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 this Monday, December 21 and Tuesday, December 22, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Monday, December 21
The Old Vic: A Christmas Carol
On Monday at 2 p.m. ET, another Christmas Carol? Before you say, "Bah humbug," let me assure you, this is a magical mounting of Dickens' holiday redemption tale. Adapted by Tony-winning playwright Jack Thorne and staged by Tony-winning director Matthew Warchus, the show incorporates beautifully sung Christmas carols and insightful humor into the action. The production originated at London's Old Vic in 2017 and has been a holiday staple ever since—it even crossed the pond to play on Broadway last season. Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln headlines this year's edition, which will be performed live on the Old Vic stage to an empty theatre and streamed to an at-home audience. Tickets start at £20, approximately $27. Closed captions and audio description are available.
Food for Thought Productions: The Love Course
On Monday at 2 p.m. ET, Food for Thought Productions presents a live in-person reading of A.R. Gurney's one-act The Love Course at Theatre 80 in the East Village, but you can watch online at home, too. Starring Broadway vets Laila Robins and Larry Pine alongside Jeremy Beck and Allison Jean White, the romantic comedy centers on a pair of professors who've been teaching a class on the literature of love. But now that the older teacher has fallen for her younger colleague, she wants to bring the course to a dramatic conclusion. Antony Marsellis directs. Tickets are available from the theatre but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
The Seth Concert Series: Adam Pascal
On Monday at 3 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a daily online talk show and a Sirius XM Satellite Radio series isn't enough for the multitalented Seth Rudetsky. Well-known for his skills as a pianist, music director and interviewer, he's hosted a series of intimate live concerts with Broadway stars for the past decade. This year he brings the show online. Last night's headliner was Adam Pascal and you can watch a recording today. With his shaggy sex appeal and raspy rock tenor, Pascal rocketed to fame as Roger in the original production of Rent, and went on to star in Broadway's Aida, Cabaret and Chicago. Expect numbers from his career as well as rock songs, perhaps from the campy jukebox Disaster!, which Rudetsky co-wrote and Pascal appeared in. Tickets are $25.
New Works Virtual Festival: Family Game Night
On Monday at 5 p.m. ET, the ambitious New Works Virtual Festival is presenting 20 plays in 20 days, with a debut every evening at 8 p.m. ET through Christmas. Sunday night's premiere was delayed due to technical difficulties, so you can catch Peter Kennedy's Family Game Night tonight. A dark comedy about a monthly tradition that turns into a meditation on mortality, the play stars Tony nominees Richard Kind, Liz Larsen and Carmen Cusack. Watch for free on YouTube.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical Cast Reunion
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, the 92nd Street Y reunites the stars of Broadway's Moulin Rouge! via Zoom for an intimate chat about how they brought Baz Luhrmann's cinematic classic to the stage. Playbill's Ruthie Fierberg talks with Karen Olivo, Aaron Tveit, Danny Burstein, Sahr Ngaujah and Robyn Hurder. Watch for free on the 92Y's website.
Broadway's Great American Songbook: The Holiday Gala
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, The York Theatre Company wraps up its Broadway's Great American Songbook cabaret shows with a gala featuring all of the singers from the series—Tony winners Ben Vereen and Lillias White, and NYC stage vets George Abud, Klea Blackhurst, Robert Creighton, Karen Mason, Lee Roy Reams and Alton Fitzgerald White—plus The Skivvies, A Chorus Line's Donna McKechnie, and a brand-new holiday song by Richard Maltby Jr. and David Shire. Barry Kleinbort directs the merry musical evening. Tickets start at $30.
The Dramatists Guild Foundation: Write in the Dark
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, The Dramatists Guild Foundation presents Write in the Dark, a starry fundraiser for the organization's emergency grants program benefiting playwrights around the country. The evening features performances by Broadway favorites Shoshana Bean, Jordan Fisher, Joshua Henry, Michael R. Jackson, Nathan Lane and Jim Parsons as well as appearances by writers Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul and Stephen Sondheim. Donate any amount to receive the viewing link.
The Metropolitan Opera: The Magic Flute
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Tony winner Julie Taymor's eye-popping, puppet-filled mounting of Mozart's fantastical fable The Magic Flute. Condensed into one act and performed in English, this 2006 production stars Nathan Gunn, Ying Huang, Matthew Polenzani, Erika Miklosa and René Pape. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Götterdämmerung, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
New Works Virtual Festival: Cud'n Helen Ain't Got No Color
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, the ambitious New Works Virtual Festival is showcasing 20 plays in 20 days, with a debut every evening at 8 p.m. ET through Christmas. Tonight is Sharon Harris Warrick's Cud'n Helen Ain't Got No Color, an exploration of colorism as a Black woman returns to her Mississippi hometown to attend the funeral of her grandmother. Kaylin Seckel, Leon Wooley, Aisha Jackson, Meecah, Mackenzie Williams, Brenda Braxton, Jennifer Fouche and Chaz Ebert star. Watch for free on YouTube.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party: A Broadway Christmas
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, for this week's edition of Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party, the cabaret maven partners with Broadway vet Patrick Cassidy for a holiday-themed show featuring Main Stem leading ladies Liz Callaway, Linda Lavin, Lesli Margherita and Julia Murney. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
Stars in the House: Intelligence
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, Stars in the House presents a live reading of Intelligence, a history-inspired drama by Jacqueline E. Lawton about a CIA operative whose cover is blown in the post-9/11 world. Daniella Topol directs an ensemble cast that includes Kelly AuCoin, Marin Ireland and Lawton. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Seize the Show: A Christmas Karen
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, interactive theatre company Seize the Show puts a timely spin on Dickens' classic with A Christmas Karen, about a drama-causing harridan whose comeuppance is in your hands. Cast as Karen's downtrodden assistant, you make choices that guide the action and her fate! Tickets start at $13.
Bindlestiff Open Stage: Quarantine Edition
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus continues its weekly live-streamed variety show hosted by adorkable ringmaster Keith Nelson. This evening's cavalcade includes clown Jan Damm, aerialist Selene Ballesteros, hula hooper Santé D'Amours Fortunato and the bawdy brass band Honk NYC. Watch for free on Bindlestiff's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Tuesday, December 22
The Old Vic: A Christmas Carol
On Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET, another Christmas Carol? Before you say, "Bah humbug," let me assure you, this is a magical mounting of Dickens' holiday redemption tale. Adapted by Tony-winning playwright Jack Thorne and staged by Tony-winning director Matthew Warchus, the show incorporates beautifully sung Christmas carols and insightful humor into the action. The production originated at London's Old Vic in 2017 and has been a holiday staple ever since—it even crossed the pond to play on Broadway last season. Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln headlines this year's edition, which will be performed live on the Old Vic stage to an empty theatre and streamed to an at-home audience. Tickets start at £20, approximately $27. Closed captions and audio description are available.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Meet Me in St. Louis
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, for the holidays, the intrepid Irish Rep presents Meet Me in St. Louis. Last seen at the theatre in 2007, this old-fashioned musical is based on the cherished MGM movie of the same name about the growing pains of the tight-knit Smith family as they contemplate major changes in life and love at the turn of the 20th century. Charlotte Moore, who appeared in the 1989 Broadway mounting of the show, directs a cast headlined by Tony nominees Melissa Errico and Max Von Essen, and the classic score includes "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Reservations are required to receive the free viewing link but a $25 donation is suggested.
Bedlam: Hedda Gabler
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, Bedlam, a NYC theatre company lauded for its reinventions of classics (Sense & Sensibility, The Crucible), presents a live reading of The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde's effervescent comedy of amours. Annabel Capper directs Lauren Modica, Paul Whitty, Margaret Odette, Zachary Fine, Sachi Parker, Aleca Piper and Jamie Smithson. The evening kicks off with a half hour of live music. Watch for free on the company's Facebook page though donations to Know Your Rights Camp are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Cendrillon
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Cendrillon, Jules Massenet and Henri Caïn's turn-of-the-20th-century take on the old Cinderella story, featuring internationally revered mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role and Alice Coote as her prince. Kathleen Kim, Stephanie Blythe and Laurent Naouri costar in this 2018 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, The Magic Flute, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Merchant's House: A Christmas Carol
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, the ultimate old-school version of Charles Dickens' holiday classic goes virtual this year, with John Kevin Jones performing his one-man Christmas Carol at the 19th-century Merchant's House Museum in the East Village. In this historic setting, Jones plays Dickens performing all of the characters, just like the Victorian author did back in the day. Register to receive the free viewing link; a $30 donation is suggested.
Seize the Show: A Christmas Karen
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, interactive theatre company Seize the Show puts a timely spin on Dickens' classic with A Christmas Karen, about a drama-causing harridan whose comeuppance is in your hands. Cast as Karen's downtrodden assistant, you make choices that guide the action and her fate! Tickets start at $13.
New Works Virtual Festival: March 9, 1965
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, the ambitious New Works Virtual Festival is showcasing 20 plays in 20 days, with a debut every evening at 8 p.m. ET through Christmas. Tonight is Stanley William Hathaway's March 9, 1965, about civil rights activists' second attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. The ensemble cast includes Broadway vets Robert Cuccioli, Nik Walker and Tyler Hardwick. Watch for free on YouTube.
Available to Watch Both Days
Primary Stages: Raúl Esparza in A Christmas Carol
Last Friday, Off Broadway's Primary Stages presented a live benefit reading of A Christmas Carol, and you can watch a recording until Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. Adapted and directed by Theresa Rebeck, this new take on the Christmas classic stars four-time Tony nominee Raúl Esparza as Scrooge alongside Krysta Rodriguez, Matthew Saldivar and other NYC stage regulars. Watch for free on Primary Stages' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater: Peter Pan - A Musical Adventure
Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents a recording of Peter Pan, its hit family-friendly musical from 2018. With songs by the team behind Broadway's Mary Poppins, this is a magical adaptation of J.M. Barrie's adventure about being forever young. Watch for free until Friday, January 1 on the theatre's website.
PBS: All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
A powerful work of docutheatre, All Is Calm commemorates the Christmas Truce of 1914, an unofficial ceasefire that brought troops from opposing sides of World War I together on December 24 for a night of caroling and companionship. Created by Minneapolis' Theater Latté Da, the show interweaves excerpts from letters and journals of soldiers who were there with trench songs and Christmas tunes performed a cappella. I saw this emotional piece at the Sheen Center two years ago and I get misty just thinking about it. It perfectly captures the spirit of the season: peace on earth and good will toward men. Watch for free until Thursday, December 31 on PBS' website.
New York City Center: An Evening with Audra McDonald
o NYC Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald performs a benefit concert for New York City Center. Filmed on the venue's stage (McDonald's first time upon it, shockingly!), the 75-minute program showcases her jaw-dropping vocal range as she croons Broadway classics and lesser-known gems, such as Frank Loesser's tongue twister "Can't Stop Talking About Him" from the 1950 movie Let's Dance. Her longtime collaborator, Andy Einhorn, accompanies her on piano and Michael Urie serves as an affable host. I watched this last weekend and it's an incredibly moving evening. Her voice is thrilling as always, and her love for NYC and the theatre industry is palpable. Tickets are $35 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, January 3, 2021.
Classical Theatre of Harlem: A Christmas Carol in Harlem
While there's a cornucopia of Christmas Carols streaming this season, the Classical Theatre of Harlem's version offers a modern-day, gospel-infused spin on Charles Dickens' holiday redemption tale. Recorded at Aaron Davis Hall last year, the show cleverly examines the ramifications of gentrification, making the story feel more urgent and poignant than ever. Watch for free until Sunday, January 3, 2021 on the theatre's website though donations are encouraged.
Top image: Julie Taymor's staging of The Magic Flute at the Metropolitan Opera.