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22 Stage Performances to See Today, May 13

Date: May 13, 2020


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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, Wednesday, May 13, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).

Charles Busch in The Confession of Lily Dare
At 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House presents a live reading of The Confession of Lily Dare, written by and starring the fabulous Charles Busch. A loving send-up of the confession films of the '30s that's both funny and poignant, the play was a hit Off Broadway earlier this year, and this event reunites the entire cast, including two-time Tony nominee Howard McGillin as an unscrupulous cad and Busch's longtime collaborator Jennifer Van Dyck in multiple hilarious roles. Catch it for free anytime through Sunday on YouTube. And if you're free at 2 p.m. ET today, join us on TDF's Facebook page to watch it with us!

Desperately Seeking the Exit
At 2 p.m. ET, Peter Michael Marino performs Desperately Seeking the Exit, his riotous solo comedy about the behind-the-scenes drama at his notorious 2007 London flop musical Desperately Seeking Susan. Tickets are available to purchase online but TDF members get a discount.

English National Ballet: Fantastic Beings
At 2 p.m. ET, the English National Ballet shares a recording of Fantastic Beings, a wild dance featuring performers as amazing animals, choreographed by Aszure Barton and set to Mason Bates' Anthology of Fantastic Zoology, which is performed live by the English National Ballet Philharmonic. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 2 p.m. on the troupe's YouTube channel.

Donmar Warehouse: Midnight Your Time
At 2:30 p.m. ET, London's lauded Donmar Warehouse premieres Adam Brace's brand-new one-act Midnight Your Time about a retired London lawyer named Judy who's desperately trying to connect with her daughter in Palestine. A meditation on isolation and the challenges of remote communication, the play stars Diana Quick (Brideshead Revisited) and is directed by Donmar Warehouse's artistic director Michael Longhurst. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.

Martha Graham Dance Company: Hérodiade
At 2:30 p.m. ET, the Martha Graham Dance Company presents Hérodiade, a 1944 duet by the modern dance great based on Stéphane Mallarmé's poem about Herodias and Salome. In addition to recordings of two complete performances, one with the original cast of Martha Graham and May O'Donnell and the other filmed just last year, this Martha Matinee also features a film that weaves together highlights from five other mountings of the work. Watch for free on the dance company's YouTube channel.

Linda Lavin and Billy Stritch
At 3 p.m. ET, legendary jazz pianist and singer Billy Stritch and his Tony-winning BFF/neighbor Linda Lavin continue their series of live online concerts in support of their new album Love Notes. This week they're focusing on big band hits, and their friendship, banter and classic songs always feel incredibly soothing. Watch for free on Lavin's Facebook page.

Irish Repertory Theatre: Molly Sweeney
At 3 p.m. ET, the venerable Irish Rep presents Molly Sweeney, Brian Friel's popular drama about a woman blind since infancy whose sight is restored with unexpected consequences. Geraldine Hughes and Ciarán O'Reilly reprise their performances as Molly and her husband from the theatre's hit 2011 production, alongside Paul O'Brien as the surgeon who changes the title character's life. Told in series of monologues, Molly Sweeney was filmed remotely earlier this month. Tickets are free but required in order to get the viewing link; donations are encouraged.

Drumstruck: Live from South Africa
At 3:30 p.m. ET, get ready to make some noise with Drumstruck, the Stomp-style South African percussion sensation that's been touring for decades. The cast members will be performing remotely from their homes, and while they won't be able to hand out djembes to the audience as they usually do, they will encourage you to clap, tap and jump along. All your neighbors will think it's 7 p.m.! Watch for free on Facebook.

L'Elisir d'Amore at the Met
At 5 p.m. ET, it's a bonus opera from the Metropolitan! Ever since the shutdown began, the opera house has been sharing productions from its Live in HD series nightly at 7:30 p.m. But a little over a month ago, it quietly launched another online initiative to engage audiences: weekly student streams that debut on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. These operas 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 2018 mounting of Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, an operatic romantic comedy starring Matthew Polenzani, Pretty Yende, Davide Luciano and Ildebrando d’Arcangelo, staged by Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher, who's known for lavish revivals of Golden Age musicals at Lincoln Center Theater. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 5 p.m. on the Metropolitan Opera's website

MCC LiveLabs: One Acts: Frankie & Will
At 5:30 p.m. ET, Off Broadway's MCC Theater is well-known for premiering original works by emerging voices, and it's continuing to do that with its new LiveLabs series featuring fresh one-acts performed online. First up is Talene Monahon's comedy Frankie & Will, starring Michael Urie as William Shakespeare opposite his real-life boyfriend Ryan Spahn as his unpaid intern, Francis, with the two trapped together as the Bard waits impatiently for inspiration to strike. Since the actors live together no social distancing is required—they'll actually be in the same frame! Watch the live performance for free on MCC Theater's YouTube page, or catch a recording anytime through Saturday.

Ballet Hispánico: Asuka
At 7 p.m. EST, Ballet Hispánico presents Asuka, choreographer Eduardo Vilaro's celebration of the music of Celia Cruz. Known as the Queen of Salsa, the Cuban singer's life and legacy are used as inspiration for this exploration of immigration and perseverance. Watch for free on the dance company's Facebook page.

HERE Arts Center: The Scarlet Ibis
At 7 p.m., downtown culture hub HERE presents The Scarlet Ibis, composer Stefan Weisman and librettist David Cote's opera based on James Hurst's story. Featuring performers alongside puppets, the work centers on a boy with disabilities in the rural early 20th century South. Watch for free on HERE's Facebook page.

Ariadne auf Naxos at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares a gem from its vaults: its 1988 mounting of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, starring a trio of glorious divas: Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle and Tatiana Troyanos, 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, The Tempest, until 6:30 p.m. today.

Symphony Space: Virtual Selected Shorts
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Upper West Side culture spot Symphony Space brings its decades-old Selected Shorts series online, with well-known actors performing brief works of literature by contemporary authors. The theme of the evening is Best Laid Plans, and participants include two-time Tony nominee Bobby Cannavale, Grand Horizons' Maulik Pancholy, Fun Home Tony nominee Emily Skeggs and Allison Williams from Get Out. Watch for free on Symphony Space's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.

Ron Tal in Eleven Hours Away: A Celebration of Israeli Music
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Yiddish Fiddler cast member Ron Tal performs Eleven Hours Away: A Celebration of Israeli Music as part of the Folksbiene! Live series. An exploration of his heritage and home country, the solo show features songs in Hebrew and Yiddish. Watch for free on the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's Facebook page.

Jennifer Simard and Yeardley Smith on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome Jennifer Simard and Yeardley Smith to Stars in the House, two of the most hilarious character actors working today. On Broadway, Simard has stolen scenes in Hello, Dolly! as a dreadful blind date and Disaster! as a gambling-loving nun, a turn which earned her a Tony nomination, and she was starring as the diet-obsessed Sarah in Company when Broadway shut down. Meanwhile, Smith is best known for her 30-plus-year gig as the voice of Lisa on The Simpsons. These two funny ladies are sure to be a hoot! This twice daily series benefits The Actors' Fund, and you can watch for free on YouTube.

BAM Virtual Gala 2020
At 8 p.m. ET, the invaluable BAM throws an online gala honoring Cate Blanchett, who's starred in many a show on its stages, novelist Zadie Smith and philanthropist Jeanne Donovan Fisher. The evening includes performances by singer-songwriter St. Vincent, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Hope Boykin, Julie Anne Stanzak from Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and house music DJ Eli Escobar. Watch for free on on BAM's website though donations are encouraged.

Available to Watch All Day

Deaf Broadway: Legally Blonde the Musical
Omigod you guys, this week Deaf Broadway is performing Legally Blonde the Musical in American Sign Language alongside the recording of the original Broadway production. This just launched theatre collective has two goals: to give Deaf actors from around the world a chance to show off their skills, and to make these beloved shows accessible to those who speak ASL. Watch for free anytime through Friday on the group's Vimeo channel.

Victory Gardens Theater: Fun Home
Chicago's lauded Victory Gardens Theater is streaming its 2017 production of Fun Home. Written by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, the Tony Award-winning musical was inspired by Alison Bechdel's autobiographical graphic novel about grappling with her sexual identity while being raised by her closeted father in a funeral home. Tickets are $20 and buyers can view the recording once anytime through May 24.

Andrew Scott in Sea Wall
Simon Stephens' devastating monologue Sea Wall, previously seen on Broadway paired with Nick Payne's solo A Life, is now online. This 2012 recording stars Andrew Scott of Fleabag fame, and he is heartbreaking as a man who recalls how a trip to the south of France with his family changed the course of his life. Even though you see the end coming, it still packs a gut punch. Watch for free anytime through Sunday, May 17 on YouTube.

Shakespeare's Globe: Macbeth
London's venerable Shakespeare's Globe has been releasing a new show from its archives every two weeks (the current offering is The Two Noble Kinsmen), but this is a bonus production! This one-act version of Macbeth was created for the theatre's education series Playing Shakespeare, and Ekow Quartey and Elly Condron star as the bloodthirsty aspirational couple. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.

Antony and Cleopatra with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo
It's the last day to catch the National Theatre's 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.


Raven Snook is the Editor of TDF Stages. Follow her at @RavenSnook. Follow TDF at @TDFNYC.

Top image: Charles Busch in The Confession of Lily Dare. Photos by Carol Rosegg.