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 6, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Ice Factory: Who's There?
At 10 a.m. ET, the New Ohio Theatre brings its 27th annual Ice Factory festival online with four boundary-pushing premieres over four weeks. The third offering is Who's There?, an ambitious exploration of cross-cultural blind spots featuring Black, Asian and white artists based in Singapore, Malaysia and the U.S. Created by The Transit Ensemble for digital consumption, the show examines othering in the age of online activism. Pay-what-you-can tickets start at $1.
Blair Underwood and Joe Morton in Cuttin' Up
At noon ET, back in June, Playbill presented a star-studded live reading of Cuttin' Up, and it's returning for an encore stream. Charles Randolph-Wright's stage adaptation of Craig Marberry's book focuses on three Black barbers of different generations, and the humor and wisdom they bestow on their customers and each other. Stage and screen stars Blair Underwood, Joe Morton and Dyllon Burnside lead a cast that includes Tisha Campbell as all the women who drop by the shop. Watch for free on Playbill's website though donations to the Classical Theatre of Harlem are encouraged.
Original Theatre Company: Watching Rosie
At 2 p.m. ET, the U.K.'s Original Theatre Company presents Watching Rosie, Louise Coulthard's moving short play about dealing with dementia in lockdown. The fiery Miriam Margolyes (The Age of Innocence and one of the most unfiltered talk-show guests ever) plays the title character, who finds a way to bond with her beloved granddaughter despite their physical distance. Coulthard costars and Michael Fentiman directs. Register in advance to receive the free viewing link; donations are encouraged.
Quincy Tyler Bernstine on Classic Conversations
At 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company continues its Classic Conversations with a chat between artistic director John Doyle and Obie-winning Off-Broadway MVP Quincy Tyler Bernstine, whose numerous credits include the theatre's 2017 mounting of As You Like It. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page.
American Theatre Wing: "Not Going Back to Normal"
At 6:30 p.m. ET, the American Theatre Wing hosts "Not Going Back to Normal," featuring Black theatre-makers and educators discussing what they hope for the future of the industry. Binta Niambi Brown, the founder and CEO of Fermata Entertainment Ltd., moderates a panel that includes Tony-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau, Tony-nominated director Liesl Tommy, playwright and songwriter Amara Brady, and Detroit teacher Marilyn McCormick, who was recognized with the Excellence in Theatre Education Award at the 2016 Tonys. Register in advance to receive the free Zoom link.
Virtual Pillow: Dance Theatre of Harlem
At 7 p.m. ET, the Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow continues its virtual summer season with highlights from the Dance Theatre of Harlem's 2019 festival performance celebrating the troupe's 50th anniversary. The lineup includes Darrell Grand Moultrie's Harlem on My Mind, Christopher Wheeldon's pas de deux This Bitter Earth, George Balanchine's classic Valse Fantaisie and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Balamouk. Watch for free on Jacob's Pillow's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Love Stories
At 7 p.m. ET, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares Love Stories, Judith Jamison's vibrant 2004 collaboration with hip-hop pioneer Rennie Harris and Robert Battle, who took over from her as the troupe's artistic director in 2011. Set to Stevie Wonder songs, the half-hour piece is available to watch for free until Thursday, August 13 on the troupe's YouTube channel.
TRLive!: Jessie Hooker-Bailey and Gilbert L. Bailey II
At 7 p.m. ET, 42nd Street's nonprofit complex Theatre Row continues its live concert series with Broadway couple Jessie Hooker-Bailey and Gilbert L. Bailey II. The spouses met doing The Color Purple at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and he went on to appear in Beetlejuice, A Bronx Tale and The Book of Mormon while she performed in Waitress and Beautiful. Today they'll croon tunes from their careers, dream roles and some hits from the early 2000s. Watch for free on Theatre Row's Facebook page though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Madama Butterfly
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Madama Butterfly, Puccini's tragic tale of a young geisha (Kristine Opolais) abandoned by her lover, a callous American naval officer (Roberto Alagna). Anthony Minghella's staging was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2018, and also features Maria Zifchak and Dwayne Croft. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Simon Boccanegra, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers: Voices from the Great Experiment
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, one of the country's leading companies showcasing artists with disabilities, continues its live reading series of new shorts created for Zoom by dramatists who participated in its Virtual Playmakers' Intensive. Tonight's premiere is (UNTITLED) by Tatiana G. Rivera, directed by Everett Quinton and starring Veronica Cruz, Christopher Imbrosiano, Patrick O'Hare and Estrella Tamez-Penney. Watch for free with live captioning on the company's YouTube channel.
Forbidden Broadway Reunion on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, it's a Forbidden Broadway reunion on Stars in the House! The episode will be guest hosted by Christine Pedi, an extraordinary diva-shifting impersonator who's starred in multiple editions of the long-running satirical revue. She'll be joined by the punny parodist who created the series, Gerard Alessandrini, along with fellow funny alums Bryan Batt, Fred Barton, Brad Ellis, Jason Graae, Gina Kreiezmar, Bill Selby, Jenny Lee Stern and Michael West. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Alison Arngrim: Confessions of a Prairie Terror
At 8 p.m. ET, Alison Arngrim, better known as the awesomely obnoxious Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie, presents a streamlined version of her uproarious stage memoir Confessions of a Prairie Terror. A seasoned stand-up comic in addition to her acting work, Arngrim shares the behind-the-scenes scoop on the beloved TV series she literally grew up on. Tickets are $10.
Eden Theater Company: The Bathroom Plays
At 8 p.m. ET, the women-led Eden Theater Company continues its series of virtual shorts exploring the current state of our world. For this final edition, the three playlets take place in the bathroom, as characters struggle with isolation and the fight for racial justice. Watch the 45-minute performance for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.
The Muny: Summer Variety Hour
At 9:15 p.m. ET, after 102 years, the shows won't go on at The Muny this summer. But tonight, the beloved St. Louis institution streams a new episode of its online variety show featuring clips from past mainstage productions as well as brand-new virtual performances. The lineup for week three includes production numbers from the Muny's mountings of All Shook Up, Les Misérables, Newsies and South Pacific; a duet by real-life Broadway couple Beth Leavel and Adam Heller; and a game show with stage stars such as Ann Harada and Christopher Sieber. Watch for free on the Muny's YouTube channel.
The Homebound Project
The Homebound Project presents its fifth and final edition of world-premiere playlets and as always the lineup is stellar. The 12 shorts include Austin Pendleton in a piece by Craig Lucas, Laurie Metcalf in a work by Stephen Karam, Kelli O'Hara in a playlet by Lindsey Ferrentino and Lena Dunham in a self-penned solo. The brainchild of playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, this initiative is raising money to support food insecure families during the pandemic. Tickets start at $10 and proceeds go to No Kid Hungry.
The Metropolitan Opera: Cosi fan tutte
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 Phelim McDermott's eye-popping 2018 mounting of Cosi fan tutte, which sets Mozart's tantalizing comedy of romance and infidelity on Coney Island in the '50s. Amanda Majeski, Serena Malfi, Ben Bliss and Adam Plachetka star as the young lovers, with Tony winner Kelli O'Hara in a supporting role. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Old Vic: Jekyll & Hyde
London's Old Vic shares Jekyll & Hyde, director-choreographer Drew McOnie's reinvention of Robert Louis Stevenson's tale as a dance drama, set to original music by Grant Olding. An Olivier Award winner, McOnie is best known stateside for King Kong on Broadway, proving he knows how to reimagine a classic. Watch for free until Wednesday, August 12 at 2 p.m. ET on the Old Vic's YouTube channel.
Great Performances: Kevin Kline in Present Laughter
PBS Great Performances is streaming Moritz von Stuelpnagel's effervescent 2017 mounting of Noël Coward's Present Laughter starring Kevin Kline, who earned his third Tony Award for portraying narcissistic actor Garry Essendine, plagued by midlife fears, an uncontrollable libido and obsessed fans. Kate Burton, Kristine Nielsen and Cobie Smulders costar. Watch for free until Saturday, August 29 on PBS' website.
Manual Cinema: The End of TV
Here's a dazzling treat: Over the next month, the multimedia theatre collective Manual Cinema, which combines shadow puppetry and filmic elements, is sharing recordings of one eye-popping show each week. This week's offering is The End of TV, a deconstruction of the American Dream set in a post-industrial Rust Belt city in the '90s, as the aspirational promise of TV commercials is juxtaposed against declining opportunities. Watch for free until Monday, August 10 at 1 p.m. ET on the company's website.
Top image: Members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Love Stories. Photo by Gert Krautbauer.