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, Thursday, August 27, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Weathervane Theatre: Heathers
At 2 p.m. ET, New Hampshire's Weathervane Theatre presents the pitch-black musical comedy Heathers, which began Off Broadway and spawned a massive Gen Z following. Based on the 1989 Winona Ryder-Christian Slater cult movie of the same name, the show focuses on a quippy teen and her rebel boyfriend who start killing their popular but abusive peers. Weathervane is mounting a hybrid production, with the cast performing the musical live on stage in front of a small in-person audience with many more watching online. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount. There's a final performance this evening at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Bedlam: Don Juan in Hell
At 6:30 p.m. ET, Bedlam, a NYC theatre company lauded for its reinventions of classics (Sense & Sensibility, The Crucible), presents a live reading of Don Juan in Hell, George Bernard Shaw's philosophical debate between the title character and the Devil. Bedlam's artistic director Eric Tucker plays Don Juan, and the evening kicks off with a half hour of live music by Joshua Fried. Watch for free on the company's Facebook page though donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center are encouraged.
The New Group: The Jacksonian Starring Ed Harris
At 7 p.m. ET, The New Group presents a live reading of Beth Henley's The Jacksonian about a down-on-his-luck dentist who moves into a seedy motel. This performance reunites the cast of the hit 2013 Off-Broadway production: Ed Harris, his real-life wife Amy Madigan as his estranged stage spouse, Juliet Brett as their daughter and Bill Pullman as a bartender, with Carol Kane taking over the role originated by the late Glenne Headly. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: No Longer Silent
At 7 p.m. ET, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents No Longer Silent, an epic ensemble work by the troupe's artistic director Robert Battle, set to Erwin Schulhoff's percussive score Ogelala as dancers participate in a mysterious, militaristic ritual. The composer died in a Nazi concentration camp, and the 2015 Ailey debut of this work marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. Watch for free until Thursday, September 3 on the troupe's YouTube channel.
Virtual Pillow: And Still You Must Swing
At 7 p.m. ET, the Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow wraps up its virtual summer season with And Still You Must Swing, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards' vibrant celebration of the evolution of tap. The work had its world premiere at the festival in 2016, and the choreographer-dancer shares the stage with fellow top-shelf tappers Derick K. Grant and Jason Samuels Smith, and Tony-nominated choreographer Camille A. Brown. Watch for free on Jacob's Pillow's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Jelani Alladin in Goodnight, Tyler
At 7 p.m. ET, Frozen star Jelani Alladin produces and headlines a reading of B.J. Tindal's thought-provoking ghost story Goodnight, Tyler, about a young Black man killed by police who wants to be remembered for how he lived rather than how he died. This is the inaugural offering from Alladin's new production company Dumont Millennial Productions, and costars Johanna Braddy, Danielle Deadwyler, Jack Quaid, Alex Gibson and Tony nominee Michele Shay. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The National Black Theatre are encouraged.
Radio Free Birdland: Billy Stritch: Hooray For Love
At 7 p.m. ET, midtown jazz haunt Birdland presents lauded singer and pianist Billy Stritch in a new solo concert Hooray for Love. The upbeat set list includes beloved show tunes and standards by Stephen Sondheim, Harold Arlen, Barry Manilow, Johnny Burke, and Sammy Fain and Lew Brown. Three cameras capture the show, which is performed in the club without an audience. Tickets are $20.
The Joyce Theater: Complexions Contemporary Ballet: Bach 25
At 7 p.m. ET, dance haven The Joyce Theater wraps up its virtual summer season with Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Bach 25, choreographed by Dwight Rhoden and set to works by Baroque masters Johan Sebastian Bach and his son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Created for the troupe's 25th anniversary season, this performance was recorded at the Joyce back in January. Watch for free until Tuesday, September 8 at 10 a.m. ET on The Joyce's YouTube channel.
Theater in Quarantine: Footnote for the End of Time
At 7 p.m. ET, downtown multihyphenate Joshua William Gelb, known for deconstructing complicated classics like The Jazz Singer, presents Footnote for the End of Time, a reimagining of Jorge Luis Borges' short story The Secret Miracle about a Jewish playwright who begs God for time to complete one last work before he's executed by the Nazis. Watch for free on Gelb's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Un Ballo in Maschera
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera's Verdi week continues with Un Ballo in Maschera , featuring Marcelo Álvarez as a ruler in love with his best friend's wife. Sondra Radvanovsky, Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe and Dmitri Hvorostovsky costar in David Alden's 2012 production, which is styled as a film noir. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Luisa Miller, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival: Untitled Agatha Project
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival wraps up its live reading series of new plays with Untitled Agatha Project, Heidi Armbruster's modern-day riff on an old Agatha Christie whodunit. Lavina Jadhwani directs a cast that includes Zachary Fine, Maria-Christina Oliveras and Triney Sandoval. Register in order to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged.
Laura Bell Bundy, Anika Noni Rose and Shoshana Bean on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome Legally Blonde Tony nominee Laura Bell Bundy, Tony winner Anika Noni Rose and Broadway favorite Shoshana Bean to Stars in the House. Bell recently released the empowering anthem "Get It Girl, You Go!" celebrating 100 years of women fighting for equality, including the right to vote, work and run for public office, and Rose and Bean were guest vocalists on the track. Tune in to hear them sing and chat about all the fighting left to be done! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Michael Friedman Collection Listening Party
At 8 p.m. ET, when brilliant songwriter Michael Friedman died suddenly three years ago, it was a massive blow to the artists and audiences who adored him and his work. Although only one of his musicals made it to Broadway, the ahead-of-its-time Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, he was incredibly prolific and created many Off-Broadway shows, often with The Civilians. Tonight, that theatre company partners with Ghostlight Records for an interactive listening party of two new albums of Friedman musicals, (I Am) Nobody's Lunch and Paris Commune. Creative team and cast members, including three-time Tony nominee Mary Testa, will answer questions and share stories about Friedman and his oeuvre. Watch for free on Ghostlight Records' YouTube channel.
Club Cumming Virtual Variety Show!
At 8 p.m. ET, Cabaret Tony winner Alan Cumming is also the proprietor of Club Cumming, an East Village nightspot that presents eclectic performances. Tonight, the shuttered venue brings a bit of its fabulousness online with a variety show hosted by Cumming and featuring performances by singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, comedian Judy Gold, drag star Lauren Ordair and other downtown divas. Tickets are $20.
Black Lives, Black Words International Project: Plays for the People: Cell Surface
At 8 p.m. ET, Black Lives, Black Words International Project presents Cell Surface, Dominic Taylor's subversion of a bio play about two undersung African-American scientists and associates, Dr. Ernest Everett Just and Dr. Roger Arliner Young, and how difficult it is to pack their accomplishments and relationship into a Zoom show. Jerrell Henderson directs. Tickets are $17.
Hope Mill Theatre: Godspell
Apparently, Stephen Schwartz's musical Godspell is what's going to get us through COVID-19. Not only is the Berkshire Theatre Group mounting it outdoors in Pittsfield, Massachusettes, but across the pond Manchester's Hope Mill Theatre is presenting the parable-packed musical as an online concert. The cast features a slew of West End vets including Ruthie Henshall, Jenny Fitzpatrick, Darren Day and Sally Ann Triplett, alongside an ensemble of students from the Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts. It's an uplifting show when we need it most. Tickets are £15, approximately $20. If today is sold out, buy tickets for Friday or Saturday at 4 a.m. ET and the recording will remain viewable for 24 hours.
Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 9
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 Come From Away Tony nominee Jenn Colella, Broadway regulars Farah Alvin and Cooper Grodin, and jazz singer-pianist Tony DeSare. Watch for free on YouTube.
Women in Theatre: A Centennial Celebration
If you missed the premiere of Playbill's star-studded celebration of 100 years of theatrical milestones by women and gender nonconforming artists last night, you can watch a recording until Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. Tony-nominated actress Rebecca Naomi Jones and Tony-nominated playwright-performer Heidi Schreck host the evening, which includes musical performances by Sara Bareilles, Daphne-Rubin Vega, Jessie Mueller, Nikki M. James, Shoshana Bean, Charlotte d'Amboise, Ann Harada, L Morgan Lee, Beth Malone, Ashley Park, Solea Pfeiffer, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Saycon Sengbloh and Alysha Umphress, along with appearances by playwrights and directors such as Quiara Alegría Hudes, Lynn Nottage, Paula Vogel, Lynn Ahrens, Jocelyn Bioh, Linda Cho, Dominique Morisseau, Sarah Ruhl, Leigh Silverman, Susan Stroman, Shaina Taub and Whitney White. There are also sneak peeks at upcoming projects led by women, including Jeannette and Gun & Powder, as well as a new song from the creators of Six. Watch this incredible lineup for free on Playbill.com though donations to Broadway Advocacy Coalition's Artivism Fellowship are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Don Pasquale
Ever since the shutdown began, the Metropolitan Opera 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 productions 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 a 2010 mounting of Donizetti's comedy Don Pasquale, starring Anna Netrebko as Norina, the clever young widow who helps teach the Scrooge-like title character much-needed lessons about generosity and love. Matthew Polenzani, Mariusz Kwiecien and John Del Carlo costar. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Top image: Ed Harris and Bill Pullman in the New Group's 2013 production of The Jacksonian. Photo by Monique Carboni.