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 performers from Broadway and beyond are sharing their talents online. Below are performances you can watch today, Thursday, April 23, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost), including lots of Shakespeare in honor of the Bard's 456th birthday!
You don't have to wait until evening to see the Metropolitan Opera's latest treasure from its archives. Its 2015 mounting of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, helmed by Tony-winning director Susan Stroman, and starring Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara and opera legend Renée Fleming, is available to stream right now on the Met's website. 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. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Le Contes d'Hoffmann, until 6:30 p.m. today.
At 11 a.m. EST, catch the latest installment of 22 Homes. Inspired by our current stay-at-home situation, Alabama Shakespeare Festival commissioned 22 Southern playwrights to pen original shorts around the idea of "home," which were performed and recorded by actors from around the country. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the theatre posts new videos. The inaugural works premiered earlier this week and included a monologue by Will Arbery, whose drama Heroes of the Fourth Turning earned raves at Playwrights Horizons last fall. Other playwrights participating in this project include Pearl Cleage, Lisa D’Amour and Lauren Gunderson. Catch the second installment today for free on the theatre's website.
From noon to 8 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Irondale is hosting a Shakespeare Sonnet Marathon in honor of the Bard's birthday. The more than 100 participants include Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes, Grammy nominee Rufus Wainwright, Orange Is the New Black's Lea DeLaria, Tony winner Cady Huffman and Tony nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.
At 2 p.m. EST, London's National Theatre shares a recording of its mounting of Twelfth Night, Shakespeare's beloved comedy of mistaken identity. The production was recorded for the National's NT Live series, and Tamsin Greig is hilarious as Malvolia, a female take on the classic buffoon Malvolio. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube page anytime through Wednesday, April 30.
At 2 p.m. EST, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley host a live variety show on Stars in the House. The lineup includes actor and comedian Preston Nyman, musical theatre performer Julian Ovenden and West End star Rachel Tucker. This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on the organization's YouTube channel.
At 5 p.m. EST, 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 sure to be an entertaining and insightful time. Watch on their website for free, though tips are encouraged.
At 6 p.m. EST, Classic Stage Company continues its Classic Conversations with a chat between artistic director John Doyle and Tony nominee Will Swenson, who was set to star in the theatre's highly anticipated revival of Assassins, which has been indefinitely postponed. While this is billed as an interview series, the theatre promises "occasional" singing, and we're hoping they'll up that to frequent. Watch on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page. Assassins bonus: Watch Swenson's costar Ethan Slater croon "The Ballad of Czolgosz" with fellow cast members. It gives you a tantalizing taste of what could have been—and hopefully one day will be.
At 7 p.m. EST, the invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares a recording of Night Creature, an effervescent work celebrating those who come alive after dark, choreographed by the troupe's founder and set to Duke Ellington's evocative jazz. Watch for free on the troupe's website through Sunday.
At 7 p.m. EST, Massachusetts' Provincetown Theater shares a recording of its 2018 production of You Can't Take It with You, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart's zany comedy about a kooky family of artists and inventors leaning into love during the Great Depression. Watch for free on the company's website through Sunday.
At 7 p.m. ET, Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival launches its Shakespeare On Film series on the Bard's birthday with King Lear, the tragedy the playwright penned while in quarantine during the plague. A recording of the fest's 2014 production, it stars perennial TV bad guy Colm Feore, a Stratford vet who was scheduled to take on the title role in Richard III this month before the pandemic hit. Watch for free on the Stratford Festival's site.
At 7:30 p.m. ET, St. Andrews Players, a troupe based out of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Yardley, PA, presents a live reading of King Lear with Tony nominee Stacy Keach in the title role. Watch for free on the church's YouTube channel.
At 8 p.m. ET, Stonewall Gives Back! A Live-Streaming Concert for the LGBTQ + Nightlife Community features lots of bold-faced Broadway names, including Tony winners Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth, Hedwig cocreator and star John Cameron Mitchell, Kinky Boots songwriter Cyndi Lauper and Kinky Boots star Todrick Hall. Hosted by Michelle Visage and Tyler Oakley, the live-streamed benefit concert supports the LGBTQ nightlife industry, so while you can watch for free on YouTube, donations are strongly encouraged.
At 8 p.m. ET, it's a China Beach reunion on Stars in the House. Hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome the cast of ABC's Vietnam War-set hospital drama, including Broadway alums Michael Boatman, Dana Delany, Nancy Giles, Concetta Tomei and Robert Picardo. This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on the organization's YouTube channel.
At 8 p.m. ET, one of Brooklyn's most adventurous theatres, The Brick, continues its Archival Streaming Series with a recording of two contemporary dance pieces by choreographer Lisa Fagan, Red Carrots and Catches No Flies, which premiered at the venue this past January. This is your chance to see boundary-pushing, outer-borough performance without having to take the subway! Watch on The Brick's YouTube channel for free, though donations are encouraged.
At 9 p.m. ET, California's lauded South Coast Repertory shares a recording of its production of Outside Mullingar, Pulitzer Prize winner John Patrick Shanley's Irish rom-com about a land dispute, a grudge and a mismatched pair. The play was a hit on Broadway in 2014 with Debra Messing. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
One of the last productions TDF Stages covered before the shutdown began, Hilary Bettis' 72 Miles to Go… at Roundabout Theatre Company, was filmed before it prematurely closed. Now this drama about a decade in the life of a Mexican-American family whose matriarch has been deported is available to watch online. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
If you missed New York City Ballet's launch of its online season on Tuesday, you can still see its first offering: a 2017 performance of George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante featuring Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette. Watch for free on NYCB's YouTube channel through Friday at 8 p.m.
Shakespeare's Globe in London shares a recording of its 2009 mounting of Romeo & Juliet, directed by Dominic Dromgoole and starring Ellie Kendrick and Adetomiwa Edun. Watch for free anytime through Sunday, May 3 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
London's Hampstead Theatre continues its #HampsteadTheatreAtHome series with a recording of its 2014 production of Tiger Country, Nina Raine's play about the behind-the-scenes drama in a busy hospital over the holidays. It's eerily timely. Watch for free anytime through Sunday on the company's website.
Top image: Renée Fleming and Kelli O'Hara in The Merry Widow. Photo by Ken Howard/MetOpera.