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 this Monday, December 7 and Tuesday, December 8, from the comfort of your couch for free or at low cost.
The Seth Concert Series: Ana Gasteyer
On Monday at 3 p.m. ET, apparently, hosting a daily online talk show and a Sirius XM Satellite Radio series isn't enough for the multitalented Seth Rudetsky. Well-known for his skills as a pianist, music director and interviewer, he's hosted a series of intimate live concerts with Broadway stars for the past decade. This year he brings the show online. Last night's headliner was Ana Gasteyer and you can watch a recording today. Although this funny lady is best known for her work on sitcoms and Saturday Night Live, she's also a powerhouse vocalist and Broadway vet who played Elphaba in Wicked. Expect hilarity along with high notes. Tickets are $25.
On Monday at 5 p.m. ET, Chelsea dance haven The Joyce Theater continues its virtual season with five eclectic recordings available for four weeks: STREB's Massive Rotations; a program of short works by the Native American troupe Indigenous Enterprise; excerpts from Vanessa Sanchez & La Mezcla's tap piece Pachuquísmo; fabulous drag dance troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in Paquita; and a triple bill from Rennie Harris Puremovement, Soul Maggot, A Day in the Life and Black Promises. Watch for free until Sunday, January 3, 2021 on The Joyce's website.
92nd Street Y: Lyrics & Lyricists: Jule Styne and His Many Lyricists: Distant Memory
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, the 92nd Street Y's popular Lyrics & Lyricists concert series continues with a program dedicated to the prolific Jule Styne, who wrote more than 1.500 songs with dozens of lyricists. Gypsy, Funny Girl and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes are just a few of the musicals he created with collaborators such as Stephen Sondheim, Bob Merrill and Leo Robin. Musical theatre vets Farah Alvin, Allison Blackwell, Nikki Renée Daniels, Jeff Kready, Julia Murney, Zachary Noah Piser, Zachary Prince, Pearl Sun and Mariand Torres croon a wide array of his tunes. Tickets are $15 and the recording remains available through Thursday, December 31.
Broadway Close Up—Stephen Schwartz
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, Kaufman Music Center celebrates the career of songwriter Stephen Schwartz, whose Broadway shows include Wicked, Pippin and Godspell, and who collaborated with Alan Menken on the Disney animated juggernauts Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Sean Hartley hosts and Nikki Renée Daniels and Gabrielle Stravellias sing. Tickets start at $15.
Working Theater: To the Bone
On Monday at 7 p.m. ET, Working Theater, which mounts shows for, about and with working people, presents a benefit reading of Lisa Ramirez's harrowing To the Bone, inspired by interviews with immigrant employees in upstate New York poultry processing plants. This event reunites the cast of the play's 2014 Cherry Lane Theatre production, and is hosted by playwright and activist V (formerly known as Eve Ensler), organizer Rosa Clemente and author Maria Hinojosa. Tickets are pay-what-you-wish and proceeds go to the Rural & Migrant Ministry, an organization serving migrant farm workers in Sullivan County. Spanish translation available.
The Metropolitan Opera: The Tempest
On Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents Robert Lepage's 2012 mounting of The Tempest, Thomas Adès' take on Shakespeare's stormy revenge tale that ends well. Simon Keenlyside stars as Prospero the sorcerer, Isabel Leonard is his daughter Miranda and Alek Shrader is the shipwrecked hunk who steals her heart. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Tosca, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
New Works Virtual Festival: Bloomer Girls
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, the ambitious New Works Virtual Festival showcases 20 fresh plays in 20 days, with a debut every evening at 8 p.m. ET through Christmas. Tonight is Emily Brauer Rogers' Bloomer Girls, a history-inspired piece about a 19th-century all-women's baseball team traveling through the American West. The cast includes Broadway vets Brynn Williams, Adrienne Walker, Leigh Ann Larkin, Christy Carlson Romano and Sharone Sayegh. Watch for free on YouTube.
Jim Caruso's Pajama Cast Party
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, cabaret maven Jim Caruso welcomes renowned singers and up-and-comers at Pajama Cast Party, a live-streamed version of his popular weekly Cast Party gatherings that have taken place at Birdland for years. Tonight's lineup includes James Harkness from Broadway's Ain't Too Proud, jazz singer Brianna Thomas and songwriter John Bucchino, who'll share a recording of Leslie Odom, Jr. crooning one of his new tunes. Watch for free on YouTube though tips via the Venmo app are appreciated.
Bindlestiff Open Stage: Quarantine Edition
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus continues its weekly live-streamed variety show hosted by adorkable ringmaster Keith Nelson. This evening's cavalcade includes aerialist Chloe Zabicki, Acrobatrix, and jugglers Ollie Lukes and Will Oltman. Watch for free on Bindlestiff's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Stars in the House: The Prompter
On Monday at 8 p.m. ET, Stars in the House presents a live reading of The Prompter, written by and starring Wade Dooley as a line feeder to a forgetful stage star (Brenda Vaccaro) who's headlining a hip reinvention of The Importance of Being Earnest. Scott Schwartz directs. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Theater of War Productions: Philoctetes and Women of Trachis
On Tuesday at noon ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to examine contemporary issues, presents a reading of scenes from Philoctetes and Women of Trachis, followed by a town hall-style discussion with the audience. Kathryn Erbe, Marjolaine Goldsmith, Frankie Faison and David Strathairn will perform scenes from Sophocles' tragedies, and then director-adapter Bryan Doerries will facilitate a conversation about how the plays' themes relate to the trauma frontline medical workers are facing during the pandemic. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Manhattan Theatre Club: As Is: Conversations with Big Black Women in Confined Spaces
On Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET, Manhattan Theatre Club continues its virtual reading series with As Is, Stacey Rose's insightful portrait of four incredible and curvy Black women trying to navigate their intertwined friendships and a world that resists making space for them. Tiffany Nichole Greene directs. Watch for free until Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on MTC's YouTube channel.
Folksbiene Chanukah Spectacular
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, Why is tonight different from all other nights? Because the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene is throwing an early Hanukkah extravaganza! The troupe welcomes stars of stage and screen for seasonal greetings, stories and songs, including Carol Burnett, Mayim Bialik, Billy Crystal, Tovah Feldshuh, Beanie Feldstein, Joel Grey, Jackie Hoffman, Carol Kane, Barry Manilow, Mandy Patinkin, Itzhak Perlman, Neil Sedaka, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Jerry Zaks, though we expect Folksbiene regulars to do most of the entertaining. If you saw Yiddish Fiddler, Amerike – The Golden Land or any of the company's other glorious musicals, you know that's a mitzvah! Reservations are required to receive the free viewing link but donations are encouraged. The recording is viewable until Saturday, December 12.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: The Gett: A Young Wife's Tale
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater presents a live reading of The Gett: A Young Wife's Tale, Liba Vaynberg's examination of the ancient ritual of religious Jewish divorce. The cast features four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh, Peter Mark Kendall, Alfredo Narciso and Miriam Silverman, and Daniella Topol directs. Tickets are required to receive the free viewing link; a recording is viewable until Saturday, December 12.
Bedlam: Three Sisters
On Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, Bedlam, a NYC theatre company celebrated for its reinventions of classics (Sense & Sensibility, The Crucible), presents a live reading of Chekhov's Three Sisters, about women yearning for a richer life. Kathryn Tkel, Lauren Modica and Jessica Frey are the title siblings, and Violeta Picayo plays their sister-in-law and directs. The evening kicks off with a half hour of live music at 6:30 p.m. ET. Watch for free on the company's Facebook page though donations to The Black Theatre Network are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Doctor Atomic
On Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera presents John Adams' Doctor Atomic about the impact the test of the first atomic bomb had on those at Los Alamos. Gerald Finley plays the brilliant J. Robert Oppenheimer in this 2008 mounting costarring Sasha Cooke, Thomas Glenn and Richard Paul Fink. 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. ET today.
New Works Virtual Festival: The QoL Mandate
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, the ambitious New Works Virtual Festival showcases 20 fresh plays in 20 days, with a debut every evening at 8 p.m. ET through Christmas. Tonight is Hope Villanueva's The QoL Mandate, about a lobbyist trying to make vasectomies mandatory for teenage boys. A clever inversion of the my body my choice movement, the play stars Broadway vet Natascia Diaz. Watch for free on YouTube.
Stars in the House: Red Bucket Follies Celebration
On Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome some of the talented triple threats from Red Bucket Follies to Stars in the House. Formerly called the Gypsy of the Year Competition, Red Bucket Follies is one of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' signature annual fundraisers, featuring Broadway and national touring company cast members performing charming musical parodies. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
This Is Who I Am
On Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and NYC's PlayCo present This Is Who I Am, Amir Nizar Zuabi's touching two-hander about a father in Ramallah and his son in New York trying to bridge their geographical and emotional divide by cooking together via Zoom. Performed live, the play stars Ramsey Faragallah and Yousof Sultani, and is directed by Evren Odcikin. Tickets start at $16.
Classical Theatre of Harlem: A Christmas Carol in Harlem
While there's a cornucopia of Christmas Carols streaming this season, the Classical Theatre of Harlem's version offers a modern-day, gospel-infused spin on Charles Dickens' holiday redemption tale. Recorded at Aaron Davis Hall last year, the show cleverly examines the ramifications of gentrification, making the story feel more urgent and poignant than ever. Watch for free until Sunday, January 3, 2021 on the theatre's website though donations are encouraged.
Williamstown Theatre Festival: A Streetcar Named Desire
Although the celebrated Williamstown Theatre Festival had to cancel its in-person summer season, some of the scheduled productions were reimagined and recorded as audio plays, a genre that has exploded during the pandemic. The first release is an audio mounting of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, starring six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald as the fragile Blanche DuBois, Carla Gugino as her sister, Stella, and Ariel Shafir as Stanley Kowalski, the man who upends their tenuous lives. Tony nominee Robert O'Hara directs. The recording costs $8.
The Ars Nova Forever Telethon
Off-Off Broadway's Ars Nova has served as the launching pad for lots of big things, including the musical Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and Lin-Manuel Miranda. As befits the iconoclastic institution, it presented an unconventional online benefit over the weekend, and you can watch a recording until Tuesday. The theatre's 24-hour telethon featured folks you've certainly heard of (Josh Groban, Brooke Shields, Tina Fey), and artists you'll be thrilled to get to know. With more than 150 performers, the cavalcade was organized into a dozen two-hour sections, including a Great Comet cast reunion; a cabaret hosted by A Strange Loop's Larry Owens and Natalie Walker featuring Broadway vets Gavin Creel and Celia Keenan-Bolger; and a Freestyle Love Supreme improvised hip-hop performance. Watch for free on Ars Nova's website though donations are encouraged.
On Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, the new producing org Cast Black Talent assembles an impressive cast for Hurt Village, Katori Hall's powerful play about a struggling Black family in a Memphis, Tennessee housing project on the cusp of what they hope is a better future. Originally seen at Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre in 2012, this reading stars Loretta Devine as family matriarch Big Mama; Slave Play Tony nominee Joaquina Kalukango as her grandchild Crank; J. Alphonse Nicholson as an Iraq War vet with PTSD; and Stranger Things' Priah Ferguson as their daughter Cookie, an aspiring teenage rapper. Real-life rapper Snoop Dogg has a supporting role and the prolific Steve H. Broadnax III directs. Register to receive the free viewing link though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
The American Dance Guild Performance Festival: 10 Years Over 10 Weeks
Each year, the American Dance Guild produces a festival that includes salutes to iconic dance-makers. Since the event is virtual this year, the organizers have transformed it into a retrospective of the last decade of honorees, with archival recordings released every Monday. The penultimate program features tributes to 2018's masters Jane Comfort and Eleo Pomare. Watch for free until Sunday on Vimeo though donations are encouraged.
Top image: Classical Theatre of Harlem: A Christmas Carol in Harlem. Photo by Jill Jones.