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, May 29, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
At 2 p.m. ET, the Shows Must Go On! series moves on from the oeuvre of Andrew Lloyd Webber with a screening of Hairspray Live!, one of the better live TV musicals of recent years. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman's tuneful Tony-winning rom-com celebrates the style and civil rights movement of the '60s as a zaftig teen's dream to dance on TV sparks social change. This 2016 mounting stars original Tony-winning star Harvey Fierstein in drag as Edna Turnblad, Martin Short as her adoring hubby, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as activist Maybelle "Motormouth" Stubbs, pop star Ariana Grande as Penny Pingleton, Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth as vampy villain Velma Von Tussle, Disney Channel regular Dove Cameron as Amber Von Tussle, Ain't Too Proud Tony nominee Ephraim Sykes as Seaweed J. Stubbs and newcomer Maddie Baillio as the indominable Tracy Turnblad. Whether you're a longtime fan or have never seen it (is that even possible?!), this is an excellent production that's vastly superior to the 2007 movie. Watch for free through Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube.
Jordan Fisher and the Dear Evan Hansen Cast on Stars in the House
At 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome Dear Evan Hansen cast members who were doing the musical on Broadway when the shutdown hit, including heartthrob Jordan Fisher, Gabrielle Carrubba and Tony nominee Christiane Noll. The show's Tony-winning book writer Steven Levenson and director Michael Greif will also join the fun. This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on the organization's YouTube channel.
The Royal Ballet: The Cellist
At 2 p.m. ET, London's Royal Ballet shares a recording of The Cellist , choreographer Cathy Marston's interpretation of the life of celebrated cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who died of multiple sclerosis. Watch for free on YouTube channel.
Lilli Cooper on Virtual Halston
At 5 p.m. ET, Julie Halston, Broadway funny lady and longtime friend to TDF, welcomes her Tony-nominated Tootsie costar Lilli Cooper to her online chat show. We can't wait to hear what these talented performers dish about! Watch for free on YouTube.
San Francisco Ballet: Snowblind
At 5:30 p.m. ET, San Francisco Ballet shares a 2018 recording of Snowblind, choreographer Cathy Marston's one-act adaptation of Edith Wharton's heartrending novella Ethan Frome about an ill-fated love triangle between the title character, his sickly wife and her naive cousin. Watch for free on the dance company's website.
Feinstein's/54 Below: The Broadhurst at 100! 54 Celebrates the Broadhurst Theatre
At 6:30 p.m. ET, cabaret haven Feinstein's/54 Below shares a recording of The Broadhurst at 100!, a 2017 centennial tribute to Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre and some of the shows that played there. Fiorello!, Cabaret, Dancin' and Anastasia are just a handful of the memorable musicals that debuted at the venue. Broadway vets including the original Sandy in Grease Carole Demas, two-time Tony nominee Howard McGillin, Head Over Heels scene-stealer Bonnie Milligan and Next to Normal Tony winner Alice Ripley will croon tunes from those shows and more. Watch for free on Feinstein's/54 Below's YouTube channel. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
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 weird way we're living today with Corona Island, a clever parody of reality TV shows except this time the hot guy has to decide who to quarantine with. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the new theatre streaming service Broadway on Demand presents Allegiance, a landmark Broadway musical about an American family forced into a Japanese internment camp by the U.S. government during World War II. The show was loosely based on the life of Star Trek's George Takei, who stars alongside Katie Rose Clarke, Telly Leung and Tony winner Lea Salonga. This special "opening night" screening includes pre-show interviews with the cast, behind-the-scenes footage and a digital download of the original cast recording. Tickets cost $14.99.
La Sonnambula at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2009 mounting of Bellini's La Sonnambula, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez, conducted by Evelino Pidò. 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, Les Troyens, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Chita: A Legendary Celebration
At 8 p.m. ET, in 2013, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids saluted stage star Chita Rivera in a sold-out, one-night-only event at the August Wilson Theatre in honor of her 80th birthday. Tonight you can watch a recording of that incomparable evening, written by Terrence McNally, directed by Graciela Daniele and featuring Rivera performing with fellow Tony-winning Broadway babies Tommy Tune and Ben Vereen. Interspersed among the songs and stories will be new interviews with Rivera from her home. Watch for free on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids' website, or join TDF on Facebook for our watch party.
Cheyenne Jackson on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome stage and screen star Cheyenne Jackson to Stars in the House. He'll talk (and hopefully sing) about his storied career, including performing on Broadway in musicals such as Xanadu and Finian's Rainbow, and appearing in American Horror Story on TV. This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on the organization's YouTube channel.
Emily Skinner in The Glass Menagerie
At 8 p.m., Side Show Tony nominee Emily Skinner headlines a live reading of The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams' memory play about a writer looking back on his fragile dysfunctional family. Mean Girls' Erika Henningsen, Tim Realbuto and Nick Rehberger round out the cast, and there will be a post-performance Q&A with the actors and director Alison Tanney. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors' Fund are encouraged. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
New York City Ballet: 21st Century Choreographers
At 8 p.m. ET, for the final offering in NYCB's online spring season, the troupe presents an exciting lineup of recent works by some of the biggest choreographers on today's dance scene. You can peruse the full program on the company's website, but highlights include excerpts from Justin Peck's The Times Are Racing, Pam Tanowitz's Bartók Ballet, Alexei Ratmansky's Voices and Kyle Abraham's The Runaway. Watch for free on NYCB's YouTube channel through Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
Opera Philadelphia: Breaking the Waves
At 8 p.m. ET, Opera Philadelphia shares a recording of Breaking the Waves, composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek's critically lauded 2016 adaptation of Lars von Trier's challenging film about a woman who goes to degrading lengths to satisfy her husband. Kiera Duffy and John Moore star. Watch for free on Opera Philadelphia's website.
TRLive!: Lauren Molina
At 8 p.m. ET, 42nd Street's nonprofit complex Theatre Row continues its live concert series with Lauren Molina, a Broadway vet (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd) who's half of the scantily clad "undie-rock band" The Skivvies. She'll be sharing original tunes as well as eclectic covers, and you can watch for free on Theatre Row's Facebook page though donations are encouraged.
National Theatre: This House
London's National Theatre presents This House, James Graham's gripping examination of Britain's political strife in the '70s. Much as he did for his Tony-nominated play Ink, Graham uses historical events to illuminate current woes, both in the U.K. and the U.S. This play may have been filmed in 2013 but its exploration of polarized politics feels insanely timely. Watch for free through Thursday, June 4 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Beth Morrison Projects: Ellen West
Last year, composer Ricky Ian Gordon and poet Frank Bidart premiered the opera Ellen West, about a woman having an existential crisis. The work was inspired by a real-life patient of pioneering psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger, and it stars Jennifer Zetlan and Metropolitan Opera vet Nathan Gunn. Watch for free on Beth Morrison Projects' website.
Love's Labour's Lost at the Stratford Festival
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with Love's Labour's Lost, an effervescent comedy about a quartet of men who swear off women in order to study... but fate has other plans. Tony-winning Les Misérables director John Caird helmed this 2015 production for the stage, and you can watch for free on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Gifts You Gave to the Dark
The resilient Irish Rep kicks off its all-digital summer season 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 play 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.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Chita Rivera. Photo by Laura Marie Duncan.