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, June 22, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
The Seth Concert Series: Jessie Mueller
At 3 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a daily talk show online and a Sirius XM Satellite Radio series isn't enough for the multitalented Seth Rudetsky. Well-known for his skills as a pianist, musical director and interviewer, he's hosted a popular series of intimate live concerts in Provincetown with Broadway stars for the past decade. This summer, he brings the show online. Jessie Mueller was his guest last night, and you can watch a recording of that performance today. A beloved musical theatre star who was in the midst of making her Broadway dramatic acting debut in The Minutes when performance venues shut down, she chats about that experience, and sings numbers from the shows she's done, including Waitress, Carousel and her Tony-winning turn in Beautiful. Tickets are $25.
Pride Plays: Brave Smiles...Another Lesbian Tragedy
At 7 p.m. ET, last June in honor of Pride Month, Michael Urie partnered with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater to present a festival of diverse LGBTQ play readings. This year the series has gone online at Playbill.com. Tonight's offering is Brave Smiles...Another Lesbian Tragedy by The Five Lesbian Brothers, a cutting-edge theatre collective comprised of Maureen Angelos, Babs Davy, Dominique Dibbell, Peg Healey and Tony-winning Fun Home book writer-lyricist Lisa Kron. Under the direction of Tony nominee Leigh Silverman, the hilarious ladies reunite for this live reading of their 1992 satire of the tragic depiction of lesbians in entertainment throughout the 20th century, with merciless send-ups of The Well of Loneliness, The Group, Maedchen in Uniform and The Children's Hour. Watch for free on Playbill's website though donations to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Traviata
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares La Traviata, Giuseppe Verdi's romantic tragedy about a courtesan whose chance at true love is thwarted by bourgeois mores. This production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2017, and stars Sonya Yoncheva, Michael Fabiano and Thomas Hampson, with Nicola Luisotti conducting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Satyagraha, until 6:30 p.m. today.
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. This edition's cavalcade of amazing acts is particularly impressive, including Jenny Vidbel, the Big Apple Circus' erstwhile equestrian and awe-inspiring animal trainer, yo-yo spinner Mark Hayward, aerialist Montana Miller, mesmerizing mentalist Eric Walton and Denny Daniel, the loquacious propriter of the Museum of Interesting Things . Watch for free on Bindlestiff's Facebook page though donations are encouraged.
Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Barrington Stage Company and Capital Repertory Theatre present a live reading of Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids, Vincent Terrell Durham's of-the-moment play about a progressive white couple in Harlem throwing a dinner party for Black Lives Matter activists, where the uncomfortable conversation includes systemic racism, police brutality and environmental disaster. The companies originally performed the play on Juneteenth, and this encore event will be followed by a live discussion. Watch for free on Capital Rep's Facebook page though donations to the Fund for Black Theatre in the US are encouraged.
Lincoln Center Dance Week: All Balanchine Program
At 8 p.m. ET, Lincoln Center at Home presents rarely seen gems from New York City Ballet's archives that showcase the genius of the troupe's cofounder George Balanchine. This program features highlights from the 2004 broadcast of the Balanchine 100 Centennial Celebration, including the fourth movement of the Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet with Wendy Whelan and Damian Woetzel and "The Man I Love" pas de deux from Who Cares? starring Alexandra Ansanelli and Nilas Martins, with Wynton Marsalis playing the Gershwin score. There's also an excerpt from the 1978 broadcast of Coppélia featuring Patricia McBride and Helgi Tomasson. Watch for free until Tuesday, July 14 on Lincoln Center's Facebook page.
Stars in the House: Andréa Burns
At 8 p.m. ET, On Your Feet! diva Andréa Burns continues her Monday night guest hosting duties on Stars in the House. Guests have yet to be determined. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund 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 years. Tonight's lineup includes Next to Normal Tony winner Alice Ripley; former New York City Ballet dancer and An American in Paris Tony nominee Robbie Fairchild; the voice of Sesame Street's Abby Cadabby Leslie Carrara-Rudolph and legendary jazz crooner Allan Harris. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
Grace & Milt
At 8 p.m. ET, stage and screen actors Keira Naughton and Adam O'Byrne star in Grace & Milt, inspired by the photographs of Gail Albert Halaban, who's celebrated for her haunting urban landscapes. Written by Off-Broadway favorites Sheila Callaghan and Marcus Gardley, this two-hander homes in on the title characters, New Yorkers quarantied in their respective apartments who become obsessed with watching one another. Tickets start at $25 and proceeds go to the Babies Heart Fund at Columbia University Medical Center.
Muny Magic in Your Home: The Buddy Holly Boys
At 9:15 p.m. ET, after 102 years, the shows won't go on at The Muny this summer. Thankfully, the beloved St. Louis institution is sharing some past performances from its intimate cabaret series. Tonight, bop along to The Buddy Holly Boys as the quartet plays hits by the pioneering '50s rocker. This concert features Andy Christopher, Joe Cosmo Cogen, Kyle Lacy and Nathan Yates Douglass, who headlined the Muny's acclaimed 2015 mainstage production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Watch for free on the Muny's website.
The Queerly Festival, an annual showcase of cutting-edge LGBTQ artists usually held at FRIGID: New York's Kraine Theatre, goes virtual this year with two and a half weeks of indie performances. Tonight there are three separate shows:
TADA! Youth Theater: Up to You
TADA! Youth Theater, NYC's 35-year-old, Drama Desk Award-winning kids company whose alums include Jordan Peele and Kerry Washington, is sharing recordings of its original hour-long musicals for families. Recorded in 2016, Up to You was written by Joanne Bogart and Eric Rockwell, the duo behind the long-running Off-Broadway hit The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!). Inspired by Rockwell's own adolescent experiences, Up to You is set at a high school in 1977 during a contentious student council election, with classmates grappling with peer pressure, verbal bullying, nasty stereotyping and rumors, especially the narrator, Eric. 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.
Blair Underwood and Joe Morton in Cuttin' Up
If you missed the star-studded live reading of Cuttin' Up on Sunday, a recording is available to watch for the next 24 hours. Charles Randolph-Wright's stage adaptation of Craig Marberry's book focuses on three Black barbers of different generations, and the humor and wisdom they bestow on their customers and each other. Stage and screen stars Blair Underwood, Joe Morton and Dyllon Burnside lead a cast that includes Tisha Campbell as all the women who drop by the shop. Watch for free on Playbill's website though a $10 donation to the Classical Theatre of Harlem is suggested.
Lincoln Center Theater: Act One
Lincoln Center Theater shares a recording of Act One, James Lapine's Tony-nominated adaptation of legendary theatre-maker Moss Hart's memoir about how he got into showbiz. The cast includes Tony winners Santino Fontana and Tony Shalhoub, who plays Hart as an older man as well as his longtime collaborator George S. Kaufman. It's a charming, history-filled love letter to the enduring allure of the stage. Watch for free until Friday, July 3 on Lincoln Center's YouTube channel.
Holland Taylor in Ann
PBS presents Ann, Holland Taylor's one-woman bio-play about the late Ann Richards, an outspoken Democrat who served as Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995. Taylor's compelling portrayal earned her a Tony nomination as best actress. It's an inspiring portrait of a woman who captivated as a politician and as a person. Watch for free until Friday, July 17on PBS' website.
National Theatre: Small Island
London's National Theatre presents Small Island, Helen Edmundson's acclaimed 2019 stage adaptation of Andrea Levy's novel exploring the complicated history between Jamaica and the U.K. through a trio of interconnected stories as the protagonists try to find their way in post-WWII Britain. Directed by Rufus Norris and featuring a diverse cast of more than 40 actors, this three-hour epic is available to watch for free until Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Top image: Wendy Whelan and Damian Woetzel in Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. Photo by Paul Kolnik.