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, Friday, May 22, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
At noon ET, the unofficial Harry Potter parody Puffs, which ran for years Off Broadway, flies into your home through the magic of streaming. Subtitled Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic, the comedy focuses on an average wizardry student and his pals living in the shadow of you know who. This performance was filmed in 2018, and is available on Playbill.com. Tickets are $8.99 with a portion of the proceeds going to the charity Frontline Foods.
Cry-Baby Cast Reunion on Stars in the House
At 2 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome the cast of the musical Cry-Baby on Stars in the House. A cult hit that ran briefly on Broadway in 2008, the show was based on John Waters' campy movie of the same name about the romance between a '50s bad boy and a straitlaced blonde. Stars James Snyder, Elizabeth Stanley, Christopher J. Hanke, Harriet Harris and Chester Gregory II will share stories and, hopefully, a song or two. This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on the organization's YouTube channel.
Royal Opera House: Cendrillon
At 2 p.m. ET, London's Royal Opera House shares a 2011 recording of Cendrillon, Jules Massenet's turn-of-the-20th-century take on the old Cinderella story, featuring internationally revered mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role. Watch for free on the opera house's YouTube channel.
Debut of Virtual Halston
At 5 p.m. ET, Broadway funny lady and longtime friend to TDF, Julie Halston, launches her new online chat show Virtual Halston this evening. Her first guest is comedic actor and stand-up Mario Cantone, and we're already laughing just thinking about them dishing. Watch for free on YouTube.
San Francisco Ballet: Bound To
At 5:30 p.m. ET, San Francisco Ballet shares a 2019 recording of Bound To, created by Tony-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon for the company's Unbound festival. An exploration of how constant digital connection has widened our social divide, this is his first ballet sans pointe shoes. Watch for free on the dance company's website.
Lower East Side Festival of the Arts
At 6 p.m. ET, for the past 25 years, the East Village's Theater for the New City has thrown a three-day arts festival on Memorial Day weekend that spilled out into the streets. It's a reflection of this scrappy outfit's tenacity that a pandemic won't stop the fun. More than 250 artists of all genres are participating in this virtual edition, which kicks off tonight. The big names are on Saturday so stay tuned for those. Watch for free on the theatre's website.
Feinstein's/54 Below: I Wish: The Roles That Could Have Been
At 6:30 p.m. ET, cabaret haven Feinstein's/54 Below presents a live remote performance of I Wish: The Roles That Could Have Been, featuring Broadway actors crooning numbers they've always wanted to sing on stage in front of an audience, and not just in their showers. The impressive lineup includes Drew Gehling (Waitress), Robyn Hurder (Moulin Rouge!), Isabelle McCalla (The Prom), Julia Murney (Wicked), Elizabeth Stanley (Jagged Little Pill) and Alexandra Silber (Fiddler on the Roof), who conceived of the evening and also serves as host. Watch for free on Feinstein's/54 Below's YouTube channel. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
At 6:45 p.m. ET, the musical rom-com Marry Harry, seen at NYC's York Theatre Company in 2017, streams this evening. An old-fashioned romp, it centers on an unlikely couple and their overbearing parents, who almost detail the relationship. The cast includes Tony nominee Veanne Cox, who cohosts the screening with Broadway's Laura Osnes. Watch for free on the show's website
Theatre for a New Audience: Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest
At 7 p.m. ET, Brooklyn's Theatre for a New Audience and the Fisher Center at Bard present a Zoom-adaptation of Mad Forest, groundbreaking playwright Caryl Churchill's drama exploring the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Directed by Ashley Tata and starring students from the Bard Theater & Performance Program, the production combines live acting and video technology to reconceive this work for remote performance. The show is free but you must reserve your spot by noon in order to receive the viewing link! If you miss out today, it will be performed two more times: on Sunday, May 24 at 5 p.m. and Wednesday May 27 at 3 p.m.
Astoria Performing Arts Center: The Insiders - Musicals from the Quarantine
At 7 p.m. ET, Queens' venerable Astoria Performing Arts Center launches a six-week series of new mini musicals inspired by the weird way we're living today. First up is the two-hander Livin' The Dreamboat by Clarie Tran and Blake Allen, about a pair of siblings, both in the performing arts, who bond over their uncertain futures. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Don Giovanni at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 1978 mounting of Mozart's Don Giovanni, starring Joan Sutherland, James Morris and Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by Richard Bonynge. 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, Turandot, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Play-PerView: Eureka Day
At 8 p.m. ET, the live-streamed theatre series Play-PerView presents a reading of Eureka Day, Jonathan Spector's eerily timely dark comedy about parents and administrators at a private school clashing over vaccines. NYC theatre company Colt Coeur got rave reviews for its sold-out mounting of the play last year, and this event reunites that cast, including Tina Benko and Thomas Jay Ryan, and director Adrienne Campbell-Holt. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Tickets start at $5, and proceeds benefit nonprofit theatre Colt Coeur and the charity No Kid Hungry. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
New York City Ballet: Liturgy and Carousel (A Dance)
At 8 p.m. ET, more Christopher Wheeldon! NYCB continues its online spring season with a pair of pieces by the Tony-winning American in Paris choreographer. Liturgy is a pensive pas de deux featuring Maria Kowroski and Jared Anglhas, set to music by Arvo Pärt. Carousel (A Dance) is his take on the iconic "dream ballet" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, with Lauren Lovette and Tyler Angle. Watch for free on NYCB's YouTube channel through Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
At 8 p.m. ET, is it dance or is it magic? Celtic Illusion is both! Created, choreographed and starring Anthony Street, the spectacle includes Riverdance alums engaging is rigorous routines mixed with eye-popping illusions. Watch for free on Broadway on Demand's website.
Joe's Pub: Sarah Stiles in Squirrel Heart
At 8 p.m. ET, Sarah Stiles knows how to steal the spotlight... even when she's the only one on stage. In this solo set recorded at Joe's Pub in 2018, the two-time Tony nominee (Tootsie, Hand to God) shows off her musical versatility, comedic chops and many costume changes. Watch for free on Joe's Pub's website.
La MaMa: Downtown Variety
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 Alberto Del Saz, Víctor Martínez, LizdeLise, Mallory Catlett, Jim Findlay and other underground darlings. Prepare yourself for the unexpected! Watch for free on the theatre's website.
TRLive!: Nate Weida
At 8 p.m. ET, 42nd Street's Theatre Row lauches TRLive!, a series of live concerts featuring artists affiliated with the nonprofit complex. First up is Nate Weida, a theatre composer with 13 shows to his credit, whose new musical In Corpo is set to premiere at Theatre Row next year. Watch for free on the theatre's Facebook page though donations are encouraged.
The Tank: Rule of 7x7
At 8 p.m. ET, The Tank's longtime series Rule of 7x7 goes digital! Every two weeks, the theatre premieres seven brand-new 10 minute plays by seven different writers. For each edition, every playwright comes up with one rule, then the seven playwrights create new plays using all seven rules. Playwrights and audience members can email RuleOfShow@gmail.com to sign up and receive the Zoom link.
Available to Watch All Day
National Theatre: A Streetcar Named Desire
London's National Theatre presents A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Gillian Anderson as the tragic Blanche DuBois opposite Ben Foster's unforgiving Stanley Kowalski. Directed by Benedict Andrews, this radical reinvention of Tennessee Williams' classic had a sold-out limited run at Brooklyn's St. Ann's Warehouse and features a slowly rotating set, fiery emotions and some truly brutal moments. Prepare to see this familiar play from a new perspective. Watch for free through Thursday, May 28 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
MCC LiveLabs: One Acts: The Sentinels
If you missed this one-act by The Inheritance playwright Matthew Lopez last night, you can still watch a recording of The Sentinels starring a formidable foursome of fierce females: Tony winners Jane Alexander, Katrina Lenk and Priscilla Lopez, and Tony nominee Denée Benton. A meditation on mourning that moves backwards in time, the drama centers on a group of September 11 widows who meets every year on the anniversary of the tragedy that upended their lives. Watch the live performance for free on MCC Theater's YouTube page.
The Homebound Project
The Homebound Project just released its second edition of playlets, and the lineup is once again stellar. Enjoy new shorts by big-name dramatists including Pulitzer Prize finalists Sarah DeLappe and Will Arbery, and Off-Broadway darlings Adam Bock and Anne Washburn, featuring stage stars such as Tony winner Mary-Louise Parker and Zachary Quinto. 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.
Shakespeare's Globe: The Winter's Tale
London's Shakespeare's Globe shares a recording of its 2018 mounting of The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's genre-shifting comedy-tragedy-romance about an insanely jealous king, a pair of determined young lovers, an oracle, a magical statue and a bear. Watch for free anytime through Sunday, May 31 on the theatre's YouTube channel.
Timon of Athens at the Stratford Festival
At 7 p.m. ET, Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare On Film series with one of the Bard's lesser produced tragedies, Timon of Athens, often labeled as one of his problem plays. Stratford vet Joseph Ziegler stars as the title character, a wealthy and generous man whose friends disappear with his funds. Watch for free anytime through Thursday, June 11 on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.
Top image: Ben Foster and Gillian Anderson in A Streetcar Named Desire. Photo by Teddy Wolff.