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, Thursday, June 25 from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene: Zalmen Mlotek Living Room Concert
At 1 p.m. ET, Zalmen Mlotek—the artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, which produced Yiddish Fiddler—performs songs of celebration. Even if you don't know Yiddish, their message of joy and optimism are easy to grasp. Watch for free on Folksbiene's Facebook page.
National Theatre: A Midsummer Night's Dream
At 2 p.m. ET, London's National Theatre presents the Bridge Theatre's lauded 2019 mounting of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Bard's beloved romantic comedy about sparring fairies messing with lovesick humans in a magical forest. Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie pulls double duty as Titania and Hippolyta, with hilarious support from UK stage vets Oliver Chris, David Moorst and Hammed Animashaun. Watch for free until Thursday, July 2 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel. Bonus: London's Shakespeare's Globe is also streaming its mounting of A Midsummer Night's Dream until Sunday, June 28.
The Other Palace: The Last Five Years
At 2:30 p.m. ET, London's The Other Palace presents The Last Five Years, Tony winner Jason Robert Brown's beloved two-person musical dissection of a romance, with the man telling his story chronologically while the woman recalls their relationship in reverse. The actors, Danny Becker and Lauren Samuels, who also directs, recorded their parts remotely and then edited them together. Tickets are £8, approximately $10.
Soundtrack of Our Lives: A Celebration for the Film and TV Music Community
At 3 p.m. ET, a glittering array of stage, screen and recording stars gather to raise money for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The lineup is jaw-dropping and includes Broadway luminaries Anika Noni Rose, Patti LuPone, Zachary Levi, Alan Menken, Alex Newell, Harvey Fierstein, Marc Shaiman and Darren Criss, alongside the likes of Sting, Catherine O’Hara, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Elisabeth Moss and William Shatner (who we hope won't sing!). Watch free on MusiCares' YouTube channel.
TDF's Young Playwrights Group Showcase
At 4:30 p.m. ET, see what the talented NYC students in TDF's Young Playwrights education program have been working on at their year-end showcase. Usually, the participants present a one-night, invite-only, in-person performance but this year the show must go online, so everyone can witness the fruits of their creativity. Scenes, short films, poems and even an interactive play are on the lineup! Watch for free on TDF's YouTube channel.
Justin Vivian Bond: Auntie Glam's Happy Hour
At 5 p.m. ET, groundbreaking trans artist and activist Justin Vivian Bond shares their wit, wisdom and singular song stylings in their weekly "live-screamed" show. This week they'll be accompanied by David Sytkowski on piano and celebrating the writings of gay poet Frank O'Hara. Watch for free on their website though tips are encouraged.
Stratford Festival: The Adventures of Pericles
At 7 p.m. ET, Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare on Film series with The Adventures of Pericles, a rechristening of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, written at least in part by the Bard. Rarely staged, the play follows the dramatic journey of the title character, who gains, loses and then unexpectedly reunites with his family. Watch for free until Thursday, July 16 on the fest's YouTube channel.
Bard at the Gate: Kernel of Sanity
At 7 p.m. ET, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel curates Bard at the Gate, a new series of play readings showcasing urgent, under-the-radar scripts, some of which have never been produced! First up is Kernel of Sanity written in 1978 by Kermit Frazier, about the complicated relationship between a young Black actor and an older white peer who appeared together in a mounting of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The cast features Matthew Hancock, Josh Hamilton and Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin. Watch for free on Bard at the Gate's YouTube channel.
At 7 p.m. ET, in 2016, Brooklyn's intrepid Irondale theatre presented an ambitious event: a multi-hour marathon of four Shakespeare plays, all written in 1599: Henry V, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and Hamlet. Now the company is revisiting the project for bite-size digital consumption. Tonight's offering is a condensed version of Hamlet. Watch for free on Irondale's YouTube channel.
Redhouse Performing Arts Center: Still Waiting
At 7 p.m. ET, Syracuse's Redhouse Arts Center presents the world premiere of Marc Palmieri's Still Waiting, a sequel to his comedic play within a play Waiting for the Host about a church group rehearsing "The Passion Play" via Zoom. Tony nominee Hunter Foster directs a cast that includes Broadway regular Jeremy Kushnier as a director who shows up to head the church's new community theatre. Tickets are $15.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: A Hymn for Alvin Ailey
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents A Hymn for Alvin Ailey, a 1999 documentary about the company. Director Orlando Bagwell was inspired by Hymn, a piece created by Ailey's longtime muse Judith Jamison with playwright-performer Anna Deavere Smith as a tribute to the dance pioneer after his death. This hour-long doc examines his work and legacy with dances interspersed with interviews. Watch for free on Alvin Ailey's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Manon
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Massenet's Manon based on Antoine François Prévost's controversial 18th-century novel about a tragic romance. Filmed for the company's Live in HD series last year, the production stars Lisette Oropesa, Michael Fabiano, Carlo Bosi, Artur Rucinski, Brett Polegato and Kwangchul Youn. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. Bonus: You can also watch the English National Ballet's take on Manon, which was choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan and set to music by Massenet, though none of it was taken from this opera!
At 8 p.m. ET, in honor of Pride, BroadwayHD is streaming the Tony-nominated revival of Falsettos at no cost. William Finn's groundbreaking musical is a funny and touching portrait of a late 20th-century family. centering on a neurotic gay man named Marvin, his ex-wife, his lover, their son, their psychiatrist and the lesbians next door. Christian Borle, Andrew Rannels, Stephanie J. Block and Brandon Uranowitz are all phenomenal, expertly navigating the hilarious and heartbreaking tale. Watch for free until Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on BroadwayHD though donations to Broadway Cares' Emergency Grants for Pandemic Relief are encouraged.
New York Classical Theatre: King Lear
At 8 p.m. ET, New York Classical Theatre, which usually presents environmental stagings of vintage plays for free in NYC parks, brings the show online with a live reading of Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear... but with a happy ending! The troupe will be using Nahum Tate's 1681 adaptation of the Bard's play, which was performed almost exclusively until 1838. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download beforehand. Reserve your free tickets in advance though there is a suggested donation of $30.
Stars in the House: Pride Special
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley celebrate Pride on Stars in the House. All of the guests tonight are out, proud and talented: uproarious stand-up comic Jessica Kirson, Hairspray songwriter Marc Shaiman, performer Michael Benjamin Washington who thrilled in Fires in the Mirror and Ballet Hispánico artistic director Eduardo Vilaro. Watch for free on YouTube.
Muny Magic in Your Home: The Buddy Holly Boys
At 9:15 p.m. ET, after 102 years, the shows won't go on at The Muny this summer. Thankfully, the beloved St. Louis institution is sharing some past performances from its intimate cabaret series. Tonight, bop along to The Buddy Holly Boys as the quartet plays hits by the pioneering '50s rocker. This concert features Andy Christopher, Joe Cosmo Cogen, Kyle Lacy and Nathan Yates Douglass, who headlined the Muny's acclaimed 2015 mainstage production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. Watch for free on the Muny's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: Don Pasquale
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 at 5 p.m. ET. 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 Gaetano Donizetti's Don Pasquale, a romantic comedy about a young couple and a doctor teaching the Scrooge-like title character much-needed lessons about generosity and love. Recorded in 2010, the production stars Anna Netrebko, Matthew Polenzani, John Del Carlo and Mariusz Kwiecien, and is conducted by James Levine. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET. on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
MCC LiveLabs: One Acts: When
MCC Theater presents When by C.A. Johnson, whose play All the Natalie Portmans had its run cut short at the venue due to the pandemic. Portia and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy star as a costume drama-loving mother and her more down-to-earth daughter, as they try to find a way to face the real world. Watch the performance until Saturday on MCC Theater's YouTube page.
The Homebound Project
The Homebound Project presents its third edition of world-premiere playlets, and the lineup is stellar. The dozen shorts include Jennifer Carpenter and Tony nominee Thomas Sadoski in a piece by Pulitzer Prize winner John Guare, directed by Jerry Zaks; Hamilton Tony winner Daveed Diggs in a work by C.A. Johnson and Diane Lane in a piece by newly minted Pulitzer winner Michael R. Jackson, directed by Leigh Silverman. The brainchild of playwright Catya McMullen and director Jenna Worsham, this initiative is raising money to support food insecure families during the pandemic. Tickets start at $10 and proceeds go to No Kid Hungry.
Top image: Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells in Falsettos on Broadway. Photo by Joan Marcus.