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, August 13, from the comfort of your couch for free (or at very low cost).
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene: Zalmen Mlotek Living Room Concert
At 1 p.m. ET, Zalmen Mlotek—the artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, which produced Yiddish Fiddler—performs Yiddish summer camp songs. Even if you don't know the language, the emotions come through loud and clear. Watch for free on Folksbiene's Facebook page.
San Francisco Ballet: Dance of Dreams
At 3 p.m. ET, San Francisco Ballet presents Dance of Dreams, a new dance movie by Benjamin Millepied featuring choreography by Justin Peck, Dwight Rhoden, Janie Taylor and Christopher Wheeldon for six of the company's dancers. The performances were shot in iconic Bay Area locations and set to Bernard Herrmann's haunting music from Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, appropriate given that romantic thriller takes place in the region. Watch for free on San Francisco Ballet's website.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: In the Southern Breeze
At 5 p.m. ET, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater presents a live reading of In the Southern Breeze by Jiréh Breon Holder, whose Freedom Riders drama Too Heavy for Your Pocket ran at Roundabout Theatre Company a few seasons back. This new play focuses on a runaway slave who gets lost in a mysterious forest, sparking an absurdist adventure that examines the challenges African American men continue to face 155 years after abolition. Christopher D. Betts directs Curt Morlaye, Terrence Riggins, Justin Sams, TL Thompson and Travis Turner, and there will be a moderated post-show discussion with the artists. Register in order to receive the free viewing link.
Black Lives, Black Words International Project: Black Arts in Times of Uprising
At 5 p.m. ET, Black Lives, Black Words International Project, an activist theatre initiative, hosts Black Arts in Times of Uprising. Chicago-based actor and educator Sheri Flanders moderates a panel that features performers Sha Cage and Katrina D. RiChard, playwrights Idris Goodwin, Dominic Taylor, Chisa Hutchinson and Wole Oguntokun, and multi-hyphenate Pemon Rami. Reserve your free ticket to receive the viewing link.
Heather Headley on Classic Conversations
At 6 p.m. ET, Classic Stage Company continues its Classic Conversations with a chat between artistic director John Doyle and Aida Tony winner Heather Headley. Doyle directed Headley in her triumphant return to Broadway, when she took over the role of Shug Avery in his revival of The Color Purple. Watch for free on Classic Stage Company's Facebook page.
The New York Times Offstage: Suffragist
At 7 p.m. ET, The New York Times continues its Offstage series with a sneak peek at the musical Suffragist, which was scheduled to premiere this fall until the pandemic hit. With songs by the brilliant Shaina Taub, the show explores the real-life rivalry between veteran organizer Carrie Chapman Catt and young radical Alice Paul, along with many other suffragists as they fought for women's right to vote. Taub and director Leigh Silverman will discuss the production, and then cast members including Jenn Colella, Nikki M. James and Kuhoo Verma will perform a pair of numbers from the show. Register in order to receive the free viewing link.
Ice Factory: A Burning Church
At 7 p.m. ET, the New Ohio Theatre wraps up its 27th annual Ice Factory festival with A Burning Church, an epic new musical tracing the dramatic history of a church and its members through protest movements, tragedies and spiritual epiphanies. This virtual event will present songs and scenes from this work in progress in the form of parables. Book and direction are by Alex Hare and Zhailon Levingston; lyrics are by Levingston and music is by Nehemiah Luckett. Pay-what-you-can tickets start at $1.
Radio Free Birdland: Max von Essen in Concert
At 7 p.m. ET, cabaret mainstay Birdland presents Broadway charmer Max von Essen in concert. The American in Paris Tony nominee performs at the midtown club with Billy Stritch at the piano and no one in the audience. Three cameras capture the set, a combination of Broadway standards, American Songbook classics and a duet with special guest Nick Adams, who costarred with von Essen in the national tour of Falsettos. There's also a brief live pre-performance live chat with the crooner. Tickets are $23.50.
Irish Repertory Theatre: Love, Noël: The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward
At 7 p.m. ET, Irish Rep presents Love, Noël, a virtual reinvention of its 2019 celebration of playwright, songwriter and sparkling wit Noël Coward. Barry Day devised this two-person tribute featuring seasoned cabaret stars Steve Ross and KT Sullivan singing Coward's songs, such as "Mad About the Boy," "Together with Music" and "I'll Follow My Secret Heart," and channeling his famous friends, including Gertrude Lawrence, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Elaine Stritch. Tickets are a suggested donation of $25 but TDF members get a discount.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: In/Side and Ella
At 7 p.m. ET, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater shares a pair of pieces by artistic director Robert Battle: In/Side and Ella. The former is a solo, an intimate look at one man's private struggles set to Nina Simone's rendition of "Wild is the Wind." The latter is danced to a live concert recording of Ella Fitzgerald singing "Airmail Special," as the performers match her scatting with lightning-fast movements. Watch for free until Thursday, August 20 on the troupe's YouTube channel.
The Joyce Theater: Urban Bush Women: Women's Resistance
At 7 p.m. ET, dance haven The Joyce Theater presents Urban Bush Women in Women's Resistance, a call to action in pursuit of liberation and justice. Excerpted from the evening-length work les écailles de la mémoire, this 11-minute piece was choreographed by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Germaine Acogny, and set to music by Fabrice Bouillon-LaForest and Frederic Bobin. Watch for free until Friday, August 21 at 10 a.m. ET on The Joyce's YouTube channel.
Theater in Quarantine: Closet Works
At 7 p.m. ET, downtown multihyphenate Joshua William Gelb, known for deconstructing complicated classics like The Jazz Singer, performs a series of brief dance pieces in his closet created by Hadestown associate choreographer Katie Rose McLaughlin, with a guest appearance by Damani Van Rensalier. There's a post-show Q&A with the artists, followed by an encore performance at 9 p.m. ET. Watch for free on Gelb's YouTube channel.
The Metropolitan Opera: Turandot
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Metropolitan Opera shares Turandot, Puccini's tale of an aloof princess whose suitors lose their heads over her knotty riddles. Franco Zeffirelli's sumptuous staging stars Nina Stemme as the hard-to-win royal, and Marco Berti as the prince who ultimately succeeds. 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.
Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival: Seize the King
At 7:30 p.m. ET, although the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival canceled its in-person season, the beloved upstate institution is presenting a series of live online readings inspired by classical theatre. First up is Will Power's Seize the King, a modern-day reimagining of Shakespeare's Richard III written in iambic pentameter but with colorful colloquial language. Jesse J. Perez directs the five-person play. Register in order to receive the free viewing link.
Virtual Pillow: Bereishit Dance Company
At 7:30 p.m. ET, the Berkshires' lauded Jacob's Pillow continues its virtual summer season with highlights from the Bereishit Dance Company's 2016 festival performance. Founded in 2000, this Seoul-based troupe fuses contemporary movement with traditional Korean culture, which is evident in the archery-inspired male duet BOW_CONTROL, and Balance and Imbalance featuring five dancers, a pair of drummers and one traditional pansori singer. Watch for free on Jacob's Pillow's YouTube channel though donations are encouraged.
Newsies Reunion on Stars in the House
At 8 p.m. ET, seize the day—it's a Newsies reunion on Stars in the House! Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley welcome original Broadway cast members Jeremy Jordan, Kara Lindsay, Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Ben Fankhauser, plus Aisha de Haas, who costarred in the Pantages Theatre production, which was filmed in 2017 and is currently available to stream on Disney+. We can't wait to "Watch What Happens!" Watch for free on YouTube though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
Black Lives, Black Words International Project: Plays for the People: Proof of Love
At 8 p.m. ET, Black Lives, Black Words International Project, an activist theatre initiative that produces shows by Black playwrights, continues its virtual Plays for the People series with Chisa Hutchinson's one-woman drama Proof of Love. A moving exploration of grief and forgiveness centering on a middle-aged, upper-middle-class Black woman whose life is upended after a car accident leaves her husband in a coma, the play premiered Off Broadway last year. Kyle Haden directs this online adaptation. Tickets are available to purchase from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Club Cumming Virtual Variety Show!
At 8 p.m. ET, Cabaret Tony winner Alan Cumming is also the proprietor of Club Cumming, an East Village nightspot that presents eclectic performances. Tonight, the shuttered venue brings a bit of its fabulousness online, with the first installment of a two-part variety show hosted by Cumming and featuring performances by singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, comedian Judy Gold, gossip guru Michael Musto, and drag divas Alexis Michelle and Princess Brittany. Tickets are $20.
Vanguard Theater Company: Broadway Buddy Mentorship Program Performance
At 8 p.m. ET, Vanguard Theater Company presents the climactic cabaret for its Broadway Buddy Mentorship Program, which pairs stage vets with aspiring performers ages 12 to 24. This year's mentors include Jelani Remy from Ain't Too Proud, Ciara Renée and Robert Creighton from Frozen, and cast members from Hadestown, Beautiful and Waitress. Lin-Manual Miranda will introduce the event, and there will be a tribute to former mentor Nick Cordero, who died of COVID-19 complications last month. Reserve your free ticket to receive the viewing link though donations to The Actors Fund are encouraged.
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 episode of its online variety show featuring clips from past mainstage productions as well as brand-new virtual performances. The lineup for week three includes production numbers from the Muny's mountings of Annie, West Side Story, Jersey Boys and The Unsinkable Molly Brown; duets by real-life Broadway couples Jason Gotay and Michael Hartung, and Jenny Powers and Matt Cavenaugh; and a game show with stage stars such as Ann Harada and Christopher Sieber. Watch for free on the Muny's YouTube channel.
Available to Watch All Day
Scott Siegel's Great American Songbook Concert: Volume 8
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 Tony nominees Jenn Colella and Tom Wopat, Aaron Lazar from The Last Ship and Brian Charles Rooney from The Threepenny Opera. Watch for free on YouTube.
The Metropolitan Opera: La Fanciulla del West
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 La Fanciulla del West, Puccini's colorful romance set during the California Gold Rush, as a charming outlaw wins the heart of a gun-toting saloon owner. Deborah Voigt and Marcello Giordani headline this 2010 mounting. Watch for free until Friday at 5 p.m. ET on the Metropolitan Opera's website.
Martha's Vineyard Playhouse: Crumbs from the Table of Joy
Last night, Martha's Vineyard Playhouse streamed a live reading of Lynn Nottage's Crumbs from the Table of Joy, and a recording is available to watch until Saturday. This early play by the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner centers on a Black widower in the '50s, who moves with his teenage daughters from Florida to Brooklyn where they start a new life. Director Adrienne D. Williams reunites with the cast of the theatre's 2016 mounting, including Abigail Rose Solomon, Lawrence Evans, Danielle Hopkins and Dria Brown. Tickets are available from the theatre but TDF members get a discount.
Corkscrew Theater Festival: corkscrew 4.0
Although the fourth annual Corkscrew Theater Festival has been moved to next summer, the producers are presenting a series of online experiences inspired by the postponed productions. The website itself is a hoot, a throwback to the GeoCities days. Many of the works are interactive and all are free, though it's worth clicking on the "buy tickets here" link to see what happens. Be sure to scroll down—that's where the content is! Watch for free until Sunday, August 23 on Corkscrew's website.
Manual Cinema: No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks
Here's a dazzling treat: Over the next month, the multimedia theatre collective Manual Cinema, which combines shadow puppetry and filmic elements, is sharing recordings of one eye-popping show each week. This week's show is No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, a celebration of the groundbreaking poet, author and teacher, who became the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize. Set in Brooks' beloved city of Chicago, the show explores her remarkable literary life. Watch for free until Monday, August 17 at 1 p.m. ET on the company's website.
Top image: Kara Lindsay and Jeremy Jordan in the Broadway production of Newsies. Photo by Deen van Meer.