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 17 and Thursday, March 18, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Wednesday, March 17
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Aran Islands
On Wednesday at 3 and 8 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 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 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 until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Gingold Theatrical Group: Irish Poetry Slam
On Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET, celebrate St. Patrick's Day at Gingold Theatrical Group's starry Irish Poetry Slam. The troupe's charming artistic director, David Staller, presides over this literary shindig, featuring Broadway favorites such as Robert Cuccioli, Tyne Daly, Melissa Errico, Jessica Hecht, Tonya Pinkins, Renee Taylor and Karen Ziemba sharing wonderful words by George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and other Irish writers. Want to get in on the action? Audiences will be asked to share their favorite Irish verses, too! In order to participate, register by 1 p.m. ET to receive the free Zoom link or stream the event on the troupe's Facebook page.
The Way Forward: Theatre's Evolution in Moments of Change
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, the 92nd Street Y and Town & Country magazine kick off a three-part interview series with theatre industry leaders discussing the long road back to in-person performances. Part I is titled "Past — We Have Been Here Before" and features the artistic director of The Public Theater, Oskar Eustis in a one-on-one conversation with cultural ambassador Patrick Gaspard exploring how theatre has survived and addressed periods of social change throughout history. Register to receive the free viewing link
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: A Case of You
On Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater kicks off its digital spring season with Judith Jamison's A Case of You, danced to Diana Krall's rendition of Joni Mitchell's song of the same name. Jamar Roberts and Jacqueline Green perform this sensual duet. Watch for free until Tuesday, March 30 at 7 p.m. ET on Ailey's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Anna Bolena
On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents David McVicar's captivating 2011 mounting of Anna Bolena, about King Henry VIII's second wife. Anna Netrebko stars as the ill-fated Queen and Ildar Abdrazakov is her philandering husband who has a thing for Ekaterina Gubanova's Jane Seymour. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, La Fanciulla del West, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Stars in the House: Head Over Heels Reunion
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, it's a Head Over Heels reunion on Stars in the House! Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome original Broadway cast members from the 2018 Go-Go's musical, including Bonnie Milligan, Peppermint, Alexandra Socha, Andrew Durand, Jeremy Kushnier, Rachel York and Tom Alan Robbins. Their lips are unsealed! Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Thursday, March 18
Lincoln Center Theater: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, Lincoln Center Theater shares a never-before-seen treat: a recording of Christopher Durang's gleeful Anton Chekhov parody Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. The show stars Kristine Nielsen, David Hyde Pierce and Sigourney Weaver as three squabbling siblings and Billy Magnussen as the latter's young squeeze. The Nicholas Martin-directed production was filmed live on stage at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in 2012 before transferring to Broadway the next year. The footage was originally intended to be used for promotional clips, but Lincoln Center Theater is releasing the full recording as the first offering in its Private Reels: From the LCT Archives series. Register on Broadway on Demand to receive the free viewing link. The recording is viewable until Sunday, April 11.
The Public Theater: Romeo y Julieta
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, although The Public Theater just announced the return of Shakespeare in the Park this summer, if you can't wait until July for the Bard, consider tuning in to this bilingual audio adaptation of his famous romantic tragedy. A collaboration with WNYC Radio, Romeo y Julieta was co-adapted and directed by The Public's associate artistic director Saheem Ali and stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o and Juan Castano as the star-crossed lovers. Nyong'o actually made her professional acting debut as Juliet in a stage production of the play in Kenya when she was 14 years old, so this is an exciting return to the role. Listen for free on YouTube and stick around for a post-performance talkback.
Irish Repertory Theatre: The Aran Islands
On Thursday 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.
Ars Nova: Showgasm.
On Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, one of Off-Off Broadway's most innovative institutions, Ars Nova has served as the launching pad for lots of big things, including the musical The Great Comet, Lin-Manuel Miranda and now its own streaming service, Ars Nova Supra! Tonight, you can catch a virtual mounting of its anything-goes variety revue Showgasm. Comedian Shalewa Sharpe hosts this edition, which features fellow funny folks Gastor Almonte, Marcia Belsky and Petey DeAbreu. Tickets are $5 or you can subscribe to the platform for a flat monthly fee of $15.
Theater in Quarantine: Honestly Sincere
On Thursday at 7 and 9 p.m. ET, downtown multihyphenate Joshua William Gelb presents Honestly Sincere, a new play by genre-defying dramatist Liza Birkenmeier about a 13-year-old girl who uses a supernatural Nokia cell phone to live out her fantasy of being a middle-aged man. Gelb stars as the gender- and age-hopping protagonist. There's a Q&A with the artists in between the two live performances. Watch for free on Gelb's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Akhnaten
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Akhnaten, Philip Glass' epic opera inspired by the life and religious convictions of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. This production was a sold-out smash in 2019, with jugglers and acrobats performing alongside stars Dísella Lárusdóttir, J'Nai Bridges, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Richard Bernstein and Zachary James. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Anna Bolena, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Gutenberg! The Musical!
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, Bobby Conte Thornton (A Bronx Tale: The Musical) and Alex Prakken star in Gutenberg! The Musical!, about a pair of enthusiastic but inept songwriters prepping for a backers' audition for their new show about Johannes Gutenberg, the 15th-century inventor who gave us the mechanical movable-type printing press. Written by Beetlejuice Tony nominees Scott Brown and Anthony King and packed with uproarious inside jokes for theatre lovers, the musical was a cult hit that transferred from Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre to Off Broadway. This mounting was recorded during the shutdown at Manhattan's Open Jar Studios with live piano accompaniment. Watch for free until Sunday on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Reading Series: Becky Shaw
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, The Reading Series presents Becky Shaw, Gina Gionfriddo's pitch-back comedy about newlyweds who set up two of their romantically challenged friends with disastrous results. The play was a hit Off Broadway at Second Stage and was shortlisted for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. This live reading stars Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano as the needy title character alongside Broadway vets Sheria Irving, Rema Webb, Andy Mientus and Nick Gaswirth. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Stars in the House: Little House on the Prairie Reunion
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, it's a Little House on the Prairie reunion on Stars in the House! Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome cast members from the long-running TV drama, including Melissa Gilbert, who also starred in the Little House on the Prairie musical; Alison Arngrim, who's become a beloved stand-up comic; and Dean Butler, who appeared in Into the Woods on Broadway. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Available to Watch Both Days
The Shows Must Go On!: Letters Live from the Archive: Freemasons' Hall
The Shows Must Go On! presents a star-studded edition of Letters Live, featuring well-known actors reading remarkable correspondence on stage. This installment 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.
Red Bull Theater: Gallathea
NYC's Red Bull Theater, known for reimagining classics, presented a live reading of Gallathea on Monday, and you can watch a recording until Friday. John Lyly's queer romantic comedy centers on 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 until Friday at 7 p.m. ET on Red Bull's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
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, alongside Tony nominees Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry and stage favorite Russell Tovey. Tickets are £12, approximately $17. The recording is viewable until Wednesday, March 31 and closed captions are available.
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 Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 5:30 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 and closed captions are available.
Theater Breaking Through Barriers: VPI4: TRANS(4)MISSIONS
On Wednesday and Thursday 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 captions and audio description are available.
Top image: Kristine Nielsen, Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Lincoln Center Theater's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, which is streaming for free on Broadway on Demand starting Thursday. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.