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 today, Wednesday, June 17, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
English National Ballet: Song of the Earth
At 2 p.m. ET, the English National Ballet shares a recording of Song of the Earth, choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan and set to Gustav Mahler's song cycle Das Lied von der Erde, which explores the fragility of life and its constant renewal. This performance was recorded in 2018, and the dancers and singers are accompanied by the English National Ballet Philharmonic. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 2 p.m. on the troupe's YouTube channel.
Stars in the House Presents Free Speech: Performing Artists and the Power of the Spoken Word Vol. III
At 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House continues its weekly free speech sessions with an impactful selection of poems, songs and speeches that address this moment performed by Jonathan Duvelson, Kalonjee Gallimore, Jonah Nash, Grace Rivera, Vanessa Sierra and Justin Sudderth. Watch for free on YouTube.
Martha Graham Dance Company: Chronicle: Dancing Resistance
At 2:30 p.m. ET, the Martha Graham Dance Company presents Chronicle, a searing, all-female piece created by the choreographer after she refused the Nazis' invitation to dance at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. In addition to archival clips of the work's original cast, there will be a recording of the entire dance performed by her namesake troupe at Jacob's Pillow last August. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.
Irish Repertory Theatre: YES! Reflections of Molly Bloom
At 3 p.m. ET, Irish Rep presents YES! Reflections of Molly Bloom, Aedín Moloney's solo adaptation of the "Penelope episode" from James Joyce's Ulysses, offering intimate insights into one woman's desires and dreams, with brief musical interludes composed by Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains. This monologue play was a hit at the theatre last year, and Moloney reimagined this performance for online viewing. This prerecorded production is also available to watch at 8 p.m. ET tonight. Tickets are free but required in order to get the viewing link; a suggested donation of $25 is encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Hansel and Gretel
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. But it also presents weekly student streams that debut on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. These productions have been specially selected for families, and Zoom education sessions leading up to the screening teach school-age kids about opera. This week's offering is the Met's 2008 mounting of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, a holiday staple at the venue. Starring Alice Coote and Christine Schäfer, it's an eye-popping, English-language production with oversize cartoon chefs, singing trees and an unforgettable witch's kitchen. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 5 p.m. on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Virtual Pillow: The Men Who Danced
At 5 p.m. ET, the Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow dance center shares Ron Honsa's short documentary The Men Who Danced, about the 50th anniversary reunion of Ted Shawn's Men Dancers at the venue in 1982. Watch the film for free through Wednesday, June 24 on on Jacob's Pillow's YouTube channel.
MCC LiveLabs: One Acts: Pues Nada
At 5:30 p.m. ET, MCC Theater presents a live reading of Pues Nada by poet and playwright Aziza Barnes, whose critically acclaimed BLKS ran at the venue last year. In this one-act, a pair of Black women working in an East L.A. bar are stuck babysitting a drunk ex-colleague who refuses to leave. The performance stars Samira Wiley (Orange Is the New Black), Karen Pittman (Disgraced, Pipeline), Ito Aghayere (Familiar) and Cherise Boothe, who'll all stick around for a post-show talkback with the playwright as well as director Whitney White. Watch the performance for free through Saturday evening on MCC Theater's YouTube page.
Repertorio Español: Abejas y miel
At 6 p.m. ET, venerable Latinx theatre company Repertorio Español continues its live play readings with Abejas y miel, about the ups and downs of a Dominican couple's life and love in NYC. This performance will be presented in Spanish and takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Watch for free on Zoom.
HERE Arts Center: Send for the Million Men
At 6:30 p.m. ET, downtown culture hub HERE presents Send for the Million Men, Joseph Silovsky's multimedia exploration of the controversial executions of immigrants and anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Using animatronics, puppetry and projections, he interweaves their tragic fates with episodes from his own life. Watch for free on HERE's Facebook page.
Queerly Festival: 'Tasha
At 7 p.m. ET, the Queerly Festival, an annual showcase of cutting-edge LGBTQ artists usually held at FRIGID: New York's Kraine Theatre, goes virtual this year with two and a half weeks of indie performances. The event kicks off tonight with Yusef Muller's 'Tasha, a Black Lives Matter reimagining of Sophocles' Antigone, with an African-American teen defying a white-nationalist government to bury her cousin, who was murdered unjustly. Pay-what-you-can tickets must be purchased in advance.
Ballet Hispánico: Waiting for Pepe
At 7 p.m. ET, Ballet Hispánico presents Waiting for Pepe, choreographed by Carlos Pons Guerra and inspired by Federico García Lorca's celebrated 1936 play The House of Bernarda Alba about a matriarch who forbids her daughters to date, an allegory about how suppression stifles creativity and freedom. Watch for free on the dance company's Facebook page.
Songs for Our City
At 7:05 p.m. ET, Broadway Sessions host Ben Cameron is behind the Songs for Our City competition, a week of live-streamed concerts featuring brand-new numbers written by Broadway actors and composers. Tonight, the contest features original tunes by Broadway performers F. Michael Haynie (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Anthony Norman (The Prom), Next to Normal Tony winner Alice Ripley and the indie pop duo Starbird & the Phoenix featuring Courtney Bassett (The Great Comet). Viewers can vote for their favorites online right after the performance, and the finalists will face off on Sunday in front of judges Tituss Burgess, Six creators Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Tony-nominated songwriter Andrew Lippa and Time Out New York theatre critic Adam Feldman. Watch for free on Times Square Alliance's YouTube channel.
Iphigénie en Tauride at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride, starring Susan Graham, Plácido Domingo and Paul Groves, conducted by Patrick Summers. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series in 2011, and is available to watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Semiramide, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Ma-Yi Theater Company: My H8 Letter To The Gr8 American Theatre
At 7:45 p.m. ET, the lauded Ma-Yi Theater Company presents a live reading of My H8 Letter To The Gr8 American Theatre, an indictment of racism in the theatre industry by genre-defying iconoclast Diana Oh. The performer, playwright, composer and truth teller developed the play at The Public Theater's Emerging Writers Group, and this event stars the same cast that read the show at that venue last year, including Ryan J. Haddad, TL Thompson, Alysia Reiner and Oh herself. Watch for free on HowlRound's website.
At Home with Rebecca Luker
At 8 p.m. ET, last fall, three-time Tony nominee Rebecca Luker, known for her glorious soprano and performances in revivals of The Music Man and Show Boat, was diagnosed with the fatal neurodegenerative disease ALS. Tonight, in an evening hosted by her friend and former Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella costar Santino Fontana, she'll sing songs and discuss her life and career with Katie Couric to raise money for the ALS drug Prosetin. The New York Times published an inspiring interview with her on Monday and it's clear she's a fighter, plus she's got her husband, six-time Tony nominee and Moulin Rouge! star Danny Burstein in her corner. This performance will be presented on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. In order to get the link to watch, make a donation of at least $25.
Pride Month Celebration of Terrence McNally
At 8 p.m. ET, Tony-winning actors John Benjamin Hickey, John Glover and André De Shields will chat about acclaimed playwright Terrence McNally, their late friend and collaborator who died from COVID-19 in March. McNally chronicled gay life throughout many decades and the actors knew him well: Hickey and Glover co-starred in his Tony-winning play Love! Valour! Compassion!, while De Shields appeared in the musical The Full Monty, for which McNally penned the book. Their conversation will be complemented by clips from Every Act of Life, a documentary about McNally and his work. Watch the talk for free online. Bonus: You can see the full 90-minute McNally doc anytime through August for free on PBS.
Ma-Yi Theater Company: Livin' La Vida Imelda
The venerable Ma-Yi Theater Company shares a 2014 recording of Carlos Celdran's solo show Livin' La Vida Imelda, an irreverent look at Imelda Marcos, the infamous former first lady of the Philippines, known for her international jet-setting and insane shoe collection. Watch for free through Tuesday, June 30 on Ma-Yi's website.
Shakespeare's Globe: A Midsummer Night's Dream
London's Shakespeare's Globe shares a recording of its 2013 mounting of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Bard's beloved romantic comedy about fairies messing with lovesick humans lost in a magical forest. The recently departed artistic director of the company, Dominic Dromgoole, helms this Renaissance staging, which stars Olivier Award winner Michelle Terry and John Light as Titania and Oberon. Watch for free anytime through Sunday, June 28 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
TADA! Youth Theater: The Gumball Gang
TADA! Youth Theater, NYC's 35-year-old, Drama Desk Award-winning youth company whose alums include Jordan Peele and Kerry Washington, is sharing recordings of its original hour-long shows for families. Recorded in 2016, The Gumball Gang is a musical mystery as some crime-solving kids try to figure out who's stealing paintings from their school. The production stars talented tykes from ages 8 to 18 who are members of TADA!'s Resident Youth Ensemble. Watch for free on TADA!'s YouTube channel.
Classical Theatre of Harlem: The Bacchae
The Classical Theatre of Harlem, one of NYC's premiere Black companies, usually mounts a free production in Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park during the summer. Since that's not possible this year, the troupe is sharing a recording of its 2018 take on The Bacchae, which turns Euripides' play into an raucous, glitter-encrusted, rock-'n'-roll party... until that tragic ending of course. You can stream the production anytime through Friday, June 26 for $10 on Vimeo.
National Theatre: The Madness of George III
It's your last chance to catch the National Theatre's The Madness of George III, Alan Bennett's fictionalized examination of the U.K.'s King George III, whose battle with mental illness plunged his court into disarray. Mark Gatiss, of Doctor Who and Sherlock fame, delivers a tour-de-force performance in the title role. Watch for free through tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Top image: Rebecca Luker. Photo by Laura Marie Duncan.