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, Monday, May 18, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Laura Benanti Guest Hosts Stars in the House
At 2 p.m. ET, Tony winner Laura Benanti, beloved for her crystalline soprano and wry sense of humor, guest hosts Stars in the House, and she's bringing some as-yet-unnamed friends with her. Expect a few fellow Broadway stars and perhaps some of the talented tykes she discovered through her viral #SunshineSongs initiative. This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on YouTube.
Shakespeare's Globe: The Winter's Tale
At 2 p.m. ET, London's Shakespeare's Globe shares a recording of its 2018 mounting of The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's genre-shifting comedy-tragedy-romance about an insanely jealous king, a pair of determined young lovers, an oracle, a magical statue and a bear. Watch for free anytime through Sunday, May 31 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
At 7 p.m. ET, the live-streamed theatre series Play-PerView presents a reading of Permission, a dark comedy that reunites the playwright, director and star of the Tony-nominated Broadway hit Hand to God. Robert Askins' play focuses on a struggling couple, Eric and Cyndy, who are inspired by their married pals to try the controversial practice of Christian Domestic Discipline, leading to uncomfortable results, psychologically and physically. Moritz Von Stuelpnagel directs a cast that includes Tony nominee Steven Boyer, William Jackson Harper and Erin Wilhelmi. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Tickets start at $5, and proceeds benefit the nonprofit Ensemble Studio Theatre. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
At 7 p.m. ET, the 92nd Street Y, which has been sharing a wide array of gems from its extensive archives for the past two months, throws a virtual gala. The lineup includes a premiere by Dorrance Dance; a remote collaboration between Tony nominee and former New York City Ballet principal Robbie Fairchild, American Idol alum Aaron Marcellus and tap-dance genius Michelle Dorrance; and readings by Salman Rushdie and former US poet laureate Billy Collins. Watch for free on the 92nd Street Y website though donations are encouraged.
Celebrating Harlem Stage
At 7 p.m. ET, Harlem Stage, which has highlighted artists of color for the past 41 years, is throwing an online fundraiser hosted by Tony winner LaChanze and her daughter, Jagged Little Pill star Celia Rose Gooding, as well as neighoborhood resident Tamara Tunie, best known as the longtime medical examiner on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Guests and performers include diva Nona Hendryx, jazz pianist Jason Moran, groundbreaking choreographer Bill T. Jones, and acting spouses Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy. Watch for free on Harlem Stage's Facebook page though donations are encouraged.
Red Bull Theater: Coriolanus
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Red Bull Theater presents a live reading of Coriolanus, Shakespeare's tragedy about the Roman general-turned-politician, who's brought down by his principled bluntness, corrupt colleagues and an easily manipulated populace. This event reunites some of the cast members of the company's 2016 Off-Broadway production, including Tony winner Stephen Spinella, Hadestown's Patrick Page and Dion Johnstone in the title role. Watch for free on Red Bull's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: Idomeneo
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Mozart's Idomeneo, starring Nadine Sierra, Elza van den Heever, Alice Coote and Matthew Polenzani, conducted by James Levine. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2017, 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, Nabucco, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Jeff Daniels Online & Unplugged
At 7:30 p.m. ET, three-time Tony nominee Jeff Daniels may be best known for his dramatic roles like Atticus Finch in Broadway's To Kill a Mockingbird, but he's also a skilled folk and blues singer and guitarist. He's using those lesser-known talents to perform a series of live acoustic concerts in support of Michigan's Purple Rose Theatre Company, which he founded back in 1991. Watch tonight's set for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
Bindlestiff Open Stage: Quarantine Edition
At 7:30 p.m. ET, run away with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus at the troupe's weekly live-streamed variety show, hosted by adorkable ringmaster Keith Nelson. Enjoy a cavalcade of jaw-dropping acts, including juggler Erin Stephens, hula hooper Fernanda Sumano, magician Torkova, aerialist Alisa Mae and yo-yo spinner Justin Weber. Watch for free on Bindlestiff's Facebook page though donations are encouraged.
A Night of Covenant House Stars
At 8 p.m. ET, Covenant House, a 48-year-old charity helping homeless and trafficked youth, hosts a star-studded fundraiser, which is streaming on multiple services, including the brand-new theatre streaming service Broadway on Demand. Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald and 60 Minutes correspondent John Dickerson cohost, and the lineup of guests and performers includes Broadway regulars Stephanie J. Block, Tony Shalhoub, Zachary Levi, Zachary Quinto, Ariana DeBose, Jordan Fisher, Jeremy Jordan, Karen Olivo, Laura Osnes, Andrew Rannells, Keala Settle and Will Swenson, plus Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Jon Bon Jovi, Rachel Brosnahan, Stephen Colbert, Martin Short, Dolly Parton and many more. Watch for free on YouTube or Broadway on Demand's website; donations to Covenant House are encouraged.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
At 8 p.m. ET, cabaret maven Jim Caruso welcomes renowned singers and up-and-comers at Pajama Cast Party, a live-streamed version of his popular weekly Cast Party gatherings that have taken place at Birdland for decades. Tonight's lineup includes Jagged Little Pill's Elizabeth Stanley, Tony nominee Melissa Errico, stage and screen icon John Davidson and Mary Wilson of The Supremes. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
Neil LaBute Shorts
Prolific provocateur-playwright Neil LaBute (Bash, The Shape of Things) is sharing a half dozen short films online featuring some of his usual stage collaborators. The first two premiere today: Sexting starring Julia Stiles, Jamie Anderson and Marin Ireland, who earned a Tony nod for her turn in LaBute's Reasons to Be Pretty on Broadway; and Double or Nothing with Keith David, Adam Brody and Louisa Krause. A new flick will be released every Monday for the next four weeks. Watch for free on Vimeo.
Simon McBurney's The Encounter
London's Complicité streams The Encounter, avant-garde theatre-maker Simon McBurney's aurally immersive one-man play about National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre's interactions with the elusive Mayoruna tribe in the Amazon rain forest. This singular show was well-received on Broadway and headphones are recommended to get the full experience as it conjures the locale through evocative sound design. Watch for free anytime through Friday on Complicité's YouTube channel.
National Theatre: Barber Shop Chronicles
London's National Theatre shares Barber Shop Chronicles, Inua Ellams' hit play about the thriving social scenes at six different barbershops, one in London, the others in Africa. A critically acclaimed production, the show presents a loving and insightful portrait of the African men who work and visit these hair-styling havens. Watch for free anytime through Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Lincoln Center Theater: Pipeline
BroadwayHD partners with Lincoln Center to stream the drama Pipeline at no cost. Written by Tony nominee Dominique Morisseau, the thought-provoking play ran at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in 2017 and centers on a black inner-city public school teacher fighting to ensure her rage-filled son doesn't become a statistic. Watch for free anytime through Friday on BroadwayHD.
Stratford Festival: The Tempest
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare On Film series with The Tempest starring six-decade stage vet Martha Henry as Prospero the vengeful sorcerer. Stratford's artistic director Antoni Cimolino helmed this well-received 2018 production, which you can watch for free on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.
Odd Day Rain 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. Recorded last year, the sci-fi rock musical Odd Day Rain is a tuneful cautionary tale about the perils of relying on technology, and features kids forced to live in isolation, which feels eerily timely. 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.
Top image: Audra McDonald. Photo by Allison Michael Orenstein.