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 performers from Broadway and beyond are sharing their talents online. Below are performances you can watch today, Friday, May 8, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Mabou Mines: Dead End Kids: A Story of Nuclear Power
At 11 a.m. ET, venerable experimental troupe Mabou Mines is sharing recordings of some of its landmark performances online. Today's offering is playwright-director JoAnne Akalaitis' Dead End Kids, a mash-up of text by Goethe, Jorge Luis Borges and Marie Curie with '80s reports on nuclear weapons. Music is by David Byrne and Philip Glass, one of the company's cofounders. Watch for free on Mabou Mines' Vimeo channel.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's By Jeeves
At 2 p.m. ET, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Shows Must Go On! series continues with a lesser-known title, By Jeeves, based on P.G. Wodehouse's cherished stories about a wealthy innocent and his ridiculously capable valet. A collaboration with British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, the show bombed in 1975 and the pair rewrote it two decades later, which led to runs in London and, briefly, on Broadway in 2001. That production was recorded for Canadian television, and you can catch it for free through Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on YouTube.
Melissa Errico on Stars in the House
At 2 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome Tony nominee Melissa Errico, an acclaimed musical theatre performer known for her glorious soprano. The theme of the episode is "feel good Friday," and we could all use some of uplift right now! This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on the organization's YouTube channel.
Luba Mason 5' 10" at Feinstein's/54 Below
At 6:30 p.m. ET, Feinstein's/54 Below shares a recording of Luba Mason 5' 10", an autobiographical cabaret show by the statuesque singer, who was starring in Girl From the North Country when Broadway shut down. The performer recounts the highlights of her three-decade career, notably her turns in The Will Rogers Follies, The Capeman and Jekyll & Hyde, as well as her frequent collaborations with her husband, Latin jazz Grammy winner Rubén Blades. Billy Stritch accompanies on piano. Watch for free on the club's YouTube channel. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Play-PerView: How to Load a Musket
At 7 p.m. ET, the live-streamed theatre series Play-PerView presents a reading of How to Load a Musket, Talene Monahon's docu-theatre piece based on extensive interviews with hardcore historical reenactors. This event reunites the cast of the play's recent NYC premiere, including Broadway vets Adam Chanler-Berat (Next to Normal) and Rich Topol (Indecent). The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Tickets start at $5, and proceeds benefit the nonprofit Less Than Rent Theatre and PPE For NYC. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Irene Rodríguez's Solera and Encierro at The Joyce
At 7 p.m. ET, dance haven The Joyce Theater shares a two pieces by Cuban flamenco dancer and choreographer Irene Rodríguez: the vibrant solo Solera and Encierro inspired by the running of the bulls in Spain. Watch for free on the Joyce's YouTube channel.
La Bohème at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, it's viewers' choice night at the Metropolitan Opera, and this one is a vintage treat: the 1977 mounting of Puccini's La Bohème, starring Renata Scotto and Luciano Pavarotti, conducted by James Levine. The production was filmed for the company's Live in HD series, 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, Capriccio, until 6:30 p.m. today.
The King and I with Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe
At 8 p.m. ET, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization is partnering with BroadwayHD to screen Lincoln Center Theater's Tony-winning revival of The King and I, a tuneful tale of a 19th-century culture clash that blossoms into understanding and affection. Ken Watanabe stars as the obstinate King of Siam opposite Kelli O'Hara's Tony-winning turn as Anna, the British schoolteacher who changes his life. Go to BroadwayHD's site and you can watch the musical for free anytime through Sunday evening. But if you tune in at 8 p.m. on Friday, the R&H Org's Twitter will be sharing fun facts, trivia and even prizes.
Jason Danieley on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Jason Danieley may have played the villain in Pretty Woman: The Musical, but he's absolutely beloved off-stage. The Broadway vet has starred in Chicago, The Full Monty and Next to Normal, the latter opposite his late wife Marin Mazzie, who died in 2018 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. In honor of World Ovarian Cancer Day, Danieley will talk about Mazzie's journey, and how he's continuing to celebrate her life and legacy. Hosted by Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, this twice daily show benefits The Actors' Fund. You can watch for free on YouTube.
Lena Hall in The Shape of Things
At 8 p.m., Hedwig Tony winner Lena Hall headlines a live reading of Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things, a twisty tale of manipulation involving two very different couples. Katie Rose Clarke (Allegiance), Tim Realbuto and Jonah Platt (yup, Ben's older brother!) round out the cast, and the playwright will participate in a post-performance Q&A. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors' Fund are encouraged. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
New York City Ballet: Concerto DSCH
At 8 p.m. ET, NYCB continues its online spring season with Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH, set to Dmitri Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2. The ballet was filmed in 2018 and features Sara Mearns, Tyler Angle, Ashley Bouder, Gonzalo Garcia and Joaquin De Luz. Watch for free on NYCB's YouTube channel through Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
Downtown Variety at La MaMa
At 8 p.m. ET, experimental theatre mecca La MaMa presents its weekly Downtown Variety show, featuring brief acts of dance, music, theatre, new media and comedy. Participants include H0t Club, John Maria Gutierrez, Paul Lazar, Dan Safer and other underground darlings. Prepare yourself for the unexpected! Watch for free on the theatre's website.
Rule of 7x7 at The Tank
At 8 p.m. ET, The Tank resurrects its signature Rule of 7x7 series online, with seven different playwrights penning seven new 10-minute plays every two weeks. But here's the gimmick: for every edition, each playwright comes up with one "rule" that all the others must follow. Past rules include "bright sunshine" and incorporating a specific line. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Audiences can email RuleOfShow@gmail.com to receive the Zoom link to watch for free.
Rose Byrne in Gruesome Playground Injuries
At 8:30 p.m. ET, Rose Byrne and fellow Aussie actor Ewen Leslie star in a live reading of Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries, a two-hander about a dysfunctional pair of pals bonded by pain and suffering. This event is a benefit for Australia's Red Line Productions and viewers are encouraged to make donations of any amount before tuning in to watch you YouTube. Note: This is a one-time only performance and won't be available to watch after-the-fact.
Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre
London's National Theatre shares its acclaimed 2018 production of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, starring Tony winners Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo as the Roman general and the Egyptian queen torn between love and war. Simon Godwin directs this politically charged epic, which you can watch for free through Thursday, May 14 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Macbeth at the Stratford Festival
Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with Macbeth featuring Canadian stage stars Ian Lake and Krystin Pellerin as the bloodthirsty aspirational couple. Watch for free on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.
Acquanetta at the Fisher Center
Visionary director Daniel Fish unveiled his dark take on Oklahoma! at the Fisher Center at Bard College years before the production made its way to Broadway. Now you can watch him work his magic on a new show, Acquanetta, a multimedia tribute to a kitschy '40s horror goddess that fuses cinema, opera and theatre elements. The production was recorded at the Fisher Center last summer, and you can watch for free on the culture spot's website.
Love, Loss, and What I Wore
See a starry performance of Nora and Delia Ephron's long-running Off-Broadway smash Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a collection of witty, moving and cathartic stories inspired by real-life women. In 2017, the 92nd Street Y hosted a one-night only reading of the play featuring Rosie O'Donnell, Tracee Ellis Ross, Carol Kane, Natasha Lyonne and Lucy DeVito, and the recording is available to watch for three weeks as a fundraiser for the culture hub. Tickets are $10.
The Two Noble Kinsmen at Shakespeare's Globe
London's Shakespeare's Globe shares a recording of its 2018 mounting of The Two Noble Kinsmen, a tragicomic love triangle generally believed to be the Bard's final play, written in collaboration with John Fletcher. Watch for free anytime through Saturday, May 17 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
The Wooster Group
Pioneering avant-garde theatre troupe The Wooster Group is posting recordings of some of its seminal works online, including Rumstick Road, Spalding Gray's response to his mother's suicide; To You, the Birdie!, the company's riff on Racine's Phèdre; and House/Lights, a mash-up of Gertrude Stein's Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights and the 1964 B-movie Olga's House of Shame. If you've never seen a show by this influential and iconoclastic company, prepare for nudity, obscurity, multimedia experimentation and Willem Dafoe, who was in many early productions. Watch for free on the Wooster Group's website.
The Homebound Project
The Homebound Project has released its first edition of playlets, and the lineup is stellar. Enjoy new shorts by big-name dramatists including Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok, Sarah Ruhl, Qui Nguyen and Lucy Thurber, featuring Broadway vets such as Jessica Hecht, Marin Ireland, Alison Pill and Thomas Sadoski. The brainchild of playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, this initiative is raising money to support food insecure kids during the pandemic. Tickets start at $10.
Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.
Top image: Kelli O'Hara and Ken Wantanabe in The King and I at Lincoln Center Theater. Photo by Matthew Murphy.