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, Friday, June 5, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Brenda Braxton and Raymond J. Lee on Stars in the House
At 2 p.m., in support of Black Lives Matter and calls for justice and equality, Stars in the House hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley have been using their show as a platform for artists of color. Today, Smokey Joe's Cafe Tony nominee Brenda Braxton and Raymond J. Lee (Soft Power, Groundhog Day) will talk about their lives and careers. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund are encouraged.
Old Vic: A Monster Calls
At 2 p.m. ET, London's Old Vic shares a recording of A Monster Calls, based on Patrick Ness' young-adult fantasy novel about a teen boy grappling with his single mother's illness and a monster who tells him stories. Aimed at ages 10 and up, it's a powerful tale of facing your deepest fears. Watch for free anytime through 2 p.m. Thursday, June 11 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
At 2 p.m. ET, London's Royal Opera House presents Puccini's Il trittico, a trio of standalone but complementary one-act operas: Il tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. Richard Jones' 2011 production was the first time the triptych had been performed at the venue since 1946, and you can watch for free on the Royal Opera House's YouTube channel.
Charles Busch on Virtual Halston
At 5 p.m. ET, Julie Halston, Broadway funny lady and longtime friend to TDF, welcomes her longtime pal and collaborator Charles Busch. Since the '80s, the pair have costarred in many broad comedies written by Busch, including Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, The Lady in Question, Red Scare on Sunset, The Tribute Artist, Olive and the Bitter and The Divine Sister. We expect lots of laughs between these old friends. Watch for free on YouTube.
San Francisco Ballet: Director's Choice
At 5:30 p.m. ET, San Francisco Ballet shares excerpts from three ballets selected by the troupe's artistic director Helgi Tómasson: his Soirées Musicales and Concerto Grosso as well as Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain pas de deux. Watch for free on the dance company's website.
Astoria Performing Arts Center: The Insiders - Musicals from the Quarantine
At 7 p.m. ET, Queens' venerable Astoria Performing Arts Center continues its series of mini musicals inspired by the way we're living today with Black Superman, about Black men hard hit by the pandemic and the ongoing scourge of racial oppression, written and featuring Charles and Christopher Inniss. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Exterminating Angel at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2017 mounting of Thomas Adès' The Exterminating Angel, starring Audrey Luna, Amanda Echalaz, Sally Matthews, Sophie Bevan, Alice Coote, Christine Rice, Iestyn Davies, Joseph Kaiser, Frédéric Antoun, David Portillo, David Adam Moore, Rod Gilfry, Kevin Burdette, Christian Van Horn and John Tomlinson, conducted by Adès. 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, Tosca, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Asmeret Ghebremichael on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m., in support of Black Lives Matter and calls for justice and equality, Stars in the House hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley have been using their show as a platform for artists of color. Tonight they welcome Asmeret Ghebremichael, a Broadway vet (The Book of Mormon, Legally Blonde) who just penned a must-read op-ed about the racism she's experienced in the theatre industry. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund are encouraged.
La MaMa: Downtown Variety
At 8 p.m. ET, experimental theatre mecca La MaMa presents a special edition of its weekly Downtown Variety show in response to the Black Lives Matter protests. Mx. Oops, a transmedia artist with a focus on multimedia performance, curates the evening featuring Olubode Shawn Brown, founder of BLOOM; "Burn It Down," a new song produced by Xavier Ryan of Triggered Music; and a live soundbath with singing bowls and gongs. Watch for free on the theatre's website.
Joe's Pub: Kevin Smith Kirkwood Is Classic Whitney: Alive
At 8 p.m. ET, back in 2015, Kinky Boots ensemblist Kevin Smith Kirkwood channeled a different diva at Joe's Pub: the late, great Whitney Houston. This concert serves as a retrospective and a tribute with a cavalcade of greatest hits. Watch for free on Joe's Pub's website.
Available to Watch All Day
National Theatre: Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus
London's National Theatre presents Shakespeare's tragedy Coriolanus starring Tom Hiddleston (the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Betrayal on Broadway), who earned a 2014 Olivier nomination for his powerful turn in the title role, a Roman general turned politician who's brought down by his principled bluntness, corrupt colleagues and an easily manipulated populace. Watch for free through Thursday, June 11 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Amazon Prime subscribers can stream Antoinette Nwandu's Pass Over, an ingenious riff on Waiting for Godot about a pair of Black men rapping on a street corner who are doomed never to leave—at least not alive. This devastating play ran at Lincoln Center Theater in 2018, but this film, directed by Spike Lee, was recorded a year prior at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater and stars Jon Michael Hill (Elementary) and Julian Parker. It's a biting exploration of systemic racism and police brutality that continues to be painfully relevant. Amazon Prime subscribers can watch for free anytime online. If you don't have Amazon Prime, you can get a free seven-day trial.
Notes From the Field
HBO subscribers can stream Notes From the Field, playwright-performer Anna Deavere Smith's searing examination of how racism, poverty, lack of opportunity and inadequate education have created a "school-to-prison pipeline" for so many young Black and brown people. Like her one-woman, multi-character play Fires in the Mirror, this solo show is based on real-life interviews as Smith gives voice to students, parents, teachers and administrators grappling with these issues. HBO subscribers can watch for free anytime online. If you don't have HBO, you can get a free seven-day trial.
Lincoln Center Theater: Pipeline
BroadwayHD subscribers can stream the drama Pipeline, Dominique Morisseau's thought-provoking play about a Black inner-city public school teacher (Karen Pittman) fighting to ensure her rage-filled son doesn't become a statistic of the "school-to-prison pipeline." BroadwayHD subscribers can watch for free anytime online. If you don't have BroadwayHD, you can get a free seven-day trial.
The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About Nothing
There may be no Shakespeare in the Park this season, but you can enjoy one of the series' best productions in recent years online: last summer's Much Ado About Nothing. Directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and featuring an all-Black cast led by the breathtaking Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple, Orange Is the New Black) and Grantham Coleman, this is one of my favorite mountings of the Bard's romantic comedy, a production that is often hilarious but also highlights the ongoing battle for equality. Watch for free anytime through Sunday on PBS' website.
Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 4
Scott Siegel has been producing starry cabaret concerts at Town Hall and other storied venues for years. Now he brings his talent for assembling crackerjack crooners to YouTube. Today's lineup includes a cavalcade of Broadway stars, including Tony nominees Tom Wopat, Kerry Butler, Beth Malone and Stephanie D'Abruzzo, as well as Elizabeth Stanley, Lesli Margherita and Lisa Howard. Watch for free on YouTube.
Shakespeare's Globe: The Merry Wives of Windsor
London's Shakespeare's Globe shares a recording of its 2019 mounting of The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare's comedy about the clownish Falstaff, who romances two women for their fortunes until they turn the tables on the two-timer. Olivier nominee Bryony Hannah and Sarah Finigan play the clever ladies and Pearce Quigley is Falstaff. Watch for free anytime through Sunday, June 14 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey
In honor of Pride Month, the 92nd Street Y shares a recording of The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey, writer-performer James Lecesne's one-man play about how the disappearance of a gay teenager impacts a small New Jersey town. Lecesne, who earned an Oscar for his short film Trevor, portrays all the characters in this award winner, which was a hit Off Broadway. Watch for free anytime all month on the 92Y's website though donations are encouraged.
Top image: Mx. Oops who's participating in La MaMa's Downtown Variety: X.