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, September 16, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Theater of War Productions: Amy Ryan in Philoctetes and Women of Trachis
At noon ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents a starry reading of scenes from Philoctetes and Women of Trachis, followed by a town hall-style discussion with the audience. Two-time Tony nominee Amy Ryan, Frankie Faison, David Zayas and Marjolaine Goldsmith will perform scenes from Sophocles' tragedies, and then director-adapter Bryan Doerries will facilitate a conversation about how the plays' themes relate to the trauma frontline medical workers faced during the pandemic. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite at least an hour in advance. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Folksbiene! Live: Magda Fishman's A Sweet New Year
At 1 p.m. ET, Magda Fishman—a seasoned cantor and one of the stars of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's Soul to Soul—presents a concert of songs celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which takes place this coming weekend. So break out the apples and honey. Shana tova! Watch for free on Folksbiene's Facebook page.
Old Vic: Michael Sheen in Faith Healer
At 2:30 p.m. ET, London's acclaimed Old Vic presents Brian Friel's Faith Healer, a powerful play about the dramatic life of Hardy, portrayed by Michael Sheen. Since this story about faith and fragility unfolds through a series of monologues delivered by Hardy, his wife (Indira Varma) and his longtime manager (David Threlfall), it's ideal for this era of social distancing, and will be performed live on stage to an empty auditorium and streamed to an at-home audience. Tickets cost £20 to £40, approximately $25 to $50, and must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance—that means today's performance is no longer available, but you can still buy tickets for Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Audio description and closed captions are available.
The Metropolitan Opera: L'Elisir d'Amore
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 Donizetti's charming rom-com L'Elisir d'Amore, about a spirited landowner, a lovesick peasant and a purported love potion that may lead to romance. Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher helmed this 2018 mounting that stars Pretty Yende, Matthew Polenzani, Davide Luciano and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
New York City Center's Studio 5: Great American Ballerinas
At 5 p.m. ET, New York City Center continues its Great American Ballerinas series with former New York City Ballet principal Stephanie Saland and current star Tiler Peck exploring the "green" solo from Jerome Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. Saland was coached by the choreographer himself, so she's sure to have wisdom to impart. Watch for free on New York City Center's YouTube channel.
Urban Stages: The Incels
At 7 p.m. ET, Off-Off Broadway's Urban Stages continues its September Play Fest & Fundraiser with a reading of The Incels, Ruth Zamoyta's look at three volatile men who can't get girlfriends, and their chilling potential for violence. Kim T. Sharp directs Jason Asher, Grant Bowen, Christopher Daftsios, Ian Hayes, Mat Labotka and Chris Marshall. Watch for free on Urban Stages' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Two River Theater: Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England
At 7 p.m. ET, New Jersey's lauded Two River Theater presents a reading of Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, Madeleine George's heady sex comedy, which had its world premiere at the venue nine years ago. The play centers on the professional and personal problems of a stressed-out college dean (Tony winner Lisa Kron), who's torn between her ex-girlfriend (Brenda Pressley) and her current partner (Elizabeth Ramosand) while trying to save her institution from financial ruin. The show will be presented in two parts: Act I tonight, and Act II at the same time tomorrow. Tony nominee Leigh Silverman directs. Tickets are $25 and proceeds benefit The Audre Lorde Project.
Mauricio Martinez: De Mexico to Broadway
At 7 p.m. ET, Playbill marks Mexican Independence Day by streaming Mauricio Martinez in De Mexico to Broadway, a concert recorded live at Feinstein's/54 Below in 2018. After playing Emilio Estefan in On Your Feet! on Broadway and in the first national tour, the heartthrob returned to his adopted city to perform a show about his life and career, including the many musicals he headlined in his native Mexico. Tony nominee Orfeh and Mariand Torres guest star, and Martinez will do live pre- and post-stream interviews. Watch for free on the club's YouTube channel.
New York Theatre Barn: New Works Series
At 7 p.m. ET, for the past 13 years, New York Theatre Barn has showcased works in progress in its New Works Series. That initiative has now gone virtual, with 40-minute peeks at two new musicals a week. Tonight, catch excerpts from Jaime Jarret's Wonder Boy about a trans superhero, and Zack Zadek and Peter Duchan's rom-dram Love, Rosie about a mismatched couple bonded by their love of music. Watch for free on New York Theatre Barn's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Fille du Régiment
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of bel-canto favorites continues with Le Comte Ory, Donizetti's beloved romantic comedy about an orphan girl raised by a regiment of French soldiers who ends up falling for a rebel. This 2008 production stars Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez as the quirky couple, alongside Felicity Palmer, Alessandro Corbelli and late stage icon Marian Seldes in a cameo. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Le Comte Ory, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Gorilla Repertory Theater Company: Macbeth
At 7:30 p.m. ET, since 1989, Gorilla Repertory Theater Company has been presenting raucous interpretations of classical plays, often for free outside in Washington Square Park. Since the show couldn't go on this summer, founding artistic and producing director Christopher Carter Sanderson decided to pivot to his digital dream project: a version of Macbeth shot entirely in close-up on the actors' iPhones. TV vet Leajato Amara Robinson stars as the title character, and many of Gorilla Rep's regulars round out the cast, plus newbies such as (full disclosure) my daughter as Macduff's son. The result is a chilling, in-your-face take on Shakespeare's tragedy about the ultimate power-hungry power couple. Register in advance to receive the free Zoom link.
Stars in the House: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Cast Returns!
At 8 p.m. ET, prepare for déjà woo-hoo as Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome back the cast of the smash musical TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to Stars in the House. Their July reunion was such a blast, they decided to go nuts all over again. Creator-star-theatre nerd Rachel Bloom will be joined by Skylar Astin, Donna Lynne Champlin, Kat Burns, Vincent Rodriguez III, Peter Gardner, David Hull, Erick Lopez, Vella Lovell, Michael McMillan, Clark Moore, Burl Moseley, Esther Povitsky, Gabrielle Ruiz and some surprise guests...we're hoping for Rebecca's original Greg! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
All for One Theater: Jack Was Kind
At 8 p.m. ET, All for One Theater presents Jack Was Kind, a solo show written and starring Tracy Thorne. A meditation on privilege and complicity in oppression, the one-act examines a shocking event as seen through the eyes of the instigator's wife. Thorne will be performing the piece four times a week through October 10. Tickets start at $5.
MCC Theater: Miscast20
If you missed MCC Theater's fabulous Miscast20 concert on Sunday night featuring stage stars performing songs from roles they're wrong for, you can watch a recording until Thursday. In years past, videos of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Raúl Esparza singing "A Boy Like That" from West Side Story, Aaron Tveit and Gavin Creel crooning "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent, and Tina Fey and Tituss Burgess one-upping each other in "You're Nothing Without Me" from City of Angels have gone viral. This year, since Miscast20 is completely virtual, audiences everywhere can enjoy the entire evening of kooky casting, which is often hilarious but also unexpectedly thought-provoking and poignant. The stellar lineup includes Leslie Odom Jr., Norbert Leo Butz, Robert Fairchild, Heather Headley, Joshua Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Phillipa Soo and Adrienne Warren. No spoilers about the surprising numbers they sing, but let's just say that if Norbert crooned that love ballad to me, I would leave my husband. Watch for free on MCC's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Incidental Moments of the Day: The Apple Family: Life on Zoom
Tony-winning dramatist and director Richard Nelson presents Incidental Moments of the Day, the final installment of his of-the-moment Zoom trilogy centered on his fictional Apple family. From 2010 to 2013, Nelson mounted one hyper-realistic play a year about this Rhinebeck, New York clan as they grappled with national milestones such as the 10th anniversary of September 11, the 2012 reelection of Barack Obama and the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. This past April, as the COVID-19 pandemic peaked in New York, the Apples reunited for What Do We Need to Talk About?, a Zoom call in quarantine, followed by And So We Come Forth in July. Once again, the four siblings and one boyfriend, played by the cast of the original tetralogy—Tony winner Maryann Plunkett, Sally Murphy, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders and Stephen Kunken—assuage their isolation via technology as they discuss how they're faring. There's also a surprise guest, Charlotte Bydwell as Lucy Michael, a character from another Nelson series, The Michaels. The previous hour-long Apple Zooms were profoundly moving and akin to eavesdropping, an uncanny reflection of how so many white, middle-class, middle-aged liberals are feeling today. Expect more of the same from this climactic episode. Watch for free until November 5 on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Great Performances: Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet
In 1965, acclaimed choreographer Kenneth MacMillan debuted his iconic staging of Romeo and Juliet at The Royal Ballet. This film adaptation by the BalletBoyz, aka Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, brings the romantic tragedy to the screen, with Francesca Hayward and William Bracewell as Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers dancing to Prokofiev's lush score. Watch for free until Friday, October 9 on PBS' website.
Play-PerView: Seneca Falls
On Saturday, Play-PerView presented a live reading of Seneca Falls, and you can watch a recording through Thursday. Jean Ann Douglass' darkly humorous triptych about the first 72 years of the women's suffrage movement is directed by Jess Chayes, and stars Off-Broadway favorites Susannah Flood, Kelly McAndrew, Monique St. Cyr, Erin Wilhelmi, John Zdrojeski and two-time Obie winner April Matthis. Tickets start at $15 and benefit NYC-based theatre company New Georges.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Skylar Astin and Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Photo courtesy of The CW.