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, Wednesday, July 22, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Folksbiene! Live: Maida Feingold: Sing Out for Peace & Justice
At 1 p.m. ET, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presents a mini-concert by Maida Feingold, a bilingual folk singer who'll croon tunes about social justice in Yiddish and English. Watch for free on Folksbiene's Facebook page.
The Building: Under Lockdown
At 1 p.m. ET, dramatist and screenwriter Ed Napier (Criminal Minds) originally envisioned The Building as a play. But once COVID-19 hit, he immediately set about reimagining it for digital consumption. Now called The Building: Under Lockdown, the multi-episode series centers on the diverse residents of a Riverside Drive co-op as they try to navigate life—and their shared elevators and hallways and fears—during the pandemic. Co-directed by Emmy-winning TV producer Jesse Green and performer/filmmaker Jodie Markell, and produced by En Garde Arts visionary Anne Hamburger, it features Laura Esterman, Robert LuPone, Kathryn Grody, Alexandra Napier, Kevin R. Free and other stalwart NYC actors in its ensemble cast. The inaugural episode debuted earlier this month. Today catch the second installment for free on YouTube.
Martha Graham Dance Company: Clytemnestra
At 2:30 p.m. ET, the Martha Graham Dance Company presents Clytemnestra, which explores the bloody aftermath of the Trojan War. The modern dance pioneer's only full-length work, it's being shown in three sections and this is the final part. This 1979 mounting stars Yuriko Kimura as the title queen and will be complemented by rare archival clips of Graham in the role. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Weir
At 3 p.m. ET, Irish Rep presents The Weir, Conor McPherson's haunting 1997 drama about a quartet of Irishmen sharing ghost stories at a pub in order to impress a comely lass. The venerable Off-Broadway company originally mounted the play in 2013; this virtual adaptation reunites director Ciarán O'Reilly with three cast members from that production, Dan Butler, Sean Gormley and John Keating, along with Amanda Quaid and Tim Ruddy, who appeared in its 2015 encore run. Tickets are a suggested donation of $25 but TDF members get a discount. There's a second performance at 8 p.m. ET.
The Metropolitan Opera: The Merry Widow
At 5 p.m. ET, 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 the Met's 2015 mounting of Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow, helmed by Tony-winning director Susan Stroman, and starring opera legend Renée Fleming as the title character, who's wooed by Nathan Gunn's Danilo, an old flame with ulterior motives. Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara costars. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Ballet Hispánico: Homebound/Alaala
At 7 p.m. ET, Ballet Hispánico presents Homebound/Alaala, choreographer Bennyroyce Royon's exploration of his Filipino-American heritage and the intersection of Asian and Latino cultures. This performance was recorded at The Joyce Theater in 2019 and you can watch for free on the dance company's website.
So Many Shakespeares: Hamlet: La Telenovela
At 7 p.m. ET, FRIGID New York's So Many Shakespeares festival features four unexpected takes on Hamlet. Tonight you can catch Hamlet: La Telenovela, which has a self-explanatory title. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
The New Group: Facing the Rising Tide: That Heaven's Vault Should Crack
At 7 p.m. ET, pioneering Off-Broadway theatre company The New Group partners with the Natural Resources Defense Council for Facing the Rising Tide, a five-day festival of virtual readings of new plays exploring environmental racism and the climate crisis. Tonight's offering is Rae Binstock's That Heaven's Vault Should Crack, a series of shorts about ordinary citizens being called to radical action to combat the environmental apocalypse. Watch for free on The New Group's YouTube channel.
Dixon Place: HOT! Festival: Veronica Garza
At 7 p.m. ET, downtown staple Dixon Place brings its 29th annual queer culture fest online with four weeks of theatre, dance, music, readings and comedy. Tonight catch Brooklyn stand-up Veronica Garza, best known for I Tried, a solo show about all the men she slept with as she struggled to be straight. Pay-what-you-can tickets are available to purchase from the theatre.
The Metropolitan Opera: Macbeth
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Macbeth, Verdi's take on Shakespeare's tragedy of a power-hungry power couple, played by Željko Lucic and Maria Guleghina. This production was filmed for the Met's Live in HD series in 2008 and directed by Adrian Noble. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Tannhäuser, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Rent Reunion
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome erstwhile Rent costars and longtime pals Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp to Stars in the House. The original Roger and Mark will reminisce about their time with the landmark musical, from its bittersweet opening night Off Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop 24 years ago (!!), to its triumphant transfer to Broadway and Tony sweep, to its polarizing 2005 movie adaptation. No day but today! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Bay Street Theater Starry Night Virtual Gala
At 8 p.m. ET, Sag Harbor's Bay Street Theater, which attracts Broadway bigwigs to the Hamptons every summer, is throwing a virtual gala modeled after a celebrity-filled '70s telethon. The droll Richard Kind hosts, and Betty Buckley, André De Shields, Melissa Errico, Raúl Esparza, Ben Vereen, Hunter Parish and others are set to sing. The festivities kick off with pre-show shenanigans at 7:30 p.m. Register in advance to receive the viewing link; proceeds go to the theatre and JBJ Soul Kitchen Food Bank
Kaiser's Room ImagiGala
At 8 p.m. ET, Kaiser's Room, a nonprofit that provides performing arts programming for students of all abilities, throws an eclectic online fundraiser. In addition to comedians and WWE wrestlers, the lineup includes Broadway vets Kate Baldwin, Patti Murin, Anthony Rapp, Melissa Errico and J. Harrison Ghee. Tickets start at $25.
Broadway Podcast Network: Be More Chill Reunion
At 9 p.m. ET, catch a reunion of the Gen Z juggernaut Be More Chill, which became a YouTube sensation years before it made it to NYC. Original Broadway cast members George Salazar, Will Roland, Jason Tam and Stephanie Hsu will be joined by their London peers Scott Folan and Blake Patrick Anderson, as well as songwriter Joe Iconis, book writer Joe Tracz and other members of the creative team. Michael in the Zoom room! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Lake Tahoe Dance Festival: American Classical Ballet
At 9 p.m. ET, the annual Lake Tahoe Dance Festival goes digital this year with three nights exploring different dance genres. Night one is dedicated to American classical ballet. In addition to interviews, performance highlights include New York City Ballet principal Adrian Danchig-Waring dancing the solo from George Balanchine's Apollo and his NYCB peer Ashley Bouder in Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Watch for free on the festival's website though donations of $25 or more are encouraged.
Available to Watch All Day
The Transport Group: Broadbend, Arkansas
Stalwart NYC theatre company The Transport Group presents Broadbend, Arkansas, a two-person musical about a Black father and daughter grappling with the personal impact of racial oppression three decades apart, first in the '60s, then in the '80s. The show had its world premiere Off Broadway last fall but its themes feel even more urgent in the current moment. Reserve your free ticket to receive the viewing link; donations to the Black Theatre Network are encouraged. The recording is available until August 16.
Graeae Theatre Company: Reasons to Be Cheerful
Back in the '70s and '80s, Ian Dury became one of the first rockers with a disability to break through to mainstream success with his New Wave band The Blockheads. In 2017, London's Graeae Theatre Company, which showcases artists with disabilities, produced a gleefully raucous musical about his life, Reasons to Be Cheerful, filled with songs from his career, including his in-your-face anthem "Spasticus Autisticus." Watch for free until Monday, August 3 on Graeae Theatre Company's YouTube channel. There's also an audio-described version.
National Theatre: Amadeus
It's the last day to catch National Theatre's Amadeus, Peter Shaffer's award-winning play about the rivalry between 18th composers Salieri and Mozart. Michael Longhurst directed this critically acclaimed production, which was filmed in 2017 and features live orchestral accompaniment by Southbank Sinfonia. Lucian Msamati portrays the more successful in life Salieri, who's tortured by the knowledge that the louche Mozart (Adam Gillen) is the true genius who will be remembered. Watch for free until Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel. There's also an audio-described version.
Stratford Festival: The Taming of the Shrew
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with the Bard's admittedly problematic battle of the sexes Taming of the Shrew, starring real-life husband and wife Ben Carlson and Deborah Hay. Watch for free until Thursday, August 6 on the fest's YouTube channel.
Top image: Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal in the Broadway production of Rent. Photo by Joan Marcus.