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 Wednesday, March 10 and Thursday, March 11, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Ensemble Studio Theatre: First Light Festival: Lemuria
On Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, throughout March, Off-Off Broadway's innovative Ensemble Studio Theatre is presenting an online edition of its First Light Festival, spotlighting new plays about science. Today, catch a live reading of Lemuria, Bonnie Antosh's quirky and queer take on King Lear, set in a North Carolina lemur lab. Pirronne Yousefzadeh directs a diverse cast. Register to receive the free Zoom link.
The Metropolitan Opera: Cendrillon
On Wednesday 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. These productions have been specially selected for families and are complemented by online educational materials. This week's offering is 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 until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Ballet Hispánico: Nube Blanco
On Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. EST, Ballet Hispánico presents an archival recording of Nube Blanco, inspired by choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's childhood memories of listening to songs by popular Spanish singer Maria Dolores Pradera. This dance program also includes two other short pieces by Ochoa: Locked up Laura and Mad'Moiselle. Stick around for a post-performance Q&A with the choreographer. Watch for free on the dance company's Facebook page.
WP Theater: Final Boarding Call
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, two renowned Off-Off Broadway companies, Ma-Yi Theater and WP Theater, present Final Boarding Call, a new drama by Stefani Kuo about the current antigovernment unrest in Hong Kong as seen through the eyes of seven disparate characters. Mei Ann Teo directs. Tickets are pay-what-you-can and the recording is viewable until Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.
Symphony Space: Virtual Selected Shorts: Fame & Infamy with Dylan Marron
On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Upper West Side culture spot Symphony Space drops a new episode of its decades-old Selected Shorts series, with well-known actors performing brief works of literature by (mostly) contemporary authors. Dylan Marron hosts this evening of Fame & Infamy, featuring tales read by Bryan Cranston, Moses Ingram, Josh Radnor, Michelle Buteau, John Cameron Mitchell and Miriam Shor. Tickets are $16 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
The Metropolitan Opera: Adriana Lecouvreur
On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Adriana Lecouvreur, Cilea's romantic tragedy about a very dramatic love triangle between an actress, a princess and a count. Anna Netrebko stars as the ill-fated title diva in Sir David McVicar's 2019 staging. 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.
Stars in the House: Laura Benanti
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, Tony winner and social media maven Laura Benanti guest hosts Stars in the House in honor of Women's History Month. She'll be chatting with some of her pals and peers, including Tony winner Celia Keenan-Bolger, Cats alum Brandon Michael Nase, artist and activist Cindy Tsai, and actor and New York City Council candidate Jeffrey Omura. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Manhattan Theatre Club: Three Days of Rain
On Thursday at noon ET, Manhattan Theatre Club continues its Curtain Call series spotlighting important plays from its past with a reading of Three Days of Rain starring the original Off-Broadway cast. Just as he did in 1997, Evan Yionoulis directs Patricia Clarkson, John Slattery and Bradley Whitford in Richard Greenberg's time-hopping, Obie-winning drama about a brother and sister and their childhood friend trying to uncover the truth about the complex relationship between their parents. Reservations are required to receive the free viewing link. The recording is viewable until Sunday, March 21 and closed captioning is available.
Marcus Gardley on Classic Conversations
On Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company presents a chat between artistic director John Doyle and Obie-winning dramatist Marcus Gardley, whose plays include The House That Will Not Stand, X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. The Nation and On the Levee. Gardley is currently penning the screenplay for the movie adaptation of the musical The Color Purple, which Doyle directed on Broadway, so we're sure these two will have a lot to talk about! Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page.
The Metropolitan Opera: Francesca da Rimini
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Piero Faggioni's sumptuous mounting of Francesca da Rimini, Zandonai's adaptation of a section of Dante's Inferno, with Eva-Maria Westbroek and Marcello Giordani as the passionate lovers Francesca and Paolo. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Adriana Lecouvreur, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Irondale: if there is breakage you will find chips
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Irondale presents if there is breakage you will find chips, part of its monthlong On Women Festival. Makaela (Mak) Shealy-Sachot's two-hander examines how we impact each other in both large and small ways. Abigail Jean-Baptiste directs Sagan (Diane) Chen and Liz Neitge. Tickets are $15.
New York City Ballet: Stravinsky Violin Concerto
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, New York City Ballet wraps up its trio of George Balanchine works with Stravinsky Violin Concerto, the choreographer's 1972 neoclassical masterpiece set to Stravinsky's iconic composition. Sterling Hyltin, Ask la Cour, Sara Mearns and Taylor Stanley perform a pair of breathtaking pas de deux in this archival recording. Watch for free until Thursday, March 18 on NYCB's YouTube channel.
The Joyce Theater: Paris Opera Ballet: Swan Lake
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, Chelsea dance haven The Joyce continues its digital season with an archival recording of Paris Opera Ballet's Swan Lake. Originally choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev in 1984, this psychologically complex take on Tchaikovsky's iconic ballet is one of the troupe's signature productions. Tickets are $25 and the recording is viewable until Wednesday, March 24.
The Wild Project: Happy Days
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, East Village mainstay The Wild Project presents a digital production of Happy Days, Samuel Beckett's bittersweet tragicomedy about the toll life inevitably takes. Despite being a two-hander, the play is essentially a monologue delivered by Winnie, a woman who's literally trapped but still strives to remember the good times and greet each day with optimism. Although Beckett wrote this masterpiece 60 years ago, it takes on new resonance during these time-warped pandemic days. Nico Krell directs Tessa Albertson and Jake Austin Robertson. Tickets are free but required to receive the viewing link; a $25 donation is suggested.
Japan Society: Ludic Proxy: Fukushima
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, NYC's Japan Society presents Ludic Proxy: Fukushima, Aya Ogawa's interactive one-act about two sisters living in the shadow of Japan's devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The audience helps the characters cautiously navigate life in their hometown by voting in real time about the next moves they should make. Originally part of a longer in-person piece presented by PlayCo in 2015, the drama has been reimagined for digital consumption. Tickets are $15 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount.
Pasadena Playhouse: Another Day's Begun: Exploring Our Town
On Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET, California's Pasadena Playhouse presents an exploration of Our Town, inspired by Howard Sherman's new book Another Day's Begun: Thornton Wilder's Our Town in the 21st Century. Sherman and Jane Kaczmarek will discuss the play's enduring popularity, and excerpts will be performed by Youssef Kerkour, Keith Randolph Smith, Alexandria Wailes and Kaczmarek. Watch for free on Pasadena Playhouse's website though you need to create an account.
The Shows Must Go On!: Letters Live
The Shows Must Go On! presents a special International Women's Day edition of Letters Live. Olivia Colman, Gillian Anderson, Daisy Ridley, Rose McGowan, Adwoa Aboah and other illustrious ladies will read correspondence by important women from history. Watch for free until Sunday on YouTube though donations to The WOW Foundation are encouraged.
New York City Center: Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake
New York City Center kicks off its New Adventures Festival featuring four theatrical ballets created by maverick choreographer Matthew Bourne. First up is his beloved and bold take on Swan Lake, starring a sensual ensemble of menacing male swans. The show was a Tony-winning hit on Broadway two decades ago, but Bourne and his longtime collaborator, set and costume designer Lez Brotherston, updated elements of the production for this recent run at London's Sadler's Wells Theatre, which was filmed live on stage in 2019. Will Bozier stars as The Swan/The Stranger, Liam Mower is The Prince and Nicole Kabera plays The Queen. Tickets are $15 and the recording is viewable until Sunday.
New Normal Rep: Jericho
New Normal Rep presents Jericho, Jack Canfora's poignant drama about a Jewish family on Long Island navigating the emotional minefield of a post-9/11 Thanksgiving gathering. Four-time Academy Award nominee Marsha Mason directs a cast headlined by L.A. Law star Jill Eikenberry and Eleanor Handley, who are reprising their roles from the play's 2013 critically acclaimed Off-Broadway run. Tickets are $25 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Sunday, April 4.
Some Old Black Man
Three years ago, James Anthony Tyler's moving two-hander Some Old Black Man had its New York premiere at 59E59 Theaters. Last fall, the University of Michigan restaged and recorded that production, with Joe Cacaci directing original star Wendell Pierce and Charlie Robinson stepping in for the late Roger Robinson (no relation). Pierce plays Calvin, a 62-year-old NYC college professor who moves his irascible, working-class Southerner father into his Harlem brownstone. There, the two engage in a generational conflict about race, opportunities and past history. Register to receive the free viewing link. The recording is viewable until Friday.
In 2018, Shakespeare's Globe commissioned Morgan Lloyd Malcolm to write a play inspired by the life of Emilia Bassano, the 17th-century poet and feminist rumored to have been the Bard's Dark Lady, the subject of some of his bawdiest sonnets. Titled Emilia, the empowering, all-women work was such a critical and commercial hit, it transferred to the West End and a recording of that production is being streamed all month long. Pay-what-you-can tickets start at £1, approximately $1.40, and the recording is viewable until Wednesday, March 31. Closed captioning and audio description are available.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice: The Magical New Musical
On Wednesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. ET, catch the new British musical The Sorcerer's Apprentice inspired by Goethe's poem of the same name about an aspiring wizard who makes all spells break loose. In Richard Hough and Ben Morales' take on the tale, the title character is actually the conjurer's rebellious daughter, but the pair mend their relationship to save a troubled town. Filmed at London's Southwark Playhouse earlier this month, the production was directed by Charlotte Westenra and stars Dawn Hope, David Thaxton and newcomer Mary Moore. Tickets are £18, approximately $25.
Smock Alley Theatre: Daddy Long Legs
On Wednesday and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET, Dublin's Smock Alley Theatre presents Daddy Long Legs, a charming two-person sung-through musical about a wealthy benefactor who anonymously sends an orphan to college on the condition she write to him. Their passionate correspondence blossoms into an unexpected romance. Paul Gordon and John Caird based their show on Jean Webster's 1921 novel of the same name. This production was recorded live on stage at Smock Alley Theatre in 2018 and stars Eoin Cannon and Róisín Sullivan. Tickets are £18, approximately $25.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Sara Mearns rehearsing George Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Photo by Erin Baiano.