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, Thursday, May 7, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre
At 2 p.m. ET, 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.
Variety Thursday on Stars in the House
At 2 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley host a live variety show on Stars in the House. The lineup includes hilarious Matilda and Emojiland diva Lesli Margherita, Smokey Joe's Cafe Tony nominee Brenda Braxton and vocalist Anne Steele. This twice daily series supports The Actors Fund, and you can watch for free on the organization's YouTube channel.
This Ends Tonight Reading
At 3 p.m. ET, Broadway performer Nik Walker enlists some of his famous Hamilton costars to perform his new play This Ends Tonight, about a Missouri lawman who's forced to team up with his criminal nemsis in Boston. Tony winner James Monroe Iglehart, Alysha Deslorieux and Michael Luwoye star in this thriller, which will be presented live on Zoom. To watch for free, email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link.
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 Auntie Glam's Happy Hour. It's sure to be an entertaining and insightful time. Watch on their website for free, though tips are encouraged.
Tavi Gevinson on Classic Conversations
At 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company continues its Classic Conversations with a chat between artistic director John Doyle and Tavi Gevinson (The Crucible, This Is Our Youth), who was set to star in the theatre's highly anticipated revival of Assassins, which has been indefinitely postponed. While this is billed as an interview series, the theatre promises "occasional" singing, and we're hoping they'll up that to frequent. Watch on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page. Assassins bonus: Watch Gevinsonn's costar Ethan Slater croon "The Ballad of Czolgosz" with fellow cast members. It gives you a tantalizing taste of what could have been—and hopefully one day will be.
54 Celebrates Mel Brooks
At 6:30 p.m. ET, cabaret haven Feinstein's/54 Below shares a recording of 54 Celebrates Mel Brooks, a concert of the funnyman's irreverent songs from The Producers, Young Frankenstein and other projects. Tony winner and Producers alum Richard Kind hosts an incredible lineup of comedic crooners, including Olivier winner Lesli Margherita, Tony nominees Brad Oscar and Lee Roy Reams, The Prom's Angie Schworer and Ain't Too Proud's Jelani Remy. Watch for free on the club's YouTube channel. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
The Oedipus Project by Theater of War
At 7 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents a starry reading of Oedipus, followed by a town hall-style discussion with the audience. Two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand, Tony winner Jeffrey Wright, Oscar Isaac, John Turturro, David Strathairn and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will perform Sophocles' tragedy (which premiered during a plague that decimated the Athenian population), and then talk about how the play's themes relate to our current panedemic, such as poor leadership during a time of crisis. The performance takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Reserve your free ticket on Eventbrite at least an hour in advance. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Cry by Alvin Ailey
At 7 p.m. ET, the invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares a 1972 recording of Cry, the namesake choreographer's iconic 16-minute solo created for his muse, Judith Jamison. Ailey gifted this dance to his mother for her birthday, so its resurrection right before Mother's Day is impeccably timed. Watch for free on the troupe's website through Sunday.
Macbeth at the Stratford Festival
At 7 p.m. ET, 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.
Capriccio at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2011 mounting of Strauss' Capriccio, starring Renée Fleming, Sarah Connolly, Joseph Kaiser, Russell Braun, Morten Frank Larsen and Peter Rose, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. 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, L'Amour de Loin, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Renée Fleming Live From Lincoln Center
At 7:30 p.m. ET, want more Renée Fleming? Lincoln Center is sharing a fabulous performance from its archives, The New York Philharmonic's 1997 gala concert featuring the acclaimed soprano singing pieces by Mozart and R. Strauss in honor of conductor Kurt Masur's 70th birthday. Watch for free on Lincoln Center's Facebook page.
November Starring John Malkovich and Patti LuPone
At 8 p.m. ET, catch the inaugural offering of Broadway's Best Live, a new series from a team of veteran theatre producers of one-night-only live-streamed plays featuring major stars. First up is November, David Mamet's 2008 presidential election comedy with John Malkovich as the overwhelmed incumbent and Patti LuPone as his snarky speechwriter. Watch for free on the series' website. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: New Songs Now in Your Living Room
At 8 p.m. ET, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater launches New Songs Now in Your Living Room, a new series of unplugged mini-concerts by up-and-coming songwriters. This week, Max Vernon, whose musicals including The View UpStairs and KPOP, and 2020 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient Rona Siddiqu share works in progress. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.
White Collar Reunion on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, It's a White Collar reunion on Stars in the House. Hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome cast members from the popular USA crimedy, notably Matt Bomer, who made an auspicious Broadway debut in The Boy in the Band two seasons ago. This twice daily show benefits The Actors' Fund, and you can watch for free on YouTube.
Good and Noble Beings at The Brick
At 8 p.m. ET, one of Brooklyn's most adventurous theatres, The Brick, continues its Archival Streaming Series with a recording of Good and Noble Beings, a devised theatre work that began as a riff on the postmodernist milestone A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia and morphed into a meditation on the personal lives of its creators. This is your chance to see boundary-pushing, outer-borough performance without having to take the subway! Watch on The Brick's YouTube channel for free, though donations are encouraged.
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Frankenstein at the National Theatre
It's your last chance to catch a double creature feature courtesy of the National Theatre. The lauded London company shares its 2011 monster hit Frankenstein, directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle and featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating in the lead roles. Both versions are available to watch for free on YouTube through Friday at 2 p.m. ET, so it's your choice whether you want to catch Cumberbatch as the doctor and Miller as his ungodly creation, or see the stars the other way around.
Madama Butterfly at the Met
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 about 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 2019 mounting of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, based on Anthony Minghella's staging, and starring Hui He, Andrea Carè, Elizabeth DeShong and Paulo Szot. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 5 p.m. on the Metropolitan Opera's website
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, which was recorded at the Fisher Center last summer. 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.
English National Ballet: Romeo & Juliet
The English National Ballet shares a recording of Romeo & Juliet, choreographed for the company by the legendary Rudolf Nureyev. Alina Cojocaru and Isaac Hernández star as the ill-fated lovers in this 2015 mounting. Watch for free anytime through Friday at 2 p.m. on the troupe's YouTube channel.
Top image: Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo in Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre. Photo by Johan Persson