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, Tuesday, October 20, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues
At 6 p.m. ET, catch the latest installment of The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues, a six-hour series of solos about how we're living today. Every 15 minutes from 6 p.m. until midnight, well-known actors—including Reed Birney, Rachel Dratch, Jessica Hecht, Andy Karl and Orfeh, Elizabeth Marvel, Larry Owens and Noah Robbins—perform tailor-made monologues, all penned and filmed within the last 24 hours. And this week, they're all comedic (though possibly dark humor). Participating playwrights include Jaclyn Backhaus, Douglas Carter Beane, Kristoffer Diaz, Alex Edelman, David Lindsay-Abaire, Talene Monahon and Alexis Scheer. Watch on The 24 Hour Plays' Instagram though donations are encouraged.
New York Theatre Workshop: What the Hell Is a Republic, Anyway? Episode 3
At 7 p.m. ET, New York Theatre Workshop continues its series What the Hell Is a Republic, Anyway?, a four-part interactive online experience from Tony winner Denis O'Hare and director-writer Lisa Peterson. The duo previously mounted the Obie-winning An Iliad at NYTW. Now they're inviting audiences into their creative process as they deconstruct democracy by parsing the rise and fall of the Roman Republic and the challenges of successfully collaborating on anything, be it a play or politics. This third episode is titled "How Republics Fall Apart," which should feel eerily on the nose. Log on ready to participate! Tickets are $10.
At 7 p.m. ET, since 2018, the Times Square Alliance has been presenting Broadway Buskers, a concert series showcasing the songwriting talents of NYC theatre folk. This year the show goes online with live-streamed sets on Tuesday nights through October 27. This evening enjoy numbers by Jai'Len Christine Li Josey (SpongeBob SquarePants) and the retro Americana duo baby chemist featuring Katie Lee Hill (The SpongeBob Musical: Live on Stage!) and Travis Artz. Watch for free on the Times Square Alliance website though donations to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Broadway Advocacy Coalition are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: The Merry Widow
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's week of operatic comedies continues with Tony-winning director Susan Stroman's delightful staging of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, starring opera legend Renée Fleming as the title character, who's wooed by Nathan Gunn's Danilo, an old flame with ulterior motives. Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara costars. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy
At 7:30 p.m. ET, although foreign manipulation of our populace and our elections via social media is no joke, playwright Sarah Gancher mines the phenomenon for dark humor in Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy. Presented by TheaterWorks Hartford and TheatreSquared with an assist from docutheatre masters The Civilians, the play was created specifically for digital consumption and is performed live by Danielle Slavick, Mia Katigbak, Haskell King, Ian Lassiter and Greg Keller, who portray professional internet trolls. Elizabeth Williamson and Jared Mezzocchi codirect. Get ready to laugh-cry. Tickets cost $20.20.
The Public Theater: Forward. Together
At 8 p.m. ET, The Public Theater originally planned to have its virtual gala on June 1. But the nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd's murder caused the institution to pause and restructure. Since then, The Public has added a pair of new associate artistic directors, Saheem Ali and Shanta Thake, and committed to being an anti-racist institution. This reimagined gala, directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon, is part of those efforts. A diverse lineup of cherished artists, many of whom have graced The Public's stages at Astor Place and at the Delacorte in Central Park, gather to celebrate the past and the future of the theatre. Audra McDonald and Will Swenson, Elvis Costello, Trudie Styler and Sting, Laura Benanti, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Phillipa Soo, Oscar Isaac, Danielle Brooks, Antonio Banderas, John Leguizamo, David Hyde Pierce, Danai Gurira, Nikki M. James, Jelani Alladin, Jenn Colella, Stephanie Hsu and Shaina Taub are just some of the luminaries who will share stories about and songs from musicals developed at The Public. Also expect cameos from Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alicia Keys, Daniel Craig, Phylicia Rashad and many more. It should be a night to remember. Watch for free on The Public Theater's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
New York City Ballet: Classic NYCB
At 8 p.m. ET, New York City Ballet continues its virtual fall season with excerpts from some of the troupe's most prolific dance-makers: Everywhere We Go, Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes and Year of the Rabbit by current NYCB resident choreographer Justin Peck; Pictures at an Exhibition and Russian Seasons by Alexei Ratmansky; and Mercurial Manoeuvres and Polyphonia by former NYCB resident choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. Dancers include Justin Peck, Tiler Peck, Sara Mearns, Abi Stafford, Gonzalo Garcia, Lauren Lovette, Megan Fairchild and Silas Farley. Watch for free until Tuesday, October 27 on NYCB's YouTube channel.
Broadway's Best Shows: This Is Our Youth
At 8 p.m. ET, Broadway's Best Shows, which presented powerhouse readings of plays such as Love Letters and November in the spring, continues its virtual season with Kenneth Lonergan's This Is Our Youth about 48 emotional hours in the lives of three young Manhattanites in the early '80s. Originally produced Off Broadway in 1996 (with a then-unknown Mark Ruffalo!), the play was mounted on Broadway in 2014 with Michael Cera. This time around, Lucas Hedges (who appeared in Lonergan's Waverly Gallery on Broadway and his Oscar-winning movie Manchester by the Sea) headlines a cast that includes Paul Mescal and Grace Van Patten. Lila Neugebauer directs. Tickets start at $5 and proceeds go to The Actors Fund. The recorded performance will remain available to watch until Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
Stars in the House: Artists in Residence Release Party
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley host an album release party for Artists in Residence featuring 14 original tunes written by musical theatre greats during quarantine. Guests include contributing songwriters Alan Menken, David Zippel, Peter Mills, Will Reynolds, Eric Price, Jonathan Tunick, Carmel Dean and Stephen Flaherty, and singers Christiane Noll and Laura Osnes. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund and the Dramatists Guild Foundation are encouraged.
Vineyard Theatre: Lessons in Survival Episode 5
At 8:30 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's invaluable Vineyard Theatre drops the latest installment of Lessons in Survival, an intriguing project featuring a collective of 40 theatre artists sharing historic conversations, interviews and speeches about race by listening to the original speakers in an earpiece while repeating their words verbatim. Conceived by actors Marin Ireland, Peter Mark Kendall and Reggie D. White and director Tyler Thomas, this singular series continues tonight with an episode titled "Something Is Beginning to Crack," featuring Ireland, Joe Morton, Deirdre O'Connell and newly minted Tony nominee Myra Lucretia Taylor channeling Welsh interviewer Mavis Nicholson talking with authors and activists James Baldwin and Maya Angelou in separate 1987 interviews. Tickets start at $5.
Latino Theater Co.: A Mexican Trilogy, Part 3: Charity
At 10 p.m. ET, Los Angeles' Latino Theater Co. presents a recording of part 3 of Evelina Fernández's epic A Mexican Trilogy, chronicling the lives of the Mexican-American Morales family over multiple decades. This final installment is titled "Charity" and takes place in 2005 Los Angeles following the death of Pope John Paul II. José Luis Valenzuela directed this 2012 production, which stars Esperanza America, Robert Beltran, Evelina Fernández, Sam Golzari, Kenneth Lopez, Sal Lopez, Julio Macias, Xavi Moreno, Geoffrey Rivas, Lucy Rodriguez, Elia Saldana and Olivia Delgado Young. Watch part 3 for free until Friday, October 30 on the company's YouTube channel. If you missed it, part 1 is still viewable (though sadly part 2 is not).
Red Bull Theater: Keene
NYC's Red Bull Theater, known for reinvigorating classics, continues its Othello-centric season with Anchuli Felicia King's Keene, about a racially charged conflict between grad students, one of whom is writing his dissertation on Ira Aldridge, the first Black man to play Shakespeare's Moor. American Shakespeare Center's Ethan McSweeny directed the reading, which was presented live on Monday night. The Great Society's Grantham Coleman, Paul Gross, Carol Halstead, John Harrell, Chris Johnston, Sam Lilja, Amelia Pedlow, Sam Saint Ours, Sarah Suzuki and Sara Topham star. Watch for free until Friday on Red Bull's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Mint Theater: Conflict
Off Broadway's esteemed Mint Theater Company, which has been unearthing forgotten plays since 1992, presents a recording of Miles Malleson's Conflict, a love triangle set in the roaring '20s, with one woman torn between two candidates for Parliament. Jenn Thompson helmed this 2018 production featuring Jeremy Beck, Henry Clarke, Graeme Malcolm, James Prendergast, Jessie Shelton, Jasmin Walker and Amelia White. Email email@example.com to receive the password to watch the show for free until Sunday, November 1 on The Mint's website. Donations are encouraged.
St. Ann's Warehouse: Henry IV
Throughout October, Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse presents director Phyllida Lloyd's acclaimed Donmar Warehouse Shakespeare Trilogy, starring Tony nominee Harriet Walter and an all-female ensemble as inmates mounting the Bard's plays in prison, a framing that provides a fresh perspective on familiar works. All three productions were filmed in front of live audiences in 2016, with handheld and GoPro footage edited in to give them a kinetic feel. The series continues this weekend with Henry IV, its two parts condensed into two compelling hours, with Walter as the embattled title King. Watch for free until Thursday, October 22 on St. Ann's website though donations are encouraged.
Sticks & Stones
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS presents John McDaniel and Scott Logsdon's Sticks & Stones, a new musical about teen bullying inspired by the biblical story of David and Goliath. Joshua Colley stars as David, Hamilton's Javier Muñoz and Broadway legend Audra McDonald are his parents, and Be More Chill's George Salazar is King Saul. Watch for free until tonight on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
Amazon Prime Video: What the Constitution Means to Me
Heidi Schreck's Tony-nominated and Pulitzer finalist play What the Constitution Means to Me is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. In this revelatory show, Schreck talks about how, as a teen, she earned money for college by giving speeches about the U.S. Constitution at American Legion posts. She then recreates that experience while simultaneously commenting from her adult feminist perspective on the founding document's flaws and its impact on the women in her family. Amazon Prime subscribers can watch for free anytime online. If you don't have Amazon Prime, you can get a free seven-day trial.
The Public Theater: Shipwreck
The Public Theater was originally planning to mount Anne Washburn's new play Shipwreck on stage this fall, but the politically charged drama has been reimagined as a four-episode radio play. Subtitled A History Play About 2017, it takes place in pre-pandemic times, as a group of liberal friends gather at an upstate farmhouse and engage in a fraught discussion about where the country is headed. The Public's recently appointed associate artistic director Saheem Ali directs a cast that includes Tony nominees Joe Morton, Raúl Esparza and Jeremy Shamos. Listen to all four parts for free on The Public's website though donations are encouraged.
The American Dance Guild Performance Festival: 10 Years Over 10 Weeks
Each year, the American Dance Guild produces a festival that includes salutes to iconic dance-makers. Since the event is virtual this year, the organizers are transforming it into a retrospective of the last decade of honorees, with archival recordings released every Monday. The second features tributes to 2011's masters Paul Sanasardo, Jane Dudley and Linda Tarnay. Watch for free until Sunday, October 25 on Vimeo though donations are encouraged.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: John Leguizamo, one of the many stars participating in The Public Theater's Forward. Together gala.