Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
With in-person theatre still a rarity, many companies and performers from Broadway and beyond are showcasing their work online. Below are performances you can watch this Wednesday, August 18 and Thursday, August 19, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Chichester Festival Theatre: South Pacific
On Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. ET, the UK's Chichester Festival Theatre presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's beloved musical South Pacific. Filmed live on stage last month, this new production of the Tony-winning classic about romance and racism during World War II features British stage stars Gina Beck and Julian Ovenden as Navy nurse Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque, the dashing Frenchman with a secret; Joanna Ampil as Bloody Mary; Keir Charles as Luther Billis and Rob Houchen as Lt. Joseph Cable. Tickets start at £20, approximately $28, and the recording is viewable for 24 hours from the start time. Closed captions are available.
TDF: Pass Over Conversation
On Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, TDF presents a thought-provoking conversation with the stars of Pass Over: Jon Michael Hill, Namir Smallwood and Gabriel Ebert. Three years ago, the trio appeared in Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu's critically acclaimed one-act at Lincoln Center. Now they're reprising their roles in a revised version of this powerful play inspired by Waiting for Godot, the biblical story of Exodus and the ongoing reckoning with racism in our country. Watch for free on TDF's YouTube channel.
Battery Dance Festival
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, after going completely virtual last year, downtown's Battery Dance Festival returns as a hybrid event, with in-person performances also streamed to at-home audiences. Tonight, enjoy a diverse program, including premieres from Battery Dance; The Dancing Wheels Company, an integrated company of professional dancers with and without disabilities; MorDance; tappers Demi Remick & Dancers; and Honky Tonk Angels. Attend in person at Robert F. Wagner Park or watch for free on YouTube. The recording is viewable until Saturday, August 28.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, cabaret maven Jim Caruso is pulling double duty! His in-person Cast Party gatherings are back at Birdland on Mondays, which means the live-streamed version of the show, dubbed Pajama Cast Party, has moved to Wednesdays. Every week, the charming host welcomes renowned singers and up-and-comers for songs and stories. Tonight's lineup includes RuPaul's Drag Race and Broadway star Peppermint and singer-songwriter Jacob Khalil. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
Stars in the House: Broadway By the Decades - The '70s
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley geek out to their favorite musicals of the 1970s with special guests Len Cariou (Applause, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music) and Cheryl Clark (A Chorus Line. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Battery Dance Festival
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, after going completely virtual last year, downtown's Battery Dance Festival returns as a hybrid event, with in-person performances also streamed to at-home audiences. Tonight, enjoy a program showcasing eight NYC-based dance-makers, including Christopher Williams, the Jamal Jackson Dance Company, New York Theatre Ballet and Battery Dance. Attend in person at Robert F. Wagner Park or watch for free on YouTube—the link will be posted on the fest's website at showtime. The recording is viewable until Sunday, August 29.
Jacob's Pillow: Dallas Black Dance Theatre
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow dance festival resumed in-person performances this summer, but select events are also being streamed to at-home audiences. Starting tonight, you can catch a newly commissioned work by Darrell Grand Moultrie for the 45-year-old Dallas Black Dance Theatre. RSVP to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged. The recording is viewable until Thursday, September 2 at 6 p.m. ET.
Stars in the House: Broadway By the Decades - The '80s
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley geek out to their favorite musicals of the 1980s with special guests Priscilla Lopez (A Chorus Line) and Jennifer Leigh Warren (Big River). Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: George M. Cohan Tonight!
On Wednesday at 3 and 8 p.m. ET, and Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, NYC's venerable Irish Rep presents George M. Cohan Tonight!, theatre historian Chip Deffaa's celebration of the Irish-American entertainer, songwriter and so-called "father of American musical comedy." A hit for the theatre back in 2006, this abridged version of that one-man show features Jon Peterson reprising his award-winning turn as Cohan as he croons some of the icon's most beloved tunes, including "Over There," "Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway," "You're A Grand Old Flag" and "All Aboard for Broadway." Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested.
Adam Pascal: So Far...An Acoustic Retrospective
Earlier this week, Tony nominee Adam Pascal performed So Far, a live concert career retrospective, and you can watch a recording through Monday. With his shaggy sex appeal and raspy rock tenor, he rocketed to fame as Roger in the original production of Rent, and went on to star in Broadway's Aida, Cabaret and Chicago. In this intimate set, Pascal will share songs and personal stories, accompanying himself on guitar—how very Roger from Rent! Tickets are $15.
PBS Great Performances: Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age
PBS Great Performances presents Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age, the long-awaited sequel to the award-winning 2003 documentary Broadway: The Golden Age, By the Legends Who Were There, written, directed and produced by the late Rick McKay. Hosted by two-time Tony nominee Jonathan Groff, this new movie focuses on Broadway musicals between 1959 and 1980, and features a starry lineup of artists sharing remembrances about the original productions of Once Upon a Mattress, Bye Bye Birdie, Pippin, A Chorus Line, Ain't Misbehavin' and other beloved shows. Enjoy interviews with Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Glenn Close, André De Shields, Jane Fonda, Robert Goulet, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Dick Van Dyke and Ben Vereen alongside rare vintage clips. Watch for free until Saturday, September 11 on PBS Thirteen's website or catch it on TV at specific times this week.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: Ni Mi Madre
On Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, NYC's acclaimed Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is presenting a hybrid season, with its productions performed in person but also streamed to at-home audiences. First up is Arturo Luís Soria's autobiographically inspired solo show Ni Mi Madre, about the complex relationship between an over-the-top Brazilian woman and her queer son as they grapple with identity and what it means to be an immigrant family in America. Tickets are $35 for both streamed and in-person performances at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
TADA! Youth Theater: Heroes
TADA!, NYC's 36-year-old, Drama Desk Award-winning youth company whose alums include Jordan Peele and Kerry Washington, presents Heroes, an original musical for all ages that was recorded live on stage earlier this summer. A fantastical tale of bickering kids who need to band together to save the world after the sun disappears, the song-filled fable celebrates teamwork and stars members of TADA!'s Resident Youth Ensemble, talented tykes ages 8 to 18 (including, full disclosure, my daughter). Tickets are $10 and the recording is viewable until Monday, September 6.
Jacob's Pillow: Life Encounters: Archie Burnett
The Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow dance festival resumed in-person performances this summer, but select events are also being streamed to at-home audiences. Catch Life Encounters, a celebration of the evolution of NYC's underground dance scene choreographed by ballroom legend Archie Burnett. Guest performers include former Martha Graham Dance Company principal Abdiel, performance artist Princess Lockerooo and Bessie Award winner Ephrat Asherie. RSVP to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged. The recording is viewable until Thursday, August 26.
It's a collaboration that could only come out of the pandemic. After attending a Brown University musical theatre department reunion on Zoom, Grammy-winning songwriter Lisa Loeb decided to write a mini-musical about the experience. She then invited other talented alumni to pen their own short tuners. The result is an evening of 10 pieces written, composed, produced, directed and performed by Brown grads, including Broadway vets Josh Hamilton, Ann Harada and JoBeth Williams, and Julie Bowen from Modern Family. Watch for free online though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged. The recording is viewable until Friday.
Signature Theatre: Detroit '67
Virginia's lauded Signature Theatre presents Detroit '67, the first installment in Tony-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau's Detroit Project exploring different periods in her beloved hometown's history. This powerful family drama about two Black siblings squabbling over how to move forward takes place against the backdrop of the Detroit Rebellion, as tensions rise indoors and outside. Directed by Candis C. Jones, this production was filmed live on stage. Tickets are $35 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Thursday, September 16.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
The world's largest arts festival, Scotland's Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is back in person this year, but many offerings are also being streamed to adventurous at-home audiences. Check out performances from artists around the world, including cutting-edge comedy, experimental theatre, wacky musicals and the indefinable. Some shows cost money, others are free; some are available on demand, others have specific start times. Browse the options to see what piques your interest. I highly recommend the poignant solo show Open by NYC playwright (and TDF teaching artist) Crystal Skillman. I loved it Off-Off Broadway a few years back and it's free to watch online.
Enjoy Fringe-y performances courtesy of ZooTV, a platform showcasing cutting-edge dance and theatre artists. During its three weeks of streaming, you can catch performances by established artists such as British experimental theatre-maker Tim Crouch and NYC solo artist Peter Michael Marino or discover exciting emerging talents. Browse the options to see what piques your interest.
Jacob's Pillow: Brian Brooks / Moving Company
The Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow dance festival resumed in-person performances this summer, but some are also being streamed to at-home audiences. Catch a program by Brian Brooks' troupe The Moving Company, which was filmed live on stage last month. The lineup features Flight Study, a new work set to a string quartet by Bryce Dessner; an untitled solo piece performed by Brooks himself; and Closing Distance set to music by Caroline Shaw. RSVP to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged. The recording is viewable until Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.
Christopher Lloyd in King Lear
On Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. ET, Obie and Emmy Award-winning actor Christopher Lloyd (Taxi, Back to the Future) is currently headlining King Lear at Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires, but you can also stream the show at home. Directed by Nicole Ricciardi, the production was filmed live on stage earlier in the run. Tickets are $25 and the recording is viewable for 72 hours from the start time.
Untitled Theater Company #61: Alma Baya
Untitled Theater Company #61 presents an in-person performance of Alma Baya that was also filmed for at-home audiences. In this absurdist sci-fi drama, Alma and Baya are struggling to survive on a hostile planet. But when a refugee arrives begging for shelter, they face a moral dilemma. Two different casts perform this thought-provoking play, written and directed by Edward Einhorn. Tickets are $25 for the on-demand recording, which was filmed earlier in the run and is viewable until Sunday, September 19.
MCC Theater: FreshPlay Online Summer Festival
In addition to being a celebrated Off-Broadway company, MCC Theater has a robust theatre education program, including playwriting classes for NYC adolescents overseen by award-winning dramatist Lucy Thurber. This week, catch five brand-new shorts by some of these talented teens that tackle timely subjects such as sexual assault and gun violence. Register to receive the free viewing link though donations are encouraged.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: A piece by The Dancing Wheels Company, which is performing at the Battery Dance Festival on Wednesday night. Photo by Scott Shaw.