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, July 30, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
New York City Center's Studio 5: Great American Ballerinas
At noon, New York City Center continues its Great American Ballerinas series with Nina Ananiashvili, the artistic director of the State Ballet of Georgia, and New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns exploring the iconic role of Odette-Odile from Swan Lake. Watch for free on New York City Center's YouTube channel.
Live with Carnegie Hall: Judy Collins and Alan Cumming
At 2 p.m. ET, Carnegie Hall welcomes the legendary Judy Collins, whose 60-year career includes folk hits and show tunes. She'll be joined by fellow veteran singer-songwriters Shawn Colvin, Steve Earle and Jimmy Webb for music and a conversation about how the industry has changed over the decades. Tony winner Alan Cumming also drops by to help pay tribute to Stephen Sondheim, whose "Send in the Clowns" was a big hit for Collins. Watch for free on Carnegie Hall's YouTube channel.
The New Group: The Spoils Starring Jesse Eisenberg
At 7 p.m. ET, The New Group presents a live reading of The Spoils, written by and starring Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg as an unpleasant man-child who sets out to romance his grade-school crush—even though she's engaged to someone else. The play was a hit for the theatre in 2015, and this performance reunites the original Off-Broadway cast including Kunal Nayyar (The Big Band Theory), Michael Zegen (Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and Erin Darke. Tickets are available from the theatre.
Theater of War Productions: Ajax
At 7 p.m. ET, Theater of War Productions, a company that uses classical texts to illuminate contemporary issues, presents excerpts from Sophocles' tragedy Ajax to jump-start a conversation about the impact of COVID-19 on frontline medical workers. Oscar and Tony nominee Amy Ryan, Chad Coleman from The Wire and New York City paramedic Anthony Almojera will read the passages, and director-adapter Bryan Doerries will moderate the discussion in collaboration with the Uniformed EMS Officers Union and the EMS FDNY Help Fund. The event takes place on the free app Zoom, which you'll need to download in advance. Reserve your ticket on Eventbrite to receive the free viewing link. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Theater in Quarantine: The Seventh Voyage of Egon Tichy
At 7 p.m. ET, downtown multihyphenate Joshua William Gelb, known for deconstructing complicated classics like The Jazz Singer, presents The Seventh Voyage of Egon Tichy, a new space adventure inspired by Stanislaw Lem's The Star Diaries. Created in collaboration with Jon Levin and Josh Luxenberg, this multimedia sci-fi production will be followed by a post-show Q&A with the artists, and then an encore performance at 9 p.m. ET. Watch for free on Gelb's YouTube channel.
Virtual Pillow: Royal Danish Ballet
At 7 p.m. ET, the Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow continues its virtual summer season with highlights from the Royal Danish Ballet's 2018 festival performance. Founded in 1748, the troupe is one of the oldest ballet companies in the world, and this recording includes excerpts from A Folk Tale, La Sylphide, Kermesse in Bruges, Giselle and Napoli. Watch for free on Jacob's Pillow's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Awakening
At 7 p.m. ET, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares Awakening by Robert Battle. Ritualistic and emotional, the 2015 work was the first new piece Battle choreographed for the troupe after becoming artistic director in 2011. Watch for free until Thursday, August 6 on the troupe's YouTube channel.
The Joyce Theater: Bhairava
At 7 p.m. ET, dance haven The Joyce Theater presents Bhairava about Shiva, the Lord of Dance. Created specifically for film by Marlene Millar and Philip Szporer, the 20-short features dancer and choreographer Shantala Shivalingappa. Watch for free until Friday, August 14 at 10 a.m. ET on The Joyce's YouTube channel.
Black Theatre Week: Harlem9
At 7 p.m. ET, the Black Theatre Network has moved its 34th annual festival Black Theatre Week online, with five days of virtual programming spotlighting Black theatre creatives. Day four's main event is an evening of shorts by emerging Black writers, co-presented by the Obie-winning theatre collective Harlem9. Watch for free on the Black Theatre Network's Facebook page.
TheaterWorksUSA: Imagine: Voices for the Future Benefit Concert
At 7:30 p.m. ET, lauded family theatre troupe TheaterWorksUSA presents a benefit concert starring some of its talented BIPOC alumnae. Frozen star Jelani Alladin hosts, and the lineup features Jasmine Smith and Forest VanDyke, who appeared in TheaterWorksUSA's Dog Man: The Musical last summer, and Ayla Bellamy from Rosie Revere: Engineer & Friends. Watch for free on TheaterWorksUSA's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
The Metropolitan Opera: Il Trovatore
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares David McVicar's mounting of Verdi's Il Trovatore, starring Marcelo Álvarez as Manrico, the passionate troubadour, Sondra Radvanovsky as his lady love and Dmitri Hvorostovsky as the evil Count di Luna who stands in the way of their happiness. Watch for free for 23 hours after the start time on the Metropolitan Opera's website. You can still stream yesterday's opera, Rigoletto, until 6:30 p.m. ET today.
Dixon Place HOT! Festival: Trav S.D.'s History of Drag in Vaudeville
At 7:30 p.m. ET, downtown staple Dixon Place brings its 29th annual queer culture fest online with four weeks of theatre, dance, music, readings and comedy. Tonight catch NYC performer, playwright and theatre historian, Trav S.D., in a fierce and fast-paced lecture/slideshow about pioneering 19th-century drag queens. Pay-what-you-can tickets are available to purchase from the theatre.
Stars in the House: One Day at a Time Reunion
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome cast members from Norman Lear's original incarnation of the sitcom One Day at a Time. Broadway vets Mackenzie Phillips, Michael Lembeck and Glenn Scarpelli will appear along with Valerie Bertinelli, and they're sure to reminiscence about the show's late matriarch, Tony nominee Bonnie Franklin. Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: New Songs Now
At 8 p.m. ET, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater showcases new numbers by a half dozen up-and-coming songwriters, including Andrew R. Butler, whose sci-fi folk musical Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future was a smash at Ars Nova in 2018; Troy Anthony, the leader of The Public Theater's Public Works Community Choir whose shows have been commissioned by The Civilians and The Shed; and Jillian Walker, whose autobiographically inspired musical SKiNFoLK: An American Show at The Bushwick Starr closed early due to the pandemic. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.
GLAAD Media Awards
At 8 p.m. ET, the 31st annual GLAAD Media Awards, which honor LGBTQ representation in entertainment, goes virtual with performances and appearances by a slew of celebs, including Broadway babies Ben Platt, Beanie Feldstein and Peppermint, along with Dan Levy, Dolly Parton, Lily Singh, Olivia Wilde and many others. Watch for free on GLAAD's YouTube channel.
The Tank: The Soul Spot: Virtual Experience
At 9 p.m. ET, The Tank presents The Soul Spot: Virtual Experience, a full-length dance extravaganza created by Candace Brown, who's choreographed for Nicole Scherzinger and the shows X-Factor and Dancing with the Stars. Tickets are $12.
The Muny: Summer Variety Hour
At 9:15 p.m. ET, after 102 years, the shows won't go on at The Muny this summer. But tonight, the beloved St. Louis institution streams a new episodes of its online variety show featuring clips from past mainstage productions as well as brand-new virtual performances. The lineup for week two includes production numbers from the Muny's mountings of Aida, 42nd Street, Spamalot and Oklahoma!; performances by Tony nominees Rob McClure and Taylor Louderman; and a game show with stage stars such as Ann Harada and Christopher Sieber. Watch for free on the Muny's YouTube channel.
Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 7
Scott Siegel has been producing starry cabaret concerts at Town Hall and other storied venues for years. Now he brings his talent for assembling crackerjack crooners to YouTube. Today's lineup includes Contact Tony winner Karen Ziemba, Side Show Tony nominee Emily Skinner, singer-pianist Mark Nadler, and Broadway vets Kerry O'Malley and Michael Winther. Watch for free on YouTube.
Linda Purl in The Year of Magical Thinking
Theatre and TV star Linda Purl (The Oath, The Office) performs The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion's stage adaptation and expansion of her best-selling memoir exploring the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and their daughter's fragile health. Make sure you have tissues handy! Tickets are $20 and proceeds benefit The Actors Fund.
Manual Cinema: Lula del Ray
Over the next month, the multimedia theatre collective Manual Cinema, which combines puppetry and filmic elements, is sharing recordings of one eye-popping show each week. First up is its 2012 coming-of-age fable Lula del Ray, set in the mid-century American Southwest and inspired by classic country and western music. Watch for free until Monday, August 3 on the company's website.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Fille du Régiment
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 2019 mounting of La Fille du Régiment, Gaetano Donizetti's beloved romantic comedy about an orphan girl raised by a regiment of French soldiers who ends up falling for a rebel. The production stars Pretty Yende, Stephanie Blythe, Javier Camarena and Maurizio Muraro, and Oscar-nominated actress Kathleen Turner makes a non-singing cameo as the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park: Much Ado About Nothing
There may be no Shakespeare in the Park this season, but you can enjoy one of the series' best productions in recent years online: last summer's Much Ado About Nothing. Directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon and featuring an all-Black cast led by the fabulous Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple, Orange Is the New Black) and Grantham Coleman, this is one of my favorite mountings of the Bard's romantic comedy, a production that is often hilarious but also highlights the ongoing battle for equality. Watch for free anytime until Saturday, September 12 on PBS' website.
Disney Cruise Line: Tangled: The Musical
This hour-long production of Disney Cruise Line's Tangled: The Musical gives us a taste of two things we can't do right now: in-person theatre and cruises! Recorded in 2015 aboard one of the fleet's boats, the show is based on Disney's animated movie of the same name and features all of the beloved songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, plus three new numbers. Broadway director Gordon Greenberg helmed this production, which has amazing puppets created by Beetlejuice wiz Michael Curry. Watch for free on Disney Parks' YouTube channel.
Untitled Theater Company #61: The God Projekt
NYC's venerable Untitled Theater Company #61, which presents avant-garde takes on heady subjects, shares The God Projekt, a dark comedy about the big G that was recorded at La MaMa in 2016. Set in a Beckettian landscape, the play finds the Almighty having an existential crisis as he struggles with his work-afterlife balance and a secret from his past. Expect borscht belt humor, bloody puppetry and lots to chew on. Watch for free on Vimeo.
Top image: Jesse Eisenberg and Kunal Nayyar in The Spoils. Photo by Monique Carboni.