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, May 14, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
National Theatre: Barber Shop Chronicles
At 2 p.m. ET, London's National Theatre shares Barber Shop Chronicles, Inua Ellams' hit play about the thriving social scenes at six different barbershops, one in London, the others in Africa. A critically acclaimed production, the show presents a loving and insightful portrait of the African men who work and visit these havens. Watch for free through Thursday, May 21 at 2 p.m. ET on the National Theatre's YouTube channel.
Live with Carnegie Hall: Renée Fleming
At 2 p.m. ET, Carnegie Hall welcomes opera legend and Carousel Tony nominee Renée Fleming. She's joined by her longtime friend, singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, and the program includes one of her signature pieces, R. Strauss' Four Last Songs. Watch for free on Carnegie Hall's Facebook page.
Delia Ephron, Carol Kane and Paulo Szot on Stars in the House
At 2 p.m. ET, Stars in the House hosts Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley spotlight artists involved in two must-see performances online. Writer Delia Ephron and performer Carol Kane drop by to chat about their work on Love, Loss, and What I Wore, which is being screened as a fundraiser for the 92nd Street Y, and South Pacific Tony nominee Paulo Szot will talk about singing Leonard Bernstein's Mass, which airs on PBS' Great Performances on Friday evening. Watch for free on YouTube.
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 always an entertaining and insightful time. Watch for free on their website though tips are encouraged.
Andy Karl & Orfeh: Legally Bound at Feinstein's/54 Below
At 6:30 p.m. ET, cabaret haven Feinstein's/54 Below shares Andy Karl & Orfeh: Legally Bound, showcasing the talents of and enviable romance between the two Tony-nominated Broadway stars. Andy Karl and Orfeh met while performing in Saturday Night Fever and were married by the time they showed off their palpable chemistry in Legally Blonde the Musical. This concert was recorded soon after they finished up their run in Pretty Woman and the power couple croons an eclectic mix of pop songs and show tunes. Watch for free on the club's YouTube channel. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Mass
At 7 p.m. ET, the invaluable Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares a 2017 recording of Mass, choreographed by the company's current artistic director Robert Battle and featuring dancers in colorful robes evoking jubilant choir movements. Watch for free through Sunday on the troupe's website.
The Tempest at the Stratford Festival
At 7 p.m. ET, Ontario's venerable Stratford Festival continues its Shakespeare On Film series with The Tempest starring six-decade fest vet Martha Henry as Prospero the vengeful sorcerer. Stratford's artistic director Antoni Cimolino helmed this critically acclaimed 2018 production, which you can watch for free on the Stratford Festival's YouTube channel.
Theater in Quarantine: Box Thrree. Spool Five. A Piece of Krapp
At 7 p.m., downtown multihyphenate Joshua William Gelb, known for deconstructing complicated classics like The Jazz Singer, uses Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape as inspiration for this new theatrical exploration Box Thrree. Spool Five. A Piece of Krapp. Performed live in Gelb's closet, the 20-minute piece will be followed by an artist chat, then an encore performance at 9 p.m. Watch for free on Gelb's YouTube channel.
Yo-Yo Ma Plays Dvorák
At 7:30 p.m. ET, Lincoln Center shares a classical music gem from its archives, a 1995 telecast of acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma playing Dvorák's Cello Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Kurt Masur. Watch for free on Lincoln Center's Facebook page.
Peter Grimes at the Met
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares its 2008 mounting of Britten's Peter Grimes, starring Patricia Racette, Anthony Dean Griffey and Anthony Michaels-Moore, conducted by Sir Donald Runnicles. 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, Ariadne auf Naxos, until 6:30 p.m. today.
Significant Other Starring Gideon Glick
At 8 p.m. ET, Broadway's Best Shows reunites the original Broadway cast of Joshua Harmon's bittersweet comedy Significant Other for a one-night-only performance. The adorkable Gideon Glick plays a fun-loving but high-strung single gay man lamenting the loss of his best girlfriends to marriage. Sas Goldberg, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Barbara Barrie and the heartbreaking Lindsay Mendez costar. Watch for free on the series' website. This performance won't be available after-the-fact.
Movie Night with Josh Groban: Awake Live
At 8 p.m. ET, international recording sensation and Tony-nominated Great Comet star Josh Groban hosts a one-time screening of his 2008 concert movie Awake Live online. Throughout, he'll provide running commentary, sharing memories and stories about the film and his career. Watch for free on Groban's YouTube channel.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: New Songs Now in Your Living Room
At 8 p.m. ET, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater continues its series of unplugged mini-concerts with singer-songwriter-actor Shaina Taub, who created marvelous musicalizations of As You Like It and Twelfth Night for The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park. and Eisa Davis, a Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright and Obie-winning performer who's also released two albums of original music. Watch for free on the theatre's YouTube channel.
The Blurring Test - Songs From MrMind at The Brick
At 8 p.m. ET, one of Brooklyn's most adventurous theatres, The Brick, continues its Archival Streaming Series with another better-seen-than-described offering, The Blurring Test - Songs From MrMind, a song cycle inspired by an online chatbot that spent 16 years asking visitors to prove they were human. The songwriting collective Varispeed composed the score for voice, electronics and instruments. This is your chance to see boundary-pushing, outer-borough performance without having to take the subway! Watch for free on The Brick's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Jeff Bowen and Heidi Blickenstaff on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Jeff Bowen and Heidi Blickenstaff, the talented pals and collaborators behind the autobiographically inspired musicals [title of show] and Now. Here. This.. Before the pandemic hit, the foursome were in the midst of creating a flexible version of the latter for students at the Orange County School of the Arts. Tonight, that show will go on, just remotely. The quartet are joined by co-directors Scott Barnhardt and Peter Marinaro for this special pre-premiere interview! Watch for free on YouTube, then tune in for the show's premiere at 9 p.m. (see below).
Now. Here. This. by Orange County School of the Arts Students
At 9 p.m. ET, thirty musical theatre conservatory students from Orange County School of the Arts debut a flexible edition of Now. Here. This., reimagined in collaboration with its original creators Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell and Jeff Bowen. A whole newish musical staged virtually? There may be a future in this. Watch for free on YouTube.
Bill Irwin's In-Zoom
At 9:30 p.m. ET, San Diego's Old Globe presents the new 10-minute play In-Zoom by Tony-winning performer and consummate clown Bill Irwin. In the short, two unnamed men played by Irwin and Tony-nominated funnyman Christopher Fitzgerald (Wicked, Waitress) attempt to record inspirational messages with tragicomic results. Irwin spoke to The New York Times about the possibilities of Zoom as a performance medium, and we're excited to see the kookiness he's cooked up. Watch the live performance for free on the Old Globe's website, or catch a recording anytime through Sunday.
The Public Theater: What Do We Need to Talk About?
Last month, The Public Theater premiered What Do We Need to Talk About?, a brand-new drama by Tony-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson centered on his fictional Apple family. Initially, it was only available to watch for four days, but now it's back online through the end of June! From 2010 to 2013, Nelson mounted one hyper-realistic play a year about this Rhinebeck, New York clan as they grappled with national milestones such as the 10th anniversary of September 11, the 2012 reelection of Barack Obama and the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination. In this latest installment, the Apples find themselves Zooming during the coronavirus pandemic. The cast of the original tetralogy returns for this eminently relatable and profoundly moving one-act, including Tony winner Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders and Laila Robins, all performing from the safety of their own homes. Watch for free on The Public Theater's YouTube channel.
L'Elisir d'Amore 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 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
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.
MCC LiveLabs: One Acts: Frankie & Will
If you missed the premiere of MCC Theater's new series yesterday, you can still watch a recording of 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 quarantining together during a plague. Since the actors live together no social distancing was required—they're in the same frame together, a welcome throwback to the old days of February. Watch for free on MCC Theater's YouTube channel.
Victory Gardens Theater: Fun Home
Starting today for two weeks, 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 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.
Donmar Warehouse: Midnight Your Time
London's lauded Donmar Warehouse premieres Adam Brace's brand-new one-act Midnight Your Time about a retired London lawyer 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 Donmar Warehouse's YouTube channel.
Top image: Andy Karl and Orfeh.