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19 Stage Performances to See Today, May 21

Date: May 21, 2020


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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, Thursday, May 21 from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).

National Theatre: A Streetcar Named Desire
At 2 p.m. ET, London's National Theatre presents 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 reinvention of Tennessee Williams' classic ran briefly 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 through Thursday, May 28 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.

Variety Thursday on Stars in the House
At 2 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome a trio of talented performers on Stars in the House: Bonnie Milligan, beloved for her powerhouse pipes and scene-stealing turns in Head Over Heels on Broadway and Promenade at City Center's Encores!; Steven Weber, a TV vet who's been on Broadway and is wickedly funny on Twitter; and Eclipsed Tony nominee Saycon Sengbloh. This twice daily show benefits The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on YouTube.

Justin Vivian Bond: Auntie Glam's Happy Hour
At 5 p.m. ET, groundbreaking trans artist and activist Justin Vivian Bond shares their wit, wisdom and singular song stylings in their weekly "live-screamed" show Auntie Glam's Happy Hour. It's always an entertaining and insightful time. Watch for free on their website though tips are encouraged.

Jerry Herman On Stage at Paper Mill Playhouse
At 7 p.m. ET, in the fall of 1999, when New Jersey's venerable Paper Mill Playhouse was running a revival of Auntie Mame, the show's songwriter Jerry Herman dropped by for a chat and a brief performance, and you can watch a recording of it tonight. The theatre's then artistic director, Robert Johanson, interviewed the Tony winner, and performers Lee Roy Reams and Florence Lacey, both veterans of multiple Herman shows, sang as he played the piano! Watch for free on Paper Mill Playhouse's Facebook page.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: City of Rain
At 7 p.m. ET, the invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares a 2019 recording of City of Rain, Tony nominee Camille A. Brown's breathtaking ballet in honor of a friend who died. Created a decade ago, the on-the-rise choreographer revisited the work last year, making updates to accommodate the dancers and her evolving style. Watch for free through Sunday on the troupe's website.

Timon of Athens at the Stratford Festival
At 7 p.m. ET, 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 on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.

Turandot at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2019 mounting of Puccini's Turandot, starring Christine Goerke, Eleonora Buratto, Yusif Eyvazov and James Morris, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. 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, Un Ballo in Maschera, until 6:30 p.m. today.

Creede Repertory Theatre: Ripcord
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Colorado's Creede Repertory Theatre shares a recording of its production of Ripcord, Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire's dark comedy about a pair of assisted living roommates who enter into a life-changing bet. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.

Love Letters with Sally Field and Bryan Cranston
At 8 p.m. ET, get ready for your heart to expand when Broadway's Best Shows presents Love Letters starring two-time Oscar winner Sally Field and two-time Tony winner Bryan Cranston, directed by four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks. A.R. Gurney's epistolary romance chronicles the relationship between two soulmates over 50 years as they lead separate lives. It's the perfect play for this moment, as it's staged with the characters sitting side by side at different tables, reading their correspondence. That should translate beautifully online, and also captures the strange power of remote connection—something we're all learning a lot about right now. Watch for free on Broadway's Best Shows' website. Busy at 8 p.m. ET? It will be repeated at 11 p.m. ET.

Benefit Concert for You Gotta Believe on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley's twice daily talk show usually raises money for The Actors Fund. But tonight they're hosting a benefit concert for the nonprofit You Gotta Believe, which helps find forever homes for children and teens in foster care. The lineup of performers includes Tony nominees Anika Larsen, Beth Malone and Kerry Butler, plus Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Willie Garson (Sex and the City) and Alec Mapa (Ugly Betty) will share moving and personal stories about adopting their foster children. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged!

Movie Night with Josh Groban: Live at the Greek
At 8 p.m. ET, international recording sensation and Tony-nominated Great Comet star Josh Groban hosts a one-time screening of his 2004 concert movie Live at the Greek online. Throughout, he'll provide running commentary, sharing memories and stories about the film and his career. Watch for free on Groban's YouTube channel.

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: New Songs Now in Your Living Room
At 8 p.m. ET, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater continues its series of unplugged mini-concerts with new work by Grammy-nominated songwriter Jamie Floyd, who's developing her first musical The King’s Wife; and sibling songwriters Daniel and Patrick Lazour, whose musical We Live in Cairo ran at American Repertory Theatre last year. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.

Biter (Every Time I Turn Around) at The Brick
At 8 p.m. ET, one of Brooklyn's most adventurous theatres, The Brick, continues its Archival Streaming Series with another better-seen-than-described offering, Biter (Every Time I Turn Around), a "sincere slapstick gore-fest examination of personal prisons and animal urges." I don't usually quote from press releases, but who am I to change such an enticing blurb?! Created by Title:Point and co-helmed by The Brick's new artistic director Theresa Buchheister, this 2015 production sounds like a wild ride. This is your chance to see boundary-pushing, outer-borough performance without having to take the subway! Watch for free on The Brick's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.

TimeLine Theatre Company: To Master the Art
At 8:30 p.m. ET, Chicago's TimeLine Theatre Company shares a recording of its production of To Master the Art, William Brown and Doug Frew's play about Paul and Julia Child's glorious journey of discovery in 1950s Paris. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.

Available to Watch All Day

Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 3
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 Fun Home Tony nominee Beth Malone, Broadway favorite Karen Mason and the hilarious Stephen DeRosa. Watch for free on YouTube.

Hansel and Gretel at the Met
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. ET. But it also presents weekly student streams that debut on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. ET. 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 the Met's 2008 mounting of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, a holiday staple at the venue. Starring Alice Coote and Christine Schäfer, it's an eye-popping, English-language production that's great for kids, with oversize cartoon chefs, singing trees and an unforgettable witch's kitchen. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website

MCC LiveLabs: One Acts: The Sentinels
If you missed this one-act by The Inheritance playwright Matthew Lopez last night, you can still watch a recording of The Sentinels starring a formidable foursome of fierce females: Tony winners Jane Alexander, Katrina Lenk and Priscilla Lopez, and Tony nominee Denée Benton. A meditation on mourning that moves backwards in time, the drama centers on a group of September 11 widows who meets every year on the anniversary of the tragedy that upended their lives. Watch the live performance for free on MCC Theater's YouTube page.

The Homebound Project
The Homebound Project just released its second edition of playlets, and the lineup is once again stellar. Enjoy new shorts by big-name dramatists including Pulitzer Prize finalists Sarah DeLappe and Will Arbery, and Off-Broadway darlings Adam Bock and Anne Washburn, featuring stage stars such as Tony winner Mary-Louise Parker and Zachary Quinto. The brainchild of playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, this initiative is raising money to support food insecure kids during the pandemic. Tickets start at $10.

Andrew Scott in Sea Wall
Simon Stephens' devastating monologue Sea Wall, previously seen on Broadway paired with Nick Payne's solo A Life, is now online. This 2012 recording stars Andrew Scott of Fleabag fame, and he is heartbreaking as a man who recalls how a trip to the south of France with his family changed the course of his life. Even though you see the end coming, it still packs a gut punch. Watch for free anytime through Memorial Day. on YouTube.


Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.

Top image: Bryan Cranston.