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 29, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Folksbiene! Live: Rachel Policar: Lullabies & Love Songs from My Living Room
At 1 p.m. ET, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents a mini-concert by Rachel Policar, who starred as the title character in the company's romantic operetta The Golden Bride. She'll be joined by her on-stage beau Cameron Johnson, an alluring tenor, for Yiddish lullabies and love songs. Watch for free on Folksbiene's Facebook page.
Queens Theatre: Emily Driver's Great Race Through Time and Space!
At 2 p.m. ET, Queens Theatre presents a live reading of Emily Driver's Great Race Through Time and Space! about a 12-year-old disability activist who magically travels back in time to meet the pioneers who came before her. Written by A.A. Brenner and actor-writer-disability advocate Gregg Mozgala, the event is a benefit for Queens Theatre's Theatre for All initiative, which offers training and performance opportunities for actors with disabilities. Directed by Evan Cummings, the play stars Thomas Ellenson, Anthony Lopez, Nora Brigid Monahan, Alejandra Ospina and Jessy Yates, and is fully accessible: captioning will be available on demand, American Sign Language interpretation will be provided on screen and audio description is written into the script. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link.
POSTPONED Old Vic: Three Kings
At 2:30 p.m. ET, the Old Vic presents the world premiere of Three Kings, written by Stephen Beresford for Andrew Scott, aka Fleabag's Hot Priest. Directed by Matthew Marchus, the one-man play has Scott recounting his complicated relationship with his estranged father, and is performed live on stage to an empty auditorium. This virtual production runs through Saturday. Tickets cost £20 to £40, approximately $25 to $50, and must be purchased at least 48 hours in advance—that means today's performance is no longer available, but you can still buy for Friday and Saturday! Audio description and closed captions are available.
Black Theatre Week
The Black Theatre Network has moved its 34th annual festival Black Theatre Week online, with five days of virtual programming spotlighting Black theatre creatives. Day three includes:
Watch both events for free on the Black Theatre Network's Facebook page.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Fille du Régiment
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 the Met's 2019 mounting of 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. The production stars Pretty Yende, Stephanie Blythe, Javier Camarena and Maurizio Muraro, and Oscar-nominated actress Kathleen Turner makes a non-singing cameo as the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Sheen Center: A Conversation with Harry Connick, Jr.
At 7 p.m. ET, The Sheen Center presents a intimate conversation with Grammy and Emmy Award winner Harry Connick, Jr., who also happens to be a Tony-nominated actor and songwriter. The multitalented artist will chat about his eclectic career, his Catholic faith and his COVID-19 losses, including the deaths of two mentors. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link.
Dixon Place: HOT! Festival: Blues in Drag
At 7 p.m. ET, downtown staple Dixon Place brings its 29th annual queer culture fest online with a month of theatre, dance, music, readings and comedy. The final week continues with Blues in Drag, a dark comedy with music by performance artist Susana Cook about how gender-fluid uniforms would make police a lot less scary. Pay-what-you-can tickets are available to purchase from the theatre.
HERE Arts Center: 837 Venice Boulevard
At 7 p.m. ET, HERE Arts Center shares a recording of its 2018 production of 837 Venice Boulevard, Faye Driscoll's pseudo-biographical exploration of identity as a lonesome kid left to her own fantasies and fears tries on different personalities. Watch for free on HERE's Facebook page.
The Metropolitan Opera: Rigoletto
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: John Dexter's thrilling 1977 production of Verdi's Rigoletto, with Cornell MacNeil as the title character, a court jester who tries to protect his innocent daughter (Ileana Cotrubas) from Plácido Domingo's lascivious Duke. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Tosca, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Scandal Reunion on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, it's a Scandal reunion on Stars in the House! Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome the cast of the adored ABC series, including Broadway vets Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Bellamy Young, Jeff Perry, three-time Tony nominee Kate Burton, Tony nominee Norm Lewis, Katie Lowes and Tony nominee Joe Morton. Some of these performers started out in musicals, so we hope we get to hear President Mellie Grant, Edison Davis and Olivia and her Papa sing! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Aye Defy: rain falls special on me
At 8 p.m. ET, the Aye Defy live reading series presents rain falls special on me, Lane Michael Stanley's drama about a disparate group of struggling Austinites who seek refuge in a theatre during a storm. Graham Schmidt directs a cast that includes Broadway vets Keith Randolph Smith and David Zayas, and Off-Broadway favorites Becca Blackwell and Nate Miller. Tickets start at $5 and proceeds go to the Arts Administrators of Color Network and the Ali Forney Center. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Linda Purl in The Year of Magical Thinking
At 8 p.m. ET, theatre and TV star Linda Purl (The Oath, The Office) performs The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion's stage adaptation and expansion of her best-selling memoir exploring the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and their daughter's fragile health. Make sure you have tissues handy! Tickets are $20 and proceeds benefit The Actors Fund.
#WhileWeBreathe: A Night of Creative Protest
At 9 p.m. ET, BIPOC theatre artists and allies come together for a night of shorts illuminating this pivotal moment in our nation's history. Tony winner Patina Miller, Emmy winner Lynn Whitfield, Classical Theatre of Harlem's Ty Jones, Tony nominee Will Swenson and others star in playlets by Lee Edward Colston II, Arvind Ethan David, Cheryl L. Davis, Nathan Alan Davis, Steve Harper, Azure D. Osborne-Lee, Liza Jessie Peterson, Bianca Sams, Keenan Scott II, Aurin Squire and Khari Wyatt. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, The Bail Project and other social justice organizations are encouraged.
The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About Nothing
There may be no Shakespeare in the Park this season, but you can enjoy one of the series' best productions in recent years online: last summer's Much Ado About Nothing. Directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and featuring an all-Black cast led by the fabulous Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple, Orange Is the New Black) and Grantham Coleman, this is one of my favorite mountings of the Bard's romantic comedy, a production that is often hilarious but also highlights the ongoing battle for equality. Watch for free anytime until Saturday, September 12 on PBS' website.
Disney Cruise Line: Tangled: The Musical
This hour-long production of Disney Cruise Line's Tangled: The Musical gives us a taste of two things we can't do right now: in-person theatre and cruises! Recorded in 2015 aboard one of the fleet's boats, the show is based on Disney's animated movie of the same name and features all of the beloved songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, plus three new numbers. Broadway director Gordon Greenberg helmed this production, which has amazing puppets created by Beetlejuice wiz Michael Curry. Watch for free on Disney Parks' YouTube channel.
Untitled Theater Company #61: The God Projekt
NYC's venerable Untitled Theater Company #61, which presents avant-garde takes on heady subjects, shares The God Projekt, a dark comedy about the big G that was recorded at La MaMa in 2016. Set in a Beckettian landscape, the play finds the Almighty having an existential crisis as he struggles with his work-afterlife balance and a secret from his past. Expect borscht belt humor, bloody puppetry and lots to chew on. Watch for free on Vimeo.
Two River Theater: Your Blues Ain't Sweet Like Mine
If you missed Two River Theater's live reading of Your Blues Ain't Sweet Like Mine last night, you can still watch the recording. Written and directed by Tony-winning actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the drama about a stormy interracial relationship had its world premiere at the theatre in 2015, and this event reunites original cast members Brandon J. Dirden, Andrew Hovelson, Merritt Janson and Roslyn Ruff with the addition of Glynn Turman. Watch for free until Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on Two River Theater's YouTube channel.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Kerry Washington.