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 Thursday, February 18, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Manhattan Theatre Club: The Past Is the Past
At noon ET, Manhattan Theatre Club spotlights important plays from its five-decade history with its brand-new Curtain Call reading series. First up is The Past Is the Past, an early drama by Richard Wesley produced by MTC in 1975, about two seeming strangers, one middle-aged, the other in college, who end up grappling with the past while shooting pool. Jovan Adepo (Watchmen, When They See Us) and This Is Us Emmy winner Ron Cephas Jones star, and Oz Scott directs. Reservations are required to receive the free viewing link. The recording is viewable until Sunday, February 28.
Romeo & Juliet 2021
At 2:30 p.m. ET, fall in love with a brand-new digital mounting of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet. A stage-cinema hybrid filmed last year, the production stars Olivier Award winner Sam Tutty and Emily Redpath as the ill-fated lovers and theatre legend Derek Jacobi narrates. Tickets are £20, approximately $28.
All On Her Own
At 2:30 p.m. ET, Olivier Award-winning British stage star Janie Dee headlines All On Her Own, a 1968 monologue play by Terence Rattigan about a widow reexamining her relationship with her late husband in the middle of an alcohol-soaked night. Alastair Knights directs the half-hour piece, which was filmed at London's Flemings Mayfair Hotel. Tickets are £11, approximately $15.50.
Kate Hamill on Classic Conversations
At 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company presents a chat between artistic director John Doyle and prolific playwright-performer Kate Hamill, who's celebrated for her page-to-stage adaptations including Sense & Sensibility, Little Women and Dracula, which ran at CSC last year. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page.
Theater of War Productions: Hercules in Pennsylvania
At 7 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents excerpts from Euripides' Madness of Hercules, an ancient Greek tragedy about an unthinkable act of brutality, followed by a town hall-style discussion about the impact of gun violence. Actors David Denman, Frankie Faison, Nyasha Hatendi and Taylor Schilling, and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will perform the passages, and director-adaptor Bryan Doerries will facilitate the conversation with community panelists. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link.
POSTPONED Flushing Town Hall: Black History Trilogy Part II - Divine Sass: A Tribute to the Music, Life, and Legacy of Sarah Vaughan
At 7 p.m. ET, Queens' Flushing Town Hall marks Black History Month with a trio of Broadway favorites performing tributes to groundbreaking African Americans. Tonight, Tony winner Lillias White channels celebrated jazz singer Sarah Vaughan in this one-woman bio show. Watch for free until Saturday on Flushing Town Hall's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Molly Sweeney
At 7 p.m. ET, this winter, the venerable Irish Rep is presenting encore streams of its entire digital season. Tonight, catch Molly Sweeney, Brian Friel's popular drama about a woman blind since infancy whose sight is restored with unexpected consequences. Geraldine Hughes and Ciarán O'Reilly reprise their performances as Molly and her husband from the theatre's hit 2011 production, alongside newcomer Paul O'Brien as the surgeon who changes the title character's life. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; donations are encouraged.
48Hours in...™El Bronx
At 7 p.m. ET, the Obie Award-winning theatre collective Harlem9 partners with Pregones / Puerto Rican Traveling Theater for the fourth annual 48Hours in...™El Bronx. Back in December, 30 Latinx theatre artists—six playwrights, six directors and 18 actors—met virtually to conceive, rehearse and record a half dozen shorts in 48 hours, all inspired by the work of the South Bronx photography collective Seis del Sur. These fresh playlets now premiere online. Tickets start at $10 and the recording is viewable until Monday at 7 p.m. ET.
Theatre Exile: Sin Eaters
At 7 p.m. ET, Philadelphia's Theatre Exile presents Sin Eaters, a new play by the always provocative Anna Moench about a social media content moderator who comes across a graphic video that upends her life. Matt Pfeiffer directs Bi Jean Ngo and David M Raine in this adults-only conversation starter. Tickets are $25.
The Metropolitan Opera: Tosca
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: Franco Zeffirelli's 1985 mounting of Puccini's Tosca, starring Hildegard Behrens as the title diva, Plácido Domingo as her artist lover and Cornell MacNeil as the man who stands in the way of their happiness. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's double bill, Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Virtually Live with Lena Hall!
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Hedwig Tony winner Lena Hall belts out an evening of songs from her stage career, original tunes and fan favorites in this interactive live concert. Tickets are $20.
New Ohio Theatre: Hotel Good Luck
At 7:30 p.m. ET, New Ohio Theatre and The Cherry Artists' Collective present Hotel Good Luck, Alejandro Ricaño's surreal play about a late-night radio deejay who tumbles down a rabbit hole of alternate realities in search of what he has lost. Performed and streamed live from Ithaca's State Theater, the show stars Seth Soulstein and is directed by Samuel Buggeln. Tickets start at $15.
Center Theatre Group: Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet
At 8 p.m. ET, Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group presents Matthew Bourne's powerful take on the old Romeo and Juliet tragedy, set in the not-too-distant future with the star-crossed couple stuck as inmates in the oppressive Verona Institute. Filmed on stage at Sadler’s Wells in London in 2019, the production stars Cordelia Braithwaite and Paris Fitzpatrick. Tickets are $10.
The Joyce Theater: Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE
At 8 p.m. ET, Chelsea dance haven The Joyce continues its digital season with an evening of solos and duets by Brooklyn-based troupe Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, which fuses traditional African and Caribbean dance with contemporary movement and spoken word. The program will be performed live on stage to an empty auditorium and streamed to an at-home audience. Tickets are $25. A recording will be viewable until Thursday, March 4.
Stars in the House: Bullets to Books
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley sit down with the creators of Bullets to Books, a documentary about Jok Abraham Thon, the founder of the Promise Land Secondary School in South Sudan. Guests include coproducer-director Andy Truschinski and his longtime girlfriend, Tony-winning performer Jessie Mueller. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The Tank: Borders
At 9 p.m. ET, indie theatre incubator The Tank presents a live performance of Borders, Nimrod Danishman's timely play exploring the challenges of modern-day virtual romance, as two men from different countries fall for each other on Grindr. Eli M. Schoenfeld and Adrian Rifat star, and Michael R. Piazza directs. Tickets start at $10.
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Crossroads Theatre Company: The Colored Museum
New Jersey's Crossroads Theatre Company presents an archival recording of The Colored Museum, a scathing satire by George C. Wolfe organized as a series of "exhibits" about African-American culture. The landmark play premiered at Crossroads in 1986 and soon transferred to New York's Public Theater. In 1991, Crossroads restaged the piece with Wolfe directing many members of the original cast, including Loretta Devine and the late, great Danitra Vance, so it could be filmed for PBS' Great Performances series. Four decades later, it's more potent than ever. Watch for free until Sunday, February 28 on Crossroad's website though donations are encouraged.
BAM: Riz Ahmed's The Long Goodbye: Livestream Edition
BAM presents Emmy-winning actor, rapper and activist Riz Ahmed in a digital reimagining of his solo show The Long Goodbye, which was originally scheduled to play the Brooklyn venue last year. Inspired by his album of the same name, the piece blends music and storytelling as Ahmed dissects the United Kingdom's fraught relationship with South Asians and British Asians, using an abusive relationship as a metaphor for racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. Tickets start at £5, approximately $7, and the recording is viewable until Monday, March 1.
The McCarter Theatre Center: The Manic Monologues
New Jersey's acclaimed McCarter Theatre partners with Princeton University Health Services, The 24 Hour Plays and Innovations in Socially Distant Performance for The Manic Monologues, a collection of real-life stories about people living with mental illness. Elena Araoz directs an impressive cast in these moving solos, including Broadway vets Craig Bierko, Ato Blankson-Wood, Maddie Corman, Heather Alicia Simms and Wilson Jermaine Heredia. In addition to the monologues, viewers can watch interviews with mental health experts about how to survive and thrive. Watch for free on the McCarter Theatre's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: Così 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 are complemented by online educational materials. This week's offering is Phelim McDermott's eye-popping 2018 mounting of Così 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 couples, 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.
Primary Stages: The Night Watcher
Primary Stages presents an encore stream of Charlayne Woodard's autobiographical solo show The Night Watcher, about how she's served as a maternal figure to many loved ones in her life. A Tony nominee for Ain't Misbehavin' and a star of TV's Pose, Woodard originally performed this show at Primary Stages in 2009 and then reimagined it as a virtual theatre piece last year. It's a wise and empathetic exploration of what it means to mother. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish and the recording is viewable until Sunday, February 28 at 11 p.m. ET.
The Studios of Key West: Smithtown
In our overwhelmingly remote world, it's easy for communication to be misinterpreted. That's what happens in Smithtown, a decade-old play by Drew Larimore that's taken on new resonance during the pandemic. Structured as a series of monologues, the drama explores how a text message about a tragedy kicks off an intense chain reaction that upends lives in a small college town. The impressive cast consists of Broadway regulars Michael Urie, Ann Harada, Colby Lewis and Constance Shulman, and Stephen Kitsakos directs. Tickets are $20 and the recording is viewable until Saturday, February 27.
ACT of Connecticut: Stephen Schwartz's Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook
ACT of Connecticut presents Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook, a chamber musical featuring songs by Stephen Schwartz, the genius behind Wicked, Pippin, Godspell and multiple Disney movie musicals. His iconic hits are integrated into a fresh story about an estranged couple looking back on the decades they shared. The theatre's artistic director, Daniel C. Levine, helms this intimate digital production. Tickets are $20 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Sunday, February 28.
Adjust the Procedure
The pandemic has impacted every industry, but higher education has been permanently transformed. In Jake Shore's written-for-Zoom play, a Manhattan university struggles to survive the crises of the past year, including the virus, calls for racial justice, and immigration and mental health challenges. Ed Altman, Adam Files, Meagan Moses and Nicholas Miles star and the playwright himself directs. Tickets are $10 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, March 7.
Top image: Lillias White, who stars as jazz singer Sarah Vaughan in a new bio show.