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, March 15 and Tuesday, March 16, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
The Shows Must Go On!: Letters Live from the Archive: Freemasons' Hall
On Monday at 3 p.m. ET, The Shows Must Go On! presents a star-studded edition of Letters Live, featuring well-known actors reading remarkable correspondence on stage. Recorded live on stage at London's Freemasons' Hall, this performance features Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Olivia Colman, Jude Law, Carey Mulligan and Miriam Margolyes. Watch for free until Sunday on YouTube though donations to Choose Love are encouraged.
Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre Performance
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, Pulitzer Prize-winning A Chorus Line lyricist Ed Kleban died at age 48 from cancer. But his legacy lives on through his namesake prize, which grants a pair of annual awards to promising lyricists and librettists in American musical theatre. This year's recipients are lyricist Benjamin Scheuer, whose autobiographical one-man musical The Lion was a hit Off Broadway; and co-librettists Melissa Li and Kit Yan. Tony winners Richard Maltby Jr. and Maury Yeston host this virtual ceremony featuring musical performances by the winners. You may hear excerpts from the next big thing! Watch for free on Broadway on Demand.
La MaMA: Experiments: Three Ring Circus
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, La MaMa presents Three Ring Circus, Sean Patrick Higgins' modern-day farce about a polyamorous interracial relationship, as a throuple hosts a family dinner party that results in comical misunderstandings. Watch for free on La MaMa's website though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Les Contes d'Hoffmann
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Tony winner Bartlett Sher's fantastical 2015 production of Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, starring Joseph Calleja as the title lovesick poet alongside a trio of leading ladies: Kathleen Kim as the mechanical doll Olympia, Anna Netrebko as the fragile Antonia and Ekaterina Gubanova as courtesan Giulietta. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Tosca, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Red Bull Theater: Gallathea
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, NYC's Red Bull Theater, known for reimagining classics, presents a live reading of Gallathea, John Lyly's queer romantic comedy about two girls who fall for each other while masquerading as boys to avoid being sacrificed to Neptune's sea monster. Mistaken identity, competitive gods and love are all on tap in this delicious 1588 romp. Emma Rosa directs Helen Cespedes, Nathaniel P. Claridad, Yonatan Gebeyehu, Amy Jo Jackson, Rami Margron, Christopher Michael McFarland, Jason O'Connell, Layla Khoshnoudi, Aneesh Sheth, David Ryan Smith and Zo Tipp. Watch for free on Red Bull's YouTube channel; a $25 donation is suggested. A recording will be available until Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
The Jesse Walker Show: The Bridges of Madison County Reunion
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, New Jersey performer, producer and talk show host Jesse Walker welcomes cast and creative team members from the Broadway musical The Bridges of Madison County. Guests include the show's stars Kelli O'Hara, Steven Pasquale, Hunter Foster, Caitlin Kinnunen and Derek Klena; along with songwriter Jason Robert Brown, who won a 2014 Tony Award for his score; book writer Marsha Norman and director Bartlett Sher. Watch for free on Facebook though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, cabaret maven Jim Caruso welcomes renowned singers and up-and-comers at Pajama Cast Party, a live-streamed version of his popular weekly Cast Party gatherings that have taken place at Birdland for years. Tonight's lineup includes jazz vocalist Jane Monheit, Broadway vet Michael Winther and singer Shu Q. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
Bindlestiff Family Cirkus: Open Stage Variety Show: Quarantine Edition
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus continues its live weekly variety show hosted by adorkable ringmaster Keith Nelson. Tonight's awe-inspiring lineup includes juggler Bruce Manners, aerialist Kylie Webb, mentalist Matti Weinberg and hand balancer Kira DiPietrantonio.. Watch for free on Bindlestiff's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Starting Tuesday, you can stream a starry, contemporary adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Written by Henry Filloux-Bennett and set in our screen-dominated world, this cautionary tale centers on a young influencer who makes a deal ensuring that his social media celebrity will never fade. But his picture-perfect life comes at a terrible cost. Tamara Harvey directs Fionn Whitehead as the title hedonist. Tony nominees Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry and stage favorite Russell Tovey costar in this production, which was filmed remotely. Tickets are £12, approximately $17. The recording is viewable until Wednesday, March 31 and closed captions are available.
The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues One-Year Anniversary
On Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET, The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues marks one year of presenting eclectic solos about how we're living today with 24 new pieces. From 6 to 10 p.m. ET, well-known actors—including Ashlie Atkinson, Hugh Dancy, Steve Guttenberg, Jeremy Shamos, Larry Owens and Keala Settle—perform tailor-made monologues, all penned and filmed within the last 24 hours. Participating playwrights include Alex Edelman, Lily Houghton, Hansol Jung, Anchuli Felicia King, David Lindsay-Abaire and Tom Kitt, Kenneth Lonergan, Cat Miller and Jonathan Marc Sherman. Watch on The 24 Hour Plays' Instagram.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Aran Islands
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, NYC's venerable Irish Rep presents The Aran Islands, director Joe O'Byrne's one-man adaptation of John Millington Synge's 1907 novel of the same name. Brendan Conroy stars as Synge, whose time in the grey, mystical landscape of the remote isles inspired many of his writings, including Riders to the Sea. This digital production was filmed primarily at Dublin's New Theatre, with additional footage from (where else?) the Aran Islands. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link though a $25 donation is suggested.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Fanciulla del West
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Puccini's La Fanciulla del West, a rootin'-tootin' romance set during the California Gold Rush, as a charming outlaw wins the heart of a gun-toting saloon owner. Jonas Kaufmann and Eva-Maria Westbroek headline 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, Les Contes d'Hoffmann, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Anniversary Extravaganza
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, Stars in the House celebrates one year of star-studded episodes! In honor of this incredible milestone, hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome a cavalcade of past guests, including Broadway babies Annette Bening, Judy Kuhn, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelli O'Hara, David Hyde Pierce, Keala Settle and Marc Shaiman. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Goodspeed Musicals: Passing Through
Connecticut's acclaimed Goodspeed Musicals presents the musical Passing Through, about a young man traveling across the country on foot, collecting stories and wisdom that he ultimately applies to his own unresolved family issues. Based on Andrew Forsthoefel's best-selling memoir Walking to Listen: 4,000 Miles Across America, One Story at a Time, this heartwarming show features songs by Brett Ryback and a book by Eric Ulloa, and was filmed live on stage in 2019. Max Chernin stars as Andrew, with Broadway vets Jim Stanek and Garrett Long as his parents. Igor Goldin directs. 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.
Out of The Box Theatrics: The Last Five Years
On Monday and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Jason Robert Brown's musical dissection of a romance, The Last Five Years, has proven to be a pandemic favorite with multiple productions in the UK and stateside. It makes sense since the two-hander is about disconnection, as the man tells his side of their love story chronologically while the woman recalls their relationship in reverse. This digital reimagining of the show was coproduced by Out of The Box Theatrics and Holmdel Theatre Company and filmed inside a New York City apartment, giving it an air of verisimilitude. Nasia Thomas and Nicholas Edwards star as the ill-fated couple, and celebrated musical director Jason Michael Webb helmed the production. Tickets start at $29 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Sunday, March 28.
New York City Center: Matthew Bourne's The Car Man
New York City Center continues its New Adventures Festival of theatrical ballets by choreographer Matthew Bourne with The Car Man. Set in a small-town greasy spoon in the '60s Midwest, this tale of lust, adultery and murder fuses Georges Bizet's score for Carmen with plot points from the classic film noir The Postman Always Rings Twice. Christopher Trenfield, Zizi Strallen, Dominic North, Kate Lyons and Alan Vincent star in this cinematic spectacle, which was filmed live on stage at London's Sadler's Wells Theatre in 2015. Tickets are $15 and the recording is viewable until Sunday.
Manhattan Theatre Club: Three Days of Rain
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 captions are available.
New York City Ballet: Stravinsky Violin Concerto
New York City Ballet presents George Balanchine's 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 on NYCB's YouTube channel.
The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre: [hieroglyph]
California's Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and San Francisco Playhouse present [hieroglyph], Erika Dickerson-Despenza's devastating drama about a family struggling to move forward after being torn apart by Hurricane Katrina. The play examines the impact of environmental racism, sexual violence and displacement on society's most vulnerable individuals, specifically a teenager grappling with PTSD after an assault at the Superdome. The production was filmed on stage at The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre during quarantine and was directed by the company's new artistic director, Margo Hall. Tickets start at $16.50 and the recording is viewable until Saturday, April 3.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers: VPI4: TRANS(4)MISSIONS
On Monday and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, one of the country's leading companies showcasing artists with disabilities, presents 10 plays in 10 days through Sunday evening. These shorts were developed in the troupe's Virtual Playmakers' Intensive and mark the one-year anniversary of the shutdown. Watch for free on the company's YouTube channel. Live captioning and audio description are available.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Nasia Thomas and Nicholas Edwards in Out of The Box Theatrics' digital production of The Last Five Years, which begins streaming on Monday. Photo by Gerald Malaval.