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 Friday through Sunday, August 21 to 23, for free or at low cost.
Actors Theatre of Louisville: The Keep Going Song
On Friday at 3 p.m. ET, one of the most acclaimed regional theatres in the country, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, presents a brand-new uplifting musical from The Bengsons, the folky singer-songwriter spouses behind Off-Broadway shows such as Hundred Days and The Lucky Ones. Created during quarantine, The Keep Going Song is an hour-long concert about finding joy, love and inspiration during times of crisis. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Virtual Halston: Mercedes Ruehl and Michael Urie
On Friday at 5 p.m. ET, Julie Halston, Broadway funny lady and longtime friend to TDF, welcomes Mercedes Ruehl and Michael Urie to her weekly chatfest. The duo costarred as overbearing Jewish mother and son in the recent Tony-nominated revival of Torch Song, so we expect this to be a hilarious reunion. Watch for free on YouTube.
BOLD 2020: Ten-Minute Play Festival
On Friday at 6 p.m. ET, BOLD 2020, a new festival of shorts written and directed by Black women, continues with Lakhiyia Hicks' Sermon I Wish I'd Heard and Chanel Carroll's Choices, both directed by Bianca LaVerne Jones. Watch for free on YouTube.
Kinesis Project: Breathing with Strangers
On Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET, dance-theatre company Kinesis Project reimagines its waterfront work Breathing with Strangers as a series of solos and duets, performed live and streamed online. Tonight, Nicole Truzzi dances the piece at the intersection of three rivers in Pittsburgh. On Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET, Claudia Lynn Rightmire performs it in upstate New York. Watch for free on the dance troupe's website.
Newsies the Musical
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, seize the day by watching Newsies on Playbill.com. The Tony-nominated musical was filmed in LA in 2016 with original stars Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Ben Fankhauser and Andrew Keenan-Bolger joined by Steve Blanchard, Aisha de Haas and Ethan Steiner. An expansion of the 1992 movie musical about turn-of-the-20th-century paperboys going up against Joseph Pulitzer, the show features catchy songs by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, a charming book by Harvey Fierstein, Christopher Gattelli's exhilarating choreography and direction by Jeff Calhoun. Stick around after the stream for interviews with cast members. Watch for free for eight hours on Playbill.com but donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
In a Dark Dark House
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, catch a live reading of In a Dark Dark House, Neil LaBute's chilling drama about two estranged brothers who reunite and dredge up their traumatic past. Alison Tanney directs Nick Gaswirth, Tim Realbuto and Laurissa Romain, and there's a Q&A with the cast and playwright following the performance. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Battery Dance Festival
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, for the first time in its 39-year history, downtown's Battery Dance Festival goes virtual with hour-long programs premiering every evening on YouTube from August 14 to 22. The series wraps up with works by the company behind the event, Battery Dance tonight, and a tribute to New York City on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. Watch for free on Battery Dance's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Simon Boccanegra
On Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, with Plácido Domingo in the title role, a man plagued by political and personal problems. Adrianne Pieczonka, Marcello Giordani and James Morris costar in this 2010 mounting. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Un Ballo in Maschera, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Broadway for Racial Justice: Amplified
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, Broadway for Racial Justice presents a starry benefit concert hosted by Pippin Tony winner Patina Miller and the org's executive director Brandon Michael Nase, who played Old Deuteronomy in the recent revival of Cats. The lineup of Broadway performers includes Hailey Kilgore, Jessie Mueller, Solea Pfeiffer, Skylar Astin, Shoshana Bean, Brittany Campbell and Kayla Davion. Watch for free on YouTube though donations are encouraged.
The Tank: meet you at the Galaxy Diner.
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, indie theatre incubator The Tank presents a reading of meet you at the Galaxy Diner., a new play by Gina Femia about a pair of long-lost high school pals who reconnect via AOL Instant Messenger. Tickets start at $10.
The King and I with Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe
On Friday at 9 p.m. ET, PBS Thirteen is airing Lincoln Center Theater's Tony-winning revival of The King and I, a tuneful tale of a 19th-century culture clash that blossoms into understanding and affection. Ken Watanabe stars as the obstinate King of Siam opposite Tony winner Kelli O'Hara as Anna, the British schoolteacher who changes his life. Watch on TV on PBS Thirteen. This won't be available after-the-fact.
TADA! Youth Theater: Games Changers
On Saturday at 11 a.m. ET, TADA!, NYC's 35-year-old, Drama Desk Award-winning youth company whose alums include Jordan Peele and Kerry Washington, is sharing recordings of its original shows for families. Inspired by '90s kids game shows, Game Changers is a charming musical about a half dozen disparate contestants, who learn that they need to work together in order to win. The production stars talented tykes ages 8 to 18 who are members of TADA!'s Resident Youth Ensemble—including my daughter (she's Tracy, the girl in the box). Watch for free on TADA!'s YouTube channel.
Stars in the House: Regional Theatre Spotlight on Music Theatre Wichita
On Saturday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House welcomes creatives from Kansas' Music Theatre Wichita, which was founded in 1972. The company's producing artistic director, Wayne Bryan, welcomes some of his regular collaborators, including Broadway vets Paula Leggett Chase, Kim Huber and Thom Sesma. Learn more about this venerable institution for free on YouTube.
Barrington Stage Company: Judgment Day
On Saturday at 7 p.m. ET, Barrington Stage Company streams a star-studded reading of Judgment Day, an over-the-top comedy by veteran TV writer/producer Rob Ulin. Jason Alexander stars as a shady lawyer, who's scared into trying to change by a domineering angel, played by an acerbic Patti LuPone. Santino Fontana costars as a priest in crisis, and the rest of the cast includes Loretta Devine, Elizabeth Stanley and Michael McKean. If this trailer is any indication, prepare for irreverent laughs. Donate $35 or more to receive the viewing link; the recording will remain available through Wednesday, August 26.
The Metropolitan Opera: Il Barbiere di Siviglia
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: John Cox's sparkling 1988 mounting of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rossini's comic masterpiece about Figaro, a resourceful barber who helps a couple out of a hairy situation. Leo Nucci stars as the title character and Kathleen Battle and Rowell Blake are the young lovers. 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.
Pippin Reunion on Stars in the House
On Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley have magic to do, just for you, as they bring together cast members from the 2013 Tony-winning revival of Pippin. Guests include Rachel Bay Jones; Broadway power couple Terrence Mann and Charlotte d'Amboise; Matthew James Thomas, who played the title character; and Andrea Martin, who won her second Tony Award as Pippin's trapeze swinging, "No Time at All" singing grandma. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Stars in the House Presents 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview and Variations on a Theme
On Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House continues its live reading series for young audiences with a pair of one-acts about leaving the nest for higher education: Ian McWethy's 13 Ways to Screw Up Your College Interview and Ed Monk's Variations on a Theme. Watch for free on YouTube.
The Metropolitan Opera: Hansel and Gretel
On Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 1982 mounting of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, with Frederica von Stade and Judith Blegen as the mischievous siblings who have a tasty run-in with Rosalind Elias's witch. Nathaniel Merrill directed this English-language production, which features eye-popping design by Robert O'Hearn. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
The Seth Concert Series: Rachel Bay Jones
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a daily talk show online and a Sirius XM Satellite Radio series isn't enough for the multitalented Seth Rudetsky. Well-known for his skills as a pianist, musical director and interviewer, he's hosted a series of intimate live concerts in Provincetown with Broadway stars for the past decade. This summer he brings the show online, and tonight's headliner is Rachel Bay Jones. The veteran Broadway performer appeared in Pippin and Hair and won a Tony Award for her empathetic turn as the title character's stressed-out single mom in Dear Evan Hansen. In addition to crooning tunes from her career, hopefully she'll give some gossip on the upcoming Dear Evan Hansen movie. Tickets are $25.
The Obie Award-winning Black theatre collective Harlem9 presents the 10th annual edition of its signature series 48Hours in...™Harlem. In the past, participating writers, directors and actors had 48 hours to conceive, rehearse and mount a half dozen plays, each inspired by a specific African-American classic. This year they got 48 hours to create the pieces, and 48 more to rehearse, perform and film them. The playwrights are Keith Josef Adkins, Brittany K. Allen, Tracey Conyer Lee, Nadine Mozon, Jeremy O'Brian and L. Trey Wilson; the directors are Marjuan Canady, nicHi douglas, Raja Feather Kelly, Malika Oyetimein, Logan Pitts and Dominique Rider. The 18 actors bringing their pieces to life include A Strange Loop star Larry Owens, Toni Stone Obie winner April Matthis and Off-Broadway vet David Ryan Smith. Tickets start at $10.
Friday through Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, Chicago's beloved Porchlight Music Theatre presents three evenings of music featuring mostly local performers singing their support for the venue. Sunday's tribute to Broadway legend Joel Grey is the starriest night and features highlights from his career as well as appearances by Chita Rivera, Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin, Kristin Chenoweth and Raúl Esparza. Register to receive the free viewing link; donations are encouraged.
Black Lives, Black Words International Project: Plays for the People: Buffafly Precinct
Friday through Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, Black Lives, Black Words International Project presents Buffafly Precinct, a passionate new piece written and directed by Shá Cage, about two young Black girls carrying dark secrets and a jar of butterflies who get caught up in George Floyd's murder and its aftermath. Ashe Jafaaru, Ava Saunders and Javari Horne star. Tickets are $17.
Great Performances: Kevin Kline in Present Laughter
It's your last weekend to catch 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 Friday, August 28 on PBS' website.
And So We Come Forth: The Apple Family: A Dinner on Zoom
It's also your last weekend to see And So We Come Forth, Tony-winning director and playwright Richard Nelson's latest of-the-moment drama centered on his fictional Apple Family. From 2010 to 2013, Nelson mounted one hyper-realistic play a year about this Rhinebeck, New York clan as they grappled with national milestones such as the 10th anniversary of September 11, the 2012 reelection of Barack Obama and the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. This past April, as the COVID-19 pandemic peaked in New York, the Apples reunited for What Do We Need to Talk About?, a Zoom call in quarantine. Once again, the four siblings and one boyfriend, played by the cast of the original tetralogy—Tony winner Maryann Plunkett, Sally Murphy, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders and Stephen Kunken—assuage their isolation via technology, as they discuss how they're faring. Watch for free until Wednesday, August 26 on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Top image: Jeremy Jordan in Newsies the Musical. Photo by Deen Van Meer.