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, May 27, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Nancy Opel and Robert Stanton in All in the Timing
At 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House presents a live reading of selections from All in the Timing, David Ives' hilarious collection of six shorts exploring the absurd nature of human relationships through clever wordplay. Urinetown Tony nominee Nancy Opel and Broadway regular Robert Stanton portray a variety of roles in The Universal Language, Sure Thing and Variations on the Death of Trotsky. Watch for free on YouTube.
English National Ballet: Swan Lake
At 2 p.m. ET, the English National Ballet shares a recording of Swan Lake choreographed by Derek Deane, the troupe's former artistic director. His interpretation has been enthralling audiences for two decades on stage, but this is the first time it's being shown online in full. Dancers Isaac Hernández and Jurgita Dronina star as Prince Siegfried and Odette/Odile in this 2018 mounting, with Tchaikovsky's iconic score played by the English National Ballet Philharmonic. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 2 p.m. on the troupe's YouTube channel.
Martha Graham Dance Company: Letter to the World
At 2:30 p.m. ET, the Martha Graham Dance Company presents the second half of Letter to the World, the modern dance legend's mythic exploration of the imagination and emotional life of Emily Dickinson, created in 1940. The program features footage of an early cast with Graham, Erick Hawkins and Merce Cunningham, as well as a 1972 mounting with Pearl Lang. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
Theatre for a New Audience: Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest
At 3 p.m. ET, it's your last chance to see Theatre for a New Audience and the Fisher Center at Bard's Zoom adaptation of Mad Forest, which got a rave review in The New York Times over the weekend. Playwright Caryl Churchill's drama exploring the Romanian Revolution of 1989 was created with students who lived through that life-upending event, so it's fitting that students from the Bard Theater & Performance Program are mounting this live production as they try to navigate this new surreality. The show is free but you must reserve your spot by noon in order to receive the viewing link.
Linda Lavin and Billy Stritch
At 3 p.m. ET, celebrated 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. The theme this week is songs about dancing. Their friendship, banter and classic tunes always feel incredibly soothing. Watch for free on Lavin's Facebook page.
La Fille du Régiment 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 it also presents 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 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 in love with a rebel. Pretty Yende, Stephanie Blythe, Javier Camarena and Maurizio Muraro star in this 2008 mounting. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 5 p.m. on the Metropolitan Opera's website
Virtual Pillow: Celebrate Isadora Duncan with Lori Belilove & Sara Mearns
At 5 p.m. ET, the Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow dance center marks Isadora Duncan's 143rd birthday by sharing a recording of The Art of Isadora Duncan, a 2019 performance honoring the modern dance pioneer. Preeminent Duncan interpreter Lori Belilove and New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns are featured alongside senior members of the Isadora Duncan Dance Company in a program that includes many of her signature pieces set to music by Chopin, Brahms and Schubert. Watch for free on Jacob's Pillow's YouTube channel.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Gifts You Gave to the Dark
At 6 p.m. ET, the resilient Irish Rep recently announced an all-digital summer season, which kicks off tonight with the world-premiere one-act The Gifts You Gave to the Dark. Written by Darren Murphy to be performed online, the drama centers on the final remote conversation between Tom, sick in Belfast with COVID-19, and his elderly mother Rose, who's on her deathbed in Dublin. Directed by Caitríona McLaughlin, the one-act stars Seán McGinley, Marty Rea and The Beauty Queen of Leenane Tony winner Marie Mullen. Watch for free anytime through October on the Irish Rep's YouTube channel.
Ballet Hispánico: Bury Me Standing
At 7 p.m. EST, Ballet Hispánico presents Bury Me Standing, choreographer Ramón Oller's 1998 work that celebrates the intrepid spirit of the marginalized Roma community. This performance was recorded at The Joyce Theater in 2016, and you can watch for free on the dance company's Facebook page.
HERE Arts Center: Red Fly/Blue Bottle
At 7 p.m. ET, downtown culture hub HERE presents Red Fly/Blue Bottle, an avant-garde opera by composer Christina Campanella and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann about a young woman who discovers her lover is involved in a covert war. The cast includes downtown stalwart Black-Eyed Susan. Watch for free on HERE's Facebook page.
Folksbiene! Live: Lisa Fishman in Concert
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Yiddish Fiddler cast member Lisa Fishman performs a concert of old-school and new Jewish songs as part of the Folksbiene! Live series. Accompanying herself on guitar, Fishman will croon a wide variety of tunes in both English and Yiddish. Watch for free on the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's Facebook page.
Manon Lescaut at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults, its 1980 mounting of Puccini's Manon Lescaut, starring Renata Scotto, Plácido Domingo and Pablo Elvira, conducted by James Levine. 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, Ernani, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Symphony Space: Virtual Selected Shorts
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Upper West Side culture spot Symphony Space brings its decades-old Selected Shorts series online, with well-known actors performing brief works of literature by (mostly) contemporary authors. The theme of the evening is Choose Your Own Reality, and participants include Tony winner BD Wong, Tony nominee Marin Ireland and Paul Giamatti, who's tackling a short story by sci-fi savant Philip K. Dick. Watch for free on Symphony Space's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Victoria Clark and Debra Messing on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome two formidable leading ladies to Stars in the House: The Light in the Piazza Tony winner and budding stage director Victoria Clark, and Will & Grace Emmy winner Debra Messing, who was set to star in Birthday Candles on Broadway when the shutdown hit. We can't wait to hear what these two women talk (and possibly sing) about. This twice daily show benefits The Actors' Fund, and you can watch for free on YouTube.
Rent: a Sing-Along Part Two
At 9 p.m. ET, The Tank's resident humormongers, The Armory Comedy, continue their sing-along of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Rent tonight. Why just watch online theatre when you can join in? Email email@example.com to receive the Zoom link.
National Theatre: A Streetcar Named Desire
It's the last day to catch the National Theatre's A Streetcar Named Desire starring Gillian Anderson as the tragic Blanche DuBois opposite Ben Foster's unforgiving Stanley Kowalski. Directed by Benedict Andrews, this radical reimagining of Tennessee Williams' classic had a sold-out limited run at Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse and features a slowly rotating set, fiery emotions and some truly brutal moments. Prepare to see this familiar play from a new perspective. Watch for free on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Timon of Athens at the Stratford Festival
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with one of the Bard's lesser produced tragedies, Timon of Athens, often labeled as one of his problem plays. Stratford vet Joseph Ziegler stars as the title character, a wealthy and generous man whose friends disappear with his funds. Watch for free anytime through Thursday, June 11 on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.
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 premiered last week—Sexting starring Julia Stiles and Double or Nothing with Keith David and Adam Brody—and this week brings The Mulberry Bush, a short play-turned-film featuring J.J. Kandel and Victor Slezak. Watch for free on Vimeo.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Debra Messing.