Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
With in-person theatre a rarity 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 31 and Thursday, April 1, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
Wednesday, March 31
TDF: Audra McDonald and LaChanze in Conversation
On Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, TDF presents a candid conversation with Audra McDonald and LaChanze. The Broadway stars and longtime friends will discuss cofounding Black Theatre United, their extraordinary careers and the power of young people to create real change. Watch for free on TDF's Facebook page.
The Metropolitan Opera: Die Zauberflöte
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 Tony winner Julie Taymor's eye-popping, puppet-filled staging of Die Zauberflöte, Mozart's fantastical fable starring Golda Schultz, Kathryn Lewek, Charles Castronovo, Markus Werba, Christian Van Horn and René Pape. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: Roberto Devereux
On Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents David McVicar's moving 2016 mounting of Roberto Devereux about the complicated love affair between Queen Elizabeth I (Sondra Radvanovsky) and the title character (Matthew Polenzani). Elina Garanca and Mariusz Kwiecien costar. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Capriccio, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
The Reading Series: Reasons to Be Happy
On Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, The Reading Series presents Reasons to Be Happy, Neil LaBute's coming-of-middle-age story about the same dysfunctional, romantically challenged quartet he examined in his Tony-nominated play Reasons to Be Pretty. Alison Tanney directs this live reading featuring Broadway vets Andrew Kober, Jessica Vosk and Janine DiVita along with Kahlil Garcia. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Thursday, April 1
John Kander on Classic Conversations
On Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company presents a chat between artistic director John Doyle and the legendary John Kander. The songwriter created a slew of iconic musicals with his late partner Fred Ebb, including Cabaret, Chicago, Curtains, Kiss of the Spider Woman and their final collaboration, The Visit, which was directed by Doyle on Broadway. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page.
The Metropolitan Opera: Il Trovatore
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: its 1988 mounting of Verdi's Il Trovatore featuring Luciano Pavarotti as Manrico, the emotional troubadour. Éva Marton, Dolora Zajick and Sherrill Milnes costar. Watch for FREE for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Roberto Devereux, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
No Exit Theatre Collective: Ubu Roi
On Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, No Exit Theatre Collective presents a contemporary adaptation of Alfred Jarry's absurdist classic Ubu Roi chronicling the grotesque misadventures of a dreadful king on Zoom. TDF's own multitalented Tyler Riley is in the cast! Tickets start at $5 and the recording is available until Sunday.
The Joyce Theater: Step Afrika!: Stono
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, Chelsea dance haven The Joyce continues its digital season with Step Afrika!'s powerful Stono, which uses the troupe's signature blend of percussive, traditional African and contemporary dance to evoke the little-known Stono slave rebellion of 1739 in South Carolina. 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 Wednesday, April 14.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, Washington, DC's Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company presents Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran, Javaad Alipoor's multimedia exploration of the global class divide. The second installment of a trilogy examining identity in our high-tech age, this dark comedy fuses online performance and a live Instagram feed to examine entitlement, consumption and social media through the eyes of Iran's elite. Tickets are $18 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, April 18.
Stars in the House: Game Night
On Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley host one of their surprise-filled Game Nights on Stars in the House, famous players to be determined. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
San Francisco Ballet: Jewels
On Thursday at 9 p.m. ET, California's acclaimed San Francisco Ballet presents George Balanchine's glittering gem Jewels, a full-length abstract ballet featuring three separate sections: Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds, set to music by Fauré, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. Tickets are $29 but if you're a TDF member, log in to your account to purchase them at a discount. The recording is viewable until Wednesday, April 21.
Available to Watch Both Days
National Theatre Live: War Horse
On Wednesday and Thursday at 1, 4, 7 and 10 p.m. ET, National Theatre Live presents War Horse, the profoundly moving story of a boy searching for his beloved steed against the bloody backdrop of World War I. Based on Michael Morpurgo's novel of the same name and adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford in association with the brilliant Handspring Puppet Company, the production was a smash, first at London's National Theatre and then on Broadway where it won five 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Play. This mounting was filmed in London and is streaming to benefit independent cinemas around the US. Tickets are $15.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS presents a virtual edition of its annual fundraiser Broadway Backwards, featuring stage stars performing songs originally written for someone of a different gender. Brand-new numbers and archival recordings are integrated into a fantastical story about an isolated New Yorker (Broadway vet Jay Armstrong Johnson) who goes on an imaginary journey guided by a late-night TV host, played by Tony nominee Jenn Colella. Catch new performances by Stephanie J. Block, Deborah Cox, Lea Salonga, James Monroe Iglehart, Cheyenne Jackson, L Morgan Lee, Raymond J. Lee, Ruthie Ann Miles, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller, Kelli O'Hara, Karen Olivo and Bernadette Peters, as well as vintage numbers from Broadway Backwards past with Tituss Burgess, Len Cariou, Carolee Carmello, Darren Criss, Ariana DeBose, Cynthia Erivo, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Michael McElroy, Bonnie Milligan, Debra Monk, Andrew Rannells, Chita Rivera, Lillias White and Tony Yazbeck. Watch for free until Saturday on Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
American Conservatory Theatre: Trouble in Mind
San Francisco's lauded American Conservatory Theater kicks off its A.C.T. Out Loud reading series spotlighting prescient plays with Alice Childress' Trouble in Mind. A groundbreaking examination of racism in the theatre industry, the 1955 satire centers on a Black actress starring in an anti-lynching drama on Broadway who challenges the show's all-white creative team. NYC's Roundabout Theatre Company is scheduled to mount the Broadway premiere of Trouble in Mind later this year, but you can get a taste of this play's brilliance with this virtual presentation, headlined by NYC stage stalwart Patrice Johnson Chevannes and Tony nominee David Harbour. The busy Awoye Timpo directs. Tickets start at $5 and the recording is viewable until Sunday.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Blues Suite
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares a 1985 recording of Blues Suite, the ballet that launched the invaluable dance troupe in 1958. Ailey was just 27 when he choreographed this half-hour piece, which is set in a rural Texas Depression-era sporting house, as revelers dance, drink and flirt to blues music. Watch for free until Tuesday, April 13 at 5 p.m. ET on the troupe's YouTube channel.
New Light Theater Project: The Jackson C. Frank Listening Party w/ Special Guests
Off-Off Broadway's inventive New Light Theater Project presents Michael Aguirre's genre-defying The Jackson C. Frank Listening Party w/ Special Guests. A man named Allen plays the sole album by folk singer Jackson C. Frank, whose career was cut short by schizophrenia and depression. In between tracks, Allen shares the story of his older brother, who disappeared for an entire year. Sarah Norris directs Aguirre in this one-man meditation on isolation, mental illness and the power of music. Register to receive the free viewing link; a $15 donation is suggested. The recording is viewable until Sunday, April 11.
Goodman Theater: Pedro Páramo
Chicago's lauded Goodman Theatre gives audiences a peek at its archives with a recording of Pedro Páramo. Based on Juan Rulfo's influential 1955 novel of the same name, the production was created by Cuba's Teatro Buendía and presented at the Goodman in 2013 featuring a cast of American and Cuban actors. A pioneering work of magical realism, the story centers on a young man who travels to his recently deceased mother's hometown to track down his long-lost father. The show is performed in Spanish with closed captioning in English and Spanish. Reservations are required to receive the free viewing link and the recording is viewable until Sunday, April 11.
New York City Center: Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet
New York City Center wraps up its New Adventures Festival of Matthew Bourne ballets with Romeo and Juliet. The visionary choreographer presents a powerful take on the old tragedy, set in a not-too-distant dystopian future with the star-crossed couple stuck as inmates in the oppressive Verona Institute. Cordelia Braithwaite and Paris Fitzpatrick headline the production, which was filmed on stage at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London in 2019. Tickets are $15 and the recording is viewable until Sunday.
George Street Playhouse: Fully Committed
New Jersey's George Street Playhouse presents a new online production of Becky Mode's Fully Committed, a satire of NYC's haute cuisine scene. 30 Rock star Maulik Pancholy plays more than 40 characters in this one-man comedy, including an aspiring actor/harried restaurant reservationist who's having a really bad day, along with all of his demanding patrons. The 1999 play was initially a smash Off Broadway, and was revamped and revived on Broadway in 2016. With sitcom and stage vet Pancholy as the main ingredient, this digital reimagining is a delicious tour de farce. Tickets are $33 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 11. Closed captions and audio description are available.
New York City Center: American Theatre Ballet: A Ratmansky Celebration
New York City Center presents an evening of works by American Ballet Theatre's celebrated resident choreographer Alexei Ratmansky. The program was recorded live on stage at City Center sans audience and features excerpts from The Seasons, Seven Sonatas and The Sleeping Beauty, as well as the world premiere of Bernstein in a Bubble, set to music by Leonard Bernstein. Tickets are $25 and the recording is available until Sunday, April 18.
IAMA Theatre Company: Anyone But Me and The Oxy Complex
Los Angeles' IAMA Theatre Company presents a pair of compelling solo shows by Latina performers. Sheila Carrasco's Anyone But Me explores the personas women create to get by in a patriarchal society. Anna LaMadrid's The Oxy Complex is set on the 500th day of quarantine (!!!) and examines how loneliness, trauma and the lack of oxytocin impact our well-being. Tickets are $15 per show, $20 for both. The recordings are viewable until Sunday, April 18.
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 Saturday, April 17 and closed captions are available.
Goodspeed Musicals: Passing Through
Connecticut's acclaimed Goodspeed Musicals presents 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, and Broadway vets Jim Stanek and Garrett Long play 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 and closed captions are available.
Top image: National Theatre's War Horse, which begins streaming on Wednesday. Photo by Brinkhoff & Mögenburg.