Read about NYC's best theatre and dance productions and watch video interviews with innovative artists
In-person theatre is back in NYC, both on Broadway and beyond. But there are still wonderful shows to stream at home. Below are performances you can watch online this weekend, Friday, December 17 to Sunday, December 19, for free or at low cost.
The Shows Must Go On!: Antony Sher in Macbeth
In honor of Antony Sher's recent passing, the UK-based The Shows Must Go On! YouTube channel is streaming Royal Shakespeare Company's 2003 mounting of Macbeth starring the late British stage legend. Gregory Doran helmed this critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare's bloody tragedy, with the lauded Harriet Walter as Sher's fearsome wife. Watch for free until Saturday at 2 p.m. on YouTube.
Taylor Mac's Holiday Sauce... Booster!
On Friday at 3 p.m. ET, if you're in need of glitter, guffaws and radical joy, try playwright-performer Taylor Mac's virtual edition of their annual seasonal extravaganza Holiday Sauce, which was filmed in person earlier this month and is being streamed by London's Barbican Centre. The MacArthur genius and Pulitzer finalist (A 24-Decade History of Popular Music) blends music, film, burlesque and indescribable fabulousness for a jaw-dropping, NC-17-rated holiday revue. Backed by a full band, Mac slays songs and welcomes colorful special guests. The costumes alone—designed by Mac's longtime collaborator Machine Dazzle—are worth tuning in for. Tickets are £10, approximately $13. Can't make it? The show will be available on demand starting December 24.
New Victory Theater: Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
On Friday at 7 p.m. ET, New York's premier theatre for young audiences, the New Victory, is currently presenting a charming in-person production of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, but you can also stream this holiday show at home. Based on Muppet master Jim Henson's 1977 made-for-TV movie of the same name, the show centers on the poor but loving Emmet Otter and his mother, who both decide to enter a talent contest in the hope of winning prize money to buy each other Christmas gifts. It's a sweet story about following your dreams and being thankful for what you have, with songs by Paul Williams, direction and choreography by Tony winner Christopher Gattelli and eye-popping puppets courtesy of Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Tickets are $25 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, January 2, 2022.
Nice Work If You Can Get It Benefit Concert
On Friday at 8 p.m. ET, New Jersey performer, producer and talk show host Jesse Walker and Broadway diva Judy Kaye present a benefit concert of the musical comedy Nice Work If You Can Get It, featuring a slew of glorious George and Ira Gershwin songs woven into a zany story filled with romance, bootlegging and mistaken identity. Kaye won her second Tony Award for her performance in the original Broadway production a decade ago. Tonight she cohosts this virtual event, which stars Walker, Ricky DeRosa and Dinanda Klaassen. Watch for free on Facebook though donations to Project ALS are encouraged.
The Seth Concert Series: Andrew Barth Feldman
On Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, even though show-tune savant Seth Rudetsky is back doing shows in person, he hasn't completely abandoned the virtual realm. In fact, he's relaunched his weekly live-streamed concert series! Tonight his guest is Andrew Barth Feldman, who's already a major theatre player at 19. This rising star won the 2018 Jimmy Award as a high school sophomore, then went on to make his Broadway debut as the title character in Dear Evan Hansen. He was even busy during the pandemic, hosting multiple online events and headlining Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical. Tickets are $25.
Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical, Live in Concert
On Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, get ready to party like it's 1999 with Cruel Intentions: The '90s Musical, which is being performed live on stage at Hollywood's The Bourbon Room and also streamed to at-home audiences. Based on Roger Kumble's campy cult film of the same name (a late 20th-century take on Les Liaisons Dangereuses with upper-crust New York City teenagers), the show was a hit in LA and NYC. This concert features veterans of both casts, including Constantine Rousouli, Frankie Grande, Jenn Harris, Emma Hunton and Janel Parrish, crooning tunes from the movie's iconic soundtrack, including "Colorblind" by Counting Crows, "Every You Every Me" by Placebo and "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve. Tickets start at $25.
PBS: 20 Years of Christmas with The Tabernacle Choir
Broadway favorite Brian Stokes Mitchell hosts this glorious retrospective of starry performances by Salt Lake City's The Tabernacle Choir. Enjoy classic clips featuring legends such as Angela Lansbury, Kristin Chenoweth, Renée Fleming, Audra McDonald, Santino Fontana and Stokes himself backed by the celebrated 360-member chorus. Watch for free on PBS' website.
PBS: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
Tony winner Alan Cumming serves as storyteller for The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, a reimagining of Tchaikovsky's holiday classic conceived by conductor John Mauceri, which explores what happened to the characters after Christmas. Watch for free until Tuesday, January 11, 2022 on PBS' website.
Paul Winter's 42nd Annual Winter Solstice Celebration
On Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 7 and 10 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, almost every holiday season since 1980, Grammy-winning saxophonist Paul Winter and his talented pals have performed a seasonal concert at NYC's Cathedral St. John the Divine. This year the event goes virtual with a compilation of iconic performances from the event's four-decade history with special guests Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary; Ireland's Davy Spillane and Nóirín Ní Riain; Brazil's Ivan Lins and Fabiana Cozza; Russia's Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble and many others. Tickets are $20.
San Francisco Playhouse: Twelfth Night
San Francisco Playhouse is currently presenting an in-person production of Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub's enchanting musicalization of Twelfth Night, but you can also watch a recording at home. The show premiered at Shakespeare in the Park a few seasons back and features glorious songs by Taub and a streamlined script that condenses Shakespeare's romantic comedy into 90 heartwarming minutes. This production was directed by Susi Damilano and filmed live on stage last month at the West Coast theatre. Tickets start at $15 and the recording is viewable until Saturday, January 15, 2022.
Putting It Together: An Evening With James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim
This past August, The Town Hall presented an intimate Zoom discussion with Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine filled with illuminating stories about their longtime collaboration, especially their work on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Sunday in the Park with George. In light of Sondheim's recent passing, this brilliant chat is being restreamed. Christine Baranski moderated the discussion between these two giants, and original Sunday stars Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters also put in appearances. Register to receive the free viewing link; the recording is viewable until Friday, December 24.
New York City Ballet: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
Even though New York City Ballet's Christmas classic The Nutcracker is back on stage at Lincoln Center, you can also stream George Balanchine's legendary version of Tchaikovsky's fantastical ballet at home this holiday season. Recorded in 2019 during NYCB's annual engagement, this production stars principal dancers Maria Kowroski as the Sugarplum Fairy, Tyler Angle as her Cavalier and Megan Fairchild as Dewdrop. A lavish production with gorgeous sets and costumes, it's a must-see for dance lovers. Tickets are $20 and the recording is viewable until Sunday, January 2, 2022.
Estella Scrooge: A Christmas Carol with a Twist
Recorded in 2020 during the shutdown, this musical modern-day take on the old Christmas chestnut comes from John Caird and Paul Gordon, the team behind Broadway's Jane Eyre, and incorporates popular characters and plot lines from multiple Charles Dickens' novels. Betsy Wolfe (Waitress) is the title character, a ruthless real estate mogul, who heads to her hometown for the holidays to foreclose on a hotel for the homeless run by her childhood sweetheart, Philip "Pip" Nickleby (Clifton Duncan). But soon three spirits arrive to scare her sweet. Jagged Little Pill Tony winner Lauren Patten, Moulin Rouge! Tony winner Danny Burstein and Hadestown's Patrick Page costar. Tickets start at $15 and the recording is viewable until Monday, January 31, 2022.
Paddington Saves Christmas
Jonathan Rockefeller is a whiz at translating kid-lit classics from the page to the stage. His previous puppet musicals for young audiences include The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Winnie the Pooh, which is currently running Off Broadway. Paddington Saves Christmas is his first foray into filmed content and is an adaptation of his stage production Paddington Gets in a Jam, in which the beloved bear attempts to help his curmudgeon neighbor, Mr. Curry, who needs to clean his home for holiday visitors. Paddington's good intentions wreak havoc, as always. Tickets are $10 and the recording is viewable until Tuesday, January 4, 2022.
The Nice List
When Santa's away, the elves will play! That's the premise of Gary Adler and Phoebe Kreutz's one-act musical The Nice List, which was filmed remotely and debuted last December. It's back for a second helping of heartwarming holiday spirit and stars Aladdin Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart as Kris Kringle, who leaves his underlings in charge when he goes to check on his mall stand-ins. Broadway vets Telly Leung, Julia Mattison, Ann Harada, Jennifer Barnhart, Nick Kohn and Don Darryl Rivera play his eager if inefficient elfin employees. Make a donation of any amount to Feeding America to watch the show, which is viewable until Saturday, January 15, 2022.
National Theatre at Home: War Horse
A year ago, London's lauded National Theatre launched its own streaming service featuring professional stage captures of its productions. While you can buy a subscription, shows are also available to rent individually for 72 hours. New to the roster is 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. War Horse tickets are $12 and the recording is viewable until Monday, January 31, 2022. Captions and audio description are available. It's just one of many fantastic shows you can stream so be sure to browse the entire list.
Summoners Ensemble Theatre: A Christmas Carol
Every December, John Kevin Jones stars in this singular solo adaptation of Charles Dickens' holiday classic mounted at the 19th-century Merchant's House Museum in the East Village. In this historic setting, he plays Dickens performing all of the characters in his ghost tale of redemption, just like the Victorian author did back in the day. If you can't make it to the in-person production this season, you can stream a recording at home. Tickets are $35 and the recording is viewable until Saturday, January 1, 2022.
Mint Theater Company: Hindle Wakes
Off Broadway's esteemed Mint Theater Company, which has been unearthing forgotten plays since 1992, presents a recording of Hindle Wakes, Stanley Houghton's controversial 1912 play about a pair of unmarried young folks who enjoy a fling, much to their parents' chagrin. Gus Kaikkonen directed this 2018 production, which earned a Drama Desk nomination for best revival. Watch for free until Sunday, December 26 on the Mint's website by clicking the video and entering your email address, no password required. Donations are encouraged.
PBS Great Performances presents a high-tech reinvention of the classic ballet Coppelia, with Doctor Coppelius trying to steal a human heart to bring his perfect woman to life. Inspired by a 2008 stage mounting by the Dutch National Ballet, this performance is a fusion of live dance and animation starring international ballet stars Michaela DePrince, Daniel Camargo, Darcey Bussell and Irek Mukhamedov performing Ted Brandsen's choreography. Watch for free until Friday, December 24 on PBS' website.
All Arts: MasterVoices: Myths and Hymns
Earlier this year, MasterVoices premiered a digital reimagining of the four-part theatrical song cycle Myths and Hymns by Light in the Piazza Tony winner Adam Guettel. Inspired by Greek myths and 19th-century Presbyterian hymns, the 1998 work explores the nature of faith and longing in our secular society. All Arts is now streaming all four chapters of this multimedia musical featuring a slew of Broadway stars including Norm Lewis, Kelli O'Hara, Renée Fleming, Joshua Henry, Shoshana Bean, Daniel Breaker and Jennifer Holliday. Watch for free on All Arts' website.
Baryshnikov Arts Center: Pigulim
The dance-centric Baryshnikov Arts Center wraps up its fall digital season with Pigulim, an hour-long piece by award-winning Israeli choreographer Ella Rothschild centering on themes of materialism and mortality as a loved ones gathers around a table. Watch for free until Thursday, December 23 at 5 p.m. ET on Baryshnikov Arts Center's website.
HERE Arts Center: 9000 Paper Balloons
HERE Arts Center presents 9000 Paper Balloons, a stunning new multimedia piece inspired by the hard-to-believe secret weapons used by Japan against the US during World War II. Created by Japanese artist Maiko Kikuchi and American puppeteer Spencer Lott, the surreal performance weaves puppetry, animation and masks into a historical tale that also encompasses their own family stories. Tickets start at $10 and the recording is viewable until Friday, December 31.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: A scene from the New Victory Theater's family musical Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, which is streaming throughout the holiday. Photo by Richard Termine.