioning on the company's YouTube channel.
SolFest 2020 Virtual Edition: A Latinx Theater Festival
At 7:30 p.m. ET, The Sol Project, a national theatre initiative devoted to showcasing Latinx voices, brings its third annual festival of works-in-progress online. The final night wraps up with readings of three short works commissioned as part of the Play at Home series: Soñar es luchar by Virginia Grise; the human is sad; let’s start a band by juliany taveras; and Magic Garden by Cándido Tirado. Afterward, the playwrights and former SolFest dramatists, including Cusi Cram and Karen Zacarías, will participate in a talkback. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link.
Freestyle Love Supreme Reunion on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, it's a Freestyle Love Supreme reunion on Stars in the House! Years before Hamilton and In the Heights made Lin-Manuel Miranda and his rhyming pals stars, they were wowing Off-Off Broadway audiences with their skills in Freestyle Love Supreme, their improvisational hip-hop revue which finally had a Broadway run last season. In support of Hulu's new documentary about the show, some of the troupe's regulars are set to appear: Anthony Veneziale, Aneesa Folds, Kaila Mullady, Andrew Bancroft, Chris Sullivan, Arthur Lewis and Tarik Davis... and we're hoping LMM may rap up the evening. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Black Trans Women at the Center: An Evening of Short Plays
At 8 p.m. ET, New Haven, CT's Long Wharf Theatre presents a trio of playlets showcasing the stories and performances of Black trans women. The evening was curated and co-produced by Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, a Washington, DC-based Black trans theatre-maker, who directed two of the offerings: Sunshine by Douglas Lyons, starring Angelica Ross (Pose's dearly departed Candy Ferocity); and You will Nevaaa Enter Our High Holy Land of Blackness (Hiya) by CeCe Suazo. Rounding out the lineup is Dezi Bing's Things Unknown featuring L Morgan Lee from A Strange Loop. Register in advance to receive the free Zoom link; donations are encouraged.
Metropolitan Opera Stars Live in Concert: Renée Fleming
On Saturday, the Metropolitan Opera presented a live recital with Renée Fleming, a beloved diva known for her work in opera houses and on Broadway, and you can watch a recording until Wednesday, August 12. With Robert Ainsley at the piano, the star performs popular arias by Massenet, R. Strauss and Puccini, as well as a touching rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from the music salon of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. Tickets cost $20.
Great Performances: Kevin Kline in Present Laughter
PBS Great Performances is streaming Moritz von Stuelpnagel's effervescent 2017 mounting of Noël Coward's Present Laughter starring Kevin Kline, who earned his third Tony Award for portraying narcissistic actor Garry Essendine, plagued by midlife fears, an uncontrollable libido and obsessed fans. Kate Burton, Kristine Nielsen and Cobie Smulders costar. Watch for free until Saturday, August 29 on PBS' website.
On Saturday, the live reading series Play-PerView presented RoosevElvis, and you can watch a recording until Thursday. A devised theatre piece by Brooklyn-based ensemble The TEAM, the show features Elvis Presley and Theodore Roosevelt battling over the soul of a shy meat-processing plant worker. This event reunites the cast and creative team of the play's 2013 Off-Off Broadway premiere: actors Kristen Sieh and Libby King and director Rachel Chavkin, who went on to win a Tony Award for helming Hadestown on Broadway. Tickets are $15 and benefit The TEAM and the Emergency Release Fund.
Manual Cinema: The End of TV
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 offering is The End of TV, a deconstruction of the American Dream set in a post-industrial Rust Belt city in the '90s, as the aspirational promise of TV commercials is juxtaposed against declining opportunities. Watch for free until Monday, August 10 at 1 p.m. ET on the company's website.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Anthony Veneziale, Chris Sullivan and Aneesa Folds in Freestyle Love Supreme on Broadway. Photo by Joan Marcus.